Hamilton: Winning at Monza is one of my greatest experiences
9 September, 2012
Sep.9 (FIA) Lewis Hamilton took his first ever Monza win in fine style, controlling the race from lights to flag, in the process he notched up his third win of the season, his 20th F1 career win and catapulted himself into second place in the world championship standings. He spoke after the race.
How is it to win the Italian Grand Prix in front of all these fans here?
Lewis Hamilton: It’s been fantastic to win here; you’ve got the best crowd. I’m just so happy for my team; it was really a fantastic day.
Now you’re catching up on Fernando. You’re 37 points behind. It’s got to be a pleasure?
LH: Fernando is a two-time world champion, he’s incredible. I’m very, very happy for him.
That looked a fantastic win, virtually lights-to-flag, apart from during the pit stop. Trouble-free?
LH: It was pretty trouble-free – I don’t think I had any problems throughout the race and the guys did a great job through the pitstop. And I got a good start for once, so very, very happy with that.
Any issues with tyres at all? Was it fairly straightforward?
LH: Yes. Our car has been fantastic all weekend, and it was nice to have a relaxed grand prix with no troubles. I was out on my own for most of the race and just tried to manage the gap behind me. I was cruising at the end, but, once I heard that Sergio [Perez] had got past Fernando [Alonso], I had to push a little to keep the cushion over second place.
And no problems mechanically or anything like that? Obviously your team-mate had a problem.
LH: Very, very unfortunate for Jenson, we were running 1-2 at the time and it would have been fantastic for the team to have won here and have first and second. I don’t really know what went on with his car but it was very unfortunate.
Were you told to do anything to your car?
It’s the third victory in a row for McLaren. Is it a clear message for Ferrari, looking at the championship?
LH: I don’t think so. I think Ferrari were as quick as us this weekend. At least as quick as us this weekend. I think if Fernando had better qualifying, I’m sure he would have been up there with me and made the race perhaps a little bit harder than it was. No, I think Ferrari seem like they’re very, very quick and we need to stay on it to try to continue to compete with them.
After hearing that Button was out, you have obviously drove a bit slower the last laps of the race. My question: have you paid attention to the engine range?
LH: No, you just try to…I was cruising. The last 20 laps I had a 14 second gap. At the time Felipe was behind and he, even though I was cruising, he was going slower than me and then I heard that Fernando had overtook, and it was Fernando who began to catch so then I pulled out a little bit more time and matched his time just to keep it relaxed and then this guy here [Pérez] started catching me at a second a lap. So probably the last four laps I started to push a little bit more, just to maintain a little bit more of the gap.
You put an Italian flag on your helmet, you wanted this win, what does this mean now that you have it?
LH: I put the flag on my helmet just as a sign of respect. Winning at Monza is one of the greatest experiences of my Formula One career. I absolutely love this place: I’ve been coming to Italy to race since I was 13 years old and I just love the culture, the food and the people. Since I started in Formula One, Monza has been one of the races I always wanted to win – it’s such an incredible, historic circuit and all the great racing drivers have won here. To finally put my name on that list makes me feel extremely proud, but also very humble. I hope that this is the start of something good in the future, coming here. I’ve not had the best results in the past, and hopefully in the future we will have a little bit more support here.
Subbed by AJN.