Lewis: I had the pace, it’s just you can’t overtake around here

On the podium with Martin Brundle

Well, what a brilliant drive again today, congratulations. Lewis, fastest lap of the race but you didn’t quite have enough pace to challenge your team-mate today.

Lewis Hamilton: Hola Brazil! No, I had the pace, it’s just you can’t overtake around here.

You were on the radio complaining, [saying] “I just can’t follow around this track” and then dropping back towards the end.

LH: Yeah, I mean obviously I was behind Nico and in traffic for some time and it just killed my tyres. It’s a shame because it’s such a great track but you just can’t get close enough to race. I don’t know if there were other people overtaking. Unless you have a huge advantage on the guy in front… Motorsport is about fine lines, you know, about tenths of a second, but you can’t get close enough within a tenth of a second to be able to fight. It’s a shame because it would be good if we did some overtaking here.

  • 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix Sunday Lewis Hamilton
    2015 Brazilian Grand Prix Sunday Lewis Hamilton

You were on the radio saying “give me a different strategy, let me get ahead somehow”, but you can’t do that within the team I guess. Is that frustrating?

LH: Well, I mean, I’m here to race and when you both have to do pretty much the same order it’s kind of already set from the beginning, so for sure I’m like “if there are any other strategies, let’s do it, let’s take a risk, let’s do whatever” and they’re like “look after the tyres”, and I’m like “No, I’m racing”, you know and I think that’s what people want to see, but unfortunately today, as I said, I couldn’t get close enough to ne able to really put on a great, so it was relatively boring following in a tow.

This guy has got the legs on you at the moment. You’ve got to come back for Abu Dhabi somehow.

LH: Yeah, Nico has been driving fantastically well. He did a fantastic job in qualifying, especially in the last few races. The last race he drove fantastically well, today no mistakes, so he did good.

  • 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix Sunday Lewis Hamilton
    2015 Brazilian Grand Prix Sunday Lewis Hamilton

With the media

Lewis, it seems that win number 44 for the driver of car number 44 will have to wait for another couple of weeks, possibly. Interesting talking point for you: I think second stint in particular you were looking to do something different, try to see if there was another strategy, it’s not uncommon for you to do different things between the team, and you were told plan B wasn’t really option, but then, when we got into the mid-30 laps there was a switch of strategy for everybody. I wonder if you could just talk us through how you felt about that, your thinking around the strategy and how it all evolved?

LH: I think the strategy was good. The team had anticipated that the tyres would go longer than they were, which I wasn’t sure would be the case before the race, and it turns out it wasn’t. No, it’s just in the race you’re just trying to see… I love this track, it’s such a great circuit but unfortunately it’s so difficult to overtake. You get to within a second and you just lose downforce and there’s no way you can get any closer. And the DRS zone is kind of maybe not long enough, if that was to be the thing to make the difference, it’s almost not long enough. So I was just trying to see if there was any other kind of strategy. I mean, I’m our there racing so I’m looking for any kind of options. Surely there are not only two options for pit stops.

So looking back on it, if you had done gone out and down two different things – split the strategy from the outset, one of you on two and one of you on three, see what happened at the end – it would have been more interesting?

LH: No, no. A three-stop was generally slower or it was supposed to be slower, but obviously at the end it turned out that the three stop was probably better as the tyres didn’t last, so… I have no idea about that, but the team made a good choice.

We’re all searching for explanations as to the turnaround in qualifying form. One of the things that someone’s pointed out today is that this has happened since the tyre pressures were increased from Monza onwards – I know you were on pole in Monza Lewis – but since then it’s been Nico all the way. Do you think that’s one of the influencing factors potentially?

LH: Well, from Singapore onwards there’s been a change to the car – but whether or not that’s made a difference, I don’t know really. We’ll have to see. But it has changed since Singapore.

  • 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix Sunday Lewis Hamilton
    2015 Brazilian Grand Prix Sunday Lewis Hamilton

This track might be worse, but it’s not the only track where you can’t follow a car closely. Is it time for a fundamental change in the technical rules – so that you can actually follow closely?

LH: At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what we say because it can’t happen. The big bosses make the decisions and whether or not they make the right ones for many years, who knows. Something’s got to change y’know? Because some races you can follow which enables you to have some good racing, obviously places like Austin where there was the last decent race but otherwise there are some places it’s just… I guess for fans it’s probably not too exciting to watch. Of course, it’s always nice when you’re at the front, as we have been for some time now – but still, being able to race is what… and also down the back, the rest of the field is probably what fans want to see. That’s probably a change that would be looked positively on.

Lewis, particularly given that the Constructors’ championship is done, the Drivers’ championship is wrapped up, you’re ahead of Ferrari in this race, would you like a bit more freedom to – as you said on the podium – to take a risk and do a strategy that’s different because at the end of the day, if you fell back, you haven’t lost anything in championship terms?

LH: I think we have to rely on the team. As I said before, of course I was looking for whatever other opportunities there may be because on the track it was not looking great and contrary to what Nico was saying, there was one point where I was all over him but I just couldn’t get by, I just couldn’t get close enough in that last second and I did have the fastest lap, so I obviously had the pace today. As I said, it would be great to sometimes be able to do something different, to do something rather than just... you know, you’re lap 15, you’re lap 16 and lap 42 or whatever it was. Our targets were lap 41, 42... to have some options. Hey, do you want to do this, do you want to do that and see how it plays out? Ultimately I think they do so many strategic simulations that they pick the best two and that’s what we’re stuck with.

I would like to comment on the enthusiasm of the Brazilians for the Grand Prix and of course, we see a big party in the grandstands, even without a Brazilian driver, so I would like you to comment on that and if you feel a difference in this weekend?

LH: It’s been fantastic. Always coming to Brazil, there’s obviously a lot of love in the hearts of the Brazilian fans for the sport and that’s shown 100 percent every time we come, so a big thank you to the people who run this circuit for doing such a good job with the circuit in terms of looking after it. The tarmac has been great generally and the new paddock has been fantastic so it’s bringing it up to standard and it continues to be a track that we cannot miss. This is actually the first weekend that I’ve actually been aware of the old circuit so I would love to see an amendment to this track. It used to be one of the longest circuits on the calendar. Who knows whether that track has more opportunities for overtaking, but the one that we have now could definitely be better.

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