Apr.5 (McLaren)Lewis Hamilton has started from pole twice in two races this season but has failed to turn the top slot on the grid into race wins, nevertheless he goes to China lying second in the championship standings and will fancy his chance on a circuit where he has won twice before. The 2008 F1 world champion speaks ahead of the weekend in Shanghai.
You opened your winning account in China last year, are you hoping for the same this season?
Lewis Hamilton: I’m looking at the championship as a whole – although, of course, I’d love to win every race, it’s more important to be in a good points-scoring position at every race. I think the first two races have shown that, as a team, we’re definitely in positions to win. I think Malaysia was a good example of how to pick up points when you’re looking at the championship – and that was something I really took away as a positive from that race. But yeah, I’ll be heading to China looking to win – but it’s just as important to pick up some good points if, for whatever reason, a win isn’t on the cards.
What do you like about the Shanghai International Circuit?
LH: I have some vivid memories of racing in China – some good, some not so good! I’ve won there twice – both were victories I’m really proud of: in 2008, it was a very important race, and I really needed a good result for the championship – we had a pretty much perfect weekend with pole position, fastest lap and the race win. Then in 2011, coming off the back of a difficult weekend in Malaysia, I had a great race, kept pushing every lap and managed to take the lead right at the end. It was a very important win because it showed that we could be a force in the championship that year.
Your two third positions have consolidated your position in the championship – is that the key to a good season?
LH: I won’t deny that I’m disappointed to have had two pole positions and not to have been able to convert either of them into victories, but I prefer to think of it that luck just hasn’t been on my side, and that it will swing my way sooner or later. I also think last year taught me the value of consistency: it’s no use chasing a great result if you can’t back it up with another strong finish the following week. So maybe I’m just playing myself in gently: after all, in 2007, I didn’t win a race until the sixth round, and I was in the hunt for the title all through the year. I still don’t think the pecking order has settled down yet, so it’s important to get some good results in the bag while we can. It will be very interesting to see how the order has shaken itself out over the last three weeks – it’s going to be an interesting weekend.