Lewis, your first Spanish Grand Prix victory! How are you feeling?
It’s my first win here in Spain at the eighth attempt and it means so much to me. It’s very difficult to really put into words the feeling when you come to a race and have a result like this. We have our bosses from Mercedes-Benz here today too and it's great for the team that we were able to give them a one-two finish. I’m also really overwhelmed with the support I’ve had: it’s the best I’ve ever experienced here, so thank you to everyone in the grandstands: it means the world to me. And of course, a big thank you to the team. They’ve just done an incredible job and I feel truly blessed to be a part of it: to be contributing and getting the results we’re getting. This is our fourth one-two finish together: it’s just unreal. Never have I had a car like this and obviously we’ve never had a gap like this to anyone before. After all the hard work the team has done for so many years, they are finally starting to see the fruits of their labour.
There was quite a bit of radio communication between yourself and the pit wall in that race: why was that?
I wasn’t fast enough really today. Nico did a fantastic job and was definitely quicker. It was tough to keep him behind. I struggled a lot with the balance and really had to rely on my engineers a lot more to give me the gaps and to try to work out where I could find time. Also, with all my settings, I was moving them up and down, up and down… really trying to find that extra time. Nico was generally quicker this weekend but fortunately I was able to keep him behind.
Were you experiencing similar problems to those you had yesterday in the race?
I had the same problems with the car this afternoon that I found yesterday in qualifying: I couldn't attack the corners properly because of snap oversteer and that's where Nico was catching me. It was very strange because Friday P2 was excellent.
What’s the secret to your performance this year?
There is no secret really. It’s just been hard work and really constructive work. Often when you’re working towards something, sometimes you stumble and fall and then you have to build it again. But the team has just been building and building without really having many times when they’re falling. It’s quite remarkable. With the car itself the downforce is very good, and then we must have the best engine Mercedes-Benz has ever made.
What input have you had in guiding the development of this car so that it suits your style?
It’s a lengthy process and, as a driver, when you make a request for something to be changed it takes some time because obviously you don’t want to take away the focus from the most important things like finding downforce. Different drivers have different driving styles, seating positions, different set-ups and so on. So when you come into a team that’s had a stable driver line-up for a few years, which has had time to gel and take a certain direction with the balance, it takes time for that to shift. I guess now we’ve created a hybrid: Nico’s come halfway and I’ve come halfway, so we now require the same things from the car. Over time too, the engineers have got to know what I require from a car and building those relationships has been a key strength to this year.
Are you confident you can maintain this momentum through the season?
At the rate the team’s going, we’re looking strong for at least a few more races. But I could never have imagined winning four races in a row. It’s by no means easy for me because I’ve got a massive challenge from Nico. It’s still so close, there’s a long, long way to go and, just as I was saying earlier, I’ve got a bit more time to find in the car.