PARC FERMÉ INTERVIEWS
(Conducted by Naomi Schiff)
Q: Congratulations, Lewis, you kept us on your toes in that session. There was a moment when we thought you might have pole position, but it wasn’t to be today. Talk us through what this track is like for you and how special it is.
Lewis HAMILTON: Well, firstly, hi everyone in Singapore. I was pushing so hard, it was so, so close. I was trying so hard. These guys are always so quick. But I really thought maybe just with a perfect lap, it was really hard to get that, we could be fighting for first place. But I just didn’t have the grip on the last lap. But nonetheless, I’m grateful to be on a second row and I’m grateful to the team for continuing to push and you know, we just keep our heads down and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.
Q: But for the margins to have been as close as they were and for you to have kept us on your toes, it’s got to be a sign of the progress that your team has made.
LH: Yeah, we didn’t know how close we would be this weekend. We knew that the car would be stronger than it was in Monza. But we didn’t know how close it would be but yeah, to lose out by that bit, yeah, it’s okay. We just get up and fight again tomorrow.
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Q: Lewis, welcome, first time we’ve seen you in here after Qualifying this year. How do you reflect on what just happened out there?
LH: This is the highest I’ve qualified? I didn’t realise! Oh, it was incredibly close. And a really exciting session in general. The car felt a lot better today. We did a lot of great work overnight, back at the factory, but also here and a really clean qualifying session. And obviously, competing for front row constantly. So, I think at the end, it was so difficult to get that lap perfect. And I was hoping for some sort of lap like 2018 but the car definitely doesn’t want to drive like that one, so you know, I gave it everything. And to be so close between a top three, I think is still great. So, let’s hope we can do something in the race tomorrow. It’s very hard to overtake here, but maybe we can have a better strategy than these guys.
Q: Lewis, you say you did a lot of work overnight before qualifying. Just how confident were you coming into the session?
LH: Well, everyone had a wet session in P3, so I couldn’t say that I had confidence. After P2, it looked like we were half-a-second behind these guys. And the car didn’t feel good in P3, quite a big gap to these guys and all of a sudden, in those damp conditions we were right with them. So that was a bit of a surprise. And in that moment, I was like ‘okay, it’s on’. Maybe this is our moment, maybe finally we have a chance to fight for the front row, fight for pole. So, I was giving it my all but I think for all of us, just very tricky conditions. For them, it was Turn 13; for me it was Turn 16, was a bit of a handful, lost a bit of time there, but I still have to be grateful to be on the front row (sic). And yeah, we’ll see what we can do from here.
Q: Lewis, after the season you’ve had, what does it feel like to have a car that you can compete for pole position with?
LH: It feels incredibly rewarding, I think, for everyone in the team. We’ve really started with a real handful, difficult deck of cards that we’ve created for ourselves and reshuffling, and lots and lots of work. Everyone staying really positive, or as positive as possible and everyone just being incredibly diligent and never giving up. So, it’s been an inspiring year for me, witnessing what my team do and being a part of that and yeah, I so badly want to… naturally the will and desire to get a good result for them, to pay them back for all their great work is part of it. Also, my fans have been the most incredible this year, on and off track. And we couldn’t have survived the year without them. So, I also want it for them. But I think we’ve got a great turnout here this weekend. And I hope that tomorrow we can give them a good show.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Frédéric Ferret – L’Equipe) Question to the three of you: Last time we ran in Singapore, the winner won it Thanks to the undercut. Do you think that the undercut will work tomorrow? Like the last time?
Charles LECLERC: Well, strategy’s going to be very important. I think we are in a bit of a different situation compared to 2019 with the strategy, but it should make it more exciting – but undercut will definitely be a thing tomorrow.
Sergio PEREZ: Yeah, I think the deg will be high, so there will be a point as soon as there is a window, I believe people will start to pit.
Q: Lewis, any thing from you on this. Undercut?
Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) Question. Lewis. Understand you’ve got to go and see the stewards. I think this may be related – you might be able to confirm – whether it’s to do with your nose stud. I’ve noticed you’ve got your piercing in. Could you tell us: did you forget? Is it on purpose? Are you making a point? I’d also like to follow it up: Charles, I’ve noticed you’re wearing a ring. You either got married or have you just put this on before coming up here?
