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Italian GP - Post-qualifying press conference - Pt.1

8 September 2012

Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Jenson Button (McLaren) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari).


TV Unilaterals

Q:
Lewis, Ferrari were fastest with Fernando in Q1 and Q2 but you managed to save the best for last.

Lewis Hamilton:
Yeah, it's been a tough weekend but we've managed to work on the setup and the package the guys bought from the factory – and they've done a fantastic job. So, congratulations to the team and great for the lads. Yeah, managed to get a half-decent lap at the end of Q3, or at the beginning of Q3, and it's great obviously for the team to have me and Jenson at the front.

Q:
Jenson, it's been very close all weekend. How do you see the race from where you're starting?

Jenson Button:
First of all I'll just echo what Lewis said. For us both to be on the front row, it's fantastic for the team. I think the last few races have really shown our strength and qualifying both of us on the front row is great – I don't know if any other team has been able to do that this year. Tomorrow we'll start thinking about in a little while but – I don't know, even being on the front row is not going to be an easy race here but it's the best place to be.

Q:
Felipe, we saw you working with Fernando this morning in practice, and again in qualifying, doing slipstreams, helping each other out. It worked for you, but where's Fernando?

Felipe Massa:
I think he had a problem, to be honest. I mean he's supposed to be in a good direction for the qualifying as well, so I don't know which problem he had but he had a problem in Q3 and was not able to complete his lap. But anyway, I'm happy with the lap I did, so I was able to do a good lap. I was always caring about the tow, to find a good tow, but then on the last run when I did my best lap I was completely outside of the tow, so it was better for me, and I was able to do the best lap from the weekend in the last try in Q3, so happy to be here. It's always a very important race for us, so looking forward for it.

Q:
Back to you Lewis, you mentioned it's a tough weekend, obviously a lot of distractions going on off the circuit. How easy has it been for you to put all of that out of your mind and focus on the race tomorrow?

Lewis Hamilton:
I haven't had any distractions this weekend so it's been quite positive. The support from my family and friends, as always, has been incredible, so just been enjoying the weekend. It's been pretty smooth so far.


Press conference

Q:
Lewis, well done, it seems to have been a perfect weekend for you so far but just now you called that a half-decent lap – it's good enough for pole…

Lewis Hamilton:
I think practice was a lot better for me. I had much, much better laps in practice but I can't complain. Generally I didn't think that lap was anywhere near good enough and I was up, I think, a couple of tenths in my second lap but I was in a train of cars: Kimi and two Ferraris in front. So, I wasn't really able to better my lap but none the less I'm happy and I'm really happy for the team because they've been doing a fantastic job. Obviously had great success in the last race with Jenson and to have us both up here is where they deserve.

Q:
The stats say a lot of winner from pole position over the last ten years, something like nine out of ten have won from pole position. So that must be encouraging as well?

Lewis Hamilton:
Not particularly – I think that one that wasn't a winner was me! In 2009 maybe? When I was on pole.

Q:
You seem to have hit the ground running from the start of the weekend, and just yesterday you said it was just fine-tuning. Is that what's been going on?

Lewis Hamilton:
Yeah, yeah, just getting used to the setup to try to find us a time everywhere. It's a beautiful track, just such an incredible circuit, and I think, probably the more and more you drive it, the more you appreciate it. Of course you have to respect this circuit. It's such high speed. And also the fans here are absolutely incredible. Such passionate people who love motor racing, pure motor racing, so it's great to see.

Q:
Of course it's great to have an all-McLaren front row but is it better to have your team-mate alongside you or would you prefer somebody else?

Lewis Hamilton:
It's not bad or good. It's good because it's good for the team and we can score maximum points for the team tomorrow. And so that's, for me, the way I think.

Q:
Jenson, a winner last weekend as well, and here you are on the front. You've qualified second here before. Your feelings about being second on the grid?

Jenson Button:
Relatively happy. I started the weekend pretty happy with the car. We tried a couple of things on Friday, which I don't really think worked out for us, so we were struggling a little bit on Friday afternoon. Today the car has been much better. In qualifying because of the heat – it was much hotter than this morning – the car is moving around a lot more. This place, it really reminds me of karting, because it's all about keeping the minimum speed up, especially through Ascari and Parabolica. So you're always listening to the engine revs through the apex and you know if you're quick or not. It's a really interesting place to drive. In Q3 I realised how much a tow makes. In practice we were getting tows but it was difficult to work out if it was actually quicker or not. But in Q3 it was and I was able to get a reasonable off Vettel, which surprisingly made a good difference.

Q:
Ferrari seem to have practiced the tow this morning and put it into effect, certainly for Felipe, this afternoon. Is that something McLaren considered?

Jenson Button:
No. That's something that we… well, personally, I feel it's very difficult to plan something like that. It's difficult to get it right. You concentrate too much on it, you can do, and you can get your breaking point wrong or something. It's a tricky one. The way that we did was much better, just finding traffic on the circuit, so it worked reasonably well.

Q:
Felipe, how much of a difference do you think it did make, having that tow?

Felipe Massa:
For me it was no different because I made my best lap without the tow. We were trying a lot to have a good direction for the two. It's never very easy to make that in qualifying but I think we were able to do a little bit in Q1 and Q2. Fernando helped me on the first try on Q3 but he was supposed to do his lap on the second time, I was supposed to help him on the second lap. And then we came in at the same. And then I was behind Vettel, he braked completely, he almost stopped his car in the second chicane. I passed him so I said I'd try, just to see, as I never did one lap without the tow. I think it was nice to try even knowing that I had already my first timed lap in Q3. I tried and I improved, so I was pretty happy to do that. The car worked quite well in the corners, so maybe you lose a bit on the straight but we were able to gain more in braking and cornering. I think it was good; it was a nice qualifying. Unfortunately, Fernando is not here because he had a problem with his car but he was very quick as well. Let's concentrate on the race tomorrow where I'm in this place, and I'm very happy to be here.

Q:
Yes, it's your best grid position of the year and here you are in front of the Italian fans, so very satisfied?

Felipe Massa:
Yeah, very satisfied it's in this place. But I'm happy and really looking forward to it. It's a very important race for us, a very important race for me. And I'm looking forward to a good race in front of these fantastic people, as Lewis just said.


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