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Lewis: “Your home event is one of the greatest experiences you can have as a sportsman”

Lewis: “Your home event is one of the greatest experiences you can have as a sportsman”

Pole here last year, victory in 2008, the Union Jack on the brim of your cap… how does it feel to be racing at home?

It’s always a special week for us British drivers. Coming here and seeing all the fans, having already been at Goodwood and seeing how many people were there too, the support is unlike any other place we experience. It’s very exciting for us and the feeling of being at home is really a great one. I’m really excited to see everyone and I hope that we can put on a good show and that the weather stays good.

You spoke about damage limitation in Austria after qualifying – is this weekend about starting on the front foot and staying there? What lessons have you’ve taken from the last few races?

There haven’t really been many lessons. We had two races where we had technical problems, then in the last race I faced some difficulties on the driving side. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t, but you’re always going from strength to strength, so we’ve learned some things but nothing we can particularly point out.

Do you feel a sense of responsibility in front of your home crowds?

I wouldn’t say so. At the end of the day, all of us are going to do our utmost to try to represent and perform for our country. You never know how the weekend’s going to go, you never know how people have developed, improved – but of course, us as a leading team, hopefully we’ll have a good shot this weekend and I’ll do everything I can to bring a bit of joy and add to the great success that some of the top British athletes have.

Tyre choices, in terms of playing safe with the compounds, have been a hot topic – is there anything you would change?

I think Pirelli have done quite a good job this year. You can’t always get it perfect, so whether or not they’ve gone a little bit too far in that direction, we can decide perhaps at the end of the year. I’m sure they’ll alter it again for next year. Of course we always want more grip, so every time they get softer, that’s a good thing for us.

Susie Wolff makes her Grand Prix weekend debut tomorrow – what are your thoughts?

Susie was one of the very few, if not the only, female driver that I raced against in my early career. I saw her in karting but she was always in the class above me and then we raced Formula Renault together. She was great. We shared a podium together a couple of times. I think she’s done remarkably well in her career. She’s very, very talented, so I’m happy for her. It’s going to be really cool to see her in a Formula One car tomorrow.

How important is it for you to win here and regaing the championship momentum? Are you surprised at how close the battle has been with your team-mate?

I’m not surprised. I’ve known how close it would be since the beginning of the year when Nico won the first race. As with every race, it’s important to be out ahead. I had the advantage for a few races and Nico’s had that for at least the last couple. But now this is the British Grand Prix, I’m going to do everything that I can to be out in front. When it’s your home event, it’s one of the greatest experiences you can ever have as a sportsman, so that’s what I’m working towards this weekend.

There have been suggestions this week that Monza might not be on the calendar for much longer – how much of a loss would it be for Formula One to see it go?

Monza always has such a fantastic crowd and I think it’s important to remember that this sport would not exist if it weren’t for the fans. Obviously, there are business decisions that people make – but there are tracks we’ve been to where there’s been no one in the grandstands. Then there’s a few which are very special, like Monza, where the circuit’s just full of fans and it really does make the event. I think it’s important that we try and keep that in the sport.

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