Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen faced the media in the wake of Sunday’s Canadian GP.
Track Interviews – Conducted by Paul Di Resta
Sebastian, I can see the emotion. You don’t normally give us very much, but to win your 50th grand prix and the perfect way you did it today, how was it?
Sebastian Vettel: Perfect is probably a good way to describe it. Unbelievable. I said yesterday how much this place means for Ferrari I think we see it from the moment we touch down and come here and to have a race like we had today is unbelievable. OK, 50 for me, but I think after a long time, a long stretch that Ferrari didn’t win here, I saw the people around and they were super happy. I’m sure they had a blast and they will have a blast tonight. Just happy, and grazie alla squadra.
You can see what it means to the team, but you go away as championship leader as well. Has the championship come alive after that little period of bad luck you had?
SV: It’s still a long way, so I’m not too bothered to be honest. But for sure it’s a good side effect. But for today, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, we had Jacques driving his father’s car earlier, so very emotional and to have a Ferrari winning today, and me driving it, makes me very proud and I’m honoured. I think it’s a day to remember the great Gilles Villeneuve.
We’re going to see some red passion when the national anthem goes up there, enjoy it, Sebastian. Valtteri, a solid day’s job, best of the rest, you didn’t really have an answer, Sebastian had you covered didn’t he.
Valtteri Bottas: Yeah, since lap one really they seemed to be a bit quicker all the time and they could control the race and were really pushing on it and we got into a little bit of trouble in the end, running out of fuel; that’s why Max got close in the end.
Are you satisfied with the result you got or do you think you could have done something better with that other engine you should have had this weekend?
VB: I think this was the maximum today. Yesterday was about hundredths of a second, so maybe from pole it could have been different, but from P2 today we maxed out. I’m happy for that but I’m not happy that we were behind.
Good solid points, all the best until next time. Max, it was a fight all the way to the end there, you always keep us on the edge of the seat, but a very good performance from you all weekend. I think you’ll go away a happy man.
Max Verstappen: Yeah, it was a good race. We had to pit early, because the hypersofts were pretty much gone. But then we had a really good pace on the supersofts, so I was steadily closing the gap and especially the last few laps I think we were really competitive. I think it was only one tenth on the line, which was a shame, but yeah, good race. I enjoyed it.
Q: (Massimo Lopez Peña – Gazetta dello Sport) Seb, you mentioned Gilles Villeneuve yesterday, today Ferrari got the first win after 2004, it was Michael Schumacher. I don’t know if you had an idea of dedicating this victory to him or something like that. I have a second question: during your long lead to victory, did it ever cross your mind that you could actually lose this grand or it never crossed your mind.
SV: It’s a team effort at the end of the day, so I think like every grand prix, there is not one person to dedicate it to. I think I dedicate it today to the team, to the guys in Maranello and to the Canadian fans, the Canadian tifosi, I think they have been waiting long enough for Ferrari to do well here. I think, yeah, 40 years after Gilles won his grand prix here, I think it’s great to show that Ferrari is still alive, that Ferrari is still there, winning races. I’m just extremely proud to become part of that story, step by step, hopefully a bit more in the future, but I think I remember the race in 2004, I think I was watching on TV, so it’s crazy to realise. Therefore, I think rather than dedicating to one person, I think it’s better to dedicate to, as I said, to our team in general and to the people here. The second question you had was whether it crossed the mind. Not really, because I think I was under control. I managed the gaps to Valtteri. During the first stint I tried to build up a little bit of a cushion. I had one lock-up where I lost a bit of time but after that I think it was fairly well managed. It wasn’t easy with the traffic and so on. Yeah, in the end I was just praying that we don’t run into a problem, which can happen, so I tried to save the car a little bit, stay away from the kerbs and just bring it home. I think there was a little bit of confusion, because they waved the chequered flag one lap too early. That was funny, because on the steering wheel I have the lap count. I have the pit board as well and it showed one more lap to go. I even watched on TV after I saw the chequered flag and it said final lap and then I was a bit confused, but then I told them ‘I think the race isn’t over yet’ and they said ‘no, no. no, keep pushing’. Some of the marshals were already celebrating so… I think they peaked a bit early. Most of them are men, so it might happen. Overall it has just been a great day.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Valtteri, four times second in seven races, does that eat the man, like we say in Finland?
