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Q&A with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton



After Saturday’s qualifying session in Istanbul, Lewis Hamilton found himself in the promising situation of having split the Red Bulls on the grid, and contemplating whether Turkey could be a good place to start winning in 2010. He and McLaren team mate Jenson Button may well have benefited from the Red Bull tussle in the race, but that was far from the whole story…

Q: Lewis, it was an eventful race – how was it from your point of view?

Lewis Hamilton: Yes, it was quite an eventful race. I had a great start and somehow I thought that I had a better reaction to Mark (Webber) but obviously Sebastian (Vettel) passed me. From then on I tried to keep up with both Red Bulls, which was not easy, thinking if you want to win you not only have to overtake one Red Bull, but two! And fortunately for us – unfortunately for them – they collided. And from that moment it felt good and with Jenson behind me it looked as if we would get a one-two. From there it was all about looking at the tyres and the fuel. Jenson was always on my tail and I had a great battle with him – he passed, but I was able to pass him back at Turn One. It was kind of a surprise for me that he passed.

Q: What sprung to mind when you heard about the Red Bull clash?

LH: I didn’t need to hear it – it was right in front of me. It felt like watching an action movie. I was seeing it first hand – I had a great shot of it. It was unfortunate for them – and fortunate for us.

Q: It was quite a surprise to see the two Red Bulls fighting each other, and after what happened it was even more of a shock when the two McLarens started to get involved with each other. Is that the normal race behaviour nowadays?

LH: No. We have to be sensible. I – and I know that Jenson feels exactly the same – want to win the constructors’ championship. Sure we both also want to win the drivers’ championship, but I know that we both would never do anything dangerous like touch. That is the great thing: when we are fighting with each other we have that cushion of respect so we don’t really have that problem. It’s not like with these other guys.

Q: The result suggested that you benefitted massively from the Red Bull skirmish, but the fact was that all weekend you were able to mix it with them…

LH: Yes, I was on their tail the whole time. The only thing was that I was never able to follow them through Turn Eight. They’ve been so fast, incredibly quick through there. I don’t know if they were flat. I was trying to keep up with them, but it was really, really tough. Fact is that I did think that at some stage I would have the opportunity to overtake Mark, but he came in for the pit stop the same lap as me.

Q: How satisfying is it to know that from now on you’re not only competing with your team mate, but with the two Red Bulls?

LH: It felt really great. The car was getting better and better throughout the weekend and the team did an incredible job. Sure, we can always improve, but it looks like we’re getting closer to them and that opens up opportunities for the races to come.

Q: When Jenson was fighting you were you told to hold position as you were one-two?

LH: No, I never heard something like ‘hold position’ or anything like that. I was just told to go to a lap time target to save fuel and look after the tyres and the engine. That was it. And I think it was the same for Jenson. They’ve asked me to go to a certain lap time so I did and tried to keep to this time zone. And then I found myself defending him.

Q: How does it feel to win again?

LH: It doesn’t feel as it normally does. I am very happy for the team, the missus is here and my dad is on holidays. Sure I wanted to win as it is the best birthday present for him, as he has his birthday on Monday.

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