Q+A Lewis Hamilton

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Vodafone McLaren Mercedes today presented the MP4-23, the team’s 2008 Formula 1 car, at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Birthday boy Lewis Hamilton was of course present during the unveiling of the new car.

What are your aims for the 2008 Formula 1 season?

"My aims are to have another fantastic year enjoying my life as a Formula 1 racing driver for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, to score as many points for the team and myself as possible, and try to go one better and win the Drivers’ World Championship."

There will be two new circuits in Valencia and Singapore – both street circuits – are you looking forward to racing on these and visiting new cities?

"I am. I have never been to Singapore but I have heard it is a beautiful place so I am looking forward to going there, especially with it being a night race. Valencia is going to be interesting as well. I remember driving in Valencia at the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes launch last year and that was good fun, although very slippery, but of course the actual circuit we will be racing on is in a different location."

2008 will see the inclusion of a night race in Singapore for the first time – what are your thoughts on this?

"I think it will be wicked. In all my years of racing I have never competed in a night race, apart from indoor karting, so it will be something new for all the fans to watch and definitely exciting for the drivers."

You get to travel to some amazing places during the Formula 1 season, do you get to see much of the places you stay in?

"I do sometimes, occasionally I will travel out early to the long haul destinations to acclimatise and try to take in some of the sights. I never have the time to actually plan any sightseeing as it is all about recovering from the travel, then training, making sure that I eat right and am fully prepared for the race weekend. However, next year I definitely want to try and explore more of the countries we race in."

Was there one main thing that surprised you during your first year in Formula 1?

"The response I got from the fans around the world. I was amazed at how excited and supportive they were and I hope still are."

What is the best thing about being a Formula 1 driver?

"Literally driving the Formula 1 car, the speed, the noise and the thrill – you cannot beat it! It is the best job in the world."

Favourite film?

"It has to be ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’, that’s the funniest film I seen for a while."

Favourite song?

"I don’t have a favourite song as such, but I am very much into Bob Marley so ‘No Woman No Cry’ is probably one of my favourites."

Favourite actor?

"Denzel Washington is my favourite serious actor and Eddie Murphy is the best comedy actor."

The best dish you can cook?

"I can cook but not much, and when I say that I mean literally one or two things. With that in mind I would have to say that I am pretty good at chicken fajitas."

What would you never eat?

"I’m fairly open minded about food and I’ll try anything once but I would draw the line at things like frogs legs and horse steaks or anything unusual."

Most embarrassing moment ever?

"I don’t remember any as I try to forget them – so nothing comes to mind."

The day you will never forget?

"The day Ayrton Senna died – 1st May 1994. I was racing in Cadet karts at the Hoddesdon Kart Club. I remember I was having a difficult day and had not done very well in my races. My dad told me the news and I remember my heart sinking, going behind the trailer and having a bit of a cry."

Luxury you could not live without?

"In general I like to have nice things but could live without any luxuries. I’d struggle to live without eating sweets though!"

Favourite corner?

"It has to be Eau Rouge."