Lewis: “It’s so special when you get pole on your home turf”
Lewis, it was the first run in Q3 again for you that nailed it. Pole position for your home Grand Prix – how are you feeling?
LH: It’s a special day. It’s so special when you get pole position on your home turf. So many people have come here this weekend and they really do motivate me, so it’s particularly special when you do get pole. Generally, it’s not been the smoothest weekend. It’s been a bit up and down in terms of set-up and balance. We made a change to the car, going into qualifying, which was perhaps not spectacular for a single lap but hopefully will be good for the race. Generally through qualifying I had a lot of understeer, so throughout the session we were putting in more and more wing. Also, the wind was all over the place and on this track that makes it very tricky. But I’m really happy with that lap. It felt fantastic – particularly the middle sector. My favourite part of the track, when you go through Copse and then Maggotts and Becketts, is just fantastic and I really hooked it up on that lap, which made the difference. Once I got to Q3 I kind of could just go all out and get that lap in. So, yeah, incredibly happy and my brother’s here with me as well, so big thank you to everyone for all the support.
Tomorrow you have the chance to equal Nigel Mansell and Jim Clark as a three-time British Grand Prix winner. Tell us a little more about what the crowd has been doing to motivate you this weekend? Also, your two previous wins have come from outside the top three… so presumably this makes your task a little easier tomorrow?
LH: I’ve been very fortunate to have had those two wins here and the support has been incredible every year. It’s the banners that are out there, it’s the flags, it’s the team caps, it’s the messages that get sent every day through social media. I was replying to some just before qualifying and the fans really create the atmosphere and that buzz. When I’m about to start my lap or when I finish my lap, looking out of the corner of your eye and you know those guys are there, they’re right behind you, so I hope that wave of energy that they give will help to carry us tomorrow.
You’ve taken pole a lot this season – clearly qualifying has been much, much stronger in 2015 than it was at this stage in 2014. What do you think has made the real difference, as far as you’re concerned?
LH: I don’t really know. Naturally, that was something that I wanted to improve this year. Last year I think I had seven poles in the whole season. It made the races a lot harder for me, to get past Nico on those occasions and win. So that obviously was a focal point. It’s difficult to say where it’s improved. That first lap in Q3 has been a really important one and generally just through the year I’ve been having good laps in that session.
Do you feel extra pressure trying to win your home Grand Prix for the third time?
LH: There’s definitely extra added pressure. It comes from yourself, mainly, because you know that so many people save up through the year to come here, buy team merchandise and flags, plus the camping and hotels. They do all that and they are here to support you, so you just want to make sure that you put the icing on top of their cake. They’re already having a great weekend with the great weather but if you can deliver a good result then there’s that extra bit of pressure to do that. But I think that pressure is a positive pressure and one I would hope I can thrive under.