LH: Did you get married?
CL: I think when you get married it’s on the left?
Q: Well, normally yes… you’re allowed to wear it if you’re married.
CL: No, no, nothing to do with this.
Q: would you be in breach if you were wearing it in the car?
CL: No, no, I wasn’t. I always take them off and put them on again once it’s done.
LH: I was not trying to make a statement. No. Basically we had this… obviously, I’ve had this… my jewellery and my nose stud for years. And obviously, we had that whole commotion at the beginning of the year. At the time it was, like soldered in. So it didn’t come lose. They gave me at the time, for many races, they gave me, not therapeutic use, but like an exemption, until I could find a solution. And then went and got it taken out and tried to find solution, put it in and put it out. It got infected because of that. And I was just continuing on with this infection. And I had a blood blister and I was going on about it. So just had quite a sore on my nose. Then I went back and saw the… this is all stuff I’ve told them before qualifying. And then went back and had to have the… disgustingly, but the blood blister fixed because there was like pus and blood and stuff. And then put this in and the last two weeks it’s started to heal and they’ve asked that I keep it in. So it’s crazy that we’re obviously having to talk about something so small. I take everything else out. And yeah, at this point, I don’t really care to be honest.
Q: (Rebecca Clancy – The Times) Lewis, just wanted to get your reaction please to the allegations that have emerged over the weekend that Red Bull potentially overspent the budget cap last year, and that there is a chance – even quite slim – that potentially the 2021 season isn’t yet concluded or the winner may change or… just your views on it, please.
LH: I’m not really giving it much attention, to be honest. It’s all whispers at the moment, I don’t know enough about it to be able to make a sensible comment. I’m not thinking particularly anything. I’m proud of my team for the diligence that they’ve done to run to the rules. And I honestly, I have full confidence in Mohammed in the way that he’s conducted himself to this point and in terms of being strict and being clear with the rules. The rules are rules and for those sort of things, which can lead to real alterations in terms of car performance, those sorts of things, we definitely have to take it seriously. But as I said, I don’t know if it’s true or not so we’ll see.
Q: (Niharika Ghorpade – Sportskeeda) Lewis, you were one of the few drivers who was able to get the tyres working in the temperature window much more quickly than the others. What was the difference? It’s not been your team’s strong point this year. And also, George seemed to have a different weekend in Singapore. Is there any particular reason behind it?
LH: I can’t speak for George. I don’t know what happened with him in the session but again, I don’t know why, the car was we’re just working. You arrive one weekend and it doesn’t work, you have no idea why and then other weekends it does and then one session it works and it just depends what mood the car’s in, I guess. But today, it was good that we’re able to get temperature in the tyres and that enabled us to have the confidence to push and fight with these guys. So it was definitely tricky, though. Definitely wasn’t anywhere near easy to keep up with their sort of pace. They’re always so quick, these guys.
Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Another one for Lewis. Just on the going back to the nose ring if I can. Were the stewards accepting of the reason that you gave? Do you think that’s the end of the matter? Or do you think you might get fined for wearing it? That’s in the rules.
LH: I really don’t know. I really don’t know, man. And I’ve got a letter from my doctor. I’ve tried my best and I was just saying to Charles, you know, we’ve got the… One of the excuses I was given a long time ago was about heat and if you’re in a fire and it’s metal that conducts heat, but our suit is covered in… You know, we’ve got… Our belts, our zip is metal, our buckle around, our helmet is metal, we’ve got the wires that we have [they] have metal in there. So I don’t know, it’s a little bit silly. Hopefully, though, they will be sensible and, you know, and the stewards should be there to keep us safe most importantly, but this is not a safety issue.
Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) Lewis, just about your final lap in Q3. I think you just set a fastest sector in the middle sector, then obviously, you ended up third in the final results. Was there any particular slide or mistake or the tyres giving up. How did that lap end for you?
LH: Thanks. Turn 16 I had a bit of an oversteer moment, I went a bit wide in 16. Then the rest of their sector just wasn’t that great. So a bit of time for sure was lost last there, which is obviously frustrating.