28 March 2015
F1 Malaysian Grand Prix: It was ‘generally a good lap’ - Hamilton
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton masters the tricky wet conditions in Malaysia to secure the 40th F1 pole of his career
Lewis Hamilton has described his remarkable wet Malaysian Grand Prix pole position lap as “generally good”.
Hamilton blitzed his rivals on the first runs in Q3, using the intermediate tyres to do a 1m 49.834s, which at that point left him a massive 1.232 seconds up nearest rival and Mercedes team-mate, Nico Rosberg.
Although he was then unable to improve later on, it still proved good enough to keep him top, even though track conditions improved and even though Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel did get very close, finishing just 0.074s back, and demoting Rosberg to third.
“Definitely, I am very happy with the first lap and grateful I got through just with that lap. It was generally a good lap. I felt positive about it,” Hamilton said.
“I think the first lap was quite good. It's always difficult because you go out and none of us have driven this weekend in the wet so the first lap is always just the unknown. You don't want to take too many risks that you don't get the lap but you need a banker. My lap was feeling pretty good so I was pushing.”
“I don't know if people out there watching realise, but when you go out in the wet for the first time, it is all about adapting to new conditions. It is a lot different, there is water on the ground and you don't know where it is going to aquaplane, what part of the track is more slippery than others.
“So, when you are accelerating out of the corners you are just trying to feel it and sometimes it snaps away from you. You are just feeling it from your gut and through your butt and everything and that is something I have always been not too bad at since I was a kid. Fortunately it worked today.”
Hamilton did look like he might improve on his second run, but had to abort after he was held up by Rosberg.
Was there a problem?
“I don't really remember, so obviously not!” he replied when asked about it.
Meanwhile, looking to the race, Hamilton expects it to be tough on the tyres and interesting in terms of the strategy.
“Last year we had a three-stop and it's very, very tough on the tyres here, particularly with these hot temperatures. Plus the race comes earlier so it's even warmer, if it is dry so it's going to be a real challenge for everyone, including the car but also with the tyres and the strategy,” he added.
Can anything stop him winning?
“I don't think about those things. I think about how I can win. I want to be thinking about the way that we can win tomorrow and all the steps [to do that]. It is going to be a hard race [as I said] being a bit earlier - its hotter, tougher for the tyres and a long run down to Turn 1. We have to be open minded for whatever the circumstances are.”
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