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Singapore GP: Post Qualifying press conference

NEWS STORY
27/09/2008

Felipe, Monaco, Valencia and now here the inaugural night race at Singapore. What an achievement for you.
Felipe Massa: I think first of all the car was just perfect, you know, so nice to drive smoothly and then I managed to do a perfect lap and that always helps when you have a good car and you don't make any single mistakes in whatever corner you go. That is always a great achievement.

What does it feel like to put in a perfect lap at a venue like this, the first ever night race in the history of Formula One?
FM: It was just a great feeling. When you come into the last corner you say I cannot make any mistake. You are not trying to go on the limit at the last corner as you know everything could be worse than it actually is, so I just made it corner by corner, perfect, not making any single mistake and then when I came to the last corner I said ‘maybe I will take it a little bit easier' but I couldn't. I did the last corner quickly anyway but the feeling is so fantastic. When you get the best from the car it is one of the most incredible feelings you can have as a racing driver, so when you achieve what you want it is always a great achievement.

Your thoughts on driving on this track at night?
FM: It is pretty tough. It is a very difficult track. To get every corner right is really difficult. The lights, I mean the visibility, I don't think is a big problem to be honest. We have visibility, so you don't care, you just want to take the best out of the car, so you don't really think whether you are during the night or during the day, you just think about what you have to do. It will be a very difficult race for sure. Concentration will be 10 times more important than a normal circuit, even maybe a little bit more difficult than Monaco as there are more corners, so it won't be easy.

And how has the rhythm of the weekend worked out for you and the team?
FM: Yeah, for sure I think the work of the team in a way is exactly similar to other races but in completely different times. I got here on Tuesday and tried to go to bed very late but already Wednesday, at three o'clock in the morning, I was walking the track with my family, with Rubens Barrichello and his wife and everybody. We were having fun but also learning the track. Every day I was trying to do similar things, I think everybody in the team as well, trying to use more the European time than the time from here. It is a little bit strange but fun in a way.

Lewis, after what happened in Monza we were all a bit worried but you just made it into Q3.
Lewis Hamilton: You were not the only ones who were worried. It was a little bit nerve-wracking for sure but fortunately we got through. I managed to secure a good spot on the front row but obviously not as smooth sailing as some other people. But nevertheless we've been very competitive all weekend, so I think I am in a good position for the race tomorrow.

We heard on the radio transmission the team saying great sector three, but sectors one and two were where you had to try and find the speed on that last run.
LH: Yes, I remember that the first lap I did wasn't particularly fantastic. The last sector was good but in the first two I was a little bit cautious. The next time I came through I think I improved the first couple of corners but then I lost a bit of time I think through turn five and then the rest of the lap was pretty much the same pace as my best time. I think I may have improved it slightly but it wasn't enough.

We saw the hard Bridgestone tyre looking good in Q3. What was the thinking going into qualifying from a tyre point of view?
LH: It was actually quite a tricky decision to make simply because normally there is a relatively big difference between the two compounds, or noticeable difference, but today generally both tyres were very similar but the option tyre doesn't seem to be lasting the whole lap. Fortunately, I think everyone pretty much went for the harder and it seemed to do the job.

And your thoughts on night racing? How have you liked it so far?
LH: Yeah, tonight it is kind of crazy. It is 11.15 hrs at night right now and I've never been driving at this time before but for us it's the afternoon. As Felipe said we have been walking the track at 3 a.m. in the morning, going to bed at five or six, and waking up late in the day, so it quite unique but driving the circuit is fantastic. I think they have done an amazing job in building the circuit and the facilities. It is really a great place to be.

Kimi, a troublesome morning for you which would not have helped going into qualifying.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, it was a bit unfortunate. We had some issue with the steering wheel and then I ran wide and tried to turn round but we could not find any gears anymore. That is unfortunate but the car has been pretty good. We have been losing a bit of time here and there but it was not too bad.

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