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Lewis Hamilton Q&A: All our hard work paid off

30 Mar 2014

Lewis Hamilton’s disappointment at retiring from the first Grand Prix of the season in Australia was tempered by the fact that he knew the Mercedes F1 W05 was capable of winning races. And so it proved in Malaysia on Sunday as the 2008 world champion raced to a dominant victory. Afterwards he explained what his first win of the season meant to him…

Q: Lewis, you walk away from Malaysia with the win in - the second consecutive Mercedes victory of the season. How does that feel?

Lewis Hamilton: It was pretty special to win this race. In the past I’ve always had a difficult time here in Malaysia. It was never that the pace was not there - it simply never went my way. So today: what a great feeling. The guys did a phenomenal job all weekend - and there you have it!

Q: You made your final pit stop very late in the race - was there a feeling that something could get between you and the win?

LH: Well, the clouds were coming up so we decided to stay out as long as we could as there was the fear that as soon as we had pitted it would start to rain, and that would have been it for the day. So I was happy that my tyres lasted and that I could have even gone on for some more laps if I needed too - that was a pretty good feeling not to be on my last legs! It was a good race, even though I think there are still things that we can improve on. It was my first race of the new season and I have to say that I have learned so much and I can take so much with me to the next race.

Q: As you just said, it’s the first time you’ve really completed a full race distance. How do you judge your car?

LH: Probably it’s the best car I have ever driven. Yeah I would say so!

Q: Even though Mercedes looked strong in winter testing, it was still too early to be confident in what the season would bring. How did you cope with that uncertainty?

LH: I could only see that I was on top of everything. I was working so much harder than in the past, and of course it helped that I had one year with the team under my belt to know how we best work together - and what I can pull from every individual to achieve the maximum. What is - and was - the most important thing is that I feel really comfortable in this car. Remember, last season I sometimes said that I felt uncomfortable in the car - but that is all history. Considering that I had one win and some good results in 2013 in a car that didn’t suit me perfectly, I am very much looking forward to how this season progresses.

Q: You had a bittersweet start to the season in Melbourne with pole position followed by an early race retirement. How important was it to win here for morale?

LH: It was important for me. Of course, if you have a DNF it’s not a great situation, so I put my head down and told myself that I should not try to run before I can walk. I took my time and prepared myself as if going into the first race - and it paid off!

Q: One thing that has looked obvious this weekend is that Red Bull is catching up, so is it imperative that Mercedes keep their development speed?

LH: Yes, the development has to continue. Red Bull clearly have a very good car, but development is a normal thing in F1. And all things are not completely new - even if there is a saying that this year is a totally new ballgame. Take for example the front wing: it’s a modified spec of last year’s and that means that they (Red Bull) are going to have a good car. But I think we have closed the gap in that respect compared to last year - and now we just have to keep going! (laughs)