Bahrain GP - Thursday press conference - Pt.2
19 April 2012
Drivers: Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham), Romain Grosjean (Lotus), Timo Glock (Marussia), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari).
Questions from the floor.
Q: (Julien Febreau – L'Equipe).
Lewis, it seems that you're even stronger as a person than last year. Do you feel that way and if so, do you feel that your challenging season last year has helped you?
I definitely think that the last three years have added to where I am today. I think there have been a lot of lessons learned and a lot of good and bad experiences which of course definitely help you when you have a good car and when you're in a much better position. Yeah, as for all athletes, I think you have to get your mind set in a certain way and there are many things that can affect that. For example, look at Tiger Woods. He's there and sometimes he's not and he's the best out there. It's really a massive mental game which is about trying to get your mind on the right path. But I feel that I'm there or thereabouts at the moment, still working hard.
Q: (Alex Popov – RTR).
Romain, you had a very intense race last Sunday in Shanghai. Your personal battle with [Pastor] Maldonado was perhaps even more than intense. Do you personally see it as revenge for Melbourne?
No, it's not revenge. I made a mistake with Mark Webber which is why I had to fight with Pastor Maldonado. I think that the fight was a little bit tight. Honestly, I wish we hadn't touched each other's cars, but at the end, I ended up in front of him and then I could pull away and finish my race at my own pace and even overtook the second Williams to score more points but that's what I was glad of.
Q: (Alex Popov – RTR).
Romain, did you have a lot to say to your engineer about your strategy during the race? Is there a lot of communication?
Well, there is a lot of briefing before the race when there is time to go through the strategies. We had two options basically: either two stops or three stops. The question arose during the second stint: either you really want to push and try to go for three stops, or you make your tyres last for the 20 or 25 laps that you need and you just go for two stops. I think our set-up was pretty good and the car was working very well on the prime tyres. The second stint was very good and we had pitted to cover Sebastian Vettel, if not, we could have done more laps in the second stint which would have made the third one even easier, but at the end of the story, my engineers did a good job, they helped me to save the tyres and make them last longer. When you are fighting with other cars, it's always difficult to save them. You have to realise that the race is long and that you still have a few laps to go.
Q: (Thomas Hanratty – Gulf Daily News).
Obviously there's been a lot of media hype in the build-up to this weekend; has it been much of a distraction for you, in terms of your preparations, or have you just been able to block everything out and keep focused?
It hasn't had the slightest influence on my preparation. I've prepared for the Grand Prix, physically and mentally, the same way that I do any other race. That's all I can answer to that question.
Well, we've been preparing for the event as well as we can. As you say, we can't ignore the situation but in another way, I hope the race may make a clear vision and help the situation and I think the Grand Prix will be nice.
No, we have made the same preparation as all the other races.
They've said it all. The team has just been focusing on preparing ourselves for the best way of trying to get some wins.
No, we have been preparing to the best of my possibilities and the team's also.
Yeah, the same preparation as always. We came here for the sport, that's the best thing to do, it's a sport.
Q: (Gary Meenaghan – The National).
Nico, now that you've tasted the taste of success, do you think it's going to be harder for you to cope if you're not racing… if you're not fighting for the win at every race?
Niki Lauda said right after the race, 'Nico, believe me, the first win is by the far the most difficult and after that it becomes much easier.' So I'll go for that, he should know.
I got a message from Bernie (Ecclestone) after the first race (win) which said that 'now it's downhill', so there's also that option.
Q: (Alex Popov – RTR).
Nico, after qualifying in Shanghai you explained the huge gap of half a second by the drop in temperature by a few degrees, that you had changed the set-up between Q2 and Q3 etc, etc, but in the race itself, after the first ten laps, the gap was five seconds, so it never reached the same half a second, so how do you explain that? Was that you?
No, definitely not. It was just that everything came together. I was on top of my game for the weekend in qualifying and the race, but also the set-up – the car was working very well still, I think, in qualifying. Even in Shanghai, we were stronger eventually in the race but of course it was enough to win by some margin. All in all, it was a really strong weekend.