Lewis, an eventful day out there: take us through it from your perspective?
I got a pretty good start and it was tight into Turn One. Nico locked up and was struggling to slow the car down so I had to back out, but that’s racing. Then, before the problems with the car, I was really on it: especially in the second stint when the pace was really good. It’s always frustrating not to finish, but I don’t feel too downbeat about it. I did the best job I could out there and had finally got into the lead, but then things started to unravel. There was nothing I could do about the problems with the car. The team apologised but it’s not as if they’d ever want this to happen either. It’s just the way things go sometimes. This wasn’t the result we all hoped for and worked so hard for, but we have to take a step back and realise what a fantastic job we’ve done so far this year. We’ve got to just keep doing what we’re doing and today will make as stronger as a team. We’ll learn from it and come back even better next time. I’m really happy for Daniel (Ricciardo) taking his first win. He’s been amazing all year and I know how much it will mean to him.
How big a blow is this to your championship challenge? Will it take similar misfortune for Nico to allow you the opportunity to catch up?
Your instant thought is obviously “I can’t believe it: 25 points lost!” and of course the two DNF’s so far this season have not been ideal. But there’s a long, long way to go. I caught up before and I can catch up again. It’s going to take another four wins to make the difference so I’m going to do my best to get those results: especially in my home race at Silverstone. I’m just looking ahead to the next race and another chance to catch up to the lead. It’s frustrating when these things are out of your hands but I don’t want either car not to finish: I want the team to have both cars make the flag and hopefully we won’t have any more issues before the end of the year. Of course, that means I have even more work to do to catch up the lost ground. But I’d never wish bad against someone else: that’s not my style.
Sharing data between team-mates is a topic that has been widely discussed: do you feel you’ve been placed at a disadvantage through this policy?
Sharing data makes it hard to keep any advantage you have. As soon as you find something that gives you an edge, the other guy has a chance to benefit from it too. But you can’t keep anything back. Withholding things just puts you at a disadvantage. It means you’re constantly fighting to gain every tenth of a second and at that’s easier to do at some places than others. But it’s the same on both sides of the garage.
What’s the plan for the next week or so?
I’m just preparing myself for the next race. I have a lot of training planned and I’ll be spending a couple of days at the factory. I’ve never driven the next circuit: I can’t even remember which way the first corner goes to be honest! But I’ll get in the simulator and I’m sure I’ll learn it pretty quickly. The team will be working hard to find out what the issue was today and to make sure it’s fixed before Austria. They’re so fast and effective at doing that: we’ll already have people back at the factory analysing the data to see what happened.