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Q&A with Lewis Hamilton: I know I can win in this car

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Whilst McLaren team mate Jenson Button has racked up two wins, Lewis Hamilton’s hard-fought finishes – he’s overtaken 32 rivals this season – have gleaned the British driver just two podiums. However, Hamilton has warned he doesn’t plan on playing second fiddle to Button for much longer. Thanks to the hard work he and his fellow team members have put in, the 2008 world champion believes he’ll be back on the top step very soon, as he explained in an interview with his official website…

Q: China was the team’s first one-two since the 2007 Italian Grand Prix – how did that feel?

Lewis Hamilton: Extremely satisfying – not just for myself and Jenson, but for the whole team. I know how much we’ve worked to get a result like this. I remember saying last year that the victories we earned in 2009 would feel even sweeter because we’d had to work so hard for them – and the same’s really true of this one-two: it’s something that’s been building for, well, ever since the start of last year really. And it feels like the team is really firing on all cylinders – everybody in this team, every single last person, is working better than ever to get us these results, and it’s really starting to pay off. The atmosphere within the team is fantastic – we are a strong group now, and we know what it takes to win more races. We are hungry for it. China was good – but we want more of those results because they always make us feel so good!

Q: What did you make of Button’s victory?

LH: It was a great drive, a really good drive. I know I pushed like crazy during the whole race, but I know that he pushed too – and this was a race that we deserved to win: no question. Jenson’s a great driver – and we can really learn from each other. And that’s what I think has really helped us to develop this car into a frontrunner. We’ve got a lot of experience between us but we’re both always learning – and I still think this car can get better. We have a lot of developments in the pipeline; we’ve got quite a few changes for Barcelona and I think we can be right up there. We still really need to focus on our qualifying pace: we made some improvements in China, but there’s still a way to go. We’ll get there though. Most of all, I know I can win races in this car – the car still feels so planted, more than any Formula One car I’ve driven, and I’m sure those victories will come.

Q: In the first four races alone, you’ve overtaken 32 cars – that’s a pretty impressive achievement!

LH: Thirty two? Really? Well, I always race my heart out – always race to the maximum – so I guess that’s what happens. I’m not afraid of overtaking other drivers, I actually love a decent battle out on the track. I’m pleased that I’ve been able to fight in these past few races – I know that people were a bit worried after Bahrain, but we’ve had three pretty amazing races since then. I really hope the fans have enjoyed the racing – if I was watching from the grandstands, or on the TV, I’d love to see lots of overtaking. And it’s always fun to see someone ahead of you, and work out how you’re going to get past. I have to say that I’m helped by this year’s car – it really gives you the confidence you need to attack. And it feels extremely strong under braking, so it does make it easier to successfully pull off a good move.

Q: Almost immediately after China, we saw you’d dodged the flight chaos and ended up in South Africa – what was happening down there?

LH: After the race, I went to Kyalami – it’s an old-school Formula One circuit, and although it’s changed a lot since it was originally used in F1, it was still pretty cool to visit a piece of the sport’s history. I did some filming for the Laureus sports foundation – I met some kids from Sri Lanka who had lost family members in the tsunami. We did some filming and I signed some autographs for them before they went karting in the afternoon. That was pretty cool. But the main reason I was at Kyalami was for a Vodafone promotion – I was doing some work for Vodacom, which is South Africa’s network. They were launching a new high-speed broadband service, and I was showing everyone how fast it was by trying to race it, and beat it, by driving around the track in just under 120 seconds. That’s the amount of time it would take for the Vodacom Metro E broadband line to send 5.4Gb of data. I did a few warm up laps in the car [a white Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG] before they changed the tyres and I went for three hot laps. I kept bringing my time down, then on my final lap, I managed to hit 120 seconds dead. So I almost matched the speed of the broadband – pretty cool! And I really enjoyed driving Kyalami too – it’s a great circuit; it has a bit of gradient and some tough, technical corners.

Q: What’s next?

LH: A few days’ holiday. Some time to relax. It’s been a pretty hectic start to the season, and we’ve got a three-week gap between Shanghai and Barcelona, so I’m going to take advantage of that. I’ll keep on training, then it’s back to work and off to the next race.

Source:formula1.com

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