Lewis Hamilton at the 2024 Canadian GP Thursday Press Conference

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton attended the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix Thursday Drivers’ Press Conference. Here is the full transcript!

Q: Lewis, let’s come to you now. Back to the scene of your first Formula 1 victory and six subsequent ones as well. You’ve always gone well here. What is it about this place?

Lewis HAMILTON: I don’t know. Hi, everyone. I think it’s probably just kind of a street circuit and a bit like a go-kart track, long straights. So it’s a track that bodes well for late brakers and someone that’s aggressive, I guess, aggressive driving style.

Q: And is that you?

LH: I think I’ve had an aggressive driving style for a long time, yeah.

Q: Tell us about the car and your chances this weekend. The team is telling us that you’re making a lot of progress in recent races. Are you feeling that in the cockpit?

LH: Yes, the car’s continuing to improve. I think everyone’s obviously taken a step hopefully closer to the Red Bulls, and I think that’s been really positive. But incredibly proud of everyone back at the factory, just how hard everyone’s working and how resilient everyone is. Everyone’s just staying very focused, head down. The morale’s really great in the team, so I’m hoping that we can get closer to these guys and start actually competing at the front with these.

Q: Do you think that’s possible this weekend? Is a podium on the horizon?

LH: I don’t think it’s far away. And so we’ve got the upgrade. Both cars have the upgrade this weekend. So I’m looking forward to seeing how that feels actually on track.

Q: You’ve got the new front wing. Going to out-qualify George this weekend?

LH: I’ll try.

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Q: (Nelson Valkenburg – Viaplay) Question for Lewis. Lewis , you already spoke about the improved potential of the car and the way that it’s heading. What aspect of the car is improving, and what is then needed more to be able to fight for the podium?

LH: The biggest improvement I think coming into this year has been ride quality and being able to get the car lower, which is what others have been able to do. And then stability on entry of corners. The car is far more predictable than it ever was, particularly the last couple of years. And particularly this year, it’s a lot more stable, so we can be more committed into the corners. But then through corner balance is where we’ve been lacking, where some of the others have really taken a big step. So that’s what we’re trying to work on.

Q: (Roldán Rodriguez – DAZN Spain) To Lewis as well. In the contract with Ferrari for next year, The question is, was Frederic Vasseur, a man you know pretty well, he was directly involved in your contract? 

LH: Yes. Yeah, he’s the boss and really a huge amount of support from John Elkann, who I’ve got a great relationship with. And so with those two together, Fred and John, we worked really closely.

Q: (Mike Doodson – Mike Doodson) A question for Sir Lewis. Lewis, one part of your campaign against prejudice in the sport involved your current team’s cars appearing in black for a couple of seasons. Looking forward, have you considered asking John Elkann to support you in the possibility of your Ferraris appearing next year in black instead of boring old red?

LH: Well, I mean, I haven’t driven a black car for a while, so I probably won’t be pushing for that too early on. But no, I mean, we’ve definitely spoken about impact work and John and the team have a lot of philanthropy work that they do, so we’ll be working very closely with Mission 44 and with the impact stuff that they’re doing. I think within the sport, we have to continue to do more, but more outside we’ll be doing quite a bit together. So that’s really exciting.

Q: (Luke Smith – The Athletic) Lewis, a question for you about the new car regulations coming in. You’ve always said that these cars are too heavy and too wide. We’re now taking a step in the right direction for 2026. Could I get your reaction to that? Are you glad F1 is moving in the direction of lighter cars?

LH: I mean, it’s only 30 kilos, so it’s going in the right direction, but it’s still heavy. So, I’ve only just seen what you’ve all seen this morning, so… I don’t really have huge thoughts on it just yet. I’ve spoken to some drivers who have driven it on the simulator – I haven’t – but they said it’s pretty slow. So we will see whether it’s actually the right direction or not. But I think in terms of sustainability, particularly on the power unit side, I think that’s a really bold step and I think it’s going in the right direction. We’ve just got to make sure the cars are efficient, fast, and a natural step forward, and actually racing is improved.

Q: (Ronald Vording – Motorsport.com) It’s a question to Oscar, Checo, and Lewis, please. You were all talking about the pack getting closer and the field bunching up. Do you feel that such a huge overhaul for ‘26 brings a risk of creating bigger gaps again? And do you feel that leaving the regulations stable for a longer time should be the way forward for F1? 

LH: Probably similar to what Oscar said. I think it’s difficult to say, but more often than not, when they’ve done the changes, some teams do better than the others, and there is a bit of a difference early on. I hope that with this new regulation change that everything’s a bit closer, and the engine’s not complete revamp. It’s not like moving from V8 to V6, so hopefully through that, that doesn’t make too big a difference, and then it’s just about getting the cars right.

Q: (Greg Lanctot – BPM Sports Radio) Lewis, given it’s your last time in Montréal here, and you had your first win, a great amount of success on this track, given it’s your last race with Mercedes in Montréal, does that add a little bit of emotion to this weekend for you?

