Lewis Hamilton Q&A: COTA looks spectacular 15 Nov 2012
Lewis Hamilton was the winner of the last United States Grand Prix back in 2007, so his focus for this weekend is clear: to do it again. Thoughts of his imminent McLaren departure will take a back seat to the prospect of racing on Austins new Circuit of The Americas, a track whose bold layout has the potential to make it a classic in the vein of Spa or Suzuka. And with a full house expected on Sunday, Hamilton is promising to put on the best show possible for the fans in his second home - the good old US of A
Q: Coming back to the United States after a five-year intermission, you have the chance to take a back-to-back win here. How does that feel?
Lewis Hamilton: It is really great to be back, as I love being in the United States. Of course I do spend a lot of time here with my girlfriend, not only for the winter but also during the year. So it feels almost like a second home to me already. 2007 was a great year and I hope that I will get the chance to defend that result this year. Also I think it is a great opportunity to make Formula One more popular here, as it is not a particularly well known sport here.
Q: So far you have only had the chance to drive this track on the simulator. What will be the challenge in reality?
LH: To learn the track. Even if you drive it in the simulator, it will still be a new circuit, which is very tough to learn. The track itself looks spectacular. Although we have a very good simulator, it is very different sitting in the car. The simulator does not have a G-force, so you cannot get the real sense of speed. Also you do not get a real feeling for the right line and the braking points, which of course is extremely important, not only for the qualifying but for the race as well. Here Turn 1 looks amazing, as you cannot even see the apex until you get right to the corner, so finding the right line will be very challenging. So my guess is that tomorrow you will see a lot of people going off the track, or at least going very wide. We hope that we will be able to transfer the pace that we had in Abu Dhabi without the reliability problems that we had there.
Q: What will be your aim for the US Grand Prix?
LH: It is clearly to win again. We havent had a win since quite some time now, although we have had lots of opportunities which we did not take. Bad luck and some reliability problems have been in our way. For this race I hope that we will be able to challenge the other top teams, as I want to have a race with Fernando [Alonso] and I want to have a race with Sebastian [Vettel] on the track. I want people to be entertained in the best possible way.
Q: What will be your main focus for the Friday practice sessions?
LH: For me it will be very important to get the set-up right. It is important to have big differences in set-up compared to your team mate, and I hope that I will get it right.
Q: What are your feelings about leaving McLaren very soon?
LH: I do have a huge amount of love for this team. Of course leaving is always a tough decision, but then I am really happy that I have a new challenge ahead of me and that I will have to learn to build new relationships. Everyone does that in life at some point in time. So I do not have any doubts about this, as you make a decision and then you stick to it. For me it is very important that I give my very best at the last couple of races to help McLaren to secure the second spot in the constructors world championship, and I think that we have the ability to still beat Ferrari in this.
Q: In regards to the drivers world championship, this will now be fought between Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. Who do you think will more likely be able to win this year?
LH: Both of them are great drivers, and both had a fantastic year so far. To me, both deserve another world championship title. So I dont really know who will pull it off in the end, but I wish both the very best.
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