Hamilton: It’s been a pretty crazy weekend

Lewis Hamilton celebrates third lace in th Hungarian GP on the podium

Lewis Hamilton celebrates third lace in th Hungarian GP on the podium

After his Mercedes caught fire in qualifying Lewis Hamilton trudged away from the car not believing that he would make it into the top five come race day, but he was wrong as he powered to third place in the Hungarian Grand Prix after starting from the pitlane. He starred in just about every major battle during the course of the race and on his way to the Hungaroring podium. This is his story after a magnificent Formula 1 race.

Pit lane to podium! Lewis, that was also via the barriers of the second corner at the start. What a crazy afternoon you’ve had.
Lewis Hamilton: It’s been a pretty crazy weekend.

When you got out of the car yesterday, you were disappointed you had that failure and you had mentally put yourself over 30 points behind Nico. You were convinced he would win and you would struggle to get into the top five and here you are on the podium.
LH: Absolutely. Big thank you to the team, they did a great job with the pit stops and with the strategy and I just tried my best. The car’s been fantastic – when it’s going. Obviously a lot of points lost, because we could have had a much better weekend but we have a lot of strengths to look forward to in future races.

You were really struggling in the beginning. You were talking about the diff, you were talking about a vibration, we heard you were getting very hot in your seat, you were clearly nursing a few issues as well?
LH: Yeah, to be honesty at the beginning obviously a mistake by myself, but the brakes were very, very cold and locked up and I was gone. Fortunately I got going again, thank the Lord I didn’t damage the car and you know damage limitation again.

One of your finest ever drives?
LH: I don’t think so.

A lot of people may be extremely surprised to see you here but it was a fantastic race for you. Did you ever think it was possible? You had some great wheel-to-wheel racing as well out there.
LH: I don’t know, I was just pushing as hard as I could to see if I could get as high as I could and yeah, I mean, a great result obviously.

What does this third place mean to you or are you still regretting yesterday?
LH: No, obviously this is damage limitation. On one hand I’m very grateful to have been able to get through with all the difficulties I’ve had this weekend, obviously yesterday and the first lap. I can’t believe how things have gone but to be able to come back through… the safety cars obviously helped quite a lot but naturally I look at the fact that I had the pace this weekend I lost quite a lot of opportunistic points. Still, we’re there in the fight, fortunately I stayed of my team-mate, which means I’m still there or thereabouts.

How hard did he come back at you?
LH: Well, he was catching me at three seconds a lap, so it was very, very tough at the end. Fernando, and big congratulations to Daniel, drove fantastically well, both of them. It was very difficult to keep him behind, and also with Nico, and impossible to get past Fernando.

Quite tricky, the last few laps?
LH: Yeah, definitely.

We heard on the radio the messages from the team asking you to pull over and let Nico by, around about lap 50-51. We can now see why you didn’t do it, otherwise you wouldn’t be on the podium. Can you just explain your thoughts at that particular time: what was going through your head? Why you didn’t let him by? And secondly, how do you feel the dynamic of your relationship will again maybe now change, following the summer break, with Nico?
LH: Well obviously I’m aware that when you’re… y’know I was in the same race as him. Just because he had one more stop than me doesn’t mean I wasn’t in the same race as him. And naturally if I’d have let him past, he would have had the opportunity to pull away and when he does pit, he’s going to come back and overtake me, so I was very, very shocked that the team would ask me to do that, to be able to better his position. But to be honest, he didn’t get close enough to overtake but I was never going to lift off and lost ground to Fernando or Daniel to enable him to have a better race. So that was a bit strange. But we’ve got a long way to go, moving forwards still and, as I said, thankfully I’m still in that battle, so, I hope we can come away stronger.

Going into the summer break, psychologically, what does it mean for you, the fact that you started in the pitlane, your team-mate started on pole, and you’re here and he isn’t?
LH: Well that in itself is huge for me. I can’t express to you the pain that you feel when you have issues such as the issues that I’ve had in the last couple of races. It’s very, very difficult to swallow, and, to come back the next day and get the right balance between not attacking too much, and not making mistakes, all these different things. So many things that… obviously when you’re at the back you’re having to push way past the limit than perhaps you would off pole position or in the top five. So the fact that I’m managed to come back through obviously is a showing of just how great this car is and how great this team is – but ultimately we’ve worked, I’ve worked hard for it so it feels probably better than perhaps a win, gliding from the lead. It feels definitely much more satisfying when you come back through. And, as I said, to be ahead and to win the fight is really encouraging.

You’ve battled wheel to wheel with Daniel. Has he now established himself as a front-runner?
LH: Yeah, he’s been driving fantastically well from the beginning of the year. So, it’s not only now, it’s through the whole year he’s shown his capability and is going from strength to strength. Not only one of the nicest guys in the paddock but also one of the best drivers here, for sure.

During this crazy race, what was the main difficulty for you, trying to find your way on the wet track at the beginning or resisting your teammate at the end?
LH: The beginning. The strange thing about starting from the pit lane is that you don’t get ready to go out. Your brakes are cold as you start, your tyres are brand new and obviously I experienced that into turn two. It was an interesting beginning to the race but I’m very very very grateful that I got through.

Three different drivers, three different teams, three different power trains in the last race of this part of the season. Does it mean that in the second part of the season we will maybe see some more competition or did the circumstances of the race create this situation?
LH: I think it’s great for the fans to see. I’m sure today – people say it was a great race – that’s really what the fans want to see so I hope that continues for the future.

The last time that things didn’t go according to plan was at Silverstone – apart from Hockenheim but that was a technical issue – when something messed up your qualifying, you said that you spent the night or I heard you spend the night with your mother, with your father, with your family, with your loved ones. What helped you through this time, in this dip? What did you do yesterday to prepare yourself for the race day?
LH: I had a pizza last night! I did, some pizza and some chocolate and watched a movie. Went to dinner with Niki yesterday and played a prank on him as it was his birthday and just tried to have some fun. We really have some of the greatest fans here and I think really some of my really close fans that I have here really got me through this weekend. I didn’t have my family here with me and it’s great to be able to turn to them and to be able to receive positive energy from them. I got a letter from one of my fans this morning and just the comments it had in it were really uplifting and really helped kick my mind into gear so I’m grateful for that.

Yesterday you were quoted as saying that what happened starts to go beyond bad luck. Could you please explain what exactly you meant by that and are you maybe starting to lose confidence in the team, because of the technical problems and now they asked you to move over for Nico who was on a different strategy?
LH: I don’t really remember… I mean yesterday after what was quite a difficult time, I came straight out and spoke to the media so I think fortunately I controlled myself quite well and I don’t really remember what kind of frame of mind I was in at that point but it’s the same as saying ‘it’s beyond a joke.’ Sometimes there’s one joke, there’s another joke and sometimes it gets a little bit past that and obviously with the faults that we’ve had on my car, it’s made it very difficult for this championship but as I said, fortunately I got some points today which means that I’m still there or thereabouts but the telling thing would be how my car performs through the rest of the year.

Yourself and Nico have had the odd technical issue over the course of the year. Given the performance between you two is so close, how concerned are you that the title could be decided between you by who has the least technical issues?
LH: Ultimately it is a concern because I’ve stopped more than him. But as I said, there’s still quite a few races to go and it will be telling, dependent on how… Obviously I’ve got the pace, got the ability, just really whether or not the car holds up.