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Q&A with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton 27 Oct 2011

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Thursday, 27 October 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 16 October 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Thursday, 27 October 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren on the podium. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 16 October 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren signs a painting by a local school child.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Thursday, 27 October 2011

It’s been a tough few weeks for McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, with not only his driving but also his personal life the subject of intense media scrutiny. But after his pole position and P2 finish in Korea, he looks to be on an upward trajectory once more and it certainly seemed to a be a happier Hamilton chatting to the media in India on Thursday. It’s a country he knows and loves and now he’s determined to put together the perfect lap around Buddh International…

Q: How do you feel ahead of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix?
Lewis Hamilton:
I am very excited. I cannot wait to see how it is on track. I have driven it in the simulator, but being in the car is a different thing. It looks like medium- to high-speed corners everywhere. And it will probably take a bit longer to get used to, compared to other (new) circuits.

Q: Did you have the chance to take in some Indian culture as well?
LH:
I have been here a few times throughout the last couple of years, and it already feels like my second home. I really enjoy being here.

Q: Did the pole position and being second on the podium in Korea take the pressure off you, and get you back to your old self?
LH:
It has been a couple of tough weeks, but I don’t feel that so much has changed. It feels good to be back on the podium, but this was only one race compared to a year of ups and downs. It really has been one of the worst years. Actually it has been the worst year so far. If you can imagine people passing away, I have had some issues in racing and then my personal life as well. I am looking forward to next year that is for sure.

Q: So did the Dan Wheldon crash put things in perspective for you?
LH:
Not only that. Looking back for me I wish I had said things to him when I had the chance to do so. I didn’t see him for quite some time beforehand. And yes, it put things into perspective, and lets you think about the people that are closest to you - thinking of my mum and dad, and giving them a call and making sure that they know how much they mean to you and that you love them, as you don’t know what is going to happen.

Q: How much of a distraction has it been to find your private life in the newspapers?
LH:
I have not been reading the papers, and I have been dealing with this alone, and have got great support from my family. I am sure that everyone in the world knows how tough this can be.
Still, I was able to do my job before, and I will be able to do it now. And of course when these kind of things are good, they have an impact on your life, and that relationship did.

Q: What can we hope for from you and from India this weekend?
LH:
Everyone will really be surprised about India and what they have done here, and also the fans. I hope as many turn up as the last few times I was here. The ones that I have met so far are very passionate about Formula One. Of course people are excited in all the countries we go to, but the ones here are really excited. I haven’t seen anyone being so happy that a race is coming up as them. The track looks great. There are two DRS zones, so a lot of overtaking will be possible.
I hope that we will be competitive and that we will be in the front.

Q: Did you spot the huge statue of yourself when you were coming from the airport?
LH:
I’d like to say no, but I think I did see it. Vodafone has done a very good job in promoting the team and they have invited me out so many times, but I was not expecting that, so it was a positive surprise.

Q: Seeing you smile again is good. At the moment what is it that is important to you, being number two in the championship?
LH:
The most important thing for me at the moment is to get a good lap together. For me it doesn’t matter whether I am second, third or fourth, it makes no difference. For me winning is everything. Other than that you are just first or second of the losers. For me at the moment I am trying to put things back up, and to put the puzzles back in place and correct all the little issues there are to get some good results.

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