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Lewis Hamilton Q&A: Qualifying issues hard to understand

28 Nov 2015

After grabbing pole in eleven of the first twelve races of the season, Lewis Hamilton has been beaten by his team mate in the last six qualifying shoot outs. Before the last race of the year, the world champion discusses set-up changes, momentum swings and his mindset approaching tomorrow's race...

Q: Lewis, the final qualifying of the season, you were on top in Q1 and Q2 - but then Rosberg pushed you to P2 on the grid for his sixth pole in a row. What was the issue for you?

Lewis Hamilton: There was a bit of an issue with the suspension. I have used that for the last six races and today I thought that I would be able to get back to where I’ve been before but obviously it didn’t work out for me.

Q: Since Singapore there has been changes made to the car, somehow not really to your benefit…

LH: I don’t know why, but I can’t get a comfortable balance. If you look before Singapore the gap between me and Nico was in the region of between three to six tenths in qualifying but since then a lot of time has been lost. It might look right now that the other side is going a lot better but I see it differently: our side has gone a lot worse.

Q: Is it correct that the suspension was modified because of the overall problems in Singapore?

LH: No, the set-up has been modified because of the issues in Singapore.

Q: Are you worried that what you have now will go forward into next year?

LH: It will go into next year! So of course this is something that I am thinking about and I am sitting down with my engineers to find out how we can rectify that. In the race the car is still quite good so we have to figure out about qualifying.

Q: Have you run back to back with the old and new set-up - and have you seen on the data that the new one is probably quicker but you don’t have the feeling for it?

LH: Well, first of all I don’t believe they’ve made these changes to make the car slower. That is for sure!

Q: How are you feeling going into the last race of the season? You have already bagged the title, but lately have suffered a bit of a dip…

LH: I approach the race with the plan to work around that issue. First I don't think that it makes a huge difference even though I felt that the car has been trickier since Suzuka. I have been pushing and pushing since then, but I think I’ve already lost the advantage - even if I don't really want to believe that is true.

Q: Do you still work a lot in the simulator? And how is the percentage of real track laps versus simulator laps?

LH: I would say it is 70 percent track laps and 30 percent simulator. To be honest I don’t get a lot out of simulators. They are not really the greatest thing. (laughs) Actually I could do a whole season without a simulator and it wouldn't make any difference.

Q: Ron was talking today about the time you were with McLaren and that in some ways he has been your surrogate father…

LH: Wait a minute: a man cannot be a surrogate father, how can that be? A woman is a surrogate mother…

Q. Ok, aside from this minor technicality Ron said that if you were still with McLaren he wouldn’t approve of your life-style. Do you have a response?

LH: No, not really! I don’t know why he is touching on that subject. Maybe he has nothing else positive to talk about! (laughs) Who I am today, regardless of whom I was working for, is my own creation. I do a lot of things outside the sport - and I think it has a positive impact on my career.