Lewis Hamilton attended the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix Thursday Drivers’ Press Conference. Here is the full transcript!
Q: Lewis coming to you. Now, Lando just referenced your pole lap from a few years back. You’re a four-time winner here. Just give us your thoughts on being back in Singapore?
Lewis HAMILTON: Well, it’s good to be back. Obviously, 2019 feels like a lifetime ago for everyone. So it’s great to be back in this beautiful city. And the track is epic to drive. It’s a very, very bumpy ride, 23 corners. I think that night, that lap back in… is it 2018? Yeah. I don’t remember every single part of it. I’ve not re-watched it, but it was definitely one of the best laps of my career. So the hope is always that you can one day get to experience something similar. But the feeling of that day was something very unique.
Q: And in terms of performance, there was a time early in the hybrid era when there was at least the perception that Singapore was a bit of a bogey track for Mercedes. Was that how you viewed it back then? And how do you see it now?
LH: I would definitely say that it was a track that we had struggled out quite a lot. And I think it’s probably due to some sort of… I don’t think it was aero-based, I think it was more probably ride quality, that we just hadn’t been as good as some of the others had been. We’ll discover if that’s a true philosophy this weekend, or a true theory this weekend. But yeah, I think they’ve resurfaced some parts of the circuit, so hope hopefully it’s not as bouncy as before.
Q: And in terms of competitiveness, where do you see yourself? What are your hopes?
LH: We hope that the car works better here. But as I said, it really depends how bumpy it is. And the bumps often set the car off and upset the car in a lot of instances. We do know it’s going to be bumpy. Maybe the car will be fine. Maybe it won’t. So I have no expectations at all, just going to try and have the best weekend with whatever we’re faced with.
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QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) A question to Lewis, please. Lewis, you just said you don’t know how the Mercedes is going to respond when it comes to being on the bumps around a street track. But what about all the work the team has done to improve the package in recent months? Is there anything, particularly knowledge that you’ve gained that might help you think make things be better compared to how it was in Monaco and Baku?
LH: Oh, 100%. We’ve learnt a huge amount about the car, which is natural for everyone, but it’s definitely a huge help knowing where the working window is, what the working range is. And so we’re able to predict pretty much where we’re going, whether it will work in one place compared to another. And also the limitations of the car. We know where those limitations are and how to… We just have to try and work around them. So yeah, I think we were very fortunate, we’re in a much better place I think, than we’ve ever been. So I hope that we’re not far away.
Q: (Rebecca Clancy – The Times) Lewis, I saw you were over in Hollywood this week. I think you were in Hollywood meeting with Jerry Bruckheimer. I presume it’s to do with the Formula 1 film that you’re involved with, that you’re producing. Can you tell us any more details? Has filming started? If there’s been any celebs that have been lined up to be cast in it? Where are we up to with it?
LH: No, there’s not really much of an update. At the moment we’re still working through the script. And so yeah, I’ve been out in LA. It wasn’t this this trip, but the one before, visiting Jerry’s office, which was pretty epic, and sitting with Brad (Pitt) and Joe (Kosinski) and just going through the plot and the plan, It was a pretty epic kind of experience. And then this time, I was just hanging with Jerry. Yeah, we were on set of another movie that was being filmed, which was Eddie Murphy’s movie, which was very, very cool. Huge fan of Eddie Murphy, so I got the chance to meet him. And yeah, getting to work and spending time with these people. You’re just learning more about the industry and the challenges and how they go about making great movies that we’ve all grown to love throughout our lives. Yeah, I got to hang with some of the guys that do John Wick, just filming John Wick 4 as well. So just having lots of conversations and trying to learn as much as I can from all these great and talented people.
Q: Lewis as you learn more about the industry, what impresses you the most?
LH: I think the industry is, I think it’s literally the… We arrive at a movie theatre and with no comprehension of how much work goes on in the background, how much preparation there is, how big a team there is in the background. They have similar issues with diversity, for example, in terms of behind the camera. I think what I’m most impressed by is seeing some of the organisations for example, like Disney, the real steps… They’re really pushing for diversity. They’ve got a lot of female leadership throughout the different companies, which is great to see, and you’ve already seen on TV today, for example the new Ariel movie that’s coming out. I don’t know if any of you saw the video of the young kids that are watching and that she’s like… she looks… she’s the same colour as me. So there’s a lot of work that’s been done in the industry and there’s so much to learn from these people that have been there, the greats. Still, yet to meet Spielberg… one day.
Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Lewis, Max has got his first chance of winning the title this weekend and given how exciting your battle with him was last year, how much of a shame was it for you that you didn’t get to have the rematch this season? And also, I guess for the sport, because it’s been quite one-sided season for fans watching.
LH: From my point of view, I’m not really thinking much about it. Yeah, definitely, I feel for the fans because that’s for everyone and even for us, last year, going right down to the wire, that was intense for everybody and so it’s never great when the season finishes early, even when I’ve experienced having it finish early, in places like Mexico. For you as the one individual it’s great, but for the actual sport is not spectacular. So I’m really grateful to have had it like 2008, right down to the last 17 seconds, and obviously last year pretty much the same thing. So yeah, let’s hope for the future that it’s a bit better. For me, I’m really still enjoying the… We’ve still got six races, I’m still enjoying the challenge and proud of the strength and the growth within our team, in terms of the relationships, in terms of our focus, just seeing how hard everyone works in a team is, for me, the most inspiring thing. They’ve gone from the racetrack the next… you know, fly over Sunday night, they’re in in the office on Monday, trying to come up with solutions, trying to crack the code and that’s really impressive because it’s just relentless, the season. I know everyone – I’m sure all of you as well – is looking forward to the break, so I hope everyone’s planning ahead to maximise and make it efficient.
Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) Lewis, I fear that your answer will be ‘I don’t remember’ because your memory is not always perfect but please can you go back to your second title and what it meant, what it felt like? And what made the big difference afterwards?
LH: Long time ago – do you remember back then in your life? What were you doing back then? Playing chess? Yeah, so what was the question? What was I feeling at the time?
Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) Well, just bring back the memory of your second title. What do you remember? Did it change much in your life, in your tension, your pressure?
LH: It definitely changed a lot in my life, I think, because I’ve obviously had that kind of dry spell, I would say more so because I’d taken the step and the leap of faith, moving to another team. That went against most of the advice that I had had from people around me, people that you would consider mentors, who all said to stay where I was, stay put. And the kind of the experience that I had in terms of… It was actually after this race, people seemed to think that it was during this race that I made the decision to move. It wasn’t and actually this race had no effect on that. When the gearbox failed here in 2012 that had no effect on my decision, because those things happen. It was more… I think the week after, just sitting in Thailand, just managed to be in a very peaceful place and it really came to me that I was going to take this leap. And so to have taken that step and obviously all the backlash makes you question whether or not you really have made the right decision and I’m so proud and grateful to all the members within the team of how they welcomed me into the team and gave me the position to be able to fight for a world title. And so with all the doubts over the years, and the questions that would play in your mind, whether or not it would ever happen again, of which you always overcome, because you have to continue to believe, to finally then got back into that position, it was a very, very special year, and also for the team who had also been on the receiving end of kind of the negativity that they’re not going to… perhaps they’re not good enough or whatever it may be. So it was it was a huge, huge moment and that really kind of catapulted us into the next years of success and development and what a journey it’s been.