Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Fernando Alonso (McLaren), Felipe Massa (Ferrari)

TV unilaterals:

Q:
Lewis, a brilliant performance from you on a circuit on which you've never been before.

Lewis Hamilton:
Yeah. Quite a surprise, to be honest. Going into qualifying, we hadn't really found the best, the optimal set-up and I knew that Fernando is obviously extremely quick here. But it's great to see that the team is so quick and ahead of the Ferraris obviously, but going into that qualifying session I just had to pull it all out and my two last laps in Q3 were spot on and I think I just beat my best lap at the end. So I couldn't be happier. I didn't really expect to be on pole. I thought Fernando would have been quicker, but obviously not.

Q:
Yes, your second lap just quicker but not purple on any sector, but a slight drama last night when they had to change the race engine before you came out this morning and we hear also you've got a little bit of hay fever.

LH:
No, I wouldn't say I've got hay fever. Yesterday... I haven't been getting much sleep lately, probably just enjoying it too much! But yesterday I didn't feel great. But yeah, they had to change the engine. I think it was an assembly problem or something but the engine performed very well, so obviously I'm ecstatic. I really didn't expect to get pole again but I am very very pleased and happy for the team.

Q:
Fernando, in many ways commiserations to you: fastest in every session so far except the all-important Q3, just beaten for the pole.

Fernando Alonso:
Yeah, it has been a good weekend for me, no doubt, and I was fastest in P1, P2, P3, Q1, Q2, but not the important one, Q3. But being fastest all weekend gives me a lot of confidence for tomorrow. Yes, Q3, we know, is a different matter and you place many many factors in Q3 so... I think we can have a strong race tomorrow and I have confidence.

Q:
What were those last five minutes of Q3 like for you in terms of the two laps you were able to do on those tyres?

FA:
They were okay. I think both sets of tyres were really really close to a timed lap and I didn't improve too much in the second. I think it was a little bit worse and I had quite good grip in the car and I was quite happy with the laps as well, so I think tomorrow we can do really well.

Q:
Felipe, it looks as if Ferrari are definitely closer to McLaren Mercedes than they were in Canada. I guess it's a surprise that we have to say that. What's the car like from your point of view?

Felipe Massa:
Well, for sure a bit closer but not enough, so we need to be in front, not be closer. But for sure, the situation is a little bit better than in Canada. Canada was a pretty difficult weekend for us. Here, starting third, second row, is not a disaster. We know that McLaren is going to be strong in the race as they were in every session, so we need to work hard. We need to fight until the end and that's what I'm going to do tomorrow.

Q:
Where do you feel the difference is now between the Ferrari and the McLaren Mercedes?

FM:
It's not something which we really want to say. It's something we need to understand and try to do better in our car. We should be in front of them. We have some ideas in the car, in the aerodynamics, in the engine just to improve the situation but we need to do it as quick as possible.

Q:
Returning to you, Lewis, the first time you've raced in the United States. Your thoughts on the atmosphere here, on getting the pole here at Indianapolis and indeed the Speedway itself.

LH:
Getting my second pole is even better than obviously last week, you know, but again when I came across the line and the team told me I had P1, again I was screaming in my helmet and just through the whole lap just extremely ecstatic. But the audience, the crowd here has been fantastic. I can see outside my garage over in the grandstands someone has a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes sign with Lewis on it. So it's great to see. And there are a lot of British flags out there, but also a lot of support from the Americans. So we're very happy.

Press conference:

Q:
Lewis, two laps that were good enough for pole.

LH:
Yeah, I was quite surprised, to be honest, mainly because obviously it's my first time here. I haven't really been performing as good as Fernando has. Going into qualifying, just throughout the whole weekend I'm always trying to find that little bit more, little bit more. And each time I go out I improve and improve. Sometimes you go out and you don't improve but you learn from it. Going through the whole of qualifying I was finding bits of time through my driving, and saw certain places where I could find time. Going into my qualifying lap in Q3, the car felt very good. I made certain adjustments on my steering wheel and the balance was very good and I managed to get a very clear lap. And then going into my second Q lap, I knew that Fernando would obviously be pushing extremely hard as well as everyone else. And I managed to pull out... I think, it was a tenth in the first sector but I lost it in the middle sector, so I was a bit nervous about that. But I managed to gain some of it back going across the line, so a little bit faster again. But I was quite surprised to see that Fernando didn't match it or do better.

Q:
How hard have you had to work on that middle sector? Because that's the technical bit, isn't it?

LH:
It is, and experience is everything here, so the more and more I get out on the track, the faster I get. I think yesterday, straight away I got into the first sector and the last sector, which are not the hardest sectors to do, but I was still quite quick there and I was losing, I think, half a second or something in the middle sector. So that's where I've really had to work away and chip away at it step by step. It's got better and better. As you saw, I didn't do purple sectors but I just was very, very consistent. That's the key obviously.

Q:
Just clarify for us, you had a new race engine but there's no penalty for that, is there?

LH:
No, because we were all going to...this weekend everyone has a new engine or the majority do have a new engine this weekend. So it was going to be the engine we would use. But before we allocated it, we had to swap it because... well, we had a certain problem with it.

Q:
Fernando, it sounded like Lewis expected you to be on pole position, and Peter was sort of saying you had all the times but obviously you could have been on pole, couldn't you?

FA:
Well, I don't think so. I'm second and one-tenth-and-a-half or whatever behind, so I did my maximum in Q3. It's true that it has been a very good weekend so far for me, on top always, yesterday and this morning, in Q1 and Q2. So that's made me very confident for tomorrow, having a good race. I think I have the pace and the weekend so far has been good so why not tomorrow.

Q:
Who would you prefer to be fighting, Ferrari or your team-mate?

FA:
My team-mate, because that means that the team is doing well and we can take some advantage from Ferrari.

Q:
Felipe, are you as competitive as you hoped here?

FM:
When I'm behind, no. When we are behind we are never 100 per cent satisfied, for sure. The situation looks a little bit better compared to Canada. But, you know, it just needs a little bit more.

Q:
Do you think you have the strategy to carry the fight to McLaren during the race?

FM:
I don't know. We thought we had the strategy to compete in Canada but the strategy was completely the other way around. So in the race tomorrow... we will see. Hopefully we can have a good strategy for whatever kind of race

Q:
Are you feeling confident?

FM:
Yeah, for sure, we never give up. McLaren, in the last three races, putting this race in as well, have made a step forward. We have had some trouble in these races. But we have the team, we have the group and we have the car to improve, hopefully we can have a fantastic race tomorrow. But you know it is time to improve the car as quickly as possible to have a good fight with McLaren in the next races. But I'm looking forward to tomorrow and tomorrow I will fight them until the end.

 

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