LH: No. In general, I don’t particularly feel emotional this weekend. But thinking about it, it would be amazing to finish off with a great result with Mercedes, where I had my first win with them here. Well, Mercedes-powered, obviously, back in 2007. And so many great years together here. But to be honest, like every race, we’re trying to finish on a high. It hasn’t been the case in the first quarter of the season, but I think you’ve seen, for example, with McLaren switching it around last year and anything’s possible. So I do think we’re moving in the right direction and I really am hopeful that we’re going to be in the mix, particularly for the second half of the season.

Q: (Alexis Bélanger-Champagne – Canadian Press) Lewis, there was a question regarding the driver’s market and knowing where you’re going to be next year early. You definitely kick-started that this year. Just in a way, do you wish things were different? I understand historically it’s always like that in F1, but what about to avoid this uncertainty, maybe like a transfer window or to wait till the end of the year? Is that something that the drivers would be interested or everyone is quite pleased with the way things work right now?

LH: A transfer window?

Q: (Alexis Bélanger-Champagne – Canadian Press) Like in football or something like in the US sports where teams cannot speak with another player’s team until the end of the year?

LH: That’s a new one. I haven’t thought about it. I think it’s really exciting in the other sports, like in the NFL, for example. But I think it’s quite exciting now [in F1]. No one knows who’s going where. Obviously, bit by bit, you see it through drips throughout the season. And I think when you do have drivers moving around, it does cause this bit of chaos. And I saw Formula 1 post the other day that there are still many seats that are not yet signed up. So like Nico said, it’s quite an exciting time. For us, we’re lucky and we feel very fortunate that we’ve got something locked in. And that really enables you to plan for your future and really channel your energy. But it’s exciting for us to now see where everyone’s moving.

Q: (Luke Smith – The Athletic) Lewis, another question for you. A couple of mentions about your first win here. I know you say your memory’s not the best, but that first victory here, is that something that lives a bit stronger in your memory? Do you have any specific things you remember from that weekend and that feeling of scoring your first F1 win?

LH: Oh, shoot. The only things that really stick out was just I think just basically from that whole first 12 races, but particularly coming here, first time to Montréal, and immediately like from the get-go., I loved the circuit and gelled well with it and that’s always been the case when I’ve come here I think. But I think I was just really living my dream in those first six races, in kind of in disbelief that I’d actually made it and also having the success that we were having, podiums each weekend. And then I think really, ultimately just being on the podium seeing that big trophy that you’ve seen the greats in the past get to hoist up. And I think ultimately looking down and seeing my dad, just how happy he was. It was kind of a relief because of all the sleepless nights and all the energy and time that the family put into it, you know. We finally made it. And something that we continuously believed through our career together, that we had the ability to do something like that. And we finally realised it then. So it was a very, very special weekend. And yeah, it’s one I will never forget.

Q: (Ben Hunt – Autosport) Two very different questions. First one: Lewis, you’re obviously going to Ferrari, a bit of rejuvenation. We saw Marc Marquez do a similar move with Ducati. I wondered if you could comment on that, please, if you have any feelings? 

LH: That was awesome.

Q: (Ben Hunt – Autosport) But it seems like it’s a very similar move as you, you know, re-motivated and everything else. So I just wondered if there was a comment you could give me about that? 

LH: I mean, he’s incredible. I mean, I love MotoGP and I really am excited for the future of the sport as well. I think that they’ll probably be learning a lot from what has happened with Liberty and Formula 1 over the past years and I think there’s a lot of growth that will happen. But the racing is amazing. And then to see Marquez on the Ducati is going to be cool. I mean, the Ducati has always been such a cool bike. But I think from an athlete’s perspective or a rider or driver’s perspective, I think it’s… Maybe similar for some of you, where you’ve been maybe in a job for a long, long time, it’s great to have something new, a new environment, new desk, new people to work with and new challenges. And there’s nerves, there are all these things that you are unsure of, in the sense of you don’t know how you’re going to blend in an environment, for example. But that’s exciting. And it’s great when you’re welcomed into a new space. So, yeah, I think it’s really cool. I can’t wait to see him there on that bike.

Q: (Axelle Vallière – MotorInside.com) We are doing a topic on superstitions. Fernando Alonso said he avoided meeting certain people before races. Do you also have these kinds of superstitions?

LH: I think me neither now, but definitely until I was about 18, 19, I did. So I had a lucky conker. Somehow, I used to put it in my suit, like Sanka would put the lucky egg in Cool Runnings. And I don’t know how, but it disappeared in a race. And then lucky underwear as well. My mum shrunk them. And then I think there’s a sequence, if you look at tennis players, where they bounce the ball several times, or whether it’s getting in the car from one side or putting your right sock on first. You know, like the sequence you would normally go through. And I missed one of the sequences, and I crashed. It was like a race in Germany when I was in Formula 3, and I was like, after that, no more superstitions.

Sergio PEREZ: I don’t have one, but I really like the one from Fernando to avoid certain people before you jump in the car!

LH: Depends on who he’s avoiding.

SP: Some cameras, I would. But no, I just like to keep it simple. I think Formula 1 is already complicated enough to mess around, so just keep it simple.

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