Questions from the floor

Q: (Ed Gorman - The Times)
Lewis, can you just talk us through the very last lap when you were absolutely tip-toeing around, what was going through your mind then? You could have gone off at any moment, couldn't you?

Lewis Hamilton:
I could have. It was very, very slippery. I had no temperature in my tyres, just because we had been driving around in the wet for a lap and a half. It's incredible you know. You brake very, very early thinking 'I've braked 400 meters earlier than I should' and you still arrive at the corner and you're not really sure what's going to happen, the car will step out... There's just nothing you can do about it, you are just guessing where the grip is and making sure your senses become a lot more... you turn them on full power basically and just wait, making sure that you can react to every oversteer moment you have. I was looking in my mirrors, I was looking at the gap between me and Felipe and I realised that it went from five to ten (seconds), so I realised that he was going even slower, so I went even slower. I just went as slow as I could. There was no need to push, just make sure you bring it home, there's one lap to go. The thought of Kimi coming off on the second to last lap... it's a long, long way to go and to then just throw it away and so I just brought it home.

Q: (Ed Gorman - The Times)
Lewis, are you aware that the stewards have announced they are investigating an incident between yourself and Kimi? We're not sure exactly which one it was. Are you aware of that and what could your thoughts be? Is there any part where you felt that you'd contravened the rules?

LH:
Absolutely not. I will explain what happened. It began to rain. I caught Kimi and I got a good tow from him down the back straight and I was in a good position to dive down the inside at turn 18. He covered his spot, which was fair, but he braked very, very early, so I was able to outbrake him and go round the outside which I did. I left him enough room, I didn't close the gap so much that he had to go on a kerb, I left him enough room, yet he accelerated or picked up more pace going into the corner, and drove me as wide as he possibly could. I had no road left. There was a question I had to ask: if I stay where I am, I'm going to go over the Astroturf... there's some green bit behind the big kerb, the last kerb... and go over it and hit him. Or I go left. That was the option I had to do, I did it. I knew that I had to let him past and also the team came over the radio and said 'you have to let him past' which I did. I was accelerating so that I didn't lose too much ground because I thought that would be unfair. Fortunately I got back in his slipstream and again, he moved to the inside and back to the outside and again, I dodged him and went up the inside and at the apex to the corner he hit me at the back, and that nearly caused me to spin, but fortunately I kept hold of it and went on from there. That was a great fight and I don't think there was anything wrong there. The rules say you should let him back past which I did.

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association)
Lewis, given the explanation that you've just given us, would you be surprised now if the stewards did decide to punish you in any kind of way?

LH:
Absolutely, absolutely. This is motor racing and if there's a penalty, then there's something wrong because I was ahead going into that corner, so I didn't gain an advantage from it. We were still able to race at the next corner and I gave him his spot back, and I think it was fair and square, so I think it would be absolutely wrong. But you know what they're like, so we will see.

Q: (Mark Danby - Auto Magazine)
Lewis, later around that lap, just talk us through what it was like going through Pouhon when you both went wide and then going into Fagnes when you got onto the grass. Did you think you'd lost the race at that point?

LH:
Going across the grass? I did. Well, we went into turn ten and I think we both had an oversteer moment going in, very, very fortunate to catch it. Then I think Kimi took a much wider line than me and we went into turn 12 and I braked very early. I could see that Rosberg ahead had obviously had a spin, and instead of driving around that way, he drove round more towards me and was coming back onto the track, and at that point I was going relatively wide towards him. I had to turn left to avoid him, but then Kimi was with me as well, he nearly hit him, so we both nearly hit him but I think Kimi managed to keep it on the track somehow. I went across the grass, I thought that I had lost it then but then I saw Kimi spin it. It was just chopping and changing, it was just so much fun and my heart was racing, probably more than it ever has before. What an exciting race and what a great feeling it is to bring it back in those conditions. It's beyond anything you can imagine, so the ones who did bring it home on slicks have done a great job.

Q: (James Allen - ITV)
I've got two questions for Lewis. When you came across the line after the incident you've just described, he was definitely in front of you. It said R?ikk?nen - Hamilton, first and second. That was on the timing screens and it will on the charts, but maybe at issue is the fact that you hadn't lost enough momentum or something. You said you were still accelerating, so could you just explain exactly what you did to let him past? And then the second thing is there was an incident before that where I think you both had a bit of a moment with a Williams and you both nearly hit each other and the Williams was coming back on the track. There were some yellow flags waving there. Was the Williams actually off the track and came back on? It was very hard to tell on the television.

LH:
Firstly, what I did, I'd basically taken a short-cut, so I couldn't just accelerate straight from there and keep going, I had to wait - he was in my blind spot - I had to wait until I could see him. I didn't want to wait until he'd flown past because we were still racing. Eventually I could see him accelerating and I knew, OK, this is alright, so I began to accelerate but slowly. I don't believe I was full throttle, I was waiting for him to accelerate past which he did. What more could I do, I don't know what more I could have done?

