Lewis Hamilton attended the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix Friday Drivers’ Press Conference. Here is the full transcript!
Q: Lewis, Toto said, said after the race on Sunday that you could have challenged for victory without the incident of lap one. Do you agree with him?
Lewis HAMILTON: I have no idea. It’s all ifs and buts but we definitely had the pace.
Q: Did your pace on Sunday surprise you and the team?
LH: Yep, we definitely weren’t expecting it. I think we were expecting to hopefully be closer to the Ferraris but I think Charles’ pace was probably ahead of everyone’s but other than that. I mean, yeah, I definitely didn’t expect to come so far behind.
Q: So Lewis, what does this mean looking at the bigger picture? Do you have a car with which you could fight for the world title now?
LH: I don’t know. It’s too early to say. I think honestly, we know that there’s potential in the car and I think we tapped into it in the last race. So, I’m really hoping this… I mean, this is a completely different track, so I’m hoping that is not up and down from weekend-in, weekend-out from now on. But my guess is as good as yours.
Q: What was the car like through Sector 3 in Barcelona? The slow corners.
LH: It wasn’t spectacular. It was good in the race. I don’t really understand why it was good race, but we seemed to be as good as others in a race. But in the single lap, it wasn’t that great.
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QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Rebecca Clancy – The Times) Question for Lewis, please. We understand the jewellery issue has been pushed back to the end of June. The drivers are, we understand, talking to the Medical Commission. Just want to ask, from your point of view, have you actually looked into getting your nose stud taken out? We understand that it wasn’t quite so straightforward. Will you put your earrings back in for this weekend? And are you happy with the direction of travel that the conversation is going in now that there’s a sort of more open dialogue?
LH: Honestly, I feel like there’s just way too much time and energy being given to this. So I’ve said everything I feel I need to say on the last races. And that’s not what my focus is this weekend. I’ve taken out my studs for every time I’ve been in the car, and I will continue to do so. And yeah, the nose ring is not a problem at the moment.
Q: (No Name, no publication) Question for Lewis. Last year Ferrari had a difficult year, but performed really well here. Obviously the performance of Mercedes last week worked very well. Do you think you can be the surprise of the weekend with Mercedes, let’s say?
LH: I mean, I hope so. But we’ve not been that quick in low-speed so far this year. So I anticipate… they have a lot of downforce, they’re going to be quick this weekend. I’m just hoping we’re not as far back as we have been.
Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) Question for Lewis. We’re a third of the way through the season now. I just wondered if you could just give us a summary of how you felt your relationship with George is getting along? Obviously, he’s hit the ground running and surprised many of us just how quickly it’s taken to that car. I just wondered if you could just sum up how you’re working with him?
LH: It’s going great and not really much more to say what than what I’ve said before, but he’s doing a great job. He’s very, very consistent, very clear and concise with his feedback. He hasn’t had to gel-in because he was already part of the team. So, it’s been very smooth.
Q: (Claire Cottingham – Racefans.net) Lewis, a question for you. Obviously, Monaco is massively about confidence and coming away from Spain with the confidence that you got, I just wondered when mentally you are coming into a race like this, where literally anything can happen on the first lap?
LH: Pretty open-minded, really. But definitely excited. You know, this is one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting race weekend of the year. They changed the format a little bit but the weather has been great this past days, and I know Sunday might be a little bit different but it’s… just the idea that in a couple of hours, we’re going to be out on this track. And there’s only 20 of us that get to do it. It’s such a privileged position to be in. And such an awesome experience. It’s… your emotions are up and down. And then it’s going to be fun out there today. I can’t wait. And of course, since we’ve just made some changes in the last race, it won’t be I don’t think it’ll be as bad as it had been in other races, but I won’t hold my breath.
Q: (Giles Richards – The Guardian) Question for Lewis and any other drivers who’d like to take part. We all know you as drivers like racing on this circuit but realistically, with these current cars, with their width and their weight, do you think you’ll actually be able to race them at all against one-another on Sunday?
LH: We all know what kind of race it is, the actual Sunday. It’s all about qualifying. So Saturday is the day. And then Sunday, it’s most often, generally, unless you luck-in with a bit of strategy. Generally, I mean, there’s not many overtakes here, I think, ever, so… and now the cars are bigger and heavier, and there probably won’t be any more. It’ll be the same.
Q: (Ian Parkes – New York Times) Lewis, I appreciate your comments earlier that you’ve expended too much energy on this particular subject, but is it at least a positive from the drivers perspective that the FIA and its medical commissioner Dr Sean Petherbridge, in particular, has at least listened to the comments of people like yourself and the other drivers and they are happy to work with you on the jewellery subject? Thank you.
LH: It came in in 2005. I think we’ve all worn jewellery our whole careers in Formula 1, it’s not been a problem in the past and there’s no reason for it to be a problem, necessarily, now. There are positives that we’re working with them. And I think they’re accommodating a little bit at the moment. But we shouldn’t have to keep on revisiting this thing every weekend. We’ve definitely got bigger fish to fry. Not literally obviously, but you know what I mean!
Q: (Matt Kew – Autosport). Quick question to Lewis. We’re now, give or take, a month out from the British Grand Prix, which is a sell-out crowd. But given the narrative around yourself and Mercedes, perhaps a bit different going into this one, I just wondered if you had a message to the fans that will be going?
LH: I don’t know if there’s a different narrative. I’m hoping by then, we are where we plan to be. I know everyone back at the factory is working as hard as they can, to continue to make advances with the car and I have no doubts that that we will. And yeah, I’m hoping by Silverstone we have the car where we need it, at least by then, to be able to fight these guys for the win. That’s what I’m working every day for, is so that we can fight on home turf, and give them the best race we can.