Lewis Hamilton Q&A: McLaren has been a great journey 22 Nov 2012
Lewis Hamilton could just be the man to tip the championship scale this weekend. If he is as competitive in Sao Paulo as he was in Austin, Hamiltons result may well determine the fate of the 2012 drivers title. Its not a role he seems totally at ease with, as, of course, hed rather be a title contender himself. But whatever happens on Sunday, theres likely to be a few tears as his McLaren career finally draws to a close
Q: Lewis, a lot of people at McLaren, including Jenson Button, say that they will miss a certain Lewis Hamilton and what he is able to do. So what is your emotional mood?
Lewis Hamilton: Ah, thats nice of them to say. Of course I will miss them. Its been a great journey to be with McLaren and to fight with Jenson. Ive heard that my Austin win was the 181st McLaren win since 1966 - more than Ferrari has won in this period - and the 100th for Martin Whitmarsh, so yes, I feel very honoured having been with them.
Q: How do you cope with coming into the Interlagos paddock knowing that it will be the last time that you head for the McLaren pit and hospitality unit - that in 2013 you will have to roam different alley ways to your new employer?
LH: That thought is very strange and very unreal right now - and also sad in many ways, so I have to make sure that I enjoy every moment. (laughs)
Q: So what is the appropriate way to say goodbye?
LH: With a win.
Q: You beat Sebastian Vettel in the last race. Can you imagine how Fernando Alonso feels going up against Vettel for the championship, when Vettel clearly has the better car?
LH: Well, it will be tough for Fernando, as he definitely knows that the Red Bull is the better car - a better car for a few years now. They probably struggled a bit in the last race, but the car is rapid so he knows that hes got a steep curve to fight. But he is a true champion and he will fight no matter what, whether he has the biggest gun or not. (laughs)
Q: So what is the view on this race for yourself? Is it a race you should be able to win, just like Austin? That could mean you decide the championship
LH: That is going to be difficult. I hope that the conditions stay good, but here you never know. Rain could come any time. Of course it would be great winning here. I have never won here before and I dont know when I will have a car quite like the MP4-27 to win again, so of course I really hope to pull it off again this weekend. What speaks against it is that the Red Bulls have been quick here - every year. Maybe I can break that mould. I am not fighting for the championship, but I can still win the race.
Q: So what it boils down to is Sebastian and Fernando fight for the championship and you for the race win?
LH: Pretty much, yes. At least that is what I am aiming at. But if it does rain on Sunday all this here will turn into a big lottery, like it did when I won the championship here in 2008.
Q: Who is going to be the champion?
LH: My guess is as good as anyone elses. I have no idea. If you have to put it down to facts, the fact is that Sebastian has a better car. Fernando struggled in the last race with his car. But conditions can play a massive role, so you never know. But as I just said, Red Bull has the better car.
Q: So if you had to put your money on Sebastian or Fernando, who would you chose?
LH: I am wise and not putting money on anybody. I save it for the rainy days. (laughs)
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