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Hamilton Q&A: Being the hunter far easier mentally

12 Nov 2016

Lewis Hamilton is no stranger to Brazilian title showdowns - indeed he has twice coming into an Interlagos decider in the championship lead. This weekend though his objectives are different: 19 points behind team mate Nico Rosberg, his aim is simply to keep the fight alive. Despite what is at stake, he insists it's actually more relaxing playing hunter than being hunted...

Q: Lewis, even if you guys always say tomorrow’s race is just like any other, there must be something in the back of your head that tells you how much is at stake. Will you do anything differently given the impact that tomorrow’s result can have?

Lewis Hamilton: No changes tomorrow. It will be a race like any other - like the race two weeks ago. Do I know the significance of the race? Of course I do! I have been in racing long enough to know! I can only do the best I can do and there is no way I can think differently about it. I have to see that I am at my best, as I cannot control many things that surround me. The preparation is the same.

Q: Interlagos has never been very kind to you. It’s one of the few circuits where you are still waiting to tick the win box - and of all places this could well decide the 2016 title...

LH: …looks like I have to do everything right tomorrow! I feel super in the car, the balance is great, so why shouldn’t the track finally come my way?

Q: If you look back at your other title battles, is this different? 

LH: I feel much more comfortable now. Maybe that is the benefit of age and experience! (Laughs) So I'll love going out there tomorrow, whatever conditions and situations come our way. And that has also a lot to do with knowing that I have the best team around me – that they can help me brush aside any obstacles. Probably I can even go so far as saying that this time it is a totally different approach to the title win. It is a much more comfortable place to be - mentally.

Q: The title is between you and Nico Rosberg, but there are also 20 other drivers out there with different agendas. Do you ever worry about them?

LH: No. I am sure that everybody acts professionally. That’s all I can say in that matter.

Q: You start from pole position – and the forecast predicts rain. Is that something that will help you? Would you prefer a wet or dry race?

LH: Actually I don’t know. You often win a wet race from further behind as it holds opportunities that can get you further ahead. I am starting from pole and if I keep it I have a clear view – that’s nice. Overall I like driving in the wet even though it means more of a lottery – and in the same way I like dry conditions. I am ready for whatever comes tomorrow.

Q: There are a number of calculations regarding your hopes of keeping the title race alive - but the easiest solution for you would be to win...

LH: …honestly I can only look after my own race – and other than that there is nothing that I can do. Sometimes when you try to be super smart it screws up things badly, so no such thing for me. I want to win because I am the best and not through tactics on track.

Q: Do you ever worry about accidents or contact in the heat of battle?

LH: No. I expect nothing less than a fair fight. Of course you can look at history of what drivers have done in the past in a similar situation – but I am sure any of those things will not happen. I want to keep my head free from these kinds of thoughts.

Q: This track features an uphill start. Might that hold any potential issues?

LH: No, I have been preparing for it so my start should be relatively straightforward.

Q: On the track itself, drivers have often complained about it being too bumpy in recent years. Changes have been made, especially in the pit lane - will they help you?

LH: Me and every other driver! It is much better now – less bumpy and less dangerous – and I am really glad they did it.