Lewis: “I started to tear up on that last lap”
On the Podium with Frankie Dettori!
FD: Well done, Lewis, what a race. How important is it to win in front of your home crowd?
LH: Firstly, just a big thank you to everyone for coming out today and making my weekend. I was gunning the whole way. I really just wanted to do it for you guys… and we did it! I’m so thankful for all the support. I couldn’t have done without you all. My mum’s down there too! I’m so elated; you can’t imagine how happy I am. Every lap I could see you out of the corner of my and I just felt you spurring me along. I started to tear up on that last lap, just really hoping I could hold onto it. I hope we can come back next year and do the same and, in the meantime, I’m going to keep pushing for this Championship for you. Thank you so much for all the support – I love you guys! Now, let’s party!
FD: I need to ask you: what happened at the start? A bit of a hairy moment there?
LH: To be honest my clutch was good; it’s just that we had really quite poor grip at the start. I think it was the same for Nico. It made the race even more exciting to be honest. But we just kept pushing and hopefully that made it extra exciting for the fans.
FD: Do you think the pit stop was the winning move?
LH: I think for the first time probably in my career I made the perfect choice tyre wise so I’m really, really happy with that. I think I lost a lot of temperature in my slicks when the rain started and I just managed to keep the car going until the stop.
In the Media
Q: Lewis, maybe one of the key talking points was the pace on slick tyres on a damp track: over a second a lap faster than your competitors?
LH: Firstly, it was just a very, very special weekend for me. To see so many fans out this weekend… I thought that I’d seen it all here last year but this time it was even more incredible. An amazing job done by the team back at the factory too. It takes a massive effort from a large group of people to make the incredible car that me and Nico have to race. The race was very, very tough. Very slippery at the start for both of us. Then, I was chasing down the Williams but it was really hard to get close and overtake. I got close enough at the first pit stop and came out ahead after a really good out-lap. Then the rain came and I think I just lost temperature in my front tyres. It’s always trickier for the guy who’s out in the lead because you’re the first one to get to it and it’s questionable how much risk you take. But, for the first time I think in my whole Formula One career, I made the perfect choice in coming in. I’ve never had that before, so I feel extremely happy about that. After that, I kept seeing the crowd cheering me on every time I came by and just spurring me along. I really didn’t want to drop it for them! I’m also very honoured just to be here representing the Brits, to have the British flag up there.
Q: Did the Williams cars have a particularly good start and or did you have a particularly bad start? You mentioned on the radio on the parade lap that you had poor traction?
LH: The grip is different from track to track. As I did the burn-outs to the grid, the wheels were just spinning very easily. In some places you try to do the burn-outs and there’s so much grip that you can’t actually get the wheels to light up. Here it was so easy. As I dropped the clutch I was just wheel spinning and looking in my mirrors to see what’s going. They just kept on spinning, so at that point I’m thinking “jeez, I’m going to lose my position to at least someone” and obviously the Williams cars came past. I fought back and got second back but then I tried to challenge Massa on the restart and went a bit too risky too early. But anyways, you could see I was trying!
Q: The first pit stop call looked like a great call from the team. After Monaco, I suppose they owed you one with that one – and it got you back into the lead…
LH: It was great teamwork. The team were continuously speaking to me and the tyres were feeling good, so I could have kept going for longer. But it was getting closer to the limit and Williams hadn’t stopped. Literally as I came round that last corner I think I said “guys, you know the tyres are perhaps going to go off quite shortly” and so they made the call and I came in that lap. It was a real quick decision. Then I pushed like crazy on the out lap and it really hooked up well. To come back out in front was a great feeling. After that it was really trying to balance the pace. I had a long way to go – twenty or thirty laps here is a long way. You do ten and you think you’ve already done thirty. Then I could see the weather getting worse and worse and at that point you’re thinking “please hold off” because we were looking good. Rain makes things a lot harder and, I tell you, it was one of the trickiest races I’ve had here. Obviously 2008 was very, very hard but still… this was very tricky.
Q: You have the RAC trophy next to you – how good is it to hold that once again?
LH: Last year I didn’t get to have it on the podium, so it’s a very proud moment to be out there and to receive it again in front of everyone. I remember the first time I had the privilege of having that experience in 2008 and the response from the crowd then. But to see a sea of British fans out there today with the British flag and all the caps and everything is just a huge day for me – a really, really special day. I can’t find the words to explain how happy I am. Hopefully you see it in my smile.
Q: After a really action-packed, exciting British Grand Prix, what’s your response to people claiming that Formula One is boring?
LH: It was exciting for me. I think the start made it really exciting and I don’t know how the rest of the race went but people are saying it was great. I think the English weather helped with that. I think those views are probably still valid in some ways – but today was a bit of an indication for us not to throw our toys out of the pram and say everything’s wrong. We’re not too far off the mark and I hope that we have more races like this.