Lewis Hamilton at the Monaco GP Thursday Press Conference

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton attended the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix Thursday Drivers’ Press Conference. Here is the full transcript!

Q: Okay, one final question from me Charles, there’s been a bit of speculation in the media recently with regards to your future partner at Ferrari. What do you look for in a teammate? 

Charles LECLERC: Hello Lewis! I mean, a fast teammate, as everybody. We are in Formula 1, and we love to be fighting against the best.  But that’s not to say that my teammate is not fast. Carlos is an extremely fast driver. But yeah, considering that, I mean, I’m not the person who makes the choices. So yeah, let’s see.

Q: Would you welcome Lewis?

CL: If I say yes, I imagine it being the title of every newspaper. But I mean, Lewis is such an incredible driver, has achieved so much in the sport. So, I think anybody on the grid will love to have Lewis as a teammate, as everybody will learn a lot from him. But yeah, again, I’m happy where I am. And with Carlos, it’s a great relationship too.

Q: Lewis, can we bring you in on this. What about these Ferrari stories?

Lewis HAMILTON: Firstly, thank you for the nice words. Hi everybody. Yeah, I think naturally when you’re in contract negotiations, there’s always going to be speculation. And I think ultimately that’s… unless you hear from me, then that’s all it is.

Q: Where do you think these stories have come from?

LH: Well, there’s a certain individual in this room who’s written at least one of them! But yeah, I don’t know. I think maybe with last weekend, with the race been cancelled, maybe they just got bored and started to…  ha!  But I think, as I said, my team’s working closely behind the scenes with Toto, we’re almost at the end of having a contract ready. So, having a team focus on that, so I can just do my job, that’s a much better position than I was in before, because I remember I used to do all my negotiations on my own, and it was very stressful. So, I don’t have to do that anymore.

Q: Let’s talk about the job then. You said in Miami that you were counting the days until the upgrades were going to be on your car. Well, that day is pretty much with us now. Can you describe the sense of anticipation in the garage? 

LH: Yes, I mean, through the whole factory. I was there last week, as we were preparing for the weekend and we got the news, which I think was the right decision, and all of us were really thinking of what was happening there in the region, Emilia-Romagna, and I think it was the right decision. But I’m grateful that we are here. The upgrades, will be difficult to see just how it works at this kind of track, but I’m hopeful that it puts us a little bit closer to these guys, so we can… I don’t think we’ll be fighting for a win, necessarily, but hopefully it’ll be more than a fight.

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Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports F1) Lewis, we’ve had a bit of speculation over the years, I feel we’ve been here before, but I suppose what’s different this time is that your contract’s coming up for renewal at a time where your team isn’t doing quite so well. And you’ve not been afraid of making a bold decision to swap teams in the past. So does the current form that Mercedes are in have any bearing on your ideas of where you want to be for the future? And have Ferrari made any contact at all to either yourself or your representation?

LH: Firstly, no, it doesn’t have a bearing, I think, because I don’t feel like… we’re still a championship-winning team. It’s just we’ve had the wrong car. There have been some decisions that have been made over the past two years that have not been ideal and we’re working our way through that. All the energy is going towards… We have a new upgrade this weekend, the team have worked incredibly hard to bring this upgrade. We already, after Bahrain, decided that that’s what we’re going to do, and so I was a little bit gutted when the last race got cancelled because I was excited to try this new package. And whilst here is not the best platform track-wise to really see those come to fruition we’ll hopefully experience that more next week. And otherwise, as I said, my team are chatting, having the discussions with the team in the background and we’re almost there so…

Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports F1) And have Ferrari been in touch? 

LH: No.

Q: (Matt Kew – Autosport) Lewis, the bosses of Silverstone have been quoted in the last couple of weeks saying that Formula 1 has gone to them for advice on how to organise the Las Vegas Grand Prix. What makes the British Grand Prix the right template for other races to follow?

LH: Wasn’t expecting that one! I don’t know, it’s a much different…. I think Silverstone puts on a great race, but it’s a much different race to what you’ll see at Vegas. I don’t really know what to say. I think they put on an amazing show in the UK. The organisation is great there. We have a big, huge turnout of fans. I don’t know how it relates to Vegas, though, if I’m really honest.

Q: (Jerome Pugmire – Associated Press) Lewis, you say ‘almost there’ with the contract. What is left to be decided? What was the timeline that you’d like to have it decided by? 

LH: It’s not really stuff that I can really talk about, to be honest. But as I said, this is the first time I think that I’ve not been negotiating myself and I’ve got a great team in the background that are doing all the work so I can just focus fully on the job at hand. I say what I want and that’s what we’re working towards and so hopefully in the coming weeks.

Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) Lewis, have you got gold teeth? Ah right, I saw a photo which Mark Sutton had posted and I wanted to quiz you on that. Clearly not.

LH: I got them in my pocket actually.

Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) They’re not permanent, right? 

LH: I thought about it. No, I’m kidding.

Q: (Luke Smith – The Athletic) Lewis, another one for you on the upgrades coming this week. And I know it’s been quite a painful period, as you touched on, over the past 18 months or so with the car. How much have you seen the team come together through this sort of rough patch though? Do you learn more from your defeats than you do from your victories sometimes? Did it feel like that at Mercedes?

LH: 100% yeah. As the sport continues to grow, there’s more and more people coming onto the team. There’s a lot of people on the team that have had all the success that we’ve had in the past. And there’s a lot of people that haven’t had that success yet and are super hungry. I’m really encouraged when I do go back to the factory and see just how hard everyone’s working. Last year we were a little bit lost in terms of how to fix the issue that we had. I feel like the team now have a much… they have a north star, they know exactly where they need to go and we’re working on how to get there. But yeah, the amount of work has gone in is incredible and I’m very, very grateful for the hard work. I’ve been so excited to get in the car and feel these changes and I feel that hopefully puts us on the right path now to progress forward and try and catch the guys ahead.

Q: (Velimir Velko Jukic – Avto Fokus)You are in a high speed, high risk sport and maybe Monte Carlo is the most representative to feel this speed and this risk. How do you manage to control it and how do you survive every corner, every attempt to attack on the fast lap? 

LH: Not much more to add to it, but most often it’s just sheer luck. You throw it into the corner and come out with your eyes open and hopefully you’ve made it round. So it’s awesome, it’s an amazing place to race and we’re so privileged to be able to do what we do and being one of the only 20 to do it here at the peak of the sport. So epic.

Q: (Pedro Fermín Flores – TheGodFlores) Charles, this week also everybody was talking about a possible new contract with Ferrari, new extension, 2024 and more and John Elkann involved in your new contract. And second one for Lewis, not about Ferrari. Are you drinking Mate? What are you drinking? Because it seems it’s like Mate. It is a special drink…

LH: It’s tequila on the rocks!

Q: (Pedro Fermín Flores – TheGodFlores) I asked because Mate is an Argentinian drink, a relaxing Argentinian drink… 

LH: Oh, no. If you can provide me some I’ll try it. I’ve never had it before.

Source: FIA.com

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