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Bahrain GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
16/04/2015

Lewis, you're coming off the back of three straight poles to a circuit where you've never been in on pole position before in your career. How do you see this weekend and the battleground that is qualifying on Saturday?
Lewis Hamilton: The same as every race. Excited for it. The team have worked very hard to try to learn from the last race and improve. Naturally, for me, as you suggested, I've been on the front row but I've not been on pole here. So naturally that's something I want to try to change.

Now throughout Formula One history the psychological battle between title rivals has always been intense. Can you tell us a bit about how you've evolved your attitude that and your thinking about that as you've matured as a driver?
LH: It's not really changed much. I just do my talking on the track, that's how it's always been since I was eight years old. And naturally you juts try to learn from decisions you take and experiences you have and hope that you get better.

So, the approach is not to get involved then?
LH: That's not what I said. You just do your talking on the track and try to do your best. All the stuff that comes out of the car I have no particular interest in it.

OK thank you for that. Coming to you Pastor, some good battles in China last time out and breakthrough points for the team, scored by your team-mate. How do see this Lotus team evolving in 2015?
Pastor Maldonado: To be honest we've been a bit unlucky in the first two races, especially for me in the first corner I've been hit by Nasr in Australia and I was P6 already and the same in Malaysia, I was P8 or P9, I think it was P8, and I've been hit by Bottas in the first corner, so the first two races have been completely compromised by the first corner, you know. Last race was actually our first race where we've been able to compete against the other teams, or the other teams around us. We confirm what we've been expecting, the pace of the car. Actually in qualifying we still maybe are not at the top of our package. We've been working quite hard and hopefully this weekend it should be a bit better than it was in the past three races. But actually the race pace was quite good, encouraging and we are really looking to do our best and to finally be in the points this weekend.

There's been a Lotus in the final part of qualifying at every round this year so far but you yourself have only managed it once. Can you tell us what areas you are focusing on in particular to make sure that you get yourself into Q3?
PM: Yeah, quali is maybe the main focus for the team. We just need to try to put everything together. I think the speed is there. But normally it has been like this, even in the past, we've been less competitive in quali than in the race. I really expect, and we will approach different ways the qualifying to try to get 100 per cent from the car and then trying to keep the same situation or the same pace for the race.

Thank you for that. Coming to you Max: the performance in China. No points but plenty of praise worldwide for your performance there. Do you feel it's put you on the Formula One map and what was the highlight?
Max Verstappen: Well, first of all, I was really enjoying my race. We didn't have a great qualifying, but still I was very confident that we could do a good race because I think the car and it's race pace is really strong, especially high speed. I had some good overtakes, I was really enjoying that. It's also every race I'm getting more and more confident in the car. Especially in the first two race you don't want to take too many risks and I decided in China it was time to do some overtakes and take some more risk.

Toro Rosso, apparently, have never scored a point here in Bahrain, amazingly in their ten years. This weekend that, I'm sure, will be your target, but you do have some engine issues going into this weekend. Can you give us your thoughts on how that's going to stack up?
MV: Yeah, for sure it's very short notice for us after China, where we had the engine issues. But we will try to do our best to deliver a good race and try to score points, because I think at the moment the car is capable of it and I'm feeling much better every race in the car. So I'm really looking forward to this race.

Sergio, coming to you, obviously 12 months ago here a very strong weekend, qualified well, in fourth, got up on the podium. Presumably it's one of your favourite tracks. What is it about this place and you?
Sergio Perez: Obviously it was great, no, to remember that day. It was a fantastic day, a fantastic race for me. It was really difficult to make it onto the podium, as it was a very intense race all the way through. Generally, I have been doing well [here]. The year before I did quite well at this track, so I think I get on with the track quite nicely. Unfortunately we are not in a similar position to dream about a podium for this weekend but I think, hopefully, we can score some points and make a great improvement. I think we managed to do a good step in China, we just finished out of the points, so I hope that here we can score some points.

You have a big update coming in Austria. From what you know of it what is the target of where it's going to put you in the pecking order?
SP: It's difficult to say, as everyone is improving all the time and everyone is bringing upgrades. We are not the only ones who are going to bring them but we really have identified our issues with the car, our weaknesses, so in that respect it should put us a lot better. I think if we can solve the general issue of the car, the main weakness of the car, then it can be a really good step that can put us in a really good position to be a constant points scorer.

Will, obviously didn't start in Australia or Malaysia but a 15th place finish last time out in China. Tell us about the mindset in the team and how you set goals and objectives for each race - and what they are here.
Will Stevens: As you said, China was the first race that I did personally this year - but as far as the weekend went, I think it was a big step forwards for the team. I think it was good to get both cars to the finish for the first time this year. As the weekend went, it ran pretty smoothly. I think, looking forward to this weekend, obviously we want to finish the race with both cars again. Every time I we back in the car, especially for me, missing Malaysia, I'm getting more and more comfortable. I think the pace that I showed in China was pretty strong. We just need to keep moving forward and see where we can get to.

From what you've seen and experienced so far, what makes you believe in this project.
WS: From where we set out, we knew the first few races were going to be difficult. The team, where they finished last year in the Constructors', they're in a different position now to what they were before. So I think, moving forwards for the future, we can only get better. I think moving towards the end of this year, hopefully we'll get the new car coming in and then we can really start to make some progress.

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