And the second question: there were yellow flags, I was looking in the mirror, hoping that Kimi wouldn't crash into me. Rosberg was off the circuit and I was running wide but I wasn't going off, I was just running wide towards the white line, but then Rosberg was coming back on, exactly at the point in which I was heading, so I had to turn left to avoid him and take the exit road and go across the grass, otherwise I would have crashed with him.

Q: (James Allen - ITV)
Sorry, could we just be clear: so you were in front of R?ikk?nen at that point, because he came out of that incident in front of you?

LH:
He was behind me. I turned left to dodge the Williams. I don't know what happened to Kimi. I thought he was right with me at the time on my inside. I thought he was going to crash with him [Rosberg] as well, so I just tried to avoid it, over the grass, and Kimi overtook, I believe, both of us. I think he took both of us, and I went over the grass, they both went round the corner and then at the exit he spun.

Q: (Flavio Vanetti - Corriere dello Sport)
Felipe, do you expect that Ferrari will now make a choice between you and Kimi and put all the effort for the title towards you?

Felipe Massa:
I don't know. You are asking the question to the wrong guy. I'm just doing my job and I'm sure the team will make all the effort to help me to win the championship, but this question is difficult for me to answer.

Q: (Michael Schmidt - Auto Motor und Sport)
Lewis, knowing how tricky the circuit was when it was wet, did you ever consider doing the same as Nick Heidfeld and change tyres on the very last lap?

Nick Heidfeld:
The thought didn't cross my mind once. I didn't think about anyone else changing tyres, I didn't really take that into consideration. I was just trying to pass Kimi and that's all that mattered. I knew that I would be able to keep the car on the track if it did rain, and I knew there were only two laps left so, in my position, I didn't think it would be a risk that I would have benefitted from. So I didn't think about it.

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association)
Felipe and Lewis: do you think that now, given the position Kimi is in - I think he's 23 points behind you Lewis, and 15 behind you Felipe - that he's almost out of the title race now with five races to go. I know that mathematically it's still possible but theoretically and realistically, do you think it's too much of a gap now at this stage of the season?

FM:
Well, for sure it's difficult but if you look at last year, he was 17 points behind with two or three races (to go) and he won the championship, so for sure it's not easy, but it's not impossible.

LH:
I think the same. As Felipe said, anything can happen and I think the gap is bigger than normal. He's got a lot of work to do, the pressure's on him to try and catch us up. I think Felipe's doing a better job than him in his team, and we've just got to continue to try and do a better job, and continue to be consistent.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Felipe, in the unilaterals you said you felt strange when Kimi passed you after Eau Rouge. Didn't you expect something like this?

FM:
No, because he was so quick he was passing me and then suddenly he was closing the line a little bit, it just felt a little bit strange, but anyway nothing happened, he just passed me anyway and that's it. I think it was more my mistake in which I backed off too much in Eau Rouge and I gave him the possibility to pass me.

Q: (Ed Gorman - The Times)
Lewis, I'm intrigued by one thing: at Valencia we seemed to get the message that you were going to go for the championship at all costs and you would drive sensibly and you wouldn't be drawn into anything mad if you could get eight points safely. And here today you just produced one of the most amazing pieces of driving we've ever seen you produce. Did that theory just go right out of the window at the end?

LH:
It's always on my mind that I want to get the points. The championship is definitely always on your mind. I never focus on one race, that this is the most important thing, winning this race. I had eight points. There was a point while it was dry that I was behind and catching Kimi - a little bit ragged - and I was thinking well, again, it would be pretty bad if I did come off now and lost these points. But then again, I'm a racing driver, this is what I do best. I won't come off. You can't come off, you've got to keep going. You race down to the last minute, you don't turn the engine down and back off and just take the points. In that situation, I was comfortable pushing and trying to close the gap and therefore I did. Towards the end, the conditions made it look a lot more spectacular than it was, for sure, but I don't believe I took too many risks. I wanted to get past, I wanted to win. I was in the position, it was now or never, and when you get into that position, you have to take the decision 'do I overtake or do I stay behind?' I'm going past. But I'm still focused on the championship.

Q: (Marco Degl'Innocenti - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Lewis, do you now expect Kimi to help Felipe for the next races?

LH:
I don't believe that that will be the case. I'm pretty sure that, as a team, they will work together and that's the team's job. I don't know whether it's in the rules, you're now not allowed to have any team orders. I believe that Kimi's going to keep on pushing to try and close the gap and come back as he did last year. I think they're both just out there to race as far as I see it, but for sure they are in the fortunate position where they could use one another to help each other go further in the championship, but we will have to wait and see.

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