Mercedes Car Launch 2018: Q&A with Lewis Hamilton (Press Conference)
Yesterday, we saw the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team launch their car for the 2018 Formula 1 season, the W09 (F1 W09 EQ Power+) and what a great launch event it was! If you haven’t seen all the details, make sure you check out this post here.
During the launch event at Silverstone, both the Mercedes drivers spoke to the media and broadcasters – first up, it was Lewis Hamilton who looked calm and refreshed after the winter-break, happily speaking with the media and making jokes. Below, you can see everything he had to say at the press conference.
Q&A with Lewis Hamilton (Press Conference)
Question: Lewis, today you’ll get to take the new F1 W09 EQ Power+ on the track. Last week, you visited Brackley – how did it feel to be back?
Lewis Hamilton: “It felt great to be back. It’s always such a great working environment in the factory. The first time back in the year is always exciting because there’s great anticipation of the car being built and it’s very humbling to see everything coming together. People have worked so hard on this car, committed for such a long period of time. I’m just keen to get out there and take it to it’s limits – I’m one of the only two people who get to drive it and there’s this proud feeling because I know how much work has gone into getting the car ready.”
Question: The new car is more than a machine – it’s the most advanced Mercedes F1 car ever built but it also represents more than a thousand years’ worth of working hours as well as the teams’ hopes and dreams. Does that put extra pressure on you?
Lewis Hamilton: “To be honest, the pressure I put on myself has always been the most. But there is added pressure. You’re nervous about damaging the car that all these people have worked so hard on – but, I know that they don’t think about that. They know that I’m going to give it everything and that’s what they want to see. I know what potential I have in me and I just want to make sure that I utilise that and bring out the maximum of potential of the great machine that the team has built.”
Question: 2018 will be your sixth season with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team, your record with the team has been impressive. How do you feel when you look back on the time with the team so far?
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s hard to believe that it’s already our sixth year together. It feels like it’s gone by so quick. I remember my first time coming to the factory in Brackley, doing my first seat fit and it’s just strange to think that now we’re here as far down the line. It’s juts seen a dream experience – working with the greatest team and extending my relationship with Mercedes who I signed with when I was 13. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster together.”
Question: How do you think the team has developed over the past five years?
Lewis Hamilton: “Already when I first came, it felt like a real racing team – with the factory and the way it’s all set up. But the team has come such a long was since then. Having Toto at the forefront of it, seeing his vision come together, it’s really quite remarkable how the factory and the energy in the buildings has shifted. The working environment is just phenomenal, it has improved so much and to see that reflected in the work that people are doing is incredible impressive and inspiring. It’s been amazing to see.”
Question: Looking into the future – where does the team need develop?
Lewis Hamilton: “Mercedes already is the best team and it continues to grow into a stronger team. The foundation s very strong and now they’re putting the right building bricks in place. I think the team is going to continue to grow and I hope that I can be a part of that for as long as I can.”
Question: Who do you think will be your main competitors this year?
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s difficult to say at the moment but naturally, you can imagine it’s going to be very close with Ferrari and Red Bull who were so competitive at the end of the year. But maybe another team will surprise us as well.”
Question: We see a few changes for the new season – less power unit components, the halo, new tyre compounds. What do you make of that?
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s getting hard and harder for the team at Brixworth and the people in Brackley but they’re continuously rising to the challenge which is great to see. I think it will be tough for everyone this year with the new regulation changes. It puts more emphasis on me, making sure that I’m careful with the engine. We need to make sure that we can maximise it as much as possible. Reliability will continue to be a key player in the sport as it has been in previous years but I know that I’ve got the best team working as hard as they can to make sure that we’re at the forefront of that.
Question: With the introduction of the halo, the minimum weight of the car increased by 5 kilograms to 733 kilograms. What impact does that have from a driver’s perspective?
Lewis Hamilton: “The car is getting pretty heavy year on year and that does affect the car when you’re driving it. Adding weight just slows the car down but it gets faster with development again. I think at the moment seeing the halo on the car is quite alien to us but I’m sure we will get used to it and it’ll become the norm before we know it.”
Question: In 2018, we will go back to Hockenheim in Germany and also race at Paul Ricard in France. What are your thoughts about that?
Lewis Hamilton: “I remember my first time to Hockenheim. I think I was 13 and I went along with Nico. I was sitting with Ron and he was asking us if we could cope being in the same team as kids. That was at the old Hockenheim circuit which was one of my favourites back then. The track is still great as it is now, it’s quite small but it has that big long straight in the back which creates good racing. I’m excited that we’re going back, Germany has such a great fan base for motor racing and it’s important that we go to countries where there is a long lifeblood of fas because this sport would be nothing without it’s fans. We are going to new countries and the new territories which currently might not have a real fan base and the goal is to always encourage new people to join. We can’t ignore the true fans, they are the heart and core of this sport so I’m really glad that we’re going back to both Germany and France.”
Question: Last question – what are you most excited about in 2018?
Lewis Hamilton: “I’m just looking forward to racing again. It’s crazy – I’ve been racing forever but it’s still freaking good, I still get that buzz. So, I’m just excited to get back into it – I could pretty much race every day.”
A couple more questions were asked by written media, including one question where Lewis Hamilton was asked what he expected to see on the Ferrari to which he jokingly replied – “I expect it’ll be red.“
Below, you can see the video from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Launch Event including parts of the press conference too.
There’s lots more coming soon!