Q and A: Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton melbourneLewis Hamilton fields questions from journalists about McLaren’s poor form as he gears up for what will be a difficult weekend in Melbourne.

Q. Lewis, how was your first day?

Lewis HAMILTON: My day has not been too bad. It is great to be back. Obviously we are not as quick as we would love to be but we are working very hard and we got though quite a good programme and made some decent steps for us at least. Don t really know what everyone else is doing on the track but I am happy with what we have done today.

Q. Lewis, we heard you say that the car was bottoming all the time and was really very difficult to drive.

LH: Yeah, it is a very bumpy track, so I think at the time we were just a bit too low. That s what happens when you are on heavier fuel, so we will make some changes to make sure that doesn t happen anymore.

Q. You were very quick on the straight as well, fastest by about two or three kpm. Does that suggest you are not running a lot of downforce?

LH: No, it just means we have got a good Mercedes Benz engine.

Q. But where is the car lacking as testing has not been particularly good?

LH: In general it is a good car, it is just general lack of grip everywhere pretty much. It is not particularly one area of the track, it is everywhere. We cannot carry the speeds through the corners that we would like. It is predominantly aero and we are working very hard. We have made some steps forward with it and for sure the gap to the others is nowhere near as big as it was back in Barcelona but we have still got a long way to go. The guys back at the factory are working very hard to rectify that. There is no quick fix. It is going to take some time.

Q. Were you still trying new bits today? Is there still a flow of bits coming from the factory?

LH: No, today we didn t try any new bits. We had everything we needed on but I am sure over the course of the first few races that there will be some new bits coming.

Q. How much were you using KERS today and how much were you adjusting the front wing?

LH: I didn t use the front wings, it wasn t beneficial to me today as I didn t need it. With the KERS we use it. You use it over a lap. On the longer runs it is learning how to manage it but we don t seem to have any problems with that.

Q: (James Allen Financial Times) For Fernando and Lewis, the two drivers using KERS here, is it simply a case of using it in one place on the track or have you been experimenting today with perhaps using it out of some corners and trying different things with it and if so, would you be able to share some of your discoveries?

LH: I don t think it s rocket science. It s the same for all of us, we use it as much as we can and we have 400 kilojoules, around six and a half seconds, I guess, to use over a lap, so you generally try to use two seconds or a second a time out of every corner if you can use it but you have to spread it out throughout the lap.

Q: (Ian Parkes The Press Association) Lewis, you ve been used to running at the front in Formula One for the past two years now, pretty much throughout most of your career. I m just wondering how difficult it might be for you in the short term until you hope the car comes good, running towards the back of the pack, midfield if that s the way it s going to be, looking at the practice today.

LH: I think it s tough for anyone, but we ve got a lot of experience as a team, but personally I ve got a lot of experience of running at the back in other categories, so it s not completely new to me and we have had some races where I have been a bit further back but for sure we re not in the place where we would rather be but we re working extremely hard, as hard as we can and it s actually a good opportunity for us to try and turn it round. We ve got a steep, very tough challenge ahead of us but if anyone can do it, I believe my team can and so we ve just got to remain positive and keep pushing.