SV: Heat or eat?
VB: Eat, it means like, it eats from inside.
SV: Right. OK.
VB: So, yeah, second place as a driver when you really want to win races is not the best place to be – but you know, honestly from today where we started, with the start we had, with the pace we had, there was nothing more possible. That’s where we are as a team now. Ferrari was better this weekend, Red Bull very close to us, so I think today nothing we could have done better. Our car is just not quick enough, so I don’t get too upset being second but no doubt I really want to win. And there has been many occasions this year that it has been pretty close, so for sure we’ll keep pushing on that – but as a team we need to improve, and also for myself, trying to find every single little bit I can.
Q: (Edd Straw – Autosport) Question for all three. With the chequered flag being shown early, although it didn’t ultimately impact the results, the provisional results issued are two laps short, so should, given the overall level of professionalism of the way these races are run, should it be allowable for amateurs to be waiving the chequered flag? It could have big implications if the race is called early because of that.
SV: Yeah. I mean it’s probably not a question for us. I mean, fortunately we had radio, fortunately I had the lap count in the car and the pitboard was accurate – but if you lose radio and maybe the pitboard is not there, then you back off. Then, I think, being in the lead, you hope that all the others back-off as well. But yeah, I think it’s probably not a question for us. I was just worried, I told them also on the last lap, then people don’t jump on the track, waving flags and celebrating, because we’re still going at full pace. I don’t know what happened.
Max, can we have your thoughts on that as you were chasing Valtteri at that time.
MV: I agree with Seb. I mean, it’s happened in the past – but at the end of the day, it’s not my problem.
VB: I wasn’t listening, I’ve got no idea what you were speaking about…
Q: (Christian Menath – motorsport-magazin.com) Question for all three of you. The race from outside was not the most exciting one, let’s put is that way. Seb, you said you had to manage a lot of things during the race, even though you were not affected by other cars, with dirty air and so on. Can you explain what was the problem today, why we didn’t see an exciting race. Was it managing the tyres? Fuel consumption? What was it for all of you?
SV: I think the answer to your question is… life. Life’s like this, or racing. Racing’s probably like this. I don’t think it’s justified to criticise the racing, or criticise this race. I don’t know if it was boring. From my point of view, obviously, it’s still busy inside the car no matter where you are but I don’t like… I don’t know why people today are so short-sighted. We had seven races this year, I think some were phenomenal, some were boring – but next week the World Cup is starting and I promise you that a lot of the games will not be exciting – but still people will watch it – but some games will be incredible. That’s what we always look forward to – but it can’t just always continue to go up and get better. So, I don’t know, there’s no reason, don’t even look for an answer, don’t write anything. Write about something else. I think we do our job inside the car and if we can race, we race but obviously, we also do our job inside the car and try to avoid racing. Disappear, stay in front, or not get overtaken. And then some races are just exciting and others are not.
Valtteri, your thoughts on how exciting or otherwise today’s race was.
VB: For me it was, at the second place all the time, all through the race. I think Turns One and Two was quite exciting with Max, that was good fun but yeah, since then, for us, we really tried to push Ferrari in the first stint – but we just couldn’t match the pace. We used quite a bit of fuel in the first stint so had to save a lot at the end of the second stint, so yeah, pretty stable race in that way, so not that much happening. But like Seb said, for sure, we, in the case, we are always pushing everything we can. It’s not like we are getting time enough to get bored in the car. There is always something to do, and we needed to keep concentrated 100 per cent – so yeah, for sure, there will be good races, there’s no doubt it’s just we’ve had a couple of races in a row where there is not many things happening – but this year already there have been races that have been amazing to watch. I’m sure it’s going to be on the way soon.
