Lewis Hamilton Q&A: I can fight for victory 21 Apr 2012
Last weekend in China, McLarens Lewis Hamilton qualified in second but then a gearbox penalty dropped him down to seventh. In Bahrain on Saturday he once again claimed P2 and, with no penalty this weekend, hell start the race from the front row. Hamilton discusses his chances for Sundays race
Q: Once again you made it onto the front row, are you happy?
Lewis Hamilton: I am very happy with how qualifying went today, and especially being on the front row. Luckily I have been there at the last few races, although at the Chinese Grand Prix we were a bit unlucky with the gearbox penalty. I think it will be a tough race, especially as the two guys around me have good race pace. But since I am in a strong position I will be able to fight for the victory right from the beginning.
Q: Were you surprised that the grid has been reshuffled yet again?
LH: Not really. It seems to be that this is how the season is shaping up, as all the strong teams are able to strike back. I knew that the Red Bulls were going to pick up some pace, although I didnt expect them to be so quick in todays qualifying, but it is clear that their race pace is massively quick. Mark (Webber) I think had the fastest pace throughout the last races. Still we are there, and only a little under one tenth behind, so I would say that this is very positive.
Q: What do you need to do to win the race? Will it be decided at the start?
LH: For the last couple of races I have found it very difficult to overtake, especially cars that have a similar race pace. So the start will definitely be key. I am pretty sure that the last race here I had to start on the dirty side of the grid, and this year I will again. So I hope that it is cleaner this year.
Q: How crucial are the track conditions?
LH: The track temperature is at about 45 degrees Celsius and very dry with only 10 per cent humidity, and this literally melts your tyres. During qualifying you had to do a very slow out-lap, and then try to nail it on one fast lap, and already on the in-lap you felt that the rear of the car was sliding. During the race the tyres might only last for ten to 14 laps, and then they are finished. So it will be a big challenge to keep them in shape for as long as possible. My prediction will be a two, or rather a three-stop strategy. If you consider a two-stop strategy then you have to expect that your tyres will fade away during the last seven to ten laps. If you are on a three-stop strategy then you have to overtake people, and this is not a track where you can easily overtake. For us I dont know yet how many stops we will do. We will see tomorrow.
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