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China GP: Post Qualifying press conference

NEWS STORY
18/10/2008

Lewis, quickest in both sessions yesterday and quickest in all three qualifying sessions today and on pole by a margin of 0.3. It is looking very good.
Lewis Hamilton: Absolutely, I think coming from some positives from the previous race we came here very strong, very determined and with a good frame of mind and we have been very competitive all weekend. The practices have gone very well and the qualifying was one of our best. My first Q3 lap wasn't so great but I managed to pull it together on the last lap and it was as close as I could get to a perfect lap.

Talk us through that first lap in Q3. On the radio we heard you were down on that second sector.
LH: I had six tenths in fact and it was all good up until turn eight and just though there I had a big oversteer moment and ran wide and was on the marbles, so that messed me up for turn nine and 10, so I lost around seven tenths, something like that. I had to finish the lap, I couldn't bail out, I still had to get a banker in and I came in and the team told me where the time was lost. I knew where it was lost, so I went out and made sure it worked the next time.

Tell us your mindset going into that last lap given the pressure of the championship?
LH: To be honest I didn't have anything hanging over me or I didn't have anything else on my mind except for just doing a good lap. I was relaxed. I was happy with the balance of the car. I knew that I could have done it, so it was a matter of going out and doing it. It was tough for sure because everyone was very competitive, even Heikki, but I am very happy that I got the lap done.

Kimi, talk us through Ferrari's weekend so far.
Kimi Raikkonen: I think it hasn't been the easiest weekend. Anyhow, we tried many different things and played around with the set up and finally today we found a pretty okay set up and it seemed to work pretty well in the last qualifying. It is always difficult to say from the first and second qualifying but as long as you are in the top 10 in the second one it is fine and it can be a completely different story in the last one. The car was good. The McLaren has been very fast here but we will see tomorrow in the race conditions where we are going to be against them but definitely I was pretty happy out there how things went. I mean we are still not the first place but nevertheless we have a very good place as a team to start the race tomorrow and try to win.

You have spoken about various issues with the car. How good was that lap from a driver point of view and from the point of view of the car?
KR: I mean it was pretty good. Of course you can always improve but we had some issues in certain places this weekend and we have not been able to get completely rid of them but fixed them as well as we could. I don't know how much probably the difference is, three tenths or something, which is quite a bit but like I said the fuel loads can make a difference and we will wait and see what we can do tomorrow but definitely we are going in the right direction all the time and hopefully it starts going better from here.

Felipe, a lot of people thought this circuit would suit Ferrari. What has it been like from your point of view – Friday through to now?
Felipe Massa: Well, I think by now, we were struggling a little bit in the weekend and just struggling to make the right lap. It is quite difficult to put everything together and it looks like the McLaren guys have got a little bit easier car to put a lap together. We don't know how it is going to be in the race. We had a similar result in the last race but then quite a very strong pace in the race. I hope to have a strong pace in the race and maybe try to see if we can improve our car a little bit, especially on the long stints.

How was your qualifying lap in terms of getting the best from the car?
FM: It was not very good. Just difficult to find the balance, you know. Sometimes you get into a corner and have oversteer, sometimes you get into the corner and have too much understeer. I had a little bit of inconsistent balance just in Q3. In Q2 I was happy like always, so it was a little bit difficult to find the right balance for Q3.

It is strange how things do change so quickly. Maybe as we saw in Fuji the Bridgestone tyres are a little bit hard relevant to the McLaren in terms of the way you use the tyres?
FM: Maybe but the tyres are the same for everybody, so we need to work in our car to have the best we can have for these tyres. The tyres will not change and for sure in some tracks we saw that we were struggling a little bit and other tracks a bit less. On some other tracks we were very strong. Unfortunately we couldn't put both cars on the front in this race but the race is long and we have chosen to do our best.

Lewis, lots of people have been giving you advice and telling you how to handle this weekend. How are you handling this weekend?
LH: I think you can see from our result that I am dealing with it quite well. It is great, you know. I have got a huge amount of support from back home and across the world. Especially from my team and my family as well. My family are here which is so important to me. I really have to thank the team, they have done a fantastic job coming off not such a great weekend in Fuji. Just thanks to those guys for staying so strong and doing a solid job this weekend. Hopefully we can continue with it tomorrow. We definitely will give it our best shot.

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