Lewis Hamilton Q&A: I was more to blame 09 Jun 2011
Lewis Hamilton got a lot of criticism after his Monaco performance, but coming to Montreal the McLaren star is confident he has put things to rest, allowing him to focus exclusively on what lies ahead. So what does lie ahead? With the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve being so tough on tyres, Hamilton believes it will be a thrilling - and pit stop-filled - Canadian Grand Prix
Q: The last time we saw you was at the end of a very frustrating day. What has happened in the meantime?
Lewis Hamilton: It was good to get away from this and get some distance. I had great support from my family, friends and my team, and even from fans. I received some letters, and all the support that I got was very helpful. I think everyone has a bad day sometimes, and that was a bad weekend for me - with all the passion, and also the pressure that I had put on myself on that weekend, with things not going the right way. If someone else has a bad day in the office, they would not need to go in front of the media and answer questions. It was not really a reflection of how I felt, and who I really am, so apologies again to anyone that got offended by what I said.
Hopefully this weekend I can redeem myself. I had some time to call both of the drivers and apologize, and I also spoke to (FIA President) Jean Todt. For me this is the past now, and I focus on this weekend now, and try to get back on top of things.
Q: How are your feelings then for this weekend?
LH: This weekend I am definitely not putting so much pressure on myself. I dont know what it is with Monaco. Every Grand Prix is special, but Monaco and your home Grand Prix you want to win. If everything looks so good and you have some extra pace in your pocket, which I did, and you are not able to use it because you are further back on the grid, then it is sometimes just hard to deal with that. And then on top of it there were the penalties, and that was even tougher. But for this weekend I am coming with my feet on the ground and am hopeful that we can do a good job. And if it happens that we are fast here, and be able to maybe win, that would be fantastic. I had my first Grand Prix win here, and weve got lots of British fans that come out here. It is fantastic to see all the flags waving and a circuit full with fans.
Q: What are your expectations for qualifying, as you have been on pole here three times already?
LH: I think this year is a bit different. In the past I always had a bit of extra time in qualifying. Usually this year when you get to Q3 the Red Bulls do something, and I dont know what it is. I think it is race mode that they put on. If you put race mode on the engine it is a huge difference to the qualifying mode, as it gives you a massive difference. They are also the ones that have mastered the blown-in diffuser. Still I hope that the gap is closer here, and hopefully we have some improvements to our car as well. I would love to win here, and continue with the success that I have had here in the past.
Q: Having spoken to Jean Todt, and the FIA, do you agree with the penalties now?
LH: I have seen the tape now, and the view that you have in the car is much different than the view from out of the car, or what other people see. Still I would say that in such occasions it is not always just one person to blame, unless you fully ram into someones back. But of course being the car behind, also I would say I was more to blame than the car that was in front. It is not even easy to see the car, as there is a blind spot as well. Then of course drivers would defend their positions, too. I was rather thinking that perhaps it was more like 80-20, or 70-30, me being more responsible for the fault. Either way I felt that for my relationship with the other drivers, and mostly because of the things that I said afterwards, I felt it was important to correct that and apologize for that.
Q: What do you think on the Bahrain decision?
LH: I think the sport is getting seriously political. But I dont really get too involved. Of course I am very aware of what is going on. I am very positive that the decision of the teams, drivers and FIA will come together to make the right thing. Of course I hope for things to improve in Bahrain, as it is a beautiful country.
Q: The tyres in Monaco seemed to have lasted way longer than expected. Since it is the same allocation for this race, what are your predictions?
LH: Potentially, I was told we would make five stops, and use all of our tyres. In the simulation a three and a five stop were very close, which is interesting. But that might change after practice. What I think will happen is that you will see one of the most crazy Montreal Grands Prix. In Monaco even I was massively surprised how long the tyres lasted, as our specialists say that one set lasts at a maximum of 18-20 laps, and in Monaco we have seen that they last way longer. I am not sure if I would like to drive them that long. I prefer a fresh set, so I can attack, and since I have an oversteering car with no rear end, this is very tough to drive. Hopefully we have enough tyres this weekend, so I dont have to run too long on them.
Q: How difficult is the strategy for Q3, whether to run on the options or keep them for the race?
LH: The strategy is not difficult at all. The option tyre is always faster, and position does matter, where you start your race from. At the end of the day you want to start as high up as you can, and in this respect the tyres mean everything.
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