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Lewis Hamilton Q&A: The car feels great 27 Jul 2012

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Preparations Day, Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, 26 July 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 27 July 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 27 July 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 27 July 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 27 July 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 27 July 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 27 July 2012

You may get nothing in return when you top the timesheets in practice but McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was certainly pleased with finishing fastest in Friday’s two opening sessions in Hungary. Confident in his MP4-27 and its recent upgrades, Hamilton is hopeful he will be able to bounce back in Budapest after the disappointments of German round…

Q: Lewis, you have had a pretty good day. The upgrades seem to be working…
Lewis Hamilton:
Yes, it was a good day today. The boys in the factory did an amazing job - and I am definitely on it. The car feels great - pace-wise - and I am out to maximize that on every inch of the track.

Q: Qualifying here is very important as it is one of those Monaco-like tracks where overtaking is almost impossible…
LH:
Yes, overtaking here is really difficult so positioning is very important. When you start at the front it makes the race here so much easier! (laughs) It would be nice to have a huge chunk of that ‘easiness’ tomorrow.

Q: So are you confident of claiming pole position?
LH:
As I just said I feel good in the car but Friday afternoon is completely different to Saturday afternoon. In qualifying I have no doubt that Fernando (Alonso) all of a sudden will find half a second. I have no doubt that the Red Bulls will find a chunk of time and you should never forget the Lotus. So here we are again. Friday times are only good for Friday. Saturday and Sunday are the real deal.

Q: You met Muhammad Ali at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum earlier this week. How did it feel to meet such a sporting legend?
Lewis Hamilton:
It was absolutely amazing, as he definitely is the greatest boxer of all times. I have a lot of books and videos about him, so he is a real icon for me even though he is not really my generation. The legacy that he has created will go on for many years and that is just phenomenal. I can only wish that in years to come, someone would say something even close to that about me. That is still a big dream.

Q: Looking back at the season so far, how would you describe it? Has it been harder than last year? How has it been different?
LH:
In general it has been very similar to all the seasons that I have had so far. The difference is that I have been a little bit better in form this year, which I am happy about. Also the preparations have been fairly good. In terms of qualifying we have been good so far, although we have not nailed these results down on race days. Jenson (Button) showed at the Hockenheim race where we actually are, and it is very important for us to push forward and maximize points.

Q: Looking at your competitors in the championship, especially Ferrari and Lotus, what are your impressions?
LH:
With Ferrari I have seen a few good things, but cannot really tell if they are much stronger than us. I think their car is on a similar level to ours. They seem to be stronger in high-speed corners and ours seems to be stronger in low-speed corners. With Lotus I am actually surprised that they haven’t won a race yet. Lotus has been a team that has won championships in the past, so it is not a big surprise that they are back on form this year. The same should count for us, as our history reads equally well. We have won championships too, so nobody should be surprised when we are back again someday soon.

Q: Seeing you at the Hockenheimring, with a set of new tyres on your fairly-damaged car, un-lapping yourself was very impressive…
LH:
The left corner of my car was destroyed and with that I was losing a lot of downforce. So looking at this positively, even with all those issues the car was still competitive with the guy in front. And that gives me confidence that when the car is in one piece we can fight for podiums, as we saw Jenson do. For a driver it is not the best feelings to un-lap yourself. Butto feel in those situations that I have incredible support not only from the team, but also from the fans, makes me very optimistic that we will be able to collect valuable points in the future and that we will be able to fight here in Hungary.

Q: Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel gave an opinion after the race about how you un-lapped yourself. What are your thoughts?
LH:
I asked the team what to do and they gave me two options. Either I can back off and run the risk of being in the way of Jenson or I could un-lap myself. And, for me, it wasn’t just that I definitely wanted to stay out of Jenson’s way, but also I will always race my heart out regardless of whether I am first or last. I think that my team expects that from me too. I do expect it from myself. And that is what I did.

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