Lewis, sadly not the result you were hoping for today. What was behind your decision not to complete that final lap in Q3?
The final sector was clearly where all the time was made, but it was hard to tell how much grip there might be through there on my warm-up lap as I had to back off and create a gap. It still felt really slippery at that point and it just didn’t feel like I was going to be able to get a good time out there. I was going for it, but I lost a lot of time in the opening sector. From there I was already about half a second down, so I didn’t see it being faster than the one I’d already done. At the end of the day I should have chosen to complete the lap, but I didn’t and this is the result. We’ll move on, move forwards and try to salvage the best possible result from tomorrow’s race.
With the Championship gap to your team-mate as it stands currently, how important might today prove to be?
There’s still a long way to go, so I’ll keep working away at it and take one race at a time. Besides, this was just qualifying. Nico will have clean air at the front while I’ve got a few cars to work my way through before I can start to chase and it won’t be easy to get through the pack here – especially against the other Mercedes powered cars. But the conditions have been up and down all weekend, so anything can happen.
Will home advantage be a big boost for you, or does it just increase the weight of expectation?
I don’t see it as an expectation. Whether you’re Andy Murray, the England football squad or whoever – they’re what give you the energy and the inspiration to bring home a result. There are thousands of people creating an incredible atmosphere here this weekend, so that will energise me to do the best I can from the place I’m in. Many of them have been here since Thursday – I’ve really never know support like it and that’s great to see. It means a lot to me and I’ll give all I can to get them a result.
You made an incredible start in Austria – does that give you confidence for the opening laps of tomorrow’s race?
Not particularly, as I’ve competed in quite a few Grands Prix now and that was maybe only one of three starts which have been that good. What it does show, however, is that it’s possible so I’ll be trying everything I can to repeat it here. I’ve never been one to give up and this weekend is no different.