Hamilton: I really needed this result so I’m very grateful for it

British Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton celebrates

British Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton celebrates

Prior to the British Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton lamented about how Lady Luck had abandoned him of late, but at his home race she made amends as the Briton turned a below par Qualifying into victory while his teammate, and chief title rival, Nico Rosberg retired from a race for the first time this season, and with that unexpected turn, the title race was narrowed down to four points. Hamilton spoke about one of the most important victories of his stellar Formula 1 career.

Your emotions must be running high right now. Your fifth win of the season. That equals your 2008 World Championship year. Now 27 grand prix victories, equalling Jackie Stewart. There’s only one other Englishman in front of you with more wins – Nigel Mansell. So tell us about the emotions of today?
Lewis Hamilton: It’s very mixed at the moment, but just to see the support we have here…I could see everyone cheering us on through the whole race. We’ve got the greatest fans here. And today, just arriving today, it’s you guys that really spurred me on, so thanks very much.

It was a fantastic drive. You never want a competitor to drop out, but of course the battle is very hot between you and your team-mate Nico, so what was the emotion when you saw him have the issue?
LH: At the beginning…he got quite a good gap at the beginning and I really just tried to look after the tyres. After that I utilised the tyres, was catching and we came out on the harder tyres and I was catching him at a second a lap at the time. I couldn’t believe I had that kind of pace. You never want to see a team-mate fall behind, we wanted to really work and get those one-twos, but at the end of the day I really needed this result so I’m very grateful for it.

Do you know the points situation now at the end of race nine?
LH: I assume we’re four points behind now. I think this weekend really just showed that, for one, you never give up. Yesterday wasn’t a case of giving up, I didn’t think I could do the lap, I was really shocked that the last sector was so fast. But coming here today I had my family with me, just focused, the support from the fans, as I said, just spurred me on, and I really couldn’t have done it without them.

Over the radio at the end of the race you said to the crew “I’m sorry about yesterday”. I guess your spirits were so down yesterday; they must be soaring now. But the race really was about the offset you had to Nico Rosberg and you were catching him in the middle stint of the race. Do you believe that without his problem you would have been able to pass him and how do you feel right now?
LH: Yesterday was a really difficult day. Obviously you never think situations like that would come up the way they did and I really felt…I went away feeling terrible for the fans. They all turned up and there’s so much support here, I felt that I had let them down, not only them but the team and myself. Coming back today, trying to turn that serious emptiness and negativity into a positive today was really my priority. The support has been incredible this weekend. Just thinking of the history of this circuit, the great drivers that have won in the past…leading last year and not being able to see it through. It’s been since…2008 since I had the win and I just feel very, very grateful for the opportunity. I honestly feel that I had the pace today. I was catching Nico in the first stint. I was able to extend my first stint longer than ever before. I was feeling pretty comfortable. Of course, you never want a team-mate to fall away, to win like that. I was looking forward to a wheel-to-wheel battle but I’m sure we’ll get many in the future.

Not very often this season you’ve had family with you: you’ve pretty much kept yourself to yourself at various races but this weekend you’ve had your brother, your Dad, they were here today supporting you. They’ve said on TV how down in the dumps you were last night. How much help did they give you last night after what happened yesterday?
LH: My family have been incredible. Last night, my Mum, my Dad…I spent a lot of time with my Dad last night just talking it out. And my brother. And today I just said I needed them here today. Y’know? I just really wanted that support. I do come to the races on my own and I do generally do it on my own. I have my trainer with me. But I thought this weekend it would be nice to have them. At least today, as yesterday was such a difficult day.

Would you consider this one of your great, greatest, great wins and how does it compare to 2008?
LH: It doesn’t compare to 2008. It’s a different time, it’s a different experience. It’s still as special. Obviously 2008 was a much trickier race in a sense of being a completely wet track, everyone aquaplaning. Everyone being in the rain, everyone being soaking wet, it’s a different kind of experience that one. Today, I felt I earned it today. From the start some good manoeuvres and I really felt that I had the pace on Nico, I really was hunting him down like never before. I really was happy with the balance that I managed to get, even though I didn’t do the long run in P2. To say this is up there with all the greats…it’s my home grand prix, it’s my second win here and I’m very privileged to have even just had one, so I feel very humble to be up here today.

Do you think this can be a turning point for you? Nico was up here yesterday saying that he thought he had the momentum at the moment – but he also said momentum comes and goes. Can this give you the confidence and maybe even the peace of mind to push on and get the momentum back in your favour.
LH: I came into this weekend saying it would great to really have that. I thought maybe the fans could be the wind in my sails to really change the direction and get the momentum. Obviously I’ve got the win today. I’ve got the points back. I’ve been chasing all year really, since I lost the points at the first race, and then I was chasing again after the previous DNF. It’s been very, very difficult. I was speaking last night, just comparing it to how difficult it is psychologically, it’s got to be something similar to the tennis players when they’re two sets down. It’s so hard to get your mind in gear, to get yourself back and not lose points from then on. And so the pressure is high but I really feel that now we’re back, kind of close and with the pace that I had today, I really feel that I can…just got to refocus for the next part of the season.

