Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian GP Thursday Press Conference

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Lewis Hamilton attended the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix Thursday Drivers’ Press Conference. Here is the full transcript!

Q: Lewis, thank you for waiting. Welcome back. Now you’ve had clearly a very memorable trip to Africa since we last saw you.  What in particular made it so special?

Lewis HAMILTON: Well, good afternoon everyone. It’s nice to see everybody. We’ve definitely… I’m pretty sure all of us have missed being at the race circuit. This year… when I started this year, I’m quite bad at some planning things, I’m always very last minute and one of my New Year’s resolutions was to plan ahead. So, for the for the August break, I already planned it in February and it’s the place that I have… it’s the continent that I’ve wanted to go and visit. Whilst I’ve been there before, it’s the place I wanted to go more than anywhere. And I got to obviously travel in lots of different places.  It was incredible how welcoming everyone was and it was a very grounding experience to see the incredible landscape and the different countries that we went to. And it was a very humbling experience just seeing people live with literally nothing. Just in like a house made of sticks, you know, literally twigs, and no shoes, no socks, and going about their daily lives, you know, not with social media, and not with the stuff that we all we all have in the Western world and then it didn’t seem like they took anything for granted which was really quite beautiful to see.

Q: Now, if I can bring it on to performance this weekend, how excited are you by the pace of your car? Do you think that win, that first win of the year is close?

LH: I do,  definitely, I think. Of course we’ve been improving, we’ve had this consistency that’s come up of the recent races and great progress that the team was just making, everyone pulling together, continuing to push. And the car is becoming more of a racing car which is not particularly what it was the beginning of the year, more like a normal racing car in the sense of its characteristics so that’s positive. And the last race was obviously the best showing that we’ve had so far. And that, for us, was a huge boost of just that we can close that gap. So it’s naturally going to continue to be tough, we will keep our heads down. The other guys are doing an amazing job but I do believe that we can close the gap.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Lewis, there was an interesting interview with you in Vanity Fair over the summer break in which a friend of yours was quoted saying you’ve got nothing left to prove but a lot left to achieve. I wondered how much of what you have left to achieve is in Formula 1 and how you viewed your future in the sport at the moment?

LH: I think there’s still plenty to achieve here personally, maybe not like that many records as such, but still a lot of ground to cover with the team. And like the guys here I still deeply in love with the sport and particularly like the direction and things that we’re doing within the sport, the work that conversations that I get to have with Stefano. But of course, there’s lots more outside that’s continuing to grow as well. So it’s exciting times I think. The future’s bright, I like to think.


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Q: (Rodrigo Franca – Car Magazine Brazil) Formula 1 is getting new fans every day, a new generation, teenagers, maybe people who weren’t even born when you were already racing  Formula 1. So, as F1 drivers, do you see that in your daily basis? And why do you think is that happening? Drive to Survive? Social media? And, of course, it’s good for the sport, right?

LH: I mean, the business is growing. So yes, it is good for the sport. I think it’s down to the great work that that Liberty is doing with the sport. The access, of course we know that Netflix has had a big effect but social media as well, I think the young youth is on TikTok, all that sort of stuff. So just a lot more eyeballs are on it. Kids love cars and it is the coolest sport there is. So, it was only a matter of time, at some point that it was going to go this direction. And I think it’s great. I see fans from all ages that come and visit me, or send me letters from literally just from babies and their little baby Mercedes outfits to, you know, to five-year olds to 106 year olds. There’s a still a good older generation that’s still super in love with the sport. Obviously they watched it their whole lives. And so yeah, I think it’s awesome.

Q: (Matt Kew – Autosport) Yesterday we found out, the news was confirmed that Daniel Ricardo and McLaren will be splitting. As drivers have varying length contract, does this show that there are negatives to having that long-term security that many drivers crave throughout their career, and that there needs to be specific mechanisms so parties can split at certain points?

LH: Just from my personal experience, I think there’s pros and cons always in all different scenarios. I remember when I signed at McLaren, I signed a loan deal. And I think that was good at the time. When you do short deals… it takes time to bond with a team, it takes time to build relationships, it’s not something that you can do in half a year or a year. I’m incredibly grateful for my journey with my team because we’re still continuously improving and growing closer and, and starting to actually create some change. But to each their own, whatever works. I look down, and see what other drivers are doing. It doesn’t matter what I think, whether I think it’s right or wrong, it’s what they feel is right. And at the end of the day, just the opportunity to re-sign with the team is an amazing scenario. It’s really unfortunate for Daniel, but I really, really hope that… I still think he has he deserves a place here in the sport. So I really hope there’s somewhere great for him, because he’s still got lots to achieve.

Source: FIA.com

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