Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo attended the post-race press conference for the British GP…
(Conducted by David Coulthard)
Q: Lewis, congratulations. Your adoring fans. Your emotions must be running high right now. Your fifth win of the season. That equals your 2008 World Championship year. Now 27 grand prix victories, equalling Jackie Stewart. There’s only other Englishman in front of you with more wins – Nigel Mansell. So tell us about the emotions of today?
Lewis HAMILTON: It’s very mixed at the moment, but just to see the support we have here… I could see everyone cheering us on through the whole race. We’ve got the greatest fans here. And today, just arriving today, it’s you guys that really spurred me on so thanks very much.
Q: Well it was a fantastic drive. You never want a competitor to drop out, but of course the battle is very hot between you and your team-mate Nico, so what was the emotion when you saw him have the issue?
LH: At the beginning… he got quite a good gap at the beginning and I really just tried to look after the tyres. After that I utilised the tyres, was catching and we came out on the harder tyres and I was catching him at a second a lap at the time. I couldn’t believe I had that kind of pace. You never want to see a team-mate fall behind, we wanted to really work and get those one-twos, but at the end of the day I really needed this result so I’m very grateful for it.
Q: It was a great result. If I can move along to another man who has had a fantastic result. Third in Austria, second here at the British Grand Prix – you must be looking forward to Germany?
Valtteri BOTTAS: Yeah, we are on the right way. Like I said on the team radio: one step more to go. The team has done such a good job. You see how quick the car is. It was behaving really well, it was really a pleasure to drive it. Still Mercedes is in front, but we are on the right way.
Q: Any scares out there this afternoon or was it running like clockwork? You did some great passes.
VB: Yeah, there was some good stuff going on. I really enjoyed it. The plan was to come as high as possible, as high as the pace of the car is giving the possibility. I think as a team we made the most out of it. I have to say I feel sorry for Felipe, his 200th grand prix, a shame it ended like this.
Q: If I can just come across to Daniel Ricciardo. Congratulations on your third place. Australians have a good record around here?
Daniel RICCIARDO: Yeah, they do! Obviously Mark enjoyed this track a lot, so it’s nice to be up here on the podium. It’s been a good circuit to me in the past, so really, really happy. We just held on at the end. I think one more lap would have been tough, Jenson was coming, but really happy with the podium.
If I can just come back across to Lewis…
LH: Where’s the gold trophy, man? This thing’s falling to pieces, look!
You might want to speak to the sponsor. Lewis, do you know the points situation now at the end of race nine?
LH: I assume we’re four points behind now. I think this weekend really just showed that, for one, you never give up. Yesterday wasn’t a case of giving up, I didn’t think I could do the lap, I was really shocked that the last sector was so fast. But coming here today I had my family with, just focused, the support from the fans, as I said, just spurred me on, and I really couldn’t have done it without them.
Q: Lewis, many, many congratulations. Over the radio at the end of the race you said to the crew “I’m sorry about yesterday”. I guess your spirits were so down yesterday; they must be soaring now. But the race really was about the offset you had to Nico Rosberg and you were catching him in the middle stint of the race. Do you believe that without his problem you would have been able to pass him and how do you feel right now?
LH: Yesterday was a really difficult day. Obviously you never think situations like that would come up the way they did and I really felt… I went away feeling terrible for the fans. They all turned up and there’s so much support here, I felt that I had let them down, not only them but the team and myself. Coming back today, trying to turn that serious emptiness and negativity into a positive today was really my priority. The support has been incredible this weekend. Just thinking of the history of this circuit, the great drivers that have won in the past… leading last year and not being able to see it through. It’s been since… 2008 since I had the win and I just feel very, very grateful for the opportunity. I honestly feel that I had the pace today. I was catching Nico in the first stint. I was able to extend my first stint longer than ever before. I was feeling pretty comfortable. Of course, you never want a team-mate to fall away, to win like that. I was looking forward to a wheel-to-wheel battle but I’m sure we’ll get many in the future.
Q: Well done. Coming to you Valtteri. From 14th on the grid to second at the finish, which is your best ever result in Formula One and your second consecutive podium, so brilliant effort. You did a one-stop strategy, which is a talking point, but surely the overtakes in the opening stint, there were so many of them – around the outside, around the inside – just tell us about your race?
VB: Yeah we knew that this race could be good fun. We knew that we had a quick car. Maybe it was a bit surprisingly quick today, but since the first stint the pace was good, since the first lap. I was able to go through the field quite well. Of course, sometimes it needed a bit of risk, because it’s really important to get through quickly and not get stuck behind people, but I really managed to get well in position, where the pace of the car was. I’m just really, really happy with what we’ve been doing as a team. Again, the race pace shows we are really doing the right things and I’m very happy to be part of this.
Q: Well done. Completing a very happy podium is Daniel Ricciardo, in third place. For you strategy was the key as well. Like Valtteri you did one stop, you did something different, both you and your team-mate taking the hard tyre early on. Was the tyre deg much lighter than you expected today, was it a race where expectations were changing as the race went on?
DR: Pretty much. We chose to restart on the prime. It didn’t seem like the best thing to do at first because we were really slow at the restart. Valtteri and Fernando got past me pretty easily and pulled away and I was coming on the radio basically saying “let’s see if we can try something a little bit different” as we didn’t really have the pace as we hoped, as we expected today. Once we came in for the option, we just ran and pushed pretty much for the whole stint. I didn’t intend on doing a one-stop when I started on that tyre but laps ticked off and we were still able to keep the pace. The team said “do you think you could do another 15-20 laps” and I was like “at the moment, yeah, I think we can”, so we stayed out and just held on at the end. It was awesome. I think all three of us had a bit of redemption on our plate today. It was a pretty dismal Saturday for us. I think we’re all pretty happy. This is definitely one of my best podiums this year.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOORQ: (Ian Parkes – PA) Lewis, not very often this season you’ve had family with you: you’ve pretty much kept yourself to yourself at various races but this weekend you’ve had your brother, your Dad, they were here today supporting you. They’ve said on TV how down in the dumps you were last night. How much help did they give you last night after what happened yesterday?
