Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez faced the media after Monaco Grand Prix.
Drivers: 1 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2 – Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), 3 – Sergio Perez (Force India).
(Conducted by Martin Brundle)
Q: Lewis, well done. Finally, 44th victory, your favourite number, what a race.
Lewis Hamilton: Thank God that today went the way that I hoped. Big thank you to the fans that came out today, you really made the weekend. Big thank you to my team for providing me with a great car to see it through to the end. Honestly, I’m kind of lost for words really. I prayed for a day like this and it came through, so I feel truly blessed.
Q: You got the wet tyres a long way so that you could put the slicks straight on but you had a long way to go on those tyres from lap 31?
LH: I’m telling you that was the longest run to get there before I stopped for those tyres. It was crazy how long it was and really difficult to understand how much wheelspin you’re allowed, how much you can use the tyres because you don’t know to what end they’re going to go and I think the last lap was the time they were literally just about to drop off, but as I say thank God they stayed on.
Q: Daniel was chasing you hard, especially on the re-starts?
LH: Yeah. Firstly, big congratulations to this guys [Daniel Ricciardo]. He drove phenomenally all weekend. Just one of the best drivers I’ve raced against, really he did a fantastic job today. That was a lot of pressure I was under and it was incredibly close, particularly on those re-starts but he did a phenomenal job. So I’m looking forward to many more battles with him. I’m sure he’s not that happy, since he started pole and it’s never great to start pole and come second, but he should feel proud of the way he drove.
Q: Daniel, the one that got away my friend.
Daniel Ricciardo: Ha! I don’t even want to talk about the race to be honest. Just want to say thanks to the fans, thanks for sticking out this weather. I guess from the outside we put on a show. Shouldn’t have been as exciting as it was to be honest. Two weekends in a row I’ve been screwed now. It sucks. It hurts. But thanks to everyone for sticking it out, I appreciate it.
Q: Any idea? Can you tell us what happened with the missing tyres on that stop?
DR: No. No idea. I was called into the box. I didn’t make the call. I got called. They should have been ready. It hurts. It hurts. I don’t have anything else to say to be honest.
Q: You had a few scary moments with you front brakes locked up as well. You were so quick on the re-starts but obviously it was a challenge all afternoon out there for grip?
DR: Yeah, I think we had the speed. I think we had the speed in the wet on the start. We pulled away, pitted for inters and we put ourselves in a race with Lewis, which we didn’t need to be in. And then the pit stop was the pit stop. I felt that I was the quickest in all conditions but again second place doesn’t show much for it.
Q: You’ve been on fire all weekend; your day will come,
DR: Thank you, I appreciate it.
Q: OK, third place man: Sergio Pérez, you look a very happy man and rightly so.
Sergio Perez: I’m extremely happy because my team has done a tremendous job – with the strategy, with the calls, with the pit stops. It’s been an amazing day for us certainly my favourite podium with the team, so a very special to have it in Monaco, especially in these race conditions. I want to dedicate this podium to our boss Vijay Mallya. He has been very supportive during these times and I really want to dedicate this one to him.
Q: You had Vettel in your mirrors; Seb was there the whole time. You were so fast on those soft tyres.
SP: I think we did the right call. I think the best strategy for us was the soft at the end. I was controlling the pace at the beginning, then Seb, as you say, had a lot of pace, he was a lot faster than us, but then I think I saved my tyres and when I needed to push I had the tyre life. It was amazing race really with all the calls and everything, so I’m extremely happy.
Q: Well done. Finally, back to you Lewis, just 26 [sic] points behind in the world championship. Game on!
LH: Yeah. I haven’t even thought about that just yet. I forgot to congratulate Sergio today – he did an amazing job today to come up from where he was. Of course we’re in the battle. We’re still going. There’s a long, long way to go and just when you feel like when it co
uldn’t get any worse it gets better, so I think the message from today for everyone is ‘never give up’.
Q: Lewis Hamilton, what a win, one of those Monaco Grand Prix people will talk about for many years to come. Your first win of the season, in fact 24 points behind Nico Rosberg in the world championship, less than a win, he lost a place on the line. The key, clearly, was the decision to delay the pit stop and go directly onto the slick tyres. Just talk us through that whole communication process, because ironically it was a communication process here 12 months ago that did for you the other way and it’s totally come your way this time.
