The top three finishers discuss the British Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Max Verstappen
(Conducted by Mark Webber)
Lewis HAMILTON: How are you going? How you guys doing? You good? I don’t know if you guys can be as happy as me. I’m really happy. I’m so grateful. Thank you so much for all coming out today. We’ve got the best fans here. Thank you so much.
Your 47th career victory, now equaling Nigel Mansell here too with four wins at Silverstone, three on the bounce. How did you make it looks so easy? Tricky start, very, very wet, lot of aquaplaning and then some tricky decisions to make on the tyres, so run the fans through how the race was for you today?
LH: Well, firstly I’m glad that the good English weather came out. We went out and did the formation lap and it was dry and then all of a sudden it rained and it was so tricky in those conditions. It was drying pretty quickly but obviously when we started the race I was the first to really have to attack it. So trying not to make any mistakes was difficult for all of us. But that’s what I love about this race, because it’s never just plain, smooth sailing. There are always these things that just happen through the race that make it spectacular, that’s why the British Grand Prix is the best grand prix we have. Plus, look at these guys, you don’t see this anywhere around the world. And you don’t hear a lot of booing, which means we’ve got good British spirit here.
That’s right, yeah. We’ve got 100,000 people here, so I’m just going to jump across to Nico. Nico, today… c’mon guys, he fought valiantly, he did what he could. I think tricky race at the start there. How did you feel? A bit like Monaco, you didn’t seem to be quite in the groove there when it was tricky at the start and then obviously the race slipped away. A small error with Max, getting the move done there, and then the gearbox as well, so run us through that.
Nico ROSBERG: Yeah, so it was a bit of a trick start of course. Max got me and then it was an exciting race against him. I managed to get him around the outside, which I was so happy about. And then, yeah, just congrats to Lewis, he did a great job this weekend and I just couldn’t reach him, no way. So that’s it, second place, which I have to live with today.
Great job Nico. Let’s go across to this young guy, who is making… yes, that’s right, Nico, well done, mate, sensational. That’s what motorsport is all about. Hey [Max], you just passed your dad, you’ve got three podiums. Have you ever experienced anything like this before and what was the race like for you – incredible drive?
Max VERSTAPPEN: Yeah, it was amazing. First of all, just look at the fans; they are great. From there on, the race was very exciting, very tricky at the beginning, I managed to get past Nico and even at the end of the stint I was catching up to Lewis. I think I stopped one lap too late, but from there on I just did my own race. Unfortunately Nico got past but then we still had great [ace, I could still see the top two. In the end I just have to thank Red Bull for giving me such a great car, I think they deserve a lot of credit here.
Absolutely; phenomenal drive. Enjoy the champagne here; you’re just legal that you can have a drink. Lewis, four points off this fellow here, mate. You’ve both been having some phenomenal runs in terms of performance but a bit of reliability creeping in. Nico had some issues today, which definitely didn’t cost him a race win, but both of you have had some ups and downs with reliability. You’ve still got a long way to go with engines, but four points, closing the gap and Budapest is a track which I’ve seen you fly around that joint mate, so looking forward to that?
LH: I love it there. I’m working hard. I did everything I could in that race to try and save this engine, as obviously I’m on my last one. So I made it go as long as possible and I saved it for quite a long period of time. I just want to say a big thank you to everyone here. I hope that you continue to keep your fingers crossed. I’m catching him, so let’s keep going.
Nico, obviously you had an issue with your gearbox at one point. There was a radio message from the team instructing you how to fix it. We understand that’s with the stewards now. Can you tell us your side of the story and how confident are you that what you were told was within the rules?
NR: It was a very critical problem. I was stuck in seventh gear and I was about to stop on track, so they told me “change default” and try and fix it.
And you are confident it’s within the rules?
