Lewis Hamilton attended the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix Friday Drivers’ Press Conference. Here is the full transcript!
Q: Lewis, welcome. Can we start on this point with you? It seems sort of natural place to start given Max has just been talking about it. Your thoughts on this Technical Directive, please?
Lewis HAMILTON: Yeah, I mean, I was always interesting seeing people’s perspectives and opinions in different lights. Obviously in front of you it’s one thing and another in the background, sometimes people say different things. But ultimately, I think safety is the most important thing. And I don’t think… I think there’s at least one driver in every team has spoken on it and I don’t think it’s going to change a huge amount but I think there is a lot of work to be done and it’s positive that the FIA are working towards improving it, because we have this car for the next few years. So it’s not about coping with the bouncing for the next four years, it’s about completely getting rid of it and fixing it so that the future drivers, all of us, don’t have back problems moving forwards.
Q: And when you say you don’t I think it’s going to change much. Are you referring to the pecking order? Do you think it won’t change the order?
LH: Yeah, I think I don’t think really is going to change much in performance. It’s just going to… Well, I might be wrong. Who knows? We’ll see.
Q: All right. Well, let’s can we get your thoughts on being back here in Montreal, you have a fabulous record at this racetrack.
LH: Yeah, very special coming back to Montreal. It’s great to see the people, the city, it’s great to see the energy throughout the city as you’re going through. I remember my first time here and my first Grand Prix win here. My first pole, in 2007, so it’s always special when I come back here. And, you know, my dad called me, and we reminisce about these sorts of things. And yeah, so it’s great to be back. I can’t wait to drive this track because the track is awesome. I just hope our cars better this weekend.
Q: Talking of reminiscing, tell us about this retro game shop that you found in Montreal and what you got up to there?
LH: I just had this itch to play old games. I’ve just recently bought an old Nintendo 64. Actually, no, I didn’t but it, I found it in my storage. And then I went and got Golden Eye. And then when I landed I went to get Mario Kart, but they didn’t have the Nintendo 64. So I bought a Sega Megadrive, a Sega Genesis, sorry, and then they had the Senna game there. So I was like, ‘Oh, this is perfect’. So I’ve been spending the last couple of nights driving the Senna game, but I’m not that quick on it.
Max VERSTAPPEN: Any porpoising issues on the game?
LH: No, no porpoising.
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QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Joost Nederpelt – NU.nl) Lewis you had some difficulty getting out of the car in Baku after the race. Could you have done that within the required 10 seconds because of safety reasons and put the steering wheel back?
LH: I don’t think so at that time. No, it was excruciatingly painful at the time, so I’m just grateful I was able to get out. But yeah, definitely not at the speed that you’re supposed to be.
Q: (Luke Smith – Autosport) Lewis, looking ahead to the British Grand Prix coming up, obviously a very big weekend for you. How do you think Mercedes is going to fare at Silverstone, given it’s a much smoother surface? Will it be a bit more like Barcelona and how much fun do you think these new style cars, with the ground effect, are going to be around the high-speed corners at Silverstone.
LH: Well, Silverstone is still one of the best circuits, if not the best, in the sense of having all the medium- and high-speed corners, and the high-speed corners are always the most fun to drive. And with these cars that we have today, I mean, if you look at Barcelona we had bouncing in the high-speed corners, so it might not be spectacular, but I’m hoping by then we may have fixed it. But we will see. I think for all of us is going to be amazing. And we also can follow a little bit closer this year. So hopefully the race will be better.
Q: (Will Wood – Racefans.net) Another question for Lewis sorry. Toto Wolff said that you’re doing a lot of experimenting with the setup in races, and even if it may look from the outside and people that don’t know the record of you versus George, that he sees what’s going on, he knows what you’re doing. I’m just curious, how would you assess your own performance so far this season with everything that you’re doing to try and make the car better?
LH: I don’t look at my season too often, and assess, in a sense of judgement. I mean, I’m working as hard as I can, staying positive. We’ve come off the back of a difficult year. And I’d like to think I’m the best team-mate I’ve ever been, to George, but also to all the engineers, all the mechanics and everyone working at the factory, and trying to keep everyone’s energy high. I am trying a lot of different experimental things on the car to help us get the data and move forwards. You’ll see this today, for example, we’ve got something relatively extreme. If it doesn’t work, it’s definitely a lot slower, because it’s got less downforce, but that’s my role. I take that responsibility seriously. And whilst, yes, it’s not been ideal on some weekends, it’s often set us back because we lost a session or two but that’s okay. Because eventually we’ll get there and I’m proud to have been a part of that process.
Q: (Emily Selleck – New York Post) Lewis, you spoke out in defensive Naomi Schiff earlier this week. Can you elaborate on the importance of seeing more women working across all areas of motor sport?
