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Q&A with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton 21 Sep 2012

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 20 September 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27/
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 21 September 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 21 September 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 21 September 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 20 September 2012

Off track, the Singapore Grand Prix sits alongside Monaco as one of the sport’s most glamorous events. On track, however, the Marina Bay Street Circuit is one of the calendar’s toughest challenges. But with a deficit of 37 points to make up in the fight for this year’s championship, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton can’t wait for Sunday’s energy-sapping Grand Prix to get underway. He reflects on his Friday...

Q: You have won at Singapore before. What do you expect from yourself and your competitors this weekend?
Lewis Hamilton:
We have seen at the preceding races that we have a very competitive car with good performance and we can be confident. But the last few races have been at high-speed tracks, whilst this is one of the slowest of the season, so the car is back to where it was before the big summer break. Back then we had a car that was competitive as well, but we know that at this time of the season other teams will bring updates. Fernando (Alonso) said Ferrari will be doing that for example. So I hope that we have done a good enough job in developing the car so that we can keep up our performance. Here in Singapore it is very difficult to find the right balance and set-up. So it will be quite tricky.

Q: So how did it go today?
LH:
I felt very comfortable in the car but for sure it feels a lot different than at the last race where we had a lot less downforce. So it’s great to throw the car around a little bit without sliding. Pace-wise it was funny as it felt pretty poor to me but when you look at the times it definitely wasn’t. That was comforting.

Q: Will the race be a fight between the McLarens, the Ferraris and the Red Bulls?
LH:
Yes, I would say so.

Q: Some drivers have been complaining about the rear wing overheating. Was that an issue for you too?
LH:
Yes, just like everybody else. But that is always the case here so it’s no big surprise. We are working on our set-up and balance and I would say that we didn’t have such a bad long run.

Q: Which other racetrack would you liken the Singapore circuit to?
LH:
It is very comparable with the Hungaroring, although that is much smoother. Singapore is a street circuit. It’s a little bit tougher with lots of corners and the tyre degradation will be even more intense here. Also the total race time is quite a bit longer than at other circuits and we really do feel that extra 20 to 25 minutes. It is extremely intense to race here. You literally lose a couple of kilos. As far as I can remember I lost about 3kg here last year. So it is very important that you drink a lot before the race and that you are fit and healthy. Looking back, I never went out after even winning the race here, as you are physically and mentally exhausted.

Q: In terms of the championship, how difficult will it be to beat Ferrari and Fernando Alonso?
LH:
Fernando has had an incredible year so far and the car has been performing consistently. He and Ferrari have done an amazing job and we hope that we can match them during this race.

Q: And how do you rate Sebastian Vettel? The Red Bull seems to have good pace again. Does he still have a chance in the championship?
LH:
He is the reigning world champion, so he is still a strong candidate for the championship. Red Bull Racing has a very strong car, except maybe at the last race. They are still playing a role in this championship, plus they have won a few times here in Singapore as well.

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