Lewis: “It doesn’t feel real at the moment”
ON THE PODIUM
Q: Lewis, congratulations, you equalled Ayrton Senna’s record! Tell us about your magic start?
LH: Yeah, well I firstly have to say a big thank you to all these fans that have come and stood in the rain… I don’t know if anyone can hear us… oh you hear us? Konnichi-wa! Really, I’m so happy right now. The team has done a fantastic job this weekend. It’s great to be back up here with a one-two. I had a great start and thanks again to the team for working so hard to make sure we had good starts for this race. For me to come here to a race where I used to love watching Ayrton drive and to match his wins… yeah, I can’t really describe it, it doesn’t really feel real at the moment.
Q: So how important was it for you to strike back after Singapore?
LH: It definitely was important for us to strike back. The Ferraris were incredibly quick in the last race and I guess we didn't bring our A-game, so we really had to take a step back in these last few days and make sure we brought it here. I couldn’t have done it without this team. Just remarkable what they’ve done. The car was beautiful to drive today.
Q: We are in the land of karaoke and you are a brilliant singer, not only a brilliant driver, so what will be the song you are going to perform tonight then?
LH: ‘Victory Dance’? I don’t know! I did a song last night called ‘Victory’ so that’s the one I’ll be playing.
IN THE MEDIA
Q: Lewis, well done again, congratulations. It seemed to be a trouble-free race once you had taken the lead at the first corner – but we heard one or two mentions of heat in your seat, which we’ve heard before, and also vibrations as well. So, how bad was that?
LH: It wasn’t too bad. I've definitely had worse. It was such an amazing race. This has been a circuit that I can honestly say that I’ve struggled at through all the years that I’ve come here but one that I’ve loved driving, and I think that goes for all the drivers. You really want to come here and dominate at a track like this. I was able to get the balance in the right place, my engineers and the whole crew did a great job to get the car, with the short amount of time we had, in a beautiful window. It was better today than it was even in qualifying. I was really able to work on my lines and improve. At the front it was just a beautiful… like sailing. When you go through the corners here, it’s flowing. Honestly, I wish I could share the feeling with you. Also, knowing that this would be the race that I would equal Ayrton, who won here and who had quite an interesting history here. So, yeah, quite an emotional day. But to be honest I’m not a teary guy, so I’m just full of joy and happiness and light and I’m really grateful for all the people who have helped me get to where I am today and to this team. Without all of them I would not be here.
Q: Could you give us your view of that very close moment there coming out of turn two with Nico?
LH: The inside line is the inside line, so I had my corner. We were very, very close. I was understeering, running out of grip. I imagine Nico was running out of road – but that’s what happens when you’re on the outside.
Q: Can you describe your start procedure? Is it different to Nico or is it the same for both of you?
LH: It’s the same sequence for both of us and it’s been the same pretty much since we got to Formula One. You have to go through a different sequence to get to the same thing but it’s just a different equation, basically. You have to do your sequence when you leave the grid, then you do a normal start. It’s the same movement with the paddles. The input differences are the reaction time from the paddle, then how smooth you are with the second paddle and also with the throttle – that’s what makes the difference, generally. Obviously, the clutch also has to perform. Sometimes it over-performs but with the new rules we generally have the same set-up with that. So yeah, I guess it’s just the luck of the draw, Sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong, sometimes you’ve got the clutch too hot, sometimes you’ve got it too cold, sometimes you have your tyres too cold, sometimes you have them too hot. So it’s a combination of things, but generally the sequence is very, very similar between – I’m pretty sure – the whole grid.
Q: Some of your colleagues yesterday seemed worried about tyre pressures. They suggested the pressures were too high and that they were worried they might have some problems during the race. Were you affected by that in the race?
LH: All I know is that the tyres were pretty amazing – particularly in the last stint. They were the best they’ve felt for a long time. Through qualifying they were good – but in the race they were getting better and better as the car got lighter. I don’t think they were a problem this weekend.