Lewis Hamilton at the Emilia Romagna GP Friday Press Conference

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Lewis Hamilton attended the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Friday Drivers’ Press Conference. Here is the transcript!

Q: Well, Lewis, how memorable was that shoey [on the podium with Daniel Ricciardo at the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix]?

Lewis HAMILTON: Scarred me for life! I’ll never get over the fact that I had some of your toe jam. That’s pretty bad. But no, it was pretty good, obviously an amazing experience to be on the podium with Daniel and this is a great race here. So much great history.

Q: Can we talk bigger picture? Total Wolf says your chances of winning the world championship this year are at about 20%? Would you agree with him? 

LH: I mean, I’m not a mathematician so I don’t really know what the percentage chances Are. But it’s definitely tough. It’s a tall order. That’s for sure.

Q: But still very much in your sights?

LH: Yeah, I mean, there’s a long, long way to go. You’ve seen in the previous year you’ve seen how much happens in in a season. Still so many races to go. There’s still time for us to turn this around. There’s still time for us to fix this car and extract the full potential and that’s what I know that all the team are working flat out to try to achieve.

Q: And what can we expect from the car this weekend? Do you think you can make a step forward with it here?

LH: I’m hoping that we… Every time I get in the car I’m hoping that it’s going to be feel better. Ultimately, it’s fundamentally is still the same car. I know that everyone at factory has been working very hard over Easter to try and bring even the smallest bits of improvement to the car. So we don’t have any anything that’s groundbreaking, that’s going to change our result, but we hope that we do move slightly forward this weekend.

Q: And Lewis,  just before we move on, can we talk football? Chelsea Football Club. Do you fancy it?

LH: Fancy what?

Q: Do you fancy buying the club? Playing for the club?

LH: Being an owner? Yeah, I do, very much.

Q: Is there any truth to the stories?

LH: Yeah. I mean, look, I’ve been a football fan since I was a kid. I played football from probably from the age of four until I was 17. I was in teams every year. I played in the school team every year through my childhood. I’ve been to numerous games. When I was young… Around the corner from where I lived, I used to play football with all the kids and a couple of my close friends at the time, I really wanted to fit in. I was the only kid of colour there. But I know that the kids all supported someone different. One was Tottenham and one was Man U, and I remember switching between these teams when I was younger and getting home and my sister punching me several times in the arm, my sister Sam, basically beating me saying ‘you have to support Arsenal’. So I remember at five or six years old that I then became a supporter of Arsenal. But my Uncle Terry is a big Blues fan. I’ve been to so many games with him to watch Arsenal and Chelsea play. And ultimately I’m a sporting fan. It is the biggest sport in the world. And Chelsea is the one of the biggest clubs in the world, and most successful. And when I heard about this opportunity, I was like, ‘wow, this is this is one of the greatest opportunities to be a part of something so great’.

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Q: (Alan Baldwin – Reuters) Lewis, even you’ve explained very well how an Arsenal fan gets to be involved with Chelsea. I just wondered if you could explain how Serena gets involved. Did you discuss it with her? Were you both approached? Or how did that link up happen?

LH: We did speak about it. We spoke multiple times. Serena and I are very close. So we’re constantly in touch. You know, she’s a phenomenal athlete and woman. We spoke about it, she asked me what my thoughts were on it. And I told her that I’ll be I’m going to be a part of it. And she was excited to join.

Q: (Rebecca Clancy – The Times) Lewis, sorry, just to go on about the Chelsea bid. How did it actually happen from your side? Were you approached? Where did it all start? Where did the talks begin? 

LH: Well, naturally, I heard about it in the news about… Everyone’s obviously aware of it. And yeah, we were contacted and so Martin took time to speak to me on the phone and explain his and his team’s goals if they were to win the bid, which was incredibly exciting, and it was very much aligned with my values and again, it’s … As a kid I remember I remember collecting all the stickers. I don’t know if you remember, when you go down to the store and get those books and you had to then trade cards. I remember filling all those up as a kid and trading them for pennies, trading them for sweets with other kids, for the most valuable cards. And when I was younger I was trying I was trying to be the best player I could be and actually play for a team. So I was trying to try out for Stevenage Borough when I was younger, but then I ended up following the racing space, but I could have only ever dreamed of being part of a team and a natural, integral part of a team, so that’s for me the most exciting thing.

Q: (Christian Nimmervoll – motorsport-total.comLewis if you manage to win number eight this year or next year, does that change the chances of you signing a new contract or doesn’t it affect it at all?

LH: That’s firstly a really tall order. And that’s not something that’s immediately at the forefront of my mind. I think we’re all sent these challenges through our through our journeys and through our lives and this is one that I’m really enjoying. I’m really enjoying spending more time with the team, deeper dives into engineering,  into aero characteristics, development of the simulator and the simulation tools. I think it’s enabled me to become even more involved in development which is exciting. I think I still feel fresh and still feel young, to be honest, even though I’m around all these youngsters here. So, I don’t think that’s going to be the deciding factor whether I continue or not. I plan to be here.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing News 365) Lewis, again on the Chelsea Football Club thing, if you don’t mind. Given the controversial ownership at the moment, given the fact that when Roman Abramovich purchased the team back in 2010 (sic), there were suggestions that the Kremlin was actually involved. And then given your human rights interest, is it something savoury about the deal, dealing with these sort of people?

