Post-Qualifying Q&A with Lewis
Lewis, your 50th career pole, only Senna and Schumacher have gone beyond that mark, on top of it all weekend it would seem, through practice and qualifying, you must be delighted?
Lewis Hamilton: Absolutely. First, I really have to… I’m not going to take my hat off, but really take my hat off to this team. What they’ve done to raise the bar once more in our third year to be fighting the rest, it’s just… truly for me, it inspires me, it motivates me and I really enjoyed driving the car today in qualifying. We got the set-up just right. There were some sexy laps. they felt so good. Just flowing and no real mistakes and that’s really all you can hope for as a driver is to always improved and that’s what we did today. Really happy.
Obviously the race tomorrow, you’re looking for your third Australian Grand Prix victory. Do you do so with a bit of calmness this evening as you prepare?
LH: I’m generally, quite often, mostly calm, but there is a lot of work to do tonight. Obviously with these radio changes and less communication there’s a lot more studying that goes on for all of us in terms of remembering the sequence, things we can’t be told if the strategy is changing throughout the race, so you have to anticipate what happens. If they give us a different tyre we kind of have to guess it – could be a two, three, whatever stops we’re doing. I’m excited. I think it’s a new thing; we’re all in the same boat. I hope that it adds to the spectacle tomorrow, I highly doubt it, but we shall see.
Your fifth pole in Australia, you talked a moment ago about having done some sexy laps. What is the key to a really good lap here in qualifying and did the format with the elimination and particularly all the traffic there at the beginning, did any of that put any more pressure on you today?
LH: Not really, it was very much the same as usual. You have to go out and get your clear laps. Maybe there was a little bit more pressure on us as a team, and the way we operated but generally we just did the normal in terms of getting the laps. What I mean by sexy laps, they were just, when you finished… the car felt good, moved, it was like a beautiful rhythm. Felt like James Brown at the end of the lap.
So we had the new qualifying system today and for most of Q3, what we saw on the TV was guys sat in the car and then getting out without going and doing a lap. Nico and Lewis, the two of you went out and did some laps and then with three minutes left, came in the garage and nothing more happened and the chequered flag waved with no one out there. Christian Horner’s already said that he thinks F1 should apologise to the fans for the show it’s put on. Toto, your boss, said it’s rubbish. It’s difficult when you’re in it but I wondered what you thought of it, whether F1 should apologise and whether we should go back to the old system as soon as we can?
LH: Well, we’ve not seen it so we don’t really know how it worked for the others. We said at the beginning that it wasn’t the right way but you can’t knock it before you try it. We tried it and all the engineers were right. It doesn’t make any difference to me at the end of the day. I did what I had to do.
For the whole three sessions or just the final part?
LH: The good thing is that they tried something new and ultimately that is a good step. We’re actually trying something new but it’s trial and error so maybe not just go back to the old way.