Q and A with Lewis Hamilton Although victory slipped through his fingers at Hungary due to a tire puncture, Lewis Hamilton is happy that his team mate brought him his first every GP victory. The young Briton gives us some insight in his Hungarian race and his plans for the summer break.
What feelings do you take away from the Hungarian Grand Prix?
“Firstly, I was so pleased for Heikki – he deserved this victory, and it was great to celebrate with him and the rest of the team afterwards. For me, it was an unusual race: I didn’t expect Felipe to be so strong, particularly in the first stint, and I was pushing the whole way to keep up with him. The car wasn’t at its best in the opening laps but, after the first stop, I was able to stabilize the gap and start clawing it back bit by bit until I had the tire problem.”
What happened with the tire?
“It was a sudden puncture – it must have occurred at Turn One and the tire was flat by Turn Two, so I had to travel a long way back to the pits at reduced speed. After that, I needed to look after the super-soft tire because I had a longer-than-expected final stint to the flag. But the car felt good and I just kept pushing until the finish and picked up a useful handful of points. After a day like that, you’ve got to look at the big picture; and given the problem we had with the tire and the difficulty looking after the car in the final stint, I can’t really complain about finishing fifth. Salvaging the maximum possible points from a difficult race is always important; with the championship as tight as it is, you can’t afford to drop too many points. So I can’t be too disappointed to have come away from a difficult race like that having extended my lead in the world championship.”
What are your immediate priorities for the three-week summer break?
“I’ve had a busy few months: I’ve worked hard both on and off the track, and while I’ve enjoyed it, done some brilliant things and been to some amazing places, I’m looking forward to having some time to myself. For the next few weeks, I don’t have any work commitments so I can literally be on my own and spend time with my family and friends. I’ll be using the time up any way I want to – but It’ll basically be a mixture of total relaxation and, in the second half of the break, intense training. I love training and I find it a good way of relaxing.”
Just how important is it to recover after six months of racing?
“Proper recovery is very important. For the first few days after Hungary, I’m just going to rest and recover, get as much sleep as possible and then start focusing on a certain area of my body that perhaps needs more attention than others. I’ll continue to work on my cardio fitness too – do some running and cycling. The constant travelling and racing does take its toll on your body and my aim is to make sure I start the second half of the season feeling as fit as when I started the year in Melbourne.”
How focused is the team on the last seven races of the season?
“In a way, the result in Hungary was a very important lesson for the team: it showed us in no uncertain terms that we cannot afford to be complacent and need to work hard throughout the summer break to make sure we can hit back strongly in Valencia. You can never under-estimate a team like Ferrari, and we know they’ll be pushing just as hard as us to gain an advantage for the remainder of the year. Who knows, if we’d had an easier race in Hungary, maybe it would have come back and bitten us later in the season, so I feel confident that we won’t be taking anything for granted. I know that everybody in Woking, Stuttgart and Brixworth will be working flat-out to make sure we can be strong in all the remaining races.”
Are you looking forward to Valencia?
“I’ve had a look at some onboard footage of the track and will be working with the team over the break to prepare for the event. From the footage, the track looks amazing – I love street circuits, but this circuit looks extremely fast and unforgiving in some places. As a driver, it’s always fun to come to a new circuit – I really enjoy driving at new places and feel confident I can pick up new circuits quickly. It looks like being an amazing event.”
Will you be watching the Olympics during the break?
“I’m a huge fan of athletes who have dedicated their lives to being the best – the dedication and commitment they put into their careers, putting everything else aside to go for that ambition, is something I really respect and can learn from. I love watching the 100 meters and the javelin. The 100 meters is always special: you get to see the fastest men on the planet race each other. They are incredibly quick! I’ve tried it myself and, even out of the blocks, those guys would have 10 meters before I’d even got up I am so slow! But you can see the power they have in the whole of their body. Getting all that energy out in less than 10 seconds is just awesome. I’ll definitely be watching.”