Lewis Hamilton has made it clear that his win in Turkey was the start of a push by McLaren that could see it take the World Championship fight to the end of the season.
Speaking in a Q&A issued on his website, he praised the way McLaren has kept up momentum in the development race so far this year.
“I can’t keep the smile off my face – we are absolutely on it!,” he said. “Last year, you saw what we could do when we came from behind – we started the season at the back of the grid, but we were back at the front halfway through the year, and were still able to win two races. This team is just an incredible development machine – it never stops. We live and breathe racing, and we are just churning out new parts, working harder than I’ve ever seen the team work to try and help us win these world championships.
“I think it’s something that has really surprised Jenson – but in a good way; just the intensity and determination with which we push forward. I think the result in Turkey was the perfect motivation we needed, and I know the whole factory is working flat-out to bring forward the new parts. We go to Canada feeling pretty highly motivated, and I can just sense there’s a momentum building within the team – I felt the same feeling in 2008, and I know that we can achieve great things together over the next six months, so it’s all good.”
Hamilton says it’s no co-incidence that he and Jenson were able to have an amicable fight on the track in Turkey.
“Firstly, I’ve known Jenson for a very long time, and I think we have a lot of respect for each other, and what we’ve achieved as drivers. We’re both world champions, so we have a certain amount of pressure removed from our shoulders too. And I’ve really got to know Jenson well over the past six months. We’ve been working hard, we’ve spent a lot of time together, at the circuit and at events arranged by Vodafone and our other partners – it’s funny, but I think that, because we’ve spent a lot of downtime together during filming days or appearances, that we’ve actually got to know each other better than if, say, we’d only been working together at the track.
“He brings a lot of positive energy to the race weekends, and he’s made our team stronger, so these are all positives. But look, I think it’s inevitable that we’ll be battling again on the track sooner or later. There are 12 races left, and I’d be surprised if we weren’t racing each other again at some point soon. Of course, we’ll both work hard to make it’s fair, but our eyes are open to the fact that it will happen again – and, actually, I think that’ll be cool, because he’s a good guy to race with.”
He also said that his first win of the year meant a lot: “Looking back on the weekend, it was such a great achievement for the team and for me to finally get a win this year. I have been working hard all year for that win, so for the opportunity to finally arrive I felt it was a blessing. It felt good. I felt strong all weekend and knew I could challenge the Red Bulls and I did. So it was wicked.
“The team did a solid job as they always do throughout the weekend and without their continued hard work – both on and off the track – we would not be in the position we are to compete with the Red Bulls. So for this I am extremely grateful and I want to congratulate them on our success. It was almost 10 races since I had won a race, but it’s all good. I think most drivers would be happy with that. For some its 20, 50 or 100, so I remain grateful to be in the position I am. I have no doubt at all that with this approach we can win more races this year.”