Exclusive Lewis Hamilton Q&A: The 2014 F1 World Champion speaks to Sky Sports F1
Hamilton on why 2014 is better than 2008, his sleepless Saturday night and why he wants to keep '44' on his car next season
By Sky Sports Online
Last Updated: 23/11/14 6:43pm
As the enormity of his title-winning achievements began to sink in, Lewis Hamilton took time out from his celebrations to speak to the Sky Sports F1 team in the Mercedes garage.
Simon Lazenby: At any point this season was there ever any doubt in your mind that you could pull this one off?
Lewis Hamilton: “As a driver you’ve always got to believe in your heart that you’ve got what it takes to win it. You’ve always got to believe in yourself. You’ve always got to arrive on the day and believe it can happen. You’ve always got to believe in the positives.
“I’ve just worked away at it this year. This team is unbelievable, I don’t know if that’s ever been the same anywhere else. It’s a very proud moment. Two-time World Champion? It doesn’t really click in.”
Damon Hill: I’ve not experienced two World Championships – my dad did – so tell me, if it’s not too early, how different does that feel?
LH: To be honest, I don’t know if it’s because of the experience I had in 2008, but this feels a million times better. It feels so much better. It’s a positive feeling in my heart. In 2008 I had it, I lost it, I had it, I lost it, I lost it the year before. It just all happened so quickly. I’ve had time to get to grips with Formula 1, learn the ropes, grow as an individual and today I feel so much more whole as a person. So it feels better, for sure.
DH: A lot of people felt you should already have had two championships and this year the nightmare scenario was that you were going to have more victories and lose the championship on double points. That nightmare’s over…
LH: Thank God! Before last night someone said ‘he’s not going to sleep very well’ and I was like ‘no, I always sleep fine’ but honestly last night, sweaty palms, I couldn’t really sleep and get my mind off all the possibilities that could happen today. The idea and the feeling of what would happen if I hadn't got it, and just dreading that.
“But I woke up early and went for a run – which I never do on a Sunday, ever. I went by the water, had a massage, came here and for some reason I felt so calm and I didn’t know if that was a good thing or bad thing. But I got in the race and it was good. I felt on rails, I felt so in control of the car. It was a great feeling.”
SL: How do you switch off from it when you’ve got such a race of such magnitude? How do you take yourself out of that for a moment in the build-up?
LH: “Generally this season to my family I was like ‘look, I’m going to my office’. You don’t take your family to work with you and I just really wanted to focus and finish each weekend and know that I wasn’t distracted by anything and I hadn’t left any stone unturned.
“Whilst it’s a great thing experiencing these weekends, ultimately I want to win the World Championship and I’ve got to do everything for that. Coming into this last race all my family wanted to come. I want all my family to come, I want to share this with all my family. My mum, my sister, everyone. Obviously not everyone can come so we decided that no one would be coming and I was just going to keep my head down and it was great.
“My family arrived this morning and I was already so much in the zone it felt normal. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want to send a big shout out to my mum who through thick and thin without question has always been my biggest supporter.
"My sister, my nephew, my dogs – I miss my dogs, I can’t wait to get back – my cousins, all my family, I’m going to go back and share this with them. The Hamilton name will live on way beyond me now which I’m very happy to be a part of.”
Martin Brundle: I’m reminded standing here that you have ‘44’ tattooed behind your ear. That number must mean even more to you now?
LH: “No, 44 has always been my number since the day I started. I won my first championship [in karting] on number 44 and I’m going to work very hard to ask the team if I can keep 44 on my car next year.
“Number one is a great thing and I’ll always know that I’m number one, but 44 is my favourite number so I want to keep it on the car.”
MB: So you don’t want number one on the car?
LH: “It doesn’t make any difference. I’m still going to be 44 but the drivers will know that I’ve got number one!”
SL: You’ve always said you want to emulate your idol Ayrton Senna with three World Championships. You are one away from that now and you’ve got to think, with a team like this behind you, next year you’ve got a good shot at that?
LH: “With a team like this anything is possible. The guys back home at the factory, what they have done this year… coming here I knew that this was the place to be and everyone thought I was crazy.
“I had all these signs and I knew in my heart this was the place. Of course, I never knew that we would be winning in the second year, but I knew that this would happen at some stage. We’re going to work so hard to make sure we come back even stronger next year. I know personally as well that I’m going to make some improvements. I’m going to make sure my qualifying is better next year and I have that race pace as well.”