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Lewis Hamilton Q&A: Time is running out - I need points!

06 Sep 2014

Things looked a little bleak for Lewis Hamilton on Friday when he was forced to sit out the majority of the crucial FP2 session in Monza with technical issues. But things came together for the 2008 world champion on Saturday when he was able to see off the challenge of Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg to claim his first pole since mid-May. However, Hamilton is well aware that his work is not done yet, and is determined to eat into Rosberg’s 29-point championship lead in Sunday’s race…

Q: Lewis, despite the margin that you had on Nico [Rosberg] overall today, you lost quite a lot of time against him in the first sector. Why is that – and what will it mean for the start tomorrow?

Lewis Hamilton: On my fast lap I had nobody in front of me - I've been looking at the overlays (of data) and realised that I was losing almost one tenth on each straight just because he was in a tow and I wasn't. The tow is quite significant here - if you are six or seven seconds behind somebody in front you gain a small advantage on the straight. But generally yes, he's been quicker than me in the first two corners, usually quicker out - but struggling a bit on the way in.

Q: The instructions from Toto [Wolff] are that there will be consequences should you and Rosberg collide. What effect will that have on the way you race? You are quoted as having said that you don't want to be next to him in the first corner…

LH: I've never said that. What I said is that I want to be ahead. But to answer the question: nothing changes for me.

Q: But it will be very likely that he will be beside you going into the first chicane. Will you give him room?

KH: I will do what I do all the time. I have been racing for many, many years and have not collided with too many people, so I'll continue to race the way I do. I want to win the right way.

Q: How much of a psychological boost is securing pole position - it's your first for a little while…

LH: I don't really know because you don't get too excited on a Saturday. Of course it is nice to take pole, but nothing’s really changed other than a slightly better position to start the race tomorrow. I am still almost 30 points behind (in the drivers’ championship) and in that sense there is still a lot of work to do. This pole is just a very small step in a huge staircase! But it is definitely a confidence boost for my guys who build this car.

Q: So how will you go about the race tomorrow? Is it critical for you to win here?

LH: Every race is an important race - but yes: time is running out and I need those points! It would be good if tomorrow could be the first step to catch up.

Q: Your Friday afternoon was spoiled by some issues, but whilst you were in the garage Williams' Valtteri Bottas appeared to be quicker than Rosberg over long run simulations in FP2. Is that a concern for you?

LH: I am not concerned. I heard it (Williams' long run pace) was quite good but our guys think that we're fine. The difference very often is in fuel level and engine mode. Yes, it will be close - but we will give them a good run for their money.

Q: For many years it was the rule in Formula One that the guy on pole has the first call on strategy. There will most probably only be one pit stop, so does that mean this rule is also valid for you tomorrow?

LH: Yes, I guess that's the same in every team. The guy who is ahead can pit whenever he wants.

Q: Are you happy with that?

LH: Yes.

Q: As you didn't run much on Friday afternoon, will you use Nico's long run data?

LH: That is what my guys look at. You look at the fuel usage and the tyre wear - that's what you look at. Today I did a brief long run in the morning and hopefully I can compare it a bit to his FP2 long run and get a bit of a better understanding. We will do that probably tonight or tomorrow morning.

Q: Will there be any further team meetings before the race ?

LH: There are always meetings and we have one scheduled for tomorrow as is normal. As far as I am aware there shouldn't be any others - but then the bosses are always nervous if you have two guys who are in the position to win.