LH: Yeah, I’m massively overwhelmed. It’s been a long time coming to get this win, not only in this season but to get the grand prix win here. This is one the toughest, if not the toughest, races of the year for us. Just so much pressure on all of us. Honestly, yesterday didn’t go well and of course I could only come here today hoping for the best and just making sure I was focused. But as soon as it rained it just opened up all the doors of opportunity. Fortunately I was quick enough in the wet, as I usually am here. I think with the strategy it was really just about that the track was drying so quick, but unevenly across the lap, so the first and middle sector were drying up really quick and the last sector was going quite slowly. So it was really kind gauging that and I noticed other people when they came out – Nico I heard had pitted and Sebastian and they weren’t lapping much faster than me, if at all. My tyres weren’t really degrading, so I was like “I got to stay out”. The team were saying we should move but I knew I would drop behind Daniel, so I eked it out as far as I could and luckily right at the end… I switched just at the right time. Coming back out on those slicks, I tell you, it was so slippery for us all. Trying to get temperature into those tyres and quick reflexes for the big snap oversteers you have, so incredibly exciting. And Daniel drove just phenomenally, as I said before. He was all over the back end of my car. I couldn’t really see a huge amount out of my mirrors, because when it rains it gets so dirty. So trying to defend from him and not always knowing exactly where he was probably one of the toughest if not the toughest races I’ve had for as far as I can remember. Huge respect for him and for the way he drove today and a big, big thank you to the team, especially the new guys on my side of the garage that have taken such a…. it’s been a hard five races to be here, six with yesterday and I think today can take a huge amount of weight off them, knowing that they’ve been doing a great job.
Q: Thank you very much. Daniel, a warm tribute there from Lewis. Clearly they made some moves but there’s no question that on your side there moves that were made that cost you the race. Second race in a row a pit stop has cost you a win. I know you were just looking at the screens there as to the pit stop, the tyres not being ready. Do you understand how that happebed and what are your feelings about the call to come in for inters when you had the race under control in the first place.
DR: Two races in a row, two races in a row. That’s all I can say. We were quick in the wet, we had a comfortable lead, pitted for inters, got stuck behind Lewis and we just effectively put ourselves in a race we didn’t need to be into. Then I got called into the pits for the slicks and the tyres weren’t ready. I didn’t make the call. I didn’t make the late call. I got to the pits and everyone’s running around like headless ‘chooks’. Massively, massively disappointed. I don’t like being up here being miserable, because I got a podium in Formula One, so it should be a good day, but when it happens two weekends in a row it’s hard to take.
Q: Sergio, coming to you, many congratulations. Lap 31, stopped for slick tyres, clearly a decisive moment for you. Switched on to the soft. That was the key to your podium. Is this your best drive in Formula One – or certainly the most satisfying?
SP: It’s definitely a very special podium. To be in the podium in Monaco, under these conditions… because under normal conditions we wouldn’t make it to the podium in normal pace. We don’t have the pace to do it. Certainly in these conditions it is one of my best races in Formula One. Conditions out there, as Lewis said, were extremely difficult. So easy to make a mistake – at every corner towards the end, every single lap you have to be really focussed. In the dry! You cannot imagine in that damp conditions. The key… every stop that we had was key for our podium. The first one, by delaying it, I was coming into the pits to fit the Inter tyres and I ask in Turn 15 “how are the Inters doing?” they told me “not that good, it’s your call.” I decided I’d like to go a couple of laps more and that worked really well because we managed to jump Hülkenberg and another one. That really was key for our race. Then we came together with Sainz into the pits and my team did a fantastic stop, so we managed to overtake him in the pitlane and then the decisive moment was the last one. The last stop. Going to the slick tyre. Pitting one lap before Rosberg and Vettel we managed to jump them and that was very, very good. It was difficult to be out there on the slick tyre and not to make a mistake. Then towards the end I had pressure from Vettel. I knew it was going to be very long stint on the soft so I was looking after my tyres, especially in these cold conditions. It worked really well. I felt that I had Vettel under control, and it is a fantastic result. For the whole team. Everyone at my team deserves this one. I think we did the best job out there today. For us it means a win, y’know? So very, very pleased, and happy. Yeah, very happy.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) To Lewis and Daniel. I would like to hear the point of view at each one of you about what happened at the exit of the chicane, when you Daniel tried to overtake Lewis – because Lewis cut the chicane.
DR: From my side, I made a… well I didn’t make a move into the chicane because Lewis defended – but I forced him into defence and by doing so he had a mistake and cut across the chicane, so I came on the radio and said “what’s going to happen here?” Because, yeah, made a mistake and then stayed in the lead. Obviously it was a chance to maybe get the lead for me. So yeah, sure, I questioned it. If he was on his own and made the mistake, fair enough, but obviously he made the mistake through defence and through the battle, so yeah, I’m not sure if they investigated it or not.
