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Lewis Hamilton Q&A: I have never been better prepared!

22 Nov 2014

Lewis Hamilton knows how to win a world championship, though he will be hoping his path to a second drivers’ crown proves slightly less fraught than the last-lap dramas of Brazil 2008. Hamilton, who admits he prefers chasing to being chased, takes a 17-point lead into Sunday’s Abu Dhabi decider, safe in the knowledge that even if Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg wins the race, second will be enough to bring him the title…

Q: Lewis, whatever happens tomorrow 2014 was a fantastic year for you. Can you talk us through your personal highs and lows?

Lewis Hamilton: Well, every win feels different. I might have gone through different things in that week so I might have experienced different emotions and feelings. But of course one of my favourite races is always my home race. But what really sticks out for me this season is Monza. That peaks in my mind every time I think about my wins. And yes, it’s been my best season ever.

Q: Nico was speaking about the mistakes that you made today - and in Brazil. Maybe that’s his strategy, to make you think about making mistakes. Do you pay much attention to that? Will that be a factor in your mind?

LH: I don’t pay much attention to that at all. And take today - if I made a mistake today it would be the same amount as him. Nico had to do an extra lap on the actual race tyres, which hopefully will have an effect. That he is in that situation was due to a mistake. My tyres are perfect for the race! And overall it’s been very few mistakes through the year. I am not worried about these things. Nico is sure trying everything possible in his head to come up with some kind of way of dealing with things - that’s how he deals with it. Me - I just keep to myself and do the talking on the track. Today I did a great job in Q3 - and everything else I will try to make up tomorrow in the race.

Q: Niki (Lauda) said after qualifying that you might struggle to get to sleep tonight. Is that so?

LH: Ha, that’s definitely not so. I never struggle to sleep! I always sleep well. I remember back in 2007 and 2008: I slept like a baby on the night before the all-decisive races. (laughs)

Q: Have you already decided how you approach the race?

LH: I think it is not possible to go into a race with a particular plan. Just one thing always stays the same: the goal to win - at every race weekend! I always try to drive towards the limit - never want to go over and above the limit - and depending on the situation you choose how close you want to be to this limit. Look at the last race: I stepped over the limit. I won’t do that tomorrow. And I know that I still can win by not going to that limit. That I will try to do tomorrow - and take it as it comes - as it unfolds. I am best prepared as I ever have been.

Q: What is more your style going into a race: instinct or plan?

LH: I am not sure that instinct is the right approach. You don’t necessarily have a fixed plan, as I just said before, but there has to be some kind of plan in your head. If you’re in this position, what do you do then? Are you going to make an overtaking manoeuvre when you’re this close? And so on… You have to have some limitations in your mind about your actions in certain situations. It’s not often in an F1 career that you’re in the position to fight for the title - and tomorrow I will do what I do best!

Q: You are not really a guy for statistics, but Nico has had 11 pole positions this year and on seven occasions he has let that advantage slip away in the race. Is there anything to be learned from that fact? You don’t have to be on pole - P2 is good enough for you…

LH: Pole position is a great thing. It’s something a driver always wants to get. But as we have seen this season, pole position is not everything. It is the race that matters. And, yes, being second on the grid here is quite a nice place to be - there is the long straight - so I feel comfortable from where I start. Yes, Nico has won the pole position cup - but I’ve won the race win cup.

Q: You always said that you prefer to be the chaser. How do you deal with this situation now?

LH: Yes, I always liked to be the chaser as that’s what my whole race career was about. That was always a strength that I had - and it then became a part that I loved most. Being in front is a great thing, but tomorrow I am very much looking forward to a battle with Nico.