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Lewis Hamilton Q&A: Penalty was fair 27 Jun 2010

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren on the podium. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 27 June 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 27 June 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 27 June 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren (Right) and team mate Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren celebrate in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 27 June 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 27 June 2010

Despite a McLaren not as quick as the Red Bull and a drive-through penalty for passing the safety car, Lewis Hamilton still managed to bag second place in Valencia, much to the disgust of former team mate Fernando Alonso. Hamilton, who retained his lead in the driver standings, felt his penalty was fair and is now looking forward to an upgraded MP4-25 for his home race in two weeks’ time…

Q: Lewis, finishing the race in second place - was that the result you had expected?
Lewis Hamilton:
Well, to be honest I was thinking of first place, and if I had not had the safety car issue I would have been up to pressuring Sebastian the whole way. And hopefully he would have had to back off due to reliability issues - that would have been my chance. It did not happen for him.

Q: At the beginning you were talking on the team radio about vibrations on your car. Tell us about the contact with Vettel at the start and what was going on in your mind in those moments. It could have been game over for you…
LH:
Yes, I had a little contact with Sebastian in the first corner. I went for the move and he closed the gap as much as he could. Unfortunately I was going direct towards the kerbs - I hit the kerbs and was pushed down and we touched. Fortunately it didn’t hamper him, but I did damage my front wing and had huge understeer. But I messed around with the controls and put the wing up as much as I could. I still had massive understeer but was able to hold the pace and when the safety car came out I came into the pits and was able to change the front wing and the tyres. It was probably one of our best pit stops - and I needed a good pit stop. From that moment on it was really difficult to overtake. Even the backmarkers are hard to overtake.

Q: Fernando Alonso seemed devastated on the team radio that you hadn’t been given a bigger penalty for passing the safety car and you hadn’t dropped down further - and that this situation ruined his own race. Obviously the penalty didn’t harm your position at all and you probably think this was fair. Had it been the other way around, would you still have thought it fair?
LH:
That is good to know. Well, it is all down to the point that you do the job that you have to do. I was told that I had to pit, I made the gap and pushed as hard as I could and pulled out some of the fastest laps and I was able to increase the gap from the guys behind - and I did my penalty: A drive-through is quite a long time - moving down the pit lane at 60km/h - and I came out still ahead of the others, so I don’t think that this is unfair. This is racing and these are the rules.

Q: Fernando obviously said that this race was manipulated. What do you think about this?
LH:
Ah, I think he is probably reacting emotionally…

Q: When you did those really fast laps trying to win back time did you notice that there was a glass bottle on the track? How was it for you to be concentrating on super fast laps knowing that there was something on the track?
LH:
You always keep your eyes on the track and I saw it there in the middle of the road, thinking that if you hit that bottle at that speed there are all kind of things that could happen. It could have broken my wing, it could have hit my tyre, it could have spat me off into the wall, I could have hit it and it would have been propelled towards the guy behind me - just as we have seen last year in Hungary with Felipe (Massa). So this was really quite dangerous.

Q: Red Bull brought an upgrade here so you knew that they were quick. But would you have guessed that without arriving here with new parts, McLaren would be able to finish second and third?
LH:
Definitely not. We would have never expected to be so competitive this weekend. The car was great and I am looking forward to the upcoming upgrades
- and I truly hope that it will be a step forward so hopefully we are heading for a home Grand Prix stronger than we have been here.

Q: Speaking of your home Grand Prix, you are heading for Silverstone as the championship leader. That must be a huge boost…
LH:
Yes, it definitely is. And it is good to be leading in both championships and I hope that we will be able to give the British fans a good race weekend.