Q: Your second win of the year lifts you to the top of the Drivers’ Championship – you must be feeling on top of the world.
LH: “It’s great to be leading the world championship, but, I have to be honest, Formula 1 is so tough and so competitive at the moment that you can’t take anything for granted – and, while I might be on top right now, I know that I’ll need to fight for every lap of the next 11 races to remain up there.
“And, I think I’m like the fifth leader of the championship so far this year, so it’s pretty clear that it’s not so easy staying on top.
“Our sport is so incredibly competitive at the moment – and we’re seeing different teams come to the forefront all the time – that this championship is going to be as much about playing the long game – minimising mistakes, scoring points at every race – as it is about success at individual races.
“And, actually, I think that’s the first time you can probably say that about a Formula 1 championship. Whether it’s the changes to the points system, or just the fact that there are maybe as many as 10 drivers out there with the machinery capable of winning races, you can’t afford to just take the points. You’ve got to be on the limit all the time – and I love that, because that’s how I love to race.”
Q: So how on the limit was your race in Montreal?
LH: “It was pretty full-on, but it wasn’t flat-out in the sense of pushing from the start to the finish; it was full-on because you had to stay absolutely focused on every lap, making sure the tyres were looking after themselves while also trying to attack, or hold off somebody behind you.
“It’s a complicated balancing act.
“The pitwall and the strategy team judged everything perfectly. Andy [Latham, race engineer] fed me lots of information throughout the race, and really acted like a second pair of eyes for me. The team and I worked well together for this result.”
Q: People always expected the MP4-25 to go well at Montreal – was the circuit a good match for the car’s characteristics?
LH: “It was a good match, yes, but it wasn’t a perfect one – we’d probably still look at other tracks coming up on the calendar as giving us a better opportunity to win. Montreal is quite an extreme circuit, and I think our strength was having a package that worked well against all those extremes.
“For example, we’ve been working very closely with Akebono all year to ensure that our brakes would perform consistently here, which is one of the toughest tracks of the whole year for braking. We felt that if we were able to push aggressively for the whole race, then it might give us an advantage by pushing other teams whose braking performance might be more marginal, particularly at the end of the race.
“And we’ve added up all those small gains everywhere. That’s why we’ve got a car and a team that’s working so well together at the moment.”