Lewis Hamilton Q&A: It’s a fantastic start to the season
Time and again, McLaren have proved they can bounce back. And on Saturday in Melbourne the British team unknotted the disappointments of 2011 by starting the 2012 season in the best way possible. Driver Lewis Hamilton, who secured a dominant pole position, discusses his performance and looks ahead to Sundays race at Albert Park
Q: Lewis, the McLarens performed amazingly today. How proud are you about what you and the team has delivered?
Lewis Hamilton: Massively proud. My team never gives up – they keep on pushing and pushing. We have had some tough years so to be back right where we are today is fantastic.
Q: Were you surprised the team claimed the entire front row?
LH: Of course not. I thought that the Red Bulls would be closer and that Mercedes would be a bit quicker. I really did not know what to expect but I made sure that I delivered the best performance I could. My first fast lap was amazing and I thought it would be a surprise if anyone could beat it. But as you never know, I had to go out again but it wasnt the same any more. My first fast lap of the season did it – for the team and for me!
Q: What surprised you more – claiming the front row or that the Red Bulls are so far behind?
LH: To be honest its that Red Bull are so far behind. On some occasions we thought that they were only sandbagging and it is good, for now, to know that they werent. On the other hand I knew that we would be quick. But how quick we would be I had no idea. This was the test and we passed it with bravery!
Q: Are you enjoying leaving testing behind and returning to competition?
LH: Oh yes. And even if it was a very intense battle this afternoon for pole I enjoyed every second of it. When you know that the car and the tyres are working perfectly, that you are almost flying and are hitting the right spot at every part of the circuit, its awesome. Thats why I love Formula One. It is like heaven! (laughs)
Q: The McLaren is said to be the best-looking car on the grid and now it seems to be the fastest too
LH: Yeah, fastest and most beautiful car – thats it.
Q: After this amazing performance this afternoon, what are you expecting for the race?
LH: Well, there is a distinct difference between one fast lap and long runs. My guess is that strategy will play a huge part in the race, as will the tyres. I hope we will be best at looking after the tyres. It would be amazing to do a one-two in the race. It would be the first one for Jenson (Button) and I. Wouldnt that be something!
Q: So you and Button will be going into the first corner together. How will you guys handle that? LH: Hopefully with our brains in gear! (laughs) But as I start on the clean side this should work in my favour and then lets have a good battle!
Q: How crucial do you think this pole position here is in terms of winning?
LH: Sure it is important. Maybe it is even more important for the mind, as you know that you can beat them all, that your car feels fantastic and that the speed is right there.
Q: Who will be your biggest challenger in the race?
LH: I would say that Jenson is my biggest challenge tomorrow.
Q: We have seen over the course of the weekend that it was always a Mercedes-powered car that clocked the best time. Is it the must-have engine?
LH: Well, the Mercedes engine is quite aggressive and massively powerful and I am very proud to have that engine in my car.