Max, your thoughts. You were nodding along with Seb there.
MV: Yes. For us, maybe it’s a little bit boring because you’re not overtaking and fighting but still you need to be focussed to handle the car, because the walls are still quite close and you’re sliding around a bit and managing your tyres. Yeah, sometimes it is like that, as Seb said; sometimes a bit more exciting than other races. It just happens.
Q: (Nicolangelo Cioppi – La Voce Euro Canada USA) For Sebastian and Max: congratulations for your victory today. Can you tell something to the Italian community here which supports Ferrari and supports you for a long long time, say something for our community here? And for Max, do you think that after Kimi Raikkonen’s going to retire, do you want to race with Ferrari or is your goal all the time to arrive in first place, because you are a very good pilot and in the end you wanted to overtake Valtteri but in the end the laps were too long?
SV: Well, I don’t know if I’m very good with messages but I think I’ve said many times this weekend we had a lot of support, there are always a lot of Ferraristi. The Canadian tifosi I think are as passionate – very close – but nearly as passionate as the Italian ones and obviously there are a lot of Italian people who came to Canada a while ago and I think Montreal has a strong Italian community. I’ve been coming to this city many times and try to find different places and I feel very comfortable in the Italian restaurants. I think overall, to see the vibe, to see the atmosphere around the track is super exciting. Obviously this weekend has been our weekend and Ferrari’s weekend and I think that’s a stronger message than whatever I can say, but obviously thanks for the support, for waving so many flags, for being proud of what Ferrari means to them.
MV: How old is Kimi? 37?
SV: I don’t know.
MV: 37, 38? He could be my Dad. I don’t know, time will tell. I have a contract with Red Bull and I’m very happy where I am at the moment and also, you know, we have a great car but I’m just waiting for the full package to be able to challenge every single weekend for victories, because in Monaco, I would not want to change car because we had the best car and package there. It is very tricky. It is a very special brand and I’m only 20 years old so if Kimi is 37 or 38, I still have 17 or 18 years to do something so we will see.
Q: (Mike Doodson – Auto Action) Valtteri, I know you have to choose the tyres well in advance of the weekend. Do you think you would have had a better chance of victory if you’d made a different choice of tyres?
VB: I honestly think – and we do as a team – that if we would have chosen one or two sets more of the hypers, potentially we could have extracted a tiny bit more out of those in qualifying because it was quite limited running for us. We only had one set in practice three and then through qualifying we really had to learn quickly how to get the best out of the tyres in one lap in such a close qualifying, being 0.09s behind pole. It’s easy to say afterwards but potentially if we could come here again we would chose maybe one set more at least of the hypers. I think, for the race, we made the right decision. We were happy with the tyre we started on and with the strategy we had, so that was all good. It was just a question of the qualifying performance. We need to make sure we learn if we find that for sure we had to do something different.
Q: (Edd Straw – Autosport) Max, we didn’t see it on the TV but I think on the ultimate lap you got to within about a tenth of Valtteri, so can you just talk through how close you got to getting him, and is it a little bit frustrating that you got so close but couldn’t quite make that move?
MV: Yes, I tucked in to gain a bit of top speed! No, I think Valtteri lifted off a bit earlier and I just kept flat so it was actually very close at the line.
VB: I was running out of fuel so I lifted off…
MV: OK, so you were lucky! If there wasn’t a problem with fuel or whatever, it would have been very hard to get by because it was quite tricky to follow within a second but I gave it all I had.
Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) For Valtteri and Max: if the race would have been one lap longer, would it have made a difference, especially because of the fuel?
SV: Well, for sure, we would have all run out of fuel.
VB: Yeah, for sure, I wouldn’t have made it.
MV: A pit stop (for fuel). That’s what you calculate your fuel on, isn’t it, with the lift off and everything.
VB: It’s difficult to say.
MV: Valtteri was very precise…