Lewis: “It’s incredible that we’re quicker now than in the V10 days”
Q: Lewis, great lap. Under a little bit of pressure after your first run in Q3 but you really hooked it up – fastest ever lap of this circuit!
LH: What a start. It’s obviously not been a smooth-sailing weekend in terms of pace. Nico’s been right on it all weekend and I was just generally struggling to put laps together. Luckily the one lap I did put together was the last lap. That was actually the only lap probably the whole weekend so far. I hope that’s the first of many. The car felt great. It’s quite incredible to think that we are quicker now to the V10 days. It just shows how far technology has come. Lastly, just for my engineers and mechanics who have been biting their nails all weekend and working so hard to get the car to where it is today, a big thank you to everyone here and also at the factory.
Q: On pole, looking for your third Bahrain victory tomorrow - but of course a good start tomorrow, unlike Melbourne, will be important for you?
LH: It will be, for sure it’s always important to get a good start. It’s a longer run down to Turn One than there was in the last race. Of course it’s something we’ve been trying to improve on, but it's only been a couple of weeks so whether or mot we’ve made big improvements I highly doubt it, but hopefully it’s better than it was, on my side at least. But yeah, just really happy with that lap. So happy with that lap, because throughout qualifying and practice you go round, do a lap, it wasn’t quite perfect, Nico goes a tenth ahead or whatever it may be, so to finally pull it all together… It was actually even more of a pressured lap as well, because the previous lap I went off, so knowing that I’ve got to improve even more so than I did on the lap before, so yeah, super happy.
Q: You were referencing the speeds there and looking back historically but times were a lot quicker compared just to last year. I wonder if you could put your finger on what that is. It’s a little colder ambient temperature, how much has that contributed? What else do you think is making the cars that much quicker this year?
LH: Well naturally it’s with the development of the car. It’s definitely a bit of… the tyres seem quite grippy this weekend so maybe a little bit of a step in grip on tyres compared to last year but just, overall, the car is globally, I guess everyone’s cars globally have improved, be it power and downforce. The race is a little bit different. Obviously with different kind of tyre wear, it’s still going to be a real challenge there, but every single lap it’s… you would hope that we would be faster, otherwise we wouldn’t be…
Q: We’ve now had two sessions of the new format. Are they more stressful or less stressful compared to the old Q1, Q2, Q3?
LH: Honestly, there’s zero difference to us, I guess, at the front. You go out and position might help a little bit but really doesn’t make any difference. I have not noticed a single difference, personally – you have to go out and get your laps just as you did before.
Q: From this point on, how does the process work in terms of considering all of the variables tomorrow? How will you decide your strategy - both as an individual and how much do you look across the other side of the garage?
LH: It’s not like we get any options. There’s the optimal, and then there’s sub-optimal and then there’s worse. The team choose the optimal. They do all the simulations and know what’s best. Of course you could ask for something different – but our strategist is incredibly smart, as all strategists in the teams will be, so we just follow in their direction.