Q&A with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton 13 Jun 2010
The Montreal weekend turned out to be something of a Hamilton-fest, with the McLaren driver translating an imperious pole position into a well-deserved win. Having taken his maiden F1 victory here back in 2007, Hamilton has a personal bond with the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - a bond that grew stronger on Sunday as the enthusiastic sell-out crowd cheered him home
Q: Lewis, there were obviously many chapters to that race. How confident were you half way through that you were really going to win it?
Lewis Hamilton: You can never be too confident. We sure have been in a good position, but there was Mark Webber ahead of me and I didnt know what his plan was - whether he would have keep on pulling away or keep his gap, so I concentrated on looking after my tyres. It is so difficult to figure out how long you can make these tyres last. And then Fernando (Alonso) put a lot of pressure on me - in fact we had a really good battle - but towards the end of the race I was cruising. Suddenly all those guys had disappeared. It was such a sensational feeling when I crossed the finish line - something of a reminiscence of 2007.
Q: You are used to getting pressure from Alonso on the track, but did you expect it in the pit lane?
LH: I should say yes - weve been there before. We didnt have good pit stops for a while and it was a shame because we came in quite far ahead. But obviously theres been a problem with the right wheel and he got us. There was nothing I could do about it and fortunately I was able to pass him again. Then the second pit stop was great.
Q: Todays win catapulted you to the top of the world championship standings
LH: Yeah, and when you think about it, it is ridiculous: youve won two races and you are only three points in the lead. If we hadnt lost the Barcelona race the result surely would look different. But thats motor racing. Now we have to focus on increasing that gap. We have a good momentum now and I hope I can continue in Valencia.
Q: So it was a memorable weekend for you in Montreal?
LH: Absolutely. It was fantastic and I am so glad that Formula One returned to Canada. The fans here are incredible. Its almost unbelievable how passionate they are about Formula One. I had my debut win here in 2007 so this track will always have a special place in my heart. Thats why I hope that we come back here again for many more years.
Q: In the past there have been issues with the track surface - how is it now?
LH: The conditions were great and there have been no issues at all. The organizers did a great job with the different tarmac surfaces on the different areas of the track. The track was very good.
Q: What was the most challenging moment for you during the race?
LH: That was actually the whole thing! Or to be precise the 20-few laps when I was looking after my tyres and keeping these guys behind.
Q: If you look at the standings now with you and Jenson leading the championship, would you say that McLaren have closed the gap or are they now even stronger than Red Bull?
LH: In terms of pure pace I still think that the Red Bull is a bit faster, they still have something on their car that gives them a bit of an advantage. But if you take the package as a whole I would say that we have the better package. I would also say that the next tracks come a bit our way, so it will be again very, very close in the next races ahead.
Q: It was a great day for you, but obviously it was also very good strategy from the team and a good choice of tyres
LH: I did the choosing of the tyres myself - and that also goes for Jenson. The team did their part of the strategy, of course, so we all executed our jobs exceptionally well. I have to say that Jensons contribution to the team is extremely good - the best that Ive ever seen from a team mate.
Q: There was the impression that you were pushing your car to the limit, squeezing everything out that was possible
LH: Yes, I really squeezed every ounce out of it and it was just about good enough - but we need more and I am confident we will bring some upgrades in the course of the next races.