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Q&A with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton 25 Jul 2011

(L to R): Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren celebrates with Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 24 July 2011 Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26 celebrates. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 24 July 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 24 July 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 24 July 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 24 July 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren on the podium. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 24 July 2011 Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26 celebrates in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 24 July 2011

It’s been a tough couple of months for Lewis Hamilton but on Sunday in Germany he silenced his critics by taking a dominant win at the Nurburgring. Hamilton reviews his race and looks ahead to Hungary...

Q: Lewis, what an incredible race! You must feel fantastic…
Lewis Hamilton:
Yes, it really feels incredible! The cornerstone to that win was the good start. That really made a huge difference. We’ve been really pushing very hard to improve our starts and it certainly paid off. But to be honest on the first couple of laps it was pretty hard to hold off the guys behind, but later on the car was getting faster and faster. Believe me that move on Fernando (Alonso) felt really great. We were all so close and none of us could make any mistakes. At times it was really hard. One lap you went into a corner and had grip but the next lap, at the same corner, all the grip was gone. So you had to be very, very careful not to lose your rear end. At one point Mark (Webber) tried to take me on the outside in Turn Three, but I had the grip and was able to fend him off.

Q: Do you still think you have a chance of taking the title?
LH:
We are only in the middle of the season and so many points are still waiting to be taken. This win of course played massively on my emotions and that of the team. So far it has been a strange season. One day we have it and then we don’t. One moment we are kind of there and then we are half a second off the pace and we don’t know why. This weekend we had a couple of very small upgrades and suddenly the performance really took off. At the beginning of the race I struggled a lot, but then the car was getting better and better with every lap and that steep performance boost during the race made my victory. I owe a massive thanks to my crew and the guys back home in the factory. I really hope that it now carries on this way. It is just half way through the season and now anything is possible.

Q: Have the cold conditions helped you?
LH:
No, I don’t think so. Probably we’ve been able, under these cold conditions, to switch our tyres on faster than the others. In places like Valencia, where it was pretty hot, we struggle. We are working on any shortcomings in this respect and I hope that we will be right at this point at the next race.

Q: It’s not been the easiest couple of months for you or the team…
LH:
The last couple of months have been quite challenging. Constantly up and down. Sometimes we are close and sometimes we are miles away, so believe me with this win things feel much, much better. And we definitely want to continue this way. But to be honest it puzzles me why we have been so quick this weekend. I feel now that the car is getting better and better, even though the two small upgrades couldn’t have possibly closed the gap to anyone else.

Q: You looked so proud when they were played the British national anthem…
LH:
I am always happy when I can represent my country. When I was young watching the Olympics on TV and saw the winning athletes on the podium getting emotional when their anthem was played, you dream of yourself being one day in such a position. I would urge the UK to make their anthem a bit longer though. Every time when I am standing on the podium it is over in a matter of seconds but when say Felipe Massa wins the tune goes on forever. It is so nice up there. It's a wonderful moment!

Q: Does it feel good to answer your critics on the track?
LH:
You know my dad always told me the only place to answer back should be the track. And if you have a result like this it answers everything, doesn’t it?

Q: How would you judge your own performance? Was it one of your best races?
LH:
It is difficult to judge. When I look back at Silverstone in 2008 I still feel that was one of my best. It is always when you have the wet, intermittent conditions that it is most challenging. And I would say this race was definitely one of my top five.

Q: It’s the Hungarian event this weekend. What are your expectations?
LH:
If you look at the results from last year the Red Bulls were light years ahead of everyone. And if you go back a month to Valencia the Red Bulls and Ferrari were massively quick in the hot conditions, so I expect them to do the same in Hungary. But believe we will try to improve. We will have small improvements there. But let’s wait and see. Maybe we will get there and be quick. Maybe we will have the cooler conditions which work perfectly for us.

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