Lewis Hamilton Q&A: Im targeting victory in Monza too 01 Sep 2010
Although he almost lost it all after momentarily going off track in the rain, McLarens Lewis Hamilton eventually cruised to a well-deserved victory in Belgium on Sunday. Added to his 2008 Silverstone and Monte Carlo triumphs, Hamilton has almost a complete set of wins at the calendars classic venues. Next on the British drivers agenda is Monza. And with the MP4-25 expected to be equally strong at next weekends Italian Grand Prix, he may not have long to wait, as he explained in an interview with his official website
Q: Your third victory of the season returned you to the top of the championship standings. This was a crucial win, wasn't it?
Lewis Hamilton: Absolutely. We went into the summer break knowing that we hadn't had a great race in Hungary. Even though I retired, we'd really struggled for pace all weekend. Going into Spa, we were confident that we'd have a more competitive package - but, given the strength of the other top teams, you never quite knew where that would leave you. And it was quite a hard weekend to read, because of the conditions. Obviously, Friday was wet, and although we were quick, we didn't know whether that was just because of the weather, or because the car was quick. On Saturday, we got a better idea, and I'm sure I'd have been able to take pole if it hadn't been for that last-minute rain shower, or if we'd fitted fresh options for the first run in Q3. Still, to put the car on the front row, with Jenson fifth, showed that we were competitive again. In the race itself, I was able to settle into a steady rhythm at the front. The track was only slightly damp in places at the start, so it was quite easy to establish a gap. When the rain started to fall, that's when I began to get quite nervous, because you know you've built up a margin, and you know that you can so easily lose out in those sorts of conditions. It was scary.
Q: So what was going through your mind when you went through the Turn Eight gravel?
LH: My heart was absolutely pumping! In my mind, I was absolutely on the edge, just trying to nurse the car through the gravel and get it out and back onto the track. The funny thing is, I wasn't particularly pushing at that point - I'd just been on the radio to the team to explain to them how the track was feeling and how slippery it was. I braked at what I thought was a sensible distance, but the car just kept going forwards - which was pretty, er, exciting! I just had to take a straighter line, scrub off as much speed as possible and then try and get the car through the gravel. I just made it - I think I kissed the barriers with the left-hand wheel rims, but it was close!
Q: You've spoken before of your desire to win at Formula One racing's classic' venues. You've now tasted victory at Monaco, Silverstone and Spa - how important is it to complete the set by winning at Monza?
LH: Yeah, I've always looked at those four circuits on the calendar as being a little more special than the others. A couple of years ago, I remember David Coulthard saying he was proud to win those four Grands Prix for McLaren because they somehow connected him to the history of the sport, and I know exactly what he means. It's because those venues are unique - they're very special; you can feel the history at those races more than anywhere else. That's why I was so pleased and proud to have finally won at Spa - because it's a giant of the sport, and it means something to every driver who's ever raced there. So I'm going to Monza looking to take another win and keep pushing forward in the championship. Our car should be strong there too, but, as with every race in this championship, you can never take anything for granted.