Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Exclusive Q&A - Hamilton out to ace Singapore 19 Sep 2013

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 19 September 2013 Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Hungaroring, Hungary. Sunday, 28 July 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 19 September 2013 Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Hungaroring, Hungary. Sunday, 28 July 2013 (L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 announce BBM for all at a Blackberry shoot.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 19 September 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 10 May 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 19 September 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 25 May 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 19 September 2013 Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 (3rd) on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 14 April 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 19 September 2013

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was unbeatable at the season’s last high-downforce race in Hungary. It’s perhaps no surprise then that he is confident of recapturing that winning form in the similar environs of Singapore. We caught up with the former champion - winner at Marina Bay in 2009 - to talk about his weekend prospects, plus 2014, fitness, fears, fashion and more…

Q: Lewis, what does it take to win in Singapore?
Lewis Hamilton:
You’ve got to have a good package - a good car that is great over the bumps - a good strategy, and the long-run pace is very important. As a driver you have to be fit, as it is mentally challenging and you have to be very fit to cope with the temperature and having to react to the different lights and different shadows that are on the track in the course of the race. Generally you have to be quite aggressive to make it here.

Q: Sounds like your perfect weekend…
LH:
Yeah, it is my favourite combination of everything. (laughs)

Q: Coming back to fitness, you’ve raised your fitness level visibly and it shows in your physique. What have you done - and does it help?
LH:
In Formula One you don’t have to be muscly, but the way I look at it, I was tired that after all the training I did not have the look that I like. I wanted to keep my fitness level and wanted to get the look that I desire - so it is more of a personal thing. I am much stronger and I can lift more weights, but that doesn’t mean anything. But it works for the ladies - it’s that simple! (laughs)

Q: Your professional life has been going well and it seems that you cannot make a wrong move. How are you going about your decisions? On pure instinct, or by collecting facts and analysing them?
LH:
I am definitely a thinker. I think about things quite a lot. Of course I sometimes do things without even thinking, but that’s when I get in trouble. When I have to make serious decisions I really like to think things over again and again, like when I was moving to Mercedes. My lawyer, she would have processed it in no time, but I needed my time.

Q: Isn’t it almost scary that every one of your moves seems to work out? Can anybody really be that lucky?
LH:
Ah, not everything I do (works out)…

Q: We are talking about your professional life…
LH:
Yes, but in fact I’ve made only one step so far. But it is a great feeling to see things go well. When I parted with my dad [formerly Hamilton’s manager] I wanted to take responsibility for my own actions and decisions, and I wanted to be the great man that he is. I wanted him to be proud of me.

Q: You came to Mercedes with certain hopes and fears. Which of them have come true? Let’s start with the fears…
LH:
Fears are one of the big negative things in everyone’s everyday life. We all live with fears - whether it is relationships or work, fear is everywhere and the trick is to turn this negative feeling of fear into something positive. Coming to Mercedes, of course there was a small fear of ‘Oh God, we are going into the season with probably no wins, not being in the top ten’ but I turned these fears into something positive by saying to myself, ‘I am going to help this team into the top ten, get it into Q3 and get us some points.’ That was my look at things.

Q: …and the hopes?
LH:
Being part of the journey with them to be world champions. These are my hopes - and this is my goal.

Q: You are one of the few ‘sharp dressers’ among the drivers - some of your colleagues have been accused of dressing like beach bums. Has all the style gone from the grid?
LH:
You know what, I have the same feeling when I come to the races. If you look at the team kits you think that there is somebody in the background making decisions without a sense of fashion. I am interested in fashion - probably that’s what shows. I wear my own jeans, my own trainers - and my own new cap. When I came into Formula One I did not really think about being stylish - the only thing I thought was about racing. But I underestimated that with all the media around in F1 and with the speed of the internet, you immediately have all those photos out there globally - and on many of them I didn’t like how I looked, so I tried to change that by dressing decently. As I get older fashion becomes a bigger part of my life.

Q: Coming back to racing, what’s possible for 2013? Will you be among the top three drivers attending the FIA prize giving later in the year - or will Kimi Raikkonen beat you to it?
LH:
I plan on going to replace Kimi. That is the target. And the team are doing a great job to get us there. We do have a great package for the next few races that are mainly high-downforce tracks. We will be quick. But, of course, nobody knows what fate has in store for us. I am just positive about it. At the last race I didn’t grasp the opportunity - this will not happen again. I want to make sure that this weekend goes better.

Q: Rumour has is that Felipe Massa will now be racing for himself rather than for Fernando Alonso at Ferrari, and at Red Bull the departing Mark Webber will surely think twice before helping out Sebastian Vettel… could this be to your advantage?
LH:
I hope so. There are no dramas here at this team. We will definitely maximize on the weaknesses of the others.

Q: What do you make of the Alonso-Raikkonen pairing at Ferrari for next season?
LH:
I don’t really have much of an opinion on it. When I heard about it the other day I was very surprised, as I didn’t think that this could possibly be the Ferrari line-up. I think it is going to be interesting - and it will be good for the sport: two incredible drivers and we can all see how it works out. I am hoping that I can watch all this in my rear-view mirrors!

Q: What is it that you want in a team mate?
LH:
I feel that I am a very easy person to get on with. I don’t come in and demand things - I never do. We are working as a team - that’s the name of the game. I am not one to hide things either. Since I came to Mercedes my intention has been to push this team forward - and that means working with Nico (Rosberg) and all the guys, helping to create an atmosphere that is just far greater than everyone else’s. I feel we have that.

Q: Will 2014 be a Mercedes year? The odds are looking promising: Mercedes have the benefit of building both their own chassis and engine, and the team has a stable driver line-up…
LH:
Yeah, I think we are going to be one of the strongest teams - I am hoping so, with the Mercedes support in the background.

Q: Was the fact that Mercedes build their own chassis and engine in-house a crucial consideration in your joining the team?
LH:
Yes, it played a part in my considerations. Some teams - such as McLaren or Red Bull Racing - build a chassis but then they get an engine from a supplier. When you are looking for every little bit of advantage, it must be a plus being with a team that builds all the components - being able to make chassis, engine and gearbox all together. So I think we should have a great package in 2014.

Q: Let’s have a look at your competitors for 2014 - who do you think will be your biggest challengers? Ferrari also build their own chassis and engine, but have a potentially explosive driver line-up. Red Bull have Adrian Newey and multiple champion Sebastian Vettel, but a relatively inexperienced second driver. Meanwhile, McLaren will be in a transition year with Honda only joining them in 2015, and Lotus without Kimi is difficult to predict…
LH:
Ferrari’s engine has been great for years and undoubtedly they will put together a great power unit. And as they are also doing chassis, engine and powertrain in-house just like us, my guess is that they are going to be the strongest competition. I would say it is them and us. Of course there is Red Bull with Newey and a multiple champion - so I would say it goes somewhat in that order.

Q: And what about this weekend right here?
LH:
You know what, I’ve never come to a race and aced the weekend - never done FP1, FP2, FP3, Q1, Q2, Q3 and the race and aced every one. But is hard nowadays, as in practice you run specific programmes and it’s not always about getting the best time. So let’s do it in Q1, Q2, Q3 - and the race. That’s my target!

For tickets and travel to 2013 FORMULA 1 races, click here.
For FORMULA 1 merchandise, click here.