Q: How do you believe your race weekend in Abu Dhabi will progress?
Lewis Hamilton: During the last couple of years we have been quite quick here and have enjoyed quite good performances generally. There’s no reason why we should not be competitive this weekend, particularly because Jenson (Button) has had some very strong races lately.
Q: Do you have any strategy in place to avoid the situations you found yourself in at the last race in India?
LH: At the last race I qualified second, and that was quite good. It was only because of my penalty that I had to move back. And then I got jumped by a Ferrari, and we somehow always get jumped by Ferraris, as they are extremely quick at the start, which has been the case for many years. Then you get stuck behind them, as they have very fast cars and are also not willing to let anyone past them. So I have found myself in a few awkward situations. So the plan is pretty much not to get penalized for silly things, then I should be further in the front and the race weekend could go so much more smoothly.
Q: How competitive are the McLarens when compared to the Red Bulls?
LH: I think that we are going to be right up with them. All the same I am very sure that at this race, which is where they won last year’s championship, they are going to be massively quick. Their car is quick everywhere, absolutely everywhere. But now our car is also quick everywhere, just as quick as theirs. So this weekend we might even be ahead of them. We will see over the next few days.
Q: Have Button’s positive performances recently put you under more pressure?
LH: I would not say so. Jenson is good at the moment and that is only good for the team. I always said that if Jenson proves to be better than me I would need to do a better job and improve. He has put himself in a better position than me this year and on top of that he has managed to stay out of trouble. He has got a good group of people around him and they are there all the time. He has done a great job but this doesn’t affect me at all. I have just been a bit unfortunate and I have also had my own problems to deal with. And, as we all know, personal problems affect everything that you do, how you act and how you behave. Of course I am thinking about how to change things for the better next year. And I do feel confident about that. I know the right direction to take for next year and I know how to make things better.
Q: Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso recently paid you a huge compliment, saying that he believes you are the only driver in the field who can win races with a car that is not as competitive as the best car on the grid. He said he will be watching you during the winter tests…
LH: I am honoured that Fernando is so positive about my qualities, despite this season and the differences that we had. Our relationship has got a lot stronger and the respect that we have for each other is much stronger. It is great to see that he has come out with these compliments, as I have also always said that he is one of the best drivers. So in general it is really good to hear that I have received support from other drivers as well.
Q: Have you had the chance to speak to Ferrari’s Felipe Massa about the issues you’ve had recently?
LH: I don’t think that the drivers’ briefing is the right place to do this. I hope we get the chance to discuss this in a more private environment sometime soon. Felipe is a driver who is very hard to overtake, as he never leaves the door open or much space. So it is always the guy behind that needs to make any effort to overtake him. And we have been very unfortunate to come together so often. I personally do not have a problem with him. If he does have any issue with me, that would be his problem.
Q: Are you enjoying being in Abu Dhabi?
LH: I love it here. I came early to Abu Dhabi on Monday and played a little bit of golf. I have also been to Dubai to see the city, which is spectacular. To me the Yas Marina circuit is the nicest in the world. When you walk in here you think ‘wow’. It is much more luxurious and the track is very spectacular as well.
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