Q&A with Lewis Hamilton - Australia debrief
Courtesy of www.lewishamilton.com
Even if the results didn’t show it, the Australian Grand Prix was one of your best-ever races, wasn’t it?
"Absolutely. I’m very proud of the job I did in Australia. The team has explained to me their reasoning behind the second pitstop, and I can understand what they were trying to do intrying to cover both Mark [Webber] and Nico [Rosberg] for later in the race.
"We are still learning about this year’s tyres and the degradation, and perhaps we over-estimated the wear that the frontrunners were expecting to suffer. It’s something you learn from, and we’ll use that knowledge to help us improve throughout this season.
"But yeah, my race was awesome. I really enjoyed it. I drove one of the hardest races I’ve ever done. I think it was a very clean race - I had some fantastic battles, made some passes and showed good pace. It’s the sort of race I love.
"Hopefully, too, it will have looked good on the television. While you’re never racing purely for the crowds, we really wanted to be able to put on a show for the spectators and the people watching at home on TV. I hope they enjoyed it!"
Despite the own frustrations, you must have been very pleased for Jenson and the team.
"I was. As soon as Jenson finished in the press conference, I went down to see him and I gave him a big hug. You can’t take anything away from his drive in Australia - it was faultless, and he thoroughly deserved the victory. And every win is special: you always love to win, but if it can’t be for me, then I want it to be my team mate. It’s good to see the team celebrating Jenson’s win - victories are very important for our team because they not only bring everyone closer together, but they also help validate the work we’re doing and the approach we’re taking. After a difficult 2009 season and our regrouping over the winter, I think the win in Australia will make the whole team a lot stronger."
You showed phenomenal race pace in Australia, is the car particularly well sorted in this department?
"It’s true, in both Bahrain and Australia we’ve felt more comfortable with our race pace than the pace we showed in qualifying. And while that’s encouraging, it’s become clear that we need to improve our qualifying pace if we’re to have a regular shot at winning races: it’s all very well being quick in the race, but if you can’t make up places from your grid position, then your race is still going to be a struggle.
"We can take home the positives: our car is fast, much faster than it was this time last year, and it seems to be reliable, now we need to work on single-lap pace - and the sooner the better.
You just mentioned reliability: the team has got both cars into the points in both races so far, how important is that level of consistency?
"The key to a good championship is consistent points scoring. Fortunately, the new points system makes it easier to pick up points in each race. Obviously, you want to score as many points as you can at each race, but it’s still important sometimes to go for the finish, pocket the points, and live to fight another day. Even at this early stage in the season, we’ve seen that it only takes a slight mistake or a small mechanical problem to drop you down the order - and that’s something we as a team have been very good at avoiding over the past few years.
"I’ve got an incredible team behind me, they’ve provided me with a phenomenally reliable car throughout my whole Formula 1 career, and I know well that every single point can be crucial at the end of the year.
"While we feel relatively confident in our reliability, the key over the next couple of races will be to improve our performance to enable both Jenson and I to take home some big points and move closer to the top of the championship tables. I’ll really be pushing for that over the next couple of weeks."
When can we expect to see further improvements?
"We’re bringing new parts to every race, some bigger than others. We have some developments up our sleeve for Malaysia, more for China and, like every team, more new parts coming for the start of the European season. This is the race that will, more than likely, determine the outcome of the world championship."