Q and A with Lewis Hamilton
On the final day of the test in Valencia last week, McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton took some time out to answer questions from the media about the progress of the Woking based squad over the winter testing period.
What has been your approach to this test in Valencia and what is your feeling about the car?
It is good. It feels very similar to the first couple of days we had in Jerez earlier this month. It is great to see that the reliability is very strong, and we are taking some positive steps forward with the progress of the overall package.
You have made some comments that you must win the World Championship?
No, that is not correct. I want to win, I want to work harder than ever and I want to do whatever I can to win for sure.
In which areas has this car improved the most?
That is for me to know and for you to find out.
It is a new car though – what do you like best about it?
It is definitely a step forward, which is always a positive. When I first tested it in Jerez, straightaway I realized that this is better. It is an evolution of last year’s car so it’s very similar; it feels almost the same when you are in the cockpit. But when you are driving you have better downforce, better grip, more power, the car is more consistent and it looks after the tires differently.
What is the significance of your teammate and Ferrari being ahead of you on the time sheets?
So no conclusions on how everyone is doing?
No, it is the same as every year. Some teams look faster than they really are. Ferrari obviously have really good pace, but I think we do too. Obviously we are running different strategies and testing different things.
What do you expect from Fernando?
I think the team (Renault) have learnt perhaps from last year and I think for sure they have made a better car so hopefully they will do a better job this year. I wish Fernando all the best.
What kind of job have you done this week as you are quite far away from the top runners?
You guys know, if you look at who does the low fuel runs and who has high fuel.
So you definitely had a very heavy car...
Is there a reason why you do this?
Well it is not qualifying or the race. I don’t need to go out on low fuel to test if I can do the fastest time; it is not the most important thing. What is important is that I put the mileage on the car; I test the long runs; I am happy with the balance of the car on the long runs: for me that is the most important thing. When it comes to qualifying runs we will see who will do the best one when the time comes.
Do you keep an eye on the opposition, who is performing best in your opinion?
Obviously Ferrari at the moment, they have had some very impressive runs with their car, but it is not much different to last year. I think we still have work to improve but we have made a good step closer to them this year.
Do you see Fernando Alonso and Renault competing with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes for the Championship?
I hope that Renault is with us and that we have more teams up at the front and not just Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Ferrari. I hope that Renault is there, it would be great to see Williams back at the front too, but we will have to wait and see. It is not easy, the top teams have great cars and when you are slightly a step behind it is difficult to catch that step up as everyone always makes the same step forward. It is going to be interesting but it will take time.
You seem quite happy about the car and the performance?
Yeah I am relaxed I feel we are making a good step forward and we have a reliable package. For sure this is the most intense part and we are continuously building up and I feel comfortable that we are on course for a really good start to the season. It is just important that we keep going on this road and we don’t get distracted.
How much are you enjoying testing?
Testing can sometimes be boring but at the moment it is just great to be back in the car, as always. You get in the car and it is almost like you have to refresh and wake up again. It is always great fun; the car is ridiculously fast and also driving a new car and going to new circuits is always a pleasure.
Do you have any expectations for the season?
No expectations but we plan to be at the front.