On the Podium with Sir Jackie Stewart
SIR JYS: First of all, congratulations to Bahrain for a fantastic grand prix, the 11th grand prix here in this region. What a crowd we’ve had here, what a wonderful race you’ve had, and the winner is Lewis Hamilton.
LH: How you doing man?
SIR JYS: Terrific.
LH: How you guys doing? What a great crowd we have tonight.
SIR JYS: Fantastic, and what a great race. Three victories this year. There’s something called three World Championships, potentially, at the end of this season…
LH: Yeah, I’m gunning for it. Firstly, a big thank you to my team – they did an amazing job this weekend. The Ferraris gave us a real good run for our money. Out there it was really difficult to look after the tyres in these conditions, behind backmarkers and all sorts. Fortunately I was able to keep the car together, keep the tyres as healthy as possible and pull it through. But we need to keep pushing as a team and we’ll of course do that. Just a massive thanks to everyone and all the people who came out to support me this weekend, I really appreciate it.
SIR JYS: What about the brake issue coming to the end there? There was something on the radio suggesting that you had to back off a little bit on the braking?
LH: Yeah, I think my brakes just got a little bit warm when I was behind a few backmarkers. When you get behind them there’s just no cool air coming in the brakes, so they got a bit warm, but it wasn’t really a problem.
With the Media
Q: Many congratulations Lewis, your 36th career victory – two years in a row here in Bahrain and a ninth win in the last 11 Grands Prix. Obviously all weekend a sustained, competitive challenge from Ferrari. Does it mean more to beat Ferrari in a close fight than it does to win an in-house, intra-team battle within Mercedes?
LH: I think winning is winning so it doesn’t particularly matter who it’s against. You’re trying to beat everyone out there. Naturally it’s great to be having a fight with the Ferraris. I think still today that Mercedes are still the best and we are working as hard as we can to keep up with this momentum that we have – but they are pushing very hard to close up. A huge thank-you to all the guys back at the factory and also the guys that are here because the car was really nice to drive this weekend. I’m really, really happy and really proud of everyone for all the hard work they put in.
Q: One of the more visually dramatic moments in the race was when you were leaving the pits and coming up behind we had Nico and Sebastian fighting. Could you see that in your mirrors? Was it something you were aware of?
LH: I definitely saw it because I wasn’t expecting it. I think I had a decent gap and then all of a sudden I was coming out of the pits and they were right there. So I think I had a fairly slow pit stop and naturally that’s really why, I guess, the gap closed up. I came out of the pits, braking into Turn One and I saw them in my left mirror and was like: “Oh my God, this is close!” But it was so much fun. Really good fun.
Q: Was there ever a time you were concerned the Ferraris could actually challenge you for the win during the race?
LH: Well, I could only really see Nico most of the time. Obviously at the beginning of the race it wasn’t that easy to drop any of the guys behind – but then it got a bit better towards the end of the stint. And then later on obviously Nico was the one behind. I was made aware that Kimi was going long so he was going to be very quick in the last stint – but I think I had it pretty much under control. I had a very similar situation to Nico with the brakes. Obviously it didn’t cost me anywhere near as much, but the brakes were getting quite warm, particularly in traffic. So, the last few laps I had to slow down a little bit – otherwise I don’t think we would have had a problem.
Q: Lewis, are you happy that Kimi took some points away from Nico?
LH: Ultimately we’re trying to win both World Championships so I guess the team won’t be 100 percent happy because we want to finish one-two. Kimi’s taken some points away from us as a team which ultimately isn’t the best but then on the positive side, of course, I got good points today. So we’ll take it but we’ll work as hard as we can to kind of rectify that and try and see if we can get some more one-twos moving forwards.
Q: Is the challenge of the championship against rival teams more difficult than against your team-mate – because you don’t know what others have or what others are planning in terms of strategy and that sort of thing?
LH: It’s all hard. It’s difficult to say which one is harder. When you’re fighting the guy in your team with the same car you’ve got the data. Sure, it’s more on the limit when you’re fighting another team. There’s pros and cons, there are advantages and disadvantages on each side. You just try to do your best job, that’s what motor racing is all about, to be fighting other teams, that’s what we’re here to do.