Q and A with Lewis Hamilton
McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton didn’t have an easy time at all in the recent French grand Prix where not only was he forced to endure a ten place grid demotion for his role in a pitlane accident in Canada, but just as he was working his way through the field, he was handed a drive through penalty for gaining an advantage after going off track just moments after passing the Toro Rosso of Sebastien Vettel.
Finishing tenth, the young Brit has tried to put the past two races behind him and move forward to the next round, his home grand prix at Silverstone. In the lead up to the event, he will join the team this morning for the final day of their scheduled testing session at the same circuit and has given the following interview to the team’s official website…
What does it mean to a British driver to have a sellout crowd for your home Grand Prix?
"First of all, last year at Silverstone was my first Formula 1 Grand Prix and the amount of support I had was incredible. I hope there is even more people there this year to support me and to support David and Jenson as well. There really isn't more of a satisfying feeling - knowing that you’re racing in your home country and knowing that you have the support of your country - it gives you a few extra tenths of a second, just with confidence, so I’m really thankful for the support I will hopefully be getting.
Now, of all the races and Championships you’ve won, what would it mean to you winning the Santander British Grand Prix at Silverstone..
Winning the Santander British Grand Prix, I think would definitely be the highlight of my career. Winning a home grand prix, in front of your home crowd, knowing that there’s so many people watching...the sort of roar that I got from qualifying last year was incredible and making people happy, making the team happy, doing it in our own country would be an immense feeling.
Qualifying of course is electric and you electrified everybody last year when you stunned the opposition and the crowd by that superb last gasp poll position. Tell us about that moment and then the atmosphere afterwards.
I think my pole position last year was slightly unexpected. It was one of those last minute things and split second decisions - you push so hard and the car was all over the place, I was just almost rallying it round the corners, and I could feel it, “ it’s going to be the lap, it’s going to be the lap “ and I came across the line and I remember the guys came on the radio “ Pole position " and I could see the people jumping and waving the flag..and it’s definitely different to when you’re in another country, you know you might see one or two flags and instead here we had all of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes flags flying and you had the British flag everywhere and you knew “yeah – this is where we’re supposed to be “ and when I say “we’re “ I mean us and all the fans.
What would you say to spectators who are coming along to watch the qualifying and the race for the first time?
I expect it will be very exciting. I think we’re going to have a great package that weekend as we’ve got some new updates coming. I just hope the weather is great like last year - it was almost like being in Monaco or something and the atmosphere is incredible.
It's the 60th anniversary of Silverstone this year - the first Grand Prix was there in 1948. Who were your hero drivers when you were growing up?
I wasn't born until 1985 so for me, when I was growing up and when I first began watching Formula 1 it was Ayrton Senna, it was Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost. And these three guys were obviously right at the top aback then. Then Michael Schumacher started dominating and then obviously we got up to Kimi and I was a big fan of Kimi and a big fan of Fernando and here I am today racing those two drivers and occasionally beating them so when people say "you're living your dream " I don't think that sentence suits anyone better than me.
Talking about living your dream, part of that dream is to win the Santander British Grand Prix at Silverstone in front of your home crowd. What messages do you have for the British fans and indeed the international fans that are going to come over to Silverstone?
The Santander British Grand Prix is going to be one of the highlights of my career and one of my biggest goals is to win. Winning the Monaco Grand Prix is very special but winning the Santander British Grand Prix for the first time, knowing that you’ve got so much support and a lot of people relying on you - would be out of this work. I just want the fans and supporters to know that I’m working as hard as I can and doing the best job that I can and so are my team. We are going to be there together and stand together whatever happens. To all the fans there thank you very much for your support and it's really appreciated, not from only me but from my family. You just can't imagine the difference it makes to the confidence and to my feelings going into the race weekends so, I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to seeing you and I'll try to wave to as many of you as possible and possibly meet as many of you as I can.