Today Niki Lauda said that he thought that in some ways yesterday was a good thing because it gave you a motivation and a hunger that perhaps you would not have had. Would you agree with that?
LH: No. I feel like I like I’ve…we’ve had four wins, now five wins, but I’ve had the four wins and I think my hunger is on a par with any other year that I’ve ever raced in – but yesterday was a real kick in the balls. I really had to pick up, pull up my socks and get on it if I want to win this world championship, and I can’t have situations like yesterday. The last two races I’ve easily had the pace to be pole position and I’ve not put it there. I’ve put it much further back, made it much harder for myself but now I’m going to try to rectify that for the future.

You’re obviously very happy with the gold trophy [present on the platform]– but you seem to have been a bit unhappy with the sponsor’s trophy. Did I hear you say it fell to bits on the podium? And how did you come to get this one between the podium and here?
LH: Well, yeah! This one’s a lot nicer. I mean, growing up watching Formula One, you see trophies like this. Real trophies, y’know? And the trophies that we have nowadays, whilst it’s a real privilege being on top of the podium, my one fell to pieces! The bottom fell off the one we just had. It’s plastic, it must cost ten pounds! It’s so bad. I might just get the plaque, which is probably the most expensive part of the trophy I think. Back in the day they really, really made the trophies. And this is the special thing about being on the podium and winning. These trophies mean – for me, I don’t know how it is for the other drivers – but this is what we have to show for our lifetime achievements. I hope we can get some better ones moving forwards.

Obviously the celebration after the race has been extraordinary. You managed to do a doughnut despite the strict restrictions on the engine and gearbox and you were singing – I’m not sure if you were singing or not but you obviously were feeling on top of the world. Can you share your emotions on the slowing down lap with us?
LH: Yeah, it’s so difficult to really explain the feelings. When you feel like the world is crumbling beneath you, somehow with your family and friends, they help pull you through and also the fans. Yesterday, after Qualifying, it looked so hard to…I really was almost speechless when I spoke to them, and it was no one else’s fault but mine. I was just so disappointed in myself. And then to get that result today, to really climb through… the team have just done an incredible job. Even coming into this weekend, the developments and improvements to our car, the balance. My engineers, who work so close to me, regardless of how well we do, they’re so supportive and having that good team of people round you really makes a difference. I did the doughnuts…yeah, I hope it doesn’t do anything to our gearbox but I know how much the fans love it here and so it was really important to try and do at least one but fingers crossed, it should be OK.

As media, we like to speculate on upcoming races as to who might win and who won’t win. Are you looking ahead, thinking next race Nico is going to have the home advantage, obviously Hungary was good for you last year? Do you look ahead through the season like that, blocking it out and perhaps where you might be stronger and work out the points?
LH: I don’t. You look at the schedule and you see what tracks you know that suit you. Just going into Germany, to Hockenheim, I know whilst it’s Nico’s home grand prix, he doesn’t have even one eighth of the support us Brits get here. The fans are unlike anywhere else so I’m not worried in that sense. It’s a track where I won before, in 2008 I think it was. It’s a good track for me, so I think…I’m gonna use the pace that I have, because I have the pace. I’ve just got to put the damn laps together and when I do, then I think the opportunities will come in front of me.

We had a fairly long delay after all you guys all made mega starts on the first lap. When you’ve got that one hour delay, what are you thinking? Are you worried that you’re going to lose the momentum that you picked up? What’s going on in your heads?
LH: Yeah, I think it’s…We work very hard, I’m sure everyone is working so hard in preparation. You get in the car, do the start, you really gain the momentum and then the race stops and we had quite a long break. I went back to my room just relaxing, drinking, making sure I was having plenty of fluids and trying not to think of anything else. Yeah, it wasn’t alcohol. It isn’t easy but I managed to get back and start where I finished.

Is this victory going to help you mentally for the next race or is it back to square one at the next race, you have to start again and plan all over again?
LH: I think this is now, kind of…we’ll draw a line under that last nine races and now it’s attack mode, start again and now, utilising that pace and utilising the car’s pace. There are still some things we need to improve on. I wasn’t too worried about the time lost in the pit stop today as I knew the next one would be better. I’d been working on my position so I didn’t lose time in that but qualifying really – just getting myself back to my normal qualifying mode and that, I think, will be good.