LH: Well, I mean, firstly, we’re trying to acquire a team and move it forward. This is a team, this is all about the community. That’s what really makes a football team. It’s the people in and around it. They’ve done and been quite leading in the work in D&I and becoming more diverse and progressive. So, it’s not that we’re associating ourselves with previous owners. Our goal is to continue some of the work that they’ve already done and have even more of an impact and engage more with the community.

Q: (Matt Kew – Autosport) A question for Lewis again. Having won the final race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, having to wait for Austin, seeing how that’s grown. And now we’re on the eve of the Miami Grand Prix. Just how pleased are you personally to see F1 finally crack in America in a big way?

LH: Yeah, I mean, growing up knowing how amazing the sport is and seeing that there was still quite a disconnect between the US and the rest of the world in terms of the passion for this sport, it’s really amazing to see that we’ve cracked it and there’s a growing love in the States. There are massive sporting fans out there. And I mean, Miami is going to be an experience for all of us, for the racing community, for those that are the fans out there that are watching, the fans that are going to be flying in that maybe have never been there before. The US has a lot to offer in that space. So it’s super exciting.

Q: (Ian Parkes – New York Times) Another question for Lewis on Chelsea. Lewis, football clubs are notorious for losing money. Chelsea’s last financial accounts, they lost £145.6 million after tax. So what have you been promised or told that your investment will get you? And what are you hoping it will achieve? Because I can’t imagine you’re making that investment to lose money. Thank you.

LH: Yeah, I mean, naturally, that’s never the idea of an investment. But firstly, the investment to be a part of something as big as this is the excitement. That’s first and foremost what comes to mind. And then yes, of course, it is a business venture. But through the discussions we’ve had, how the team plan to manage this team moving forward and improve that, and slowly decrease those losses and turn it into a profit-making organisation, that’s going to take a lot of work. There are so many moving parts, I don’t have the strategy to all that. We haven’t yet won the bid. I’m sure that will come afterwards. But the people, the team, the consortium, it’s a consortium of lifetime Chelsea fans and others that have come to it later like myself. There’s not anyone that’s a part of it, that is a part of that consortium that’s with the mindset of losing. I already think Chelsea already has a winning mindset. But I think we can do better with how we move it forward.

Q: (Luke Smith – Autosport) For Lewis and Daniel. We’ve got Miami coming up next, Vegas next year. Very exciting, but there is some uncertainty about Monaco’s future, that maybe it needs a revised deal or maybe some changes. You’re both Monaco winners, how important is it to keep that on the calendar and its place within Formula 1?

Daniel RICCIARDO: Yeah, I mean, Monaco is special. I think the thing is, I love the addition of some of these new circuits, new cities that we’re going to. I’m all for it, because it’s also like new experiences and engaging another audience which is fun, and it keeps the sport growing, so I like… I think as Lewis touched on earlier, like kind of sharing the sport with more of the globe, and ultimately sharing our passion with more people. So I think with that you still want… There are those core F1 venues and circuits such as Monaco. It’s a special weekend. For sure, like the race, it’s one of the most tricky circuits to overtake so, you know, I’m not sure it provides like the ultimate viewing experience on a Sunday but the weekend experience and just everything that is Monaco is special and unique. And yeah, winning it or not, I think going there as an F1 driver and having that and experiencing all the emotions that go with competing in Monaco, it’s unique. And I’m very, very happy to have that, and have experienced that in my career. I guess I would wish, you know, call it the next generation to also experience that because it is special.

LH:  I mean, I second what Daniel said. I mean, it’s one of the crown jewels of our sport. So I’m not really sure it would be great to lose it. There are good bits… I guess that the difficult part is that the racing itself is not that spectacular. But everyone that goes enjoys it. It is a prime location. Adjusting the track is not easy, because it’s the second smallest country in the world. I think it’s the second or third smallest country? Second, right? And so, yeah, we don’t have a lot of space there. Many of us live in Monaco. But it is just that that icon status it has, the history that it has that is so appealing to drivers, but also I think to those that are watching.

Q: (Edd Straw – The Race) Question for Lewis again, again on Chelsea. You’ve talked about the need to create business opportunities and initiatives for the longer term, for life beyond Formula 1. This sounds like an opportunity that engages you and fits in with your passion for football. So is this something you’d see as if it comes off being something you’re quite hands on involved with in the longer term? And also, how do you see it fitting in with some of the other initiatives you’ve been pushing in the past few years?

LH: Well, at the moment my primary focus is continuing in Formula 1, and this isn’t my first business venture or investment. But yeah, it’s something I’m excited about, I would say early on I’m for sure not going to be able to be hands on as the other people that are a part of it. But again, we haven’t won it yet. But if we do, there’s lots of opportunity to get involved more and more over time, which is super exciting. And particularly beyond racing, of wanting to help with the success they’ve already had, and help it be even more successful. The part where we’re very aligned is DNI, for example, and what they’ve already done there, you’ve seen that, in that sport, there is still a lot of work to be done to be more diverse and more inclusive. It’s an amazing platform to bring in and educate a lot of the amazing fans that are out there. And there’s some amazing talent within the team already that have really stood up against discrimination, and worked very closely with the organisation to move forward. And I know that’s really important for I think the fans of Chelsea. The community is heavily invested in that also. So I think it’s important.

Q: (Adam Cooper motorsport.com) Have any of you tried Miami in the same and if not, maybe you’ve seen videos or pictures. Any thoughts on the track? And what kind of race we might have? 

LH: I haven’t no, but I plan to after this, same as anyone.

Source: FIA.com

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