Q&A with Lewis Hamilton In a Q&A session appearing on his website, Lewis Hamilton looks back at his Chinese Grand Prix performance (he looked like a total wanker spinning out 5 times), congratulates the team for its efforts, and comments on Ron Dennis' decision to concentrate on other divisions of the McLaren group.
A tough race for you in Shanghai, Lewis - were you satisfied with sixth position?
"It was a very tough race - the visibility, particularly at the start of the race, was really terrible - you could hardly see anything - but then things got a little better. It's just a pity that I had a couple of spins. I love driving in the rain but I definitely didn't drive as well as I could on Sunday. Afterwards, people were congratulating me on a good performance, but overall I was a bit dissatisfied with my race."
"Because I wanted to do better. It was good for the team to get both cars into the points, but I felt that I should have done better: I was running as high as fifth before spinning in the early laps (he then spun 4 more times) and, looking at how the race panned out, I feel pretty certain I could have been nearer the front challenging for a podium."
So you look at Sunday afternoon as an opportunity lost rather than as three points gained?
"A little bit, I suppose, but it's more that I wanted to reward the team with a stronger result after all we've been through in recent weeks. In Shanghai on Sunday, there were a 100 people working in the pouring rain to help Heikki and I. Back at MTC in Woking and Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines in Brixworth, there are 1000 people all working hard to get new parts ready for the car. They are all doing their very best and I felt I could have done better for them, that's all."
What else do you take away from the Shanghai weekend?
"Two things: I've got to say, the fans in China are just incredible. Seriously, they are unbelievable - some of the most passionate and dedicated fans I've ever come across. Heikki and I went to a signing session with the fans on Sunday morning, and you wouldn't believe how they were reacting when we arrived with the other drivers - they were screaming the place down. It was fantastic - the place went crazy.
"Secondly, the team spirit: you saw it again after the race - the team working so hard preparing for the next race, driving forklifts, soaking wet and working through the night to get everything packed up and sent off to Bahrain - all this after the long hours they already put in over the Chinese Grand Prix weekend. I know we are getting there as a team, and that's what makes us great."
Why are the fans so passionate?
"I don't know, but it is a great feeling. But I mean, the fans in China are fantastic - every night they would be outside my hotel cheering me on, waving banners and giving me little presents and wishing me good luck for the race. I really hope that Formula 1 becomes as popular with the rest of the country because they have a world-class circuit, which I love racing on, it would be great to see the Chinese Grand Prix become one of the most popular races on the Formula 1 calendar."
How is the McLaren Mercedes team adapting to the news of Ron Dennis's departure?
"Certainly, this weekend I would have to say that it was business as usual, but that is how Ron built this team. Ron is an incredible man and we all owe him more than we could ever repay him for building this great team. Both my family and I are going to do our best to continue the progress we have made over the past two seasons with the team and hope that we can continue to make him proud of having invested in me. I was 12 when I first met Ron and, without his vision, I would not be here. I'll never forget - and neither will my family."
"Ron's decision to focus solely on the automotive side must have been tough, but I wish him the very best. Not that he'll need it - everything he touches turns to gold - well, normally! But seriously, Ron's departure brings with it an opportunity for change and I firmly believe that under Martin (Whitmarsh) and our new chairman Richard Lapthorne and with Mercedes-Benz we have great potential for the future."
Finally, what are you looking forward to at the Bahrain Grand Prix next weekend?
"We should have a few new components at Bahrain so I hope we'll continue with our progress. As long as we are moving forwards, it makes it all the more worthwhile and rewarding. I never thought I would be so happy to make it into Q3 in Shanghai, but we did and that was a result of a huge team development effort. More of the same is what I am looking forward to."
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