LH: My family have been incredible. Last night, my Mum, my Dad, spent a lot of time with my Dad last night just talking it out. And my brother. And today I just said I needed them here today. Y’know? I just really wanted that support. I do come to the races on my own and I do generally do it on my own. I have my trainer with me. But I thought this weekend it would be nice to have them. At least today, as yesterday was such a difficult day.
Q: (Sean McGreevy – CSMA magazine) Lewis, would you consider this one of your great, greatest, great wins and how does it compare to 2008?)
LH: It doesn’t compare to 2008. It’s a different time, it’s a different experience. It’s still as special. Obviously 2008 was a much trickier race in a sense of being a completely wet track, everyone aquaplaning. Everyone being in the rain, everyone being soaking wet, it’s a different kind of experience that one. Today, I felt I earned it today. From the start some good manoeuvres and I really felt that I had the pace on Nico, I really was hunting him down like never before. I really was happy with the balance that I managed to get, even though I didn’t do the long run in P2. To say this is up there with all the greats… it’s my home grand prix, it’s my second win here and I’m very privileged to have even just had one, so I feel very humble to be up here today.
Q: (Julian Harris – City AM) Lewis, do you think this can be a turning point for you? Nico was up here yesterday saying that he thought he had the momentum at the moment – but he also said momentum comes and goes. Can this give you the confidence and maybe even the peace of mind to push on and get the momentum back in your favour.
LH: I came into this weekend saying it would great to really have that. I thought maybe the fans could be the wind in my sails to really change the direction and get the momentum. Obviously I’ve got the win today. I’ve got the points back. I’ve been chasing all year really, since I lost the points at the first race, and then I was chasing again after the previous DNF. It’s been very, very difficult. I was speaking last night, just comparing it to how difficult it is psychologically, it’s got to be something similar to the tennis players when they’re two sets down. It’s so hard to get your mind in gear, to get yourself back and not lose points from then on. And so the pressure is high but I really feel that now we’re back, kind of close and with the pace that I had today, I really feel that I can… just got to refocus for the next part of the season.
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / National Speedsport News) Daniel, what was your mindset last night and this morning, knowing that you’re so far back and, often in races, when you start that that far back, like these two guys, you’re not going to finish in the top three?
DR: Mindset was just… yeah… like it always is I guess when you’re out of position, just go for it, try and do something a bit different. Not much to lose. I knew we were a better car than eighth on the grid, so… yeah… I was a bit surprised during the first stint, even though we were on a different tyre, I was surprised not to be as quick. We didn’t have much pace, so then it was ‘let’s try something different and make something work.’ Yeah, I was very hungry today. I like to think I always am but today I was pretty jacked up. So it’s nice to be up here.
Q: (Nick Skeens – The Independent) Lewis, today Niki Lauda said he thought in some ways yesterday was a good thing because it gave you a motivation and a hunger that perhaps you would not have had. Would you agree with that?
LH: No. I feel like I like I’ve… we’ve had four wins, now five wins, but I’ve had the four wins and I think my hunger is on a par with any other year that I’ve ever raced in – but yesterday was a real kick in the balls. I really had to pick up, pull up my socks and get on it if I want to win this world championship, and I can’t have situations like yesterday. The last two races I’ve easily had the pace to be pole position and I’ve not put it there. I’ve put it much further back, made it much harder for myself but now I’m going to try to rectify that for the future.
Q: (Mike Doodson – GPweek) Lewis, you’re obviously very happy with the gold trophy [present on the platform]- but you seem to have been a bit unhappy with the sponsor’s trophy. Did I hear you say it fell to bits on the podium? And how did you come to get this one between the podium and here?
LH: Well, yeah! This one’s a lot nicer. I mean, growing up watching Formula One, you see trophies like this. Real trophies, y’know? And the trophies that we have nowadays, whilst it’s a real privilege being on top of the podium, my one fell to pieces! The bottom fell off the one we just had. It’s plastic, it must cost ten pounds! It’s so bad. I might just get the plaque, which is probably the most expensive part of the trophy I think. Back in the day they really, really made the trophies. And this is the special thing about being on the podium and winning. These trophies mean – for me, I don’t know how it is for the other drivers – but this is what we have to show for our lifetime achievements. I hope we can get some better ones moving forwards.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – Universo Online) Valtteri, Friday morning you didn’t went to the track. Saturday morning also, only qualifying. You didn’t have miles in the track. Where you surprised at the beginning of the race when you started overtaking everyone with the performance of the car?
VB: Yeah, definitely. Our prediction was Mercedes is going to be strong and also Red Bull, we thought, would be here a bit quicker than us in the race and Ferrari to be really close to our pace. So, we definitely knew that the position we were starting wasn’t going to be that easy to get into good points and we were not really thinking about the podium, we were just thinking about getting in the points and, yeah, definitely it was a positive surprise in the beginning of the race. The tyre life wasn’t really a limitation so we could do the strategy. Well, I have to say the strategy guys did a really good job today. We actually switched the strategy during the running as we saw the tyre wear was so low. Positive surprise. Really happy.
Q: (Jussi J