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Lewis: “It just got better and better through the lap”

Lewis: “It just got better and better through the lap”

Lewis, pole position once again for Singapore and you saved the best until last it seems?

Yeah, that’s always the plan. It doesn’t always go to plan but yeah, quite an exciting qualifying session. I wasn’t expecting… I guess no one was really expecting to see so much difference and how close everyone was. I did some good laps in the first and second qualifying sessions and saw the Ferraris were very, very close and then obviously for it to end up the way it did is good obviously for our team. My last lap, I locked up into turn one and lost a bit of time but still managed to pull it back later on in the lap. So, at that point I honestly thought that perhaps it was… I lost over a tenth and a half or was two tenths down but I just kept going and it just got better and better throughout the lap.

Were you surprised when you saw Felipe Massa on provisional pole after the first runs?

I wasn’t really trying to look at it too much because there was so much happening. I don’t know what it ended up as but obviously it was very close. But a great effort by the team. To come here at very much a downforce dependent circuit to have the performance we have I think it’s a fantastic performance by them.

Lewis, tyres have obviously been a big part of the story throughout this weekend, particularly today and it’s obviously going to have an impact on tomorrow’s race. What kind of race can we expect tomorrow?

I think coming into the weekend we had a certain opinion about how the tyres would behave, and obviously when we got into the long runs yesterday we saw quite a big difference from what we had though was going to happen. So, I think tomorrow’s going to be a really interesting race. Looking after these tyres is not easy but I think it will be a great race to watch for the fans. I think there’s going to be a lot going on.

Lewis, one of the things I think is interesting about how today has evolved, that might surprise a few people, is that Mercedes hasn’t really shown too much. FP3, then you weren’t really at the top of the timesheets throughout qualifying. You mentioned “that’s the plan”, about saving the best to last. So, what was the strategy today?

I just mean that, as a driver through the weekend you plan to have the last lap as your fastest lap because that’s when the track is at its best. That’s when you’ve got the configurations as close to perfect. That’s really the lap you want to do it on. The others have just obviously taken a step. It’s a real, real surprise. I’m sure the team are surprised, I’m sure we are just as surprised to see Ferrari really competing on a lap, which is great to see. Also with Williams, also with Red Bull. I think for racing it’s great. It makes it… that’s probably the most exciting qualifying session I’ve had for a long time, where there’s a lot of people really in the mix and you have to be spot on. I was almost there with that.

Lewis, Nico just explained why, on the last lap, he was quick enough to be on the front row. How was it with you because you also did your fast lap only on the last lap? I guess you didn’t go slowly beforehand intentionally. Did you have any problems before?

I just didn’t really have a clean lap through the whole of qualifying. The last one was the cleanest. When you do the first lap, you get your lap time. The next time you go out you have a delta so you know whether you’re up or down on that lap. I locked up into turn one and missed the apex and so I was down 0.18/two tenths by the time I got to turn five. At that point, I was thinking this is going to be almost impossible to regain that but the previous lap there were a couple of corners where I lost out as well so I fixed those and got back the time. It’s great that there’s still potential there and with a perfect lap it’s a good place to be.

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