LH: Yeah, thank you for that question. I mean, Naomi doesn’t need me to speak for her. But I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of hate online and there’s just no place for it. And so I felt compelled to say something. This has been a male dominated sport for a long, long time and there is so much work that we need to do to improve the representation and the opportunities for women in all levels within the teams and within the sport. I think it has progressed a lot like I can only reflect on my own team for example. When I go back to the factory there’s a huge increase of women coming in, more so on the kind of marketing space, and in like HR, for example. But in terms of engineers, we’ve got need to encourage more young women out there young girls out there to get into STEM subjects, and creating the opportunity. That’s part of my role, in the background, working with Stefano and the FIA to make sure we’re making a more inclusive environment for everyone. No, I arrived here, and we’ve been talking about this for a while, and you don’t see a lot of difference when you’re standing behind the camera or when you’re walking down the paddock. It’s not shifted anywhere near as much as I would have hoped for. But it is a conversation that people like yourself, I’m grateful for continuing that conversation. And having Naomi there, that representation, as I said, is so important. And I think she’s doing an amazing job. So I just tried to encourage her to continue to do what she’s doing because she stands for a lot.
Q: (Ian Parkes – New York Times) On the back issues, the porpoising thing. I spoke to a world leader in his field this week, he’s the spine lead for the World Federation of Neurosurgeons, and he outlined to me the damage that you are potentially going to do to yourselves, if the situation isn’t addressed, that you would damage the discs in your spine and also there is the possibility of small brain haemorrhages as well, given the way the head bounces inside the helmet in the cockpit of the car. When you hear those kind of comments, and they are genuine, true comments from, as I say, a world leader, does that make you think twice about the situation that you’re putting yourself in? And how important it is for F1 and the FIA to get on top of this matter as soon as possible, and it’s not just a simple case of let’s raise the ride height and let’s move on.
LH: Yeah, I mean, putting the technical side of stuff aside, I think just to reiterate, we definitely cannot…. I cannot stress how important health is for us. I think we’ve got an amazing sport here, but safety has to be paramount, it has to be the most important thing. And it’s interesting here, and I have not spoken to him or a specialist on discs, but I can definitely feel like I’m a little bit shorter this week. And my discs are definitely not in the best shape right now. And that’s not good for longevity. And there are things that we can do to improve that for all the drivers here. We want to arrive and do our job and put on a great show and race the safest and there is no need for us to have long-term injuries. So yeah, I just think we just need to work closely with the FIA and not take it lightly, which I don’t think they are and continue to pursue it.
Q: Lewis, how much longer is it taking you to recover from a Grand Prix this year compared to last year, for example?
LH: Well, yeah, because there’s a lot more bruising in the body after the races nowadays. So it’s just taking you most of the week, generally to recover, and you have to do a lot more to do it. And I don’t think that generally has anything to do with age, I think that’s just, generally, because the bruising can be quite severe. It’s interesting to hear from other drivers, I have empathy for the other drivers that have experienced it in a bad way. When you’re experiencing 10 Gs on a bump, up to 10 Gs, which I experienced in the last race. That’s a heavy, heavy load on the lower part and the top part your neck as well.
Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC) Max, picking up on your point just now about the inherent way you have to run these cars. And also this question is for Lewis and Alex. Do you think Formula 1 made a wrong turn with these regulations in that context, in that ground effect cars will always have to be run low and stiff?
MV: I think nobody really expected it to be like this. So that’s probably overlooked, maybe. But we have a lot of smart people here who can find a solution to that, for sure. And hopefully, of course, very soon. Maybe not this year, but for next year, maybe there are some solutions to get rid of that.
LH: Not really much more to add to that. I agree. I think they looked a lot of stuff, but they didn’t anticipate this coming. So we need to work together with all the teams, the FIA needs to work with all the teams to progress forwards. And when it’s on safety grounds, it means that everyone needs to move.
Q: (Jenna Fryer – AP) My question is for Lewis. It’s a two-part question. Lewis, others have said that possibly this could be fixed by just raising the car so why not raise the car? And also have you worried at all about micro-concussions from all the bouncing?
LH: So in the last race and previous races, we have raised the car and you still have bouncing. Porpoising is more about the flow structure underneath the car. So we’ve run the car very high, most of the season. And it’s not until Barcelona that we started to be able to get it a little bit lower. We had no bouncing for the first time in Barcelona, except for in the high-speed corners. And then it appeared again in Monaco and in Baku, so we had to raise the car again. But even when we raise the car, this thing still bounces. And we can’t go any higher actually. We’re limited by the rear suspension now. So we do lose performance naturally when you do go higher, but this porpoising is caused by the disrupted flow underneath the car. And so in terms of micro-concussions, I’ve definitely been having a lot more headaches in the past months, but I have not seen a specialist about it. So I’m not taking it too seriously or just taking painkillers. So hopefully I don’t have the concussions.
Q: (Christian Nimmervoll – Motorsport.com) Lewis, if the porpoising continues like it does, which hopefully it does not, would that be an argument to not sign a new contract, to protect your health.
LH: Well, I meant I imagined we’re going to get this fixed over by the end of next year, at least. So hopefully, that’s not going to be something determined from racing longer, but time will tell.