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Lewis Hamilton Q&A: Vettel and Grosjean will be hard to beat 23 Jun 2012

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Practice, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 22 June 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia, Spain, Saturday, 23 June 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Practice, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 22 June 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Practice, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 22 June 2012

Most pundits agree that Lewis Hamilton out-performed his machinery in Valencia qualifying on Saturday, putting his McLaren second on the grid despite a less-than-straightforward weekend for the team thus far. Can he beat polesitter Sebastian Vettel on Sunday? Hamilton thinks it will be tough, as could keeping the Lotus of Romain Grosjean in check…

Q: Are you delighted with the outcome of today’s qualifying, considering that you used the same set-up as yesterday?
Lewis Hamilton:
I am very pleased, as we were struggling this weekend. As in real life you sometimes have these troubles, and then you should keep your head down and work towards it. We were struggling at the beginning with the set-up, and the problem that the tyres were locking and as a result flat-spotting them. I went into qualifying with the idea of just getting us up as high as possible - and for tomorrow try to score as many points as possible from the position that I would end up in. We do have a few updates, but these are not necessarily improving the performance of the car. If you look at the others that do have updates, then you will see that Force India is suddenly very quick, Red Bull are very strong and Ferrari have improved as well. So to be on the front row is a bit of a shock to me, but I’ll take it of course.

Q: How have the conditions been today, with the heat and the track temperature?
LH:
The evolution of the circuit continues to evolve throughout every round. In terms of the heat, we are sweating like crazy out there. Otherwise it is okay. Tomorrow, of course, it will be interesting to look after the degradation of the tyres under these conditions. It will be very difficult to stay out 30 laps on a set of tyres. Tonight I will analyze where I was in the last race in terms of wing setting, tyre pressures and temperatures to make sure that tomorrow they last as long as they can.

Q: Looking at the other drivers, who do you think you have to watch out for?
LH:
Besides Sebastian Vettel for sure Romain Grosjean, as he has a very quick car and the best long-run pace from us all. Looking at the others, one has to say that anything can happen. You can come back even from the 15th grid position. We have to focus on ourselves and make sure that we finish ahead of them.

Q: It is quite a long way to the first and second corners. How do you see your chances of maintaining your position at the start?
LH:
Unfortunately I am on the dirty side of the track, and it is a long way. I have to make sure that I don’t lose too many positions, or better still no positions at all. From there on it will be more maintaining the status quo. Also then you have to make sure that the strategy that you have chosen will stick.

Q: Will you be able to put some pressure on Sebastian Vettel throughout tomorrow’s race?
LH:
To be frank, I do not see him struggling a lot. I think that he has a new upgrade package. Today he gained four-tenths from one run to the other, so I am sure that he would have gained more if he had done another one. That means that the Red Bulls will be very competitive, which means that we will fully concentrate on our race and strategy rather than attacking straight away.

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