Q: They did investigate it, they decided no further action to be taken, during the race. Your side of the story Lewis?
LH: Hard to remember exactly. I think I remember that point. I think I got stuck behind a backmarker or something like that. Got poor traction out of Eight, and Daniel was all over me, so I had to be on the inside line for Turn Ten, I think it was, and being on the inside, it’s a bit more damp than being on the dry line, so locked-up and just missed. I was aware I wasn’t going to make the full turn and as I did I went off onto the wet patch, with Daniel on the dry track, and coming out I was just on ice. Wet tyres basically, so I was wheel-spinning and sliding on the exit. By the time I’d gained traction, I realised Daniel was kinda… I was ahead but Daniel was right-side of my mirrors, behind my right-rear tyre, so I knew it was close. I don’t feel that I particularly gained an advantage.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Question to Lewis. What is the most satisfying for you today? Winning? Winning in Monaco, or winning with Nico very far behind you?
LH: I honestly don’t know what happened to Nico today but something must have gone wrong because he backed off for a second, or went slow and I went passed him, as far as I can remember. So he obviously perhaps had something up today. I don’t know what that is yet. But I’ve not thought about Nico until you just mentioned it. Honestly today, I’m sitting here I just can’t believe… whilst being able to brush off the negative of the feeling of the season so far, knowing that we’re that far down and… when you keep falling it’s hard to always come up with innovative ways to keep yourself motivated, to keep yourself… to keep believing. I’m only human so I think that for everyone we always have battling those demons and those thoughts in your mind and then coming out with a day like today, it just confirms the thoughts, the positive thoughts that I had. To never give up. It’s the same thing my Dad told me when I was seven years old in the boxing ring with some kid punching the lights out of me. Just never give up, keep pushing and eventually you get there. I think today’s just proved again that my Dad was right. So I’ll continue to go with that motto.
Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) It was quite exciting to see that all three of you were on three different types of tyres – slick tyres. Lewis, you were on the UltraSoft, Daniel on the SuperSoft and Sergio you were on the Soft – and yet the pace seemed to be quite similar between the three of you. Could you each elaborate a bit on how you chose the tyre for the last stint?
LH: Me personally, I didn’t chose the tyres. It was my choice to stay out on the Extreme tyre. I believed that I could eke it out just be able to do one stop, and when I stopped I assume they thought, being that it was damp, the softer tyre would be the quickest to heat up, to warm-up. As I had Daniel behind me on the SuperSoft, I knew that tyre goes a lot further and I tell you, it was 50 laps, 48 laps or whatever it was and, from the readings they showed us before the race, I didn’t know if it was going to last, particularly with the pace that Daniel had. So to be able to eke that tyre out. There were lots of ups and downs. Lots of times when you had to push, lots of times when you backed off. Daniel dropped back for a little bit so I could look after the tyres, he picked up the pace so I had to use the tyres. So, for me in the car, incredibly exciting, because it was, like a game of chess. It really was like a game of chess against a fantastic opponent.
Q: Daniel, as you were called in, presumably it was a change of heart of what to put on the car that led to the tyres not being ready today?
DR: Yeah, no idea. No idea, so yeah, I didn’t have any tyres for a long part. Then the Supersoft. We had good pace but, you know what it’s like around here. You get behind someone and you lose track position and pace is irrelevant. It doesn’t really matter what you’ve done. I tried to push on Lewis a bit and tried to keep pressure on the whole race. But then the end, obviously, sitting behind him, trying to push, killed the tyres a bit. That was all. The decision on tyres, I’m not sure who’s it was. I don’t think it changed really in the end what we actually put on. It was not having any tyres for a long period of time.
Q: Sergio, did you play a part in deciding on the Soft or was that just what you were given?
SP: That was always the plan with us, I think, to go for the one stop and we knew that tyre was the best for us for the long duration. We couldn’t make work, or make last either Ultra- or SuperSoft. So that was the main tyre for us that we could go ‘til the end.
Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) Lewis, after another difficult qualifying, after another mechanical issue, what or who helped you the most to keep your head up and basically, how did you spend the rest of Saturday?
LH: Honestly, for me, just God really. I just said my prayers. I’ve had my great friends around me yesterday, watched a movie, I just had good company but honestly it was just in my thoughts. I never pray to win, I pray for everyone’s safety, I pray that I’m able to be the best that I can be and today I think I honestly feel super-satisfied and happy with how I drove. To be able to drive at your best and to be able to do what you come out to achieve is a wonderful feeling inside, so that’s what I’m feeling now and carry that on for the next days, that’s for sure.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Lewis, in the beginning when you saw Daniel disappearing in the wet, did you get nervous that he might get away and did you ask the pits to ask Rosberg to let you pass? And was it actually a real passing manoeuvre or do you think he let you past by himself?
