Lewis Hamilton scored his 25th Formula 1 victory in fine style at the Chinese Grand Prix, a lights to flag victory which will go down as one of his most dominant perfoamances in the cockpit of the mighty Mercedes W05. He spoke after his triumph in Shanghai.
Three consecutive for Lewis Hamilton – how about that? Great stuff, Lewis. That looked, from where we were sitting, incredibly easy. How was it for you?
Lewis Hamilton: Ni hao. The fans have been incredible this week, so I really felt a lot of energy but I really couldn’t do this without all the hard work from the team, it’s incredible. Honestly, I just can’t believe how amazing the car is, and how hard everyone has worked. The results we’re getting is a real true showing of all the hard work.
Absolutely incredible. You were radioing in and saying ‘my tyres feel good’ and everybody else was screaming to come into the pits. The first stint was just beautiful for you.
LH: Yeah. Surprisingly, again, as I said, after P2 I had to make a lot of changes in anticipation of today, even though yesterday was wet, but it worked perfectly and I was able to look after the tyres. After that I was just really racing myself. I did lose a lot of time after the first stop but still it was great. I am really happy that Nico is up here with us, it’s great points for the team and they really deserve it.
You had one little trip off the circuit, obviously when the front tyres were finally going away. A little fright there for you?
LH: No, no, fortunately there’s lots of run-off area. Basically the left front is the one that’s graining and wearing and I’d gone quite a lot longer than I’d planned and eventually the tyre was dead so I locked it, but it was OK and I recovered.
We’re back to tracks you know well, obviously Barcelona, you’ve got some testing coming up. Surely you can’t keep improving this car?
LH: Well, this team is a on a roll that’s for sure. The team have done a great job, as I said. We’re going to keep pushing; we’re going to keep moving forwards. That’s what Mercedes Benz want to do. They want to keep moving forward, developing, hopefully improving the engine, also the car. But as I said, I’m going to be working hard, we’re going to keep working hard because obviously the others are pushing to catch us up. So I hope it continues.
A three-time winner here. How does that feel?
LH: It feels incredible. I just have to shout out a big thank you, thank you so much to the team, firstly for embracing me into the team last year and for all the hard work and for them continuously pushing forward. I really hope that the guys back at the factory are enjoying this and really have a great week. I’m so, so happy. I had such a great race, really enjoyed it, particularly the last few laps, y’know? Really trying to keep temperature in the tyres, pushing a little bit more, just to keep temperature up and the car was great.
You spoke about the work being done in FP2 and then of course the car was good enough for pole in the wet and then good enough to win in the dry. How perfect was it?
LH: The car was really good. As I said, made lots of changes overnight on Friday night and obviously it was wet for qualifying. So I didn’t get to feel… I didn’t know what it was going to be like today. And really just that hard work sitting down with the engineers, really choosing… we didn’t guess, we really made those steps in anticipation for today and it worked perfectly. I couldn’t really have asked for more.
The only really big surprise I guess was getting the chequered flag a lap early – which could have tripped you up.
LH: That was very strange! I was thinking ‘am I seeing things?’ I looked up, I was coming across the line expecting to do another lap and all of a sudden I looked for a split second and I saw the flag, I lifted for a second and I saw there was no-one on the wall, so then I just kept going. I did lose a second or so. I asked the team, they said no, so I just kept going. Very, very strange. It was good to do another lap.
You mentioned the support of the Chinese fans on the podium. Have you seen an increase in support over the years here and is it something that makes them unique here at Shanghai?
LH: Every year I come here, I feel that the fan base – at least my fan base – feels like it’s growing every year here. Growing up in Stevenage, I never ever thought that I would fly halfway round the world and have so many people who chose to wear my cap, to wear my top, to have my flag and really support me. It’s absolutely phenomenal, and here it’s maybe my second year, I think, that from the moment I’m at the airport – I don’t know how they know I’m there but they know I’m there – it’s almost like they radio to the guys at the hotel and when I get to the hotel – I don’t know how they know I’m at that hotel – but they’re there every morning, every evening, day and night and that’s why I always say we win and we lose together. This morning and on the way, one of my fans she gave me like a digital photo frame and on it, they did a special video for me from all the fan base here and for me, it’s touched my heart so much so I want to say a big thank you to all of them.