Questions from the floor:

Q: (Takeharu Kusuda - Lapita Magazine)
Lewis, when I asked you in Monza about the Japanese Grand Prix, you told us you were a little bit disappointed that you couldn't drive in Suzuka, but now, after qualifying, has your impression changed?

Lewis Hamilton:
As I said, I've really enjoyed my trip. I was over here and then coming to Fuji - it's quite an awesome place with the scenery here. And the track - I was very very impressed when I walked the circuit on Thursday, the way that they have the place built up and the facilities. I think it's fantastic. I would definitely put it at the top of the Formula One circuits that we have. But when I commented that I was disappointed, it was because it was a childhood dream to race at Suzuka but still, I'm more than happy to be here and obviously to be on pole.

Q: (Mathias Brunner - Motorsport Aktuell)
Lewis, were you worried that the Ferrari would perhaps change its line (when it was coming very slowly down the straight)?

LH:
At the beginning, obviously I exited the last corner and as I was accelerating I thought the Ferrari [driver] had seen me in the mirror and was beginning to move over but then he stopped and I understand he was just trying to avoid the white line and do an extra lap. It wasn't an issue. I didn't know what speed he was doing and I tried to get some slipstream but it wasn't going to work, so I probably lost a bit of time trying to get back out of the way.

Q: (Paulo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Kimi, would you prefer to have a dry race or a wet race tomorrow?

Kimi Raikkonen:
It's the same for all the teams, all the drivers, so it doesn't really make any difference. It would be nice to have it dry or wet, not really in between. There's a bit more luck involved then. I don't know. Anything really.

Q:
Did it dry out at all during that session, were the conditions pretty stable?

KR:
There were some little dry places but not really completely.

Q: (Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport News)
Question for all three. Now that you've driven this track, what are the differences, both from the driving point of view and the car set-up point of view between what you've experienced and what you and the teams anticipated before you got here?

LH:
As I was saying earlier, we have a big group of engineers who get as much data as they can and we sort of all came here blindfold and not really knowing what to expect but they made very good calculations and we went out and we were very close with the balance that we had decided to go with, both for the wet and the dry. Obviously we've done a great job and so I'm happy.

Fernando Alonso:
Same.

KR:
Okay, it's a new place and a new challenge but I think it's been going quite smoothly. We knew the circuit a little bit from having a look before and it's been good.

Q: (Juha P??talo - Financial Times Germany)
This is for Lewis and Fernando. Remembering what happened in Spa in the first corner, what do you think is going to happen tomorrow in the first corner? What is your plan for the first corner?

LH: [to Alonso]
Do you want to answer that? We're going to race. As Fernando said, we're not idiots. We're going to go into the first corner, we want to finish the race and score points, so we will obviously attack each other but in a fair manner.

FA:
Yeah, we will both finish the race, no worries.

Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat)
Kimi, do you think that first corner is more decisive than usual?

KR:
I don't think so. It's not any different to normal. It's going to be quite tight but the last race it was a very tight corner, so I don't think it's going to decide any more than any other circuit.

Q: (Michael Schmidt - Auto Motor und Sport)
Fernando, you only changed tyres once in Q3. Were you saving wet tyres for tomorrow or did you run out of wet tyres?

FA:
We planned Q3 like that because we thought that there was no time to do two stops and to fit two new sets of tyres, so we just went for one long run and then just one stop and only one chance. It was already planned like that, so no changes.

Q: (Paulo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
This is a question for all three of you. Considering the long straight, are the pit stops less important here than in other races, that you can overtake more, or is it not going to change much?

KR:
I don't think it changes much. It's a different time at every circuit. For sure there are optimum laps which is the best to (stop) but I don't think here it is very crucial compared to other places.

LH:
Same.

Q: (Paulo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Are there more chances to overtake?

FA:
No, I don't think so. We have long straights in Spa, in Monza, in Indianapolis and we see the same overtaking more or less as on any other track, so I don't think that tomorrow will be different.

Q: (Mathias Brunner - Motorsport Aktuell)
Fernando, starting left hand side, right hand side on some tracks is an issue. What is your estimate for here?

FA:
Who knows? Normally the clean side is better but it's true that today, with this rain, it will probably clean up both sides, so maybe tomorrow both sides will be more similar than normal.

Q: (Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport News)
Again for all three of you. Speaking of overtaking, besides turn one, what are the other overtaking points here do you think?

KR:
I think we will find out tomorrow. Hopefully there are more. I think turn ten but other places are probably very difficult.

LH:
I think, as Kimi said, we will find out tomorrow but turn ten looks like it's a possibility but it depends whether you get a good exit from turn six.

FA:
Same.

Q: (Sudhir Chandran - Chequered Flag)
Lewis, with the championship getting as close as it is, how difficult is it for you to concentrate on that last qualifying lap: palpitations, heartbeats, sweaty palms?

LH:
As you can see I'm dry as a bone. It was a bit of a breeze in the wet. Obviously it's not as physical and I wasn't thinking about the championship when I was doing that lap. I was thinking about getting pole position and so when you have that in the back of your mind, and then also knowing you just need to be relaxed, you can do it, 100 per cent confidence in the team and the car, then it's... I'm not saying it's easy but it makes it much easier to do your job.

 

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