LH: I really don’t know. I don’t remember if… I didn’t ask to be let passed, I had the pace, obviously, on Nico but it’s very hard to overtake but it looked like he had a problem for a second, he pulled to the left and I went by so… I guess I’ll find out afterwards.
Honestly, when I was behind Nico I was only thinking about either finishing where I was and thinking this is a long race, either finishing here or getting past Nico and at least getting some more points than him but then obviously once I got past it was hammer time. I had to try and catch Daniel and he was clocking about three or four tenths, between two and four tenths, slower than me so I was reining him in gently but not quick enough and then he pitted and I was in the lead and after that it was really nerving because the track was drying, I didn’t know if my tyres were going to burn up really quick and he was on a fresh set of intermediates which were for sure much quicker but I managed to just hold him off.
Q: (Andrew Frankl – Forza) Gentlemen, should we salute the marshals who have done a fantastic job, so you could race, removing all the debris and lifting all the cars? I honestly don’t think you could have done it without them and I think they were very very brave.
LH: I personally appreciate you mentioning that. I’ve been racing for such a long time and seen thousands and thousands of marshals that turn up every year to look out for our safety and for sure it’s not mentioned anywhere near enough. So I would like to take that from you and absolutely thank them. I think today they were risking their lives getting on the track with all these cars coming by but they do it for the love of the sport and I’m massively appreciative of them. And also being able to go on the track knowing that if something was to happen to me in the car, I’m confident that these guys could get me out to safety in the best way possible.
DR: Yeah, absolutely. The marshals here are by far the best in the world. We obviously travel around the world and not taking anything away from wherever else we go but the efficiency and the way they are able to clean up and keep the race going, basically keeping it exciting for the fans, letting us race but still doing it safety, it’s impressive, it’s impressive how they work here. There’s always crashes, there’s always incidents and yeah, they’re able to be very efficient and honestly keep us safe, as Lewis said. So 100 percent appreciate everything they do.
SP: Yeah, what I can say is that I remember my crash in 2011 and they did a fantastic job to get me out of the car in very difficult situations and in the end I just want to thank them because they do an extremely good job. I think it’s the most difficult track for that and they show how good they are, so I really want to thank them a lot for the job they do and their love of the sport. I think they are simply the best marshals in the world.
Q: (Christopher Joseph – Chicane) Daniel, yesterday you ambushed Mercedes with a great strategy, today you’re talking about headless chooks. Who calls the shots, what went wrong, what needs to be done for you to win a race?
DR: I don’t know. I don’t know to be honest. I think I took Barcelona on the chin and then took it well but two in a row now, and it’s not like we’re in Mercedes’ position, we’re not able to win a race, so to have an opportunity to lead two races in a row and especially here in Monaco. I put it on the front and you wake up and you see thunderstorms and it’s like, OK, there’s a few curved balls coming my way today but I felt I dealt with them as well as I could have and had the pace in the wet at the beginning and again I thought I was controlling everything I had to. Obviously a big part of it is relying on the team and the strategy but yeah, to get it wrong twice now it definitely hurts. I’m not sure where to go from here, what to do. Obviously they’ve got to understand what’s going on and learn from it but this win I’ll never get back, that’s a fact.
Q: (Sandor Meszaros – Autosport ES Formula Magazin) Checo, can we say that this fantastic Monaco podium finish is another message from you to the top teams?
SP: Well, I hope not only this one, I hope what I have been doing over the past years. I had a really tough time at McLaren and it seems that this is what everyone remembers, my time at McLaren but no one remembers my time at Sauber, my time at Force India. All I can do is keep doing my job, keep doing as well as I can, keep improving as a driver. I think in the last years I have improved a lot. I’m a more complete driver in all aspects, qualifying, race, race pace, better experience. So if the opportunity ever comes, I will be ready for it and I’m up for it. If not, all I can keep doing is doing my job.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Daniel, you said that the Red Bull is not in a position to win every race now. How far are you from the Mercedes, can you still compete in the next races for victories?
DR: I think Canada is going to be interesting. There’s obviously a lot of… it’s still a street circuit but there’s a long straight and it’s a bit more of a horsepower circuit. I think that will be a sign; if we can be quick in a couple of weeks, then I think we can be quick really for the remainder of the season. If we can fight for a podium in Canada then we should be able to fight everywhere else. We knew this track would be an opportunity for us to win but yeah, probably in two weeks time we’ll have a better idea really how competitive we can be, not only on these type of circuits but all the others.