Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lewis Hamilton Q&A: Giving up? No chance

For someone who doesn’t believe in luck, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton has received more than his fair share of misfortune over recent weeks. From his DNFs in Italy and Singapore, to his gearbox issues in Japan, success has been in short supply since his victory in Belgium back in August. Though his spirits have been dimmed, and his championship chances reduced (he’s now 28 points adrift of standings’ leader Mark Webber), Hamilton is not ready to concede defeat just yet. He explains more in an interview with his official website…

Q: After a weekend like Suzuka, what positives do you take away from the weekend?
Lewis Hamilton: It’s funny, I’ve never believed in luck; I’ve always believed you make your own luck. But that belief has been stretched a bit over the last four Grands Prix. I go racing with my heart, and I race hard, but that approach hasn’t paid off too well for me recently. But every experience is a learning experience, and I’ll certainly learn from these experiences and put that knowledge to good use in the future. That’s one positive. Another is just the simple fact that I got to the flag, scored some points and kept my world championship challenge on track. We’ve seen how this year’s championship is very much a battle of consistency, so every single point is valuable. Finally, I was pleased with the pace we showed during the race. Jenson set the second-fastest lap, and, before my gearbox problem, I was closing down on Fernando (Alonso) and could even have made it onto the podium despite a five-place grid penalty. Given that we weren’t racing all the updates we’d brought to Japan with us, I think that gives us a lot of encouragement for Korea and beyond.

Q: You lost third gear just as you were closing down on a podium finish - how did you adapt your driving style to cope without first, second and third gears?
LH: It wasn’t easy at a track like Suzuka, because it’s such a flowing circuit - you need all the traction you can to keep your momentum up. But, fortunately, because it’s quite a fast track, you’re not in the lower gears for too much of the lap. You need the traction from the low gears out of the hairpin and the chicane, but you’re also missing it a lot out of the second Degner, where you need a lower gear to get the car planted properly. I was fortunate on Sunday, because I’d already established quite a big lead over the sixth-placed car, so I didn’t lose too much ground and could hold onto fifth. The good news is that the rules permit us to change the gearbox for Korea without getting another grid penalty.

Q: There are three races remaining - is the championship still a possibility?
LH: It’s getting more difficult, I’m fully aware of that. But, in a situation like this, I always look back at the 2007 season and what happened in those final two or three races. I think Kimi (Raikkonen) was 17 points behind with two races remaining, but he still managed to win the world championship. I’ve learnt on more than one occasion that the world championship isn’t won until the very last gasp - so I’ve definitely not given up. I want to win again and I go to Korea believing we can do that. And, who knows, if that happens and the other championship contenders fail to score, then I’m right back in it.


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