The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team today launched the car it will campaign in the 2009 FIA Formula 1 World Championship at its headquarters in Woking. Of course World Champion Lewis Hamilton was present during the event and gave the following interview.
InterviewHas winning the world championship changed you?
“The whole experience has definitely made me feel more rounded. The whole experience of 2008 has helped me to grow as an individual – and not just at the races; how I’ve dealt with my surroundings, my family and my life. I know I have a huge responsibility and I have to set a good example – and it takes maturity to manage those things and so I’m still learning and doing the best I can.”How have you spent the winter?
“The winter months have been all about recharging my batteries. Last season was very tough both mentally and physically and the test and race schedule never gives you enough time to get back to peak fitness. Over the winter, I’ve taken a break from the car and really focused on my preparations for 2009 and getting myself back to the peak of physical fitness. In both respects, I feel really well prepared ahead of the winter test programme and the year ahead.”What do you think of the new car?
“Well, obviously, I haven’t driven it yet. But there’s an old saying in motor racing that says a beautiful car often turns out to be a quick car. And all I can say is that I hope that’s right, because I reckon the MP4-24 looks simply sensational. Really beautiful, in fact.”What aspects of the 2009 season are you particularly looking forward to?
“The huge rule changes are really exciting for a driver. The winter months are already quite busy because you’re very heavily involved in developing the new car, but this year it will be even more intense. And the whole experience will also feel quite fresh because so much is new. I hope the racing is as close and as exciting as has been predicted because that’s always more fun for a driver and fantastic for Formula 1’s fans.”
Born January 7 1985; place of birth Stevenage, UK; website www.lewishamilton.com
2008 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes (world champion, 98pts, five wins); 2007 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes (2nd, 109pts, four wins)
2006 GP2 (champion, five wins); 2005 F3 Euroseries (champion, 15 wins); 2004 F3 Euroseries (5th, one win); 2003 British Formula Renault (champion, 10 wins); 2002 British Formula Renault (3rd, three wins); 2000 Formula A (European champion, World Cup champion); 1999 Intercontinental A Italian champion (ICA); 1998 Junior ICA (Champions of the Future, 2nd); 1997 Junior Yamaha British champion; 1996 Cadets British champion; 1995 Cadets British championSource McLaren