Lewis, quickest in both sessions yesterday, quickest again today in all sessions, it’s looking pretty good for you this weekend?
Yeah, I think China’s continuing to be generally a good circuit for me. I have a very, very positive vibe here. The car’s handling fantastically well this weekend – a lot better, in terms of the whole weekend, compared to how it was in Malaysia. At the end of the day this team continues to do an amazing job. The guys back at the factory did a great job to regroup after the last race and bring some improvements for this weekend and I feel very grateful for that.
What lessons were learned from Malaysia that the team has brought into this weekend?
Obviously Malaysia wasn’t the tidiest weekend for us. We’ve just tried to get our full programme together and fortunately haven’t had any problems so far this weekend, so that’s a big step. But we’ve got a tough race ahead of us tomorrow. Nico’s very quick and also the Ferrari’s are very good with their long-run pace, so it’s not over by any means.
You’ve got a good record around here – what is it about this track, do you think, that suits you so well?
People keep asking me that. I don’t really know. Have you seen the banners here? The support is pretty unreal. Otherwise… I don’t know. I just like the track. I guess it just naturally suits my driving style and it’s one that I generally just really enjoy driving. It’s a tough circuit – it’s got a great combination of corners and the race is a good challenge.
You’ve been nominated for a Laureus award next week – do you have anything to say about that and maybe a word to the Chinese fans?
Definitely. I feel very proud and honoured to be one of the nominees. That’s very cool. I don’t think I’ve been nominated many times before, if any. I think perhaps once, many, many years ago. It’s a very prestigious event and I’ve got to witness many other great athletes win it, so I’m just grateful to be in amongst a great group regardless of whether I do or don’t win.
And to the fans, they’ve been amazing. Every single year I come here and I couldn’t imagine it growing. But there’s more and more people every time. Seeing the flags, the support, it’s just... it’s almost like it’s my home Grand Prix. I really do appreciate it.
Nico, we heard you on the radio at the end there sounding frustrated. Did you think pole was there for you today?
Definitely, yeah. When it’s four hundredths, it’s nothing, you know. So I was frustrated. And I am frustrated, yeah, because it’s so close and of course I would have wanted to have pole today.
Where did it get away from you today, do you think?
There’s not one specific place. It’s just four hundredths and that makes it even more annoying because it’s just very, very close. A lap is never 100 per cent perfect and four hundredths is really the blink of an eye? That makes it even more disappointing.
Can you turn it around tomorrow?
I'm still confident for tomorrow. I've focused on race pace with my set up and I know that tyres will be the decisive factor. So I will be aiming to put a lot of pressure on Lewis ahead of me.