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Abu Dhabi GP - Post-race press conference - Pt.2

13 November 2011


Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Jenson Button (McLaren).



Questions from the floor


Q: (Frederic Ferret – L'Equipe).
Lewis, how do you rate this victory after such a bad time?

Lewis Hamilton:
I don't know. I've had some interesting victories, some better than others. When I was doing the lap on the way in, I was thinking that this was definitely one of my best, just in terms of my own performance, not making mistakes. I don't feel I've made a single mistake in the race and with the things that have gone, with the pressure that I've been under and with the doubt that has surrounded me, I felt just massively proud to have put that kind of performance together and to have come out on top. I think my fans have been incredibly supportive and so have my family, particularly more so in the recent weeks and so that's made a big difference. And it's my Mum's birthday, so it makes it even better.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo).
Fernando, after such a disappointing race here last year, does the performance make it anything special for you?

Fernando Alonso:
Well, not really. I don't think that we were thinking about last year when we came here. It doesn't change the feeling of last year when we lost the championship at the last moment to be on the podium today. As I said on Thursday, what makes this podium special is that I think I have 73 podiums now, so 73 trophies in Formula One. I have them from all the circuits that I have raced on in Formula One, so Magny-Cours, Indianapolis – circuits which we are not racing on now and I missed only one at home, and that was Abu Dhabi, because in the three years, I have never been on the podium. So now I have completed all the circuits. So, happy.

Q: (Sudhir Chandran - Chequered Flag, India).
Lewis, it seemed like that whole of Abu Dhabi was rooting for this win for you. Could you feel the energy and vibe in the crowd?

Lewis Hamilton:
Definitely, definitely. When we were doing the parade lap before the race, I could see that there were a lot of fans, particularly from the UK but also from here in Abu Dhabi. I was really surprised to see so much support, but it's great. It's a great spectacle, a great circuit to come to and a great country. Hopefully, it was a good race to watch. Obviously for me it was probably not too exciting to watch me go round, but I don't mind having those races every now and then.

Q: (Naoise Holohan – Manipe F1).
Lewis, would it have made the victory any more special if you had beaten Sebastian on track rather than him retiring?

Lewis Hamilton:
I don't know really. I will tell you when it happens. I think we were clearly very quick and it would have been very close. Sebastian got a great start – again – and was off. From turn one he got quite a good exit from turn one so he had a pretty good gap already. Every now and then, we need a bit of bad luck to notice the good times, I guess, and I don't remember the last time he had a bit of bad luck.

Q: (Sarah Holt – BBC Sport).
Lewis, I just wondered if you felt that this was the first race weekend in a while when you felt like you've been able to get on top of your emotions and for them not to affect you when you've been in the car? Is that what has made the difference today?

Lewis Hamilton:
I don't know. I definitely think that this weekend I've been clearer in my mind and I've had less weighing on me, less thoughts and issues or whatever problems that I've got. I was just able to drive clearly. I think my qualifying has always been generally good and my practice has always been pretty good but obviously in the last race I had that mistake which was… I was just not thinking straight and this weekend I was able to think straight. I don't know if that's because I had some great support here or what, but it's been a positive feeling all weekend. I felt like I was on it all weekend so I just feel very fortunate to have come out and finish and had the car last and not get into any trouble.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport).
Lewis, how much could you see of Sebastian's accident. Is it possible that he was maybe too high on the kerb with a full fuel load, which maybe damaged the tyre?

Lewis Hamilton:
I could see he went through turn two and it looked like his rear tyre failed for whatever reason. He wasn't on the kerb as far as I could see. I only saw it happen after the kerb, so after the apex, but I just saw that his tyre was deflated and the right rear was squashed up on the inside of the floor and everything, so I assumed it was just a tyre failure.

Q: (Kate Walker – Girl Racer).
Fernando, could you please tell us what was going through your head in the second pit stop when you followed the HRT into the pits? Did you see possible victory slipping from your sights?

Fernando Alonso:
We knew that maybe we could overtake the McLaren at the second stop, because when we saw Lewis pitting, we had the tyres in more or less good condition to push for another two or three laps, so we did some good timed laps, so the team was informing me that we should be OK maybe to exit in front of him or maybe on the limit, very close. But even with that, I knew that with 15 laps remaining, with the medium tyres, it was really difficult to stay in front of Lewis. Definitely, with the traffic on the pit entry, maybe we lost the opportunity to be close at the exit of the pits but I don't think that we lost the victory there. It was extremely difficult to beat the McLaren today.

Q: (Naoise Holohan – Manipe F1).
Jenson, you're visiting Ireland next summer for the Dublin F1 street demo on June 3. Are you looking forward to the trip and have you any sightseeing planned? A few pints of Guinness perhaps?

Jenson Button:
Wow, I normally don't plan that far ahead. I'm glad. I actually did know I was going. Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. It's a fun city, I've been there a few times before and always had a good time. Yeah, looking forward to the experience, and hopefully [I'll] have a lot of support there. Looking at all the Tweets that I've had about it, there's a lot of interest so I'm looking forward to it.

Lewis Hamilton:
Are you going to keep your moustache for that?

Jenson Button:
I'm not sure actually. My missus likes it so I might just carry it. I've got to shave it off tomorrow or else I might stick it to something so I can put it back on. It takes me a while to grow it.


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