If some of the media hype is to believed, McLaren rookie Lewis Hamilton has already got his hands on the winners' trophy for this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix but the man himself is rather more level-headed about his chances. There's little doubt...
If some of the media hype is to believed, McLaren rookie Lewis Hamilton has already got his hands on the winners' trophy for this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix but the man himself is rather more level-headed about his chances. There's little doubt that Hamilton will claim the top step before the season is out, but while he's optimistic about the upcoming race he's well aware that the competition is going to be tough.
"I think the chance I have here is as good as ever," Hamilton said at Wednesday's FIA press conference in Monaco, in regard to the win. "We come here having improved the car over the last few test days. We are getting stronger and stronger throughout the season and I think that we are going to be strong here this weekend, but without a doubt, the BMW will be there and so will Ferrari. Yes, the test went well, but we just have to see."
Hamilton is a previous Monaco winner in F3 and GP2 so he knows his way around the street circuit. "It's a slightly different car, a bit of a different beast but I think it will definitely help," he commented of his previous visits. "Experience of a circuit is always a positive for a driver and especially on a circuit like this where there is no room for error and it's all about knowing your braking zones, knowing where the bumps are, so I'm sure it will help."
Some drivers have described Monaco as a lottery but Hamilton doesn't quite ascribe to that theory. Reportedly the youngster spent up to eight hours a day in the McLaren simulator over the winter when not in the car, so it's no surprise that he's approaching what can be an unpredictable race in the same committed manner.
"Over the week, we were looking at previous races and the different strategies you can run here and I think possibly because of the rules and regulations it does tend to make it a little bit more of a lottery than other circuits but still you need to be quick. It's not necessarily always the fastest driver that wins here. It's just all about having everything in the right place so that's what we need to work for."
Hamilton has been groomed by McLaren for a long time and his composure in the F1 media spotlight has so far been that of a consummate professional. However, thankfully, he displays a little human bewilderment about his sudden rocket to fame and the illustrious company he is keeping. "It has just been a rollercoaster, the whole journey," he said.
"One, getting to Formula One, and, then, having four podiums in my first four races -- it is unknown, but it is difficult, you know, I don't think it has kicked in really. You look at the races and you think 'wow' I finished second to Felipe Massa! It is just that these last few years, I have been watching these guys racing and I was admiring them. And, now, I am amongst them. It is really difficult to come to terms with…"