Q: Lewis, your races have recently been influenced very much in the first corner. Is there anything that you need to change or can do differently?
Lewis Hamilton: I don’t think that I need to do any more now, and I think I had the best start of the entire grid at the last race. We have been working of course on that issue. The last two races I have been driving with a loss of performance of nearly one second per race and been trying to climb a mountain with that, which was not so easy. I would like to have a good and clean weekend this race - and apply a good start.
Q: If you look at the championship standings, you are 36 points behind your team mate. What does that mean to you?
LH: For me that is a big deal! 36 points are a lot of points. It is a race and a bit. But there is a flip side to this as well: it is an average of two points per race, so it is possible to make up. As long as it is not impossible, anything is possible. I have been racing for over 23 years so I have had a lot of challenges before, and some of them were probably even bigger. From the get go, the first year of racing, the first championship that I have battled in, to the first one I have lost.
Q: Daniel Ricciardo has said that he would like to be in a boxing fight with you for a charitable cause; would you be up for this challenge?
LH: Actually I quite like my face how it is. Fighting someone that you do not like is easy, and I really like Daniel (Ricciardo). I would rather just give the money to charity. I would in this case rather stick to the rules of the comedy movie Anchorman, where the rule was to not touch the face or the hair in a physical dispute, as the face and haircut was their most valuable asset! (laughs)
Q: Having over three million followers on your social media accounts, are you still surprised that there are not only positive comments?
LH: I am used to that. I have been exploring social media for quite some time now, and I actually see much more positive feedback.
Q: How special is being on the Time 100 most influential people of the world to you?
LH: At the beginning it did not hit me straight away, but this is due to the fact that I am the person that I am. When Ron Dennis gave me a call many years back saying that McLaren will support me at the beginning my thought was that this is a cool thing, nothing more. But later it sank in, and then I could not believe it. In regards to the Time 100 it was a bit the same. Later I thought that this is an amazing honour and that this is huge. So many inspirational people are there, who are doing great things for humanity, technology, business and sports - and I am amongst them. Especially being recognised by Americans, who don’t really think that Formula One is a big sport. I have been incredibly honoured to be there. I was asked to hold a speech of only five speakers, which I generally try to avoid as this might be just another opportunity to make myself look like an idiot! (laughs) In the end I did say a few words for my dad, as he is the reason I am sitting here in Formula One, as he made everything possible. He is the one hero in my life, and I want people to know that. He dedicated his life, like there are many fathers out there, who want to do something better for their kids and make sure that they do not have to struggle like they have done.
Q: Now, through Formula One - being a multiple world champion - and the Time 100 nomination your fame is getting bigger: is this more stressful for you?
LH: Actually it is not more stressful. Comparing me to other people that I know in terms of social media followers, I am still quite small, even though I have the most followers in Formula One. This will for sure continue to grow and in ten years’ time I will have many more than I have now, and many more people will know me. In my early days in Formula One I tried to push away the thought of being a celebrity and being in front of cameras I shied away from this and tried to be super private, which I generally still am. Fact is that I am on TV pretty much every two weeks. I get pictured all the time wherever I go - rather than shy away from this I try to embrace it. This is one part of the wonderful opportunity that I have and it is a privilege for people in my position - and to not take it for granted is very important. There are so many other people that would love to be in that position. I am utilising this and try to make the most out of it.
Q: You own one of the musician Prince’s guitars, and sadly he recently passed away. What are your feelings on that?
LH: This was a great loss to the world. He was still so young and had so much more to give, as he was one of the most incredible geniuses of all time. I had the privilege to see him perform a few times. For me the guitar is a piece of history - something that he has held in his hands and used. It was already priceless to me, even before his passing. I have not played that guitar myself, only because I personally play acoustic guitars and that one is electric. The great thing about music, and especially about his music, is that it is timeless. I think that the imprint of his soul is in the songs and a long time after our time people will still be listening to that.