Lewis Hamilton, our British Grand Prix winner, for the fourth time in your career. Here you are again, soaking it all in, the adulation of the crowds – crowdsurfing even, a great moment there. How much did they lift you today and also was there just that one moment, when you went off at Abbey? You weren’t the only one to do that, but that was the only moment when you had your heart in your mouth or was it generally quite a tricky afternoon?
LH: That was definitely the only moment. It was quite a big moment. But ever since 2007 I’ve felt this incredible energy from these fans here, the best fans in the world, without a doubt, and the best crowd we have anywhere. I really feel like I’ve grown with them over the years and obviously, naturally, when you have success that speeds up the bond, that connection you have, but, yeah, they really do make a huge difference. Every time… when it was wet, every time I made it through certain corners I could see in the corner of my eye the fans right there with me. And obviously the last few laps I could see them, every time, every year, and every time I came through Brooklands, Turn 7, I can see them up shouting and that just spurred me on all the way. So a huge thank you to them. I’m very honoured and it’s a very humbling experience to be here in this sport, particularly in a time of difficulty in the world, and to see so much love out there. I think when you see… there are people out there from all walks, from all different places, poor, wealthy, going through difficult times, and on this day we come together and I think that’s as beautiful thing and I hope people see this on TV and I hope they tell their friends and they feel that to.
Q: Nico, let’s drill down a little bit into the battle with Max. The two battles with Max: the one at the beginning of the race and the one at the end of the race. He got you early on, you got him back later on. Tell us about those from your point of view.
NR: Yeah, it was a cool fight. On the Inters not so much of a fight, it was done pretty quickly and then on dry, yeah it was great. You’re playing around with your ERS deployment, I’m trying to get him to empty his battery so that then I can have a good shot – but then when his was empty mine was empty too. So that didn’t work! At times I was doubting, ‘am I going to make this happen or not?’ And then it worked out really well though in the end. He did a good job, defending and everything. It was cool.
And from your point of view Max, you said here yesterday, 24 hours ago, you’d be happy if you could be sitting here today in the same position – but you came pretty close to sitting one place further up – and who knows after the stewards have finished today you may be sitting one place further up. Tell us about the pass first of all into Becketts.
MV: I think in general, first of all, on the Intermediates we had good pace but in the beginning I was struggling to have visibility because of the spray, especially in the first sector. I couldn’t really keep up because I couldn’t see where I was going! But once that cleared a bit I could push. I got past Nico around the outside, car had a lot of grip so you can make that move and from there on the pace was good. You don’t want to switch too early on a slick tyres so, yeah, that I had one guy in front of me, got blue flags but I could clearly see slick tyre was faster now. I pitted, maybe one lap too late but you just take it a bit safe and from there on the pace was pretty good. Lewis was not pulling away too much and from there on, yeah, Nico was pushing hard, giving me a hard time and we had some good fights into Stowe. At one point we were struggling a bit of course on the straights but he pulled off a great move around the outside and from there on I was just doing my own race. I had no pressure from behind, it was a very big gap. Soon I heard Nico had a problem. I tried to get past and tried to close the gap but once you get in the dirty air it’s difficult to get even closer on this track. I think in general we can be happy. We finished only eight seconds behind or something. I think in general the car was working really well the whole weekend so I have to say thank you to the team for giving me such a great car the whole weekend.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Mike Doodson – Auto Action) Congratulations Lewis, whoever knew Silverstone had a mosh-pit? We knew how fond you are of the perpetual trophy and you threw it around up there as if you already owned it permanently. Is there room in your place back at Monaco for a full-size replica?
LH: Well I was taking care up there – I wouldn’t want to drop that thing! I don’t even know if I have a replica, I can’t remember, if I’m honest. My Dad has all my trophies so I don’t have a lot of space – but there’s definitely space for at least that one at home as it is such a special trophy. I’m so proud to… I remember the first time that I got to stand up there with it in 2008 and the feeling today is just as great, if not actually greater – because I’m able to appreciate it more I guess, with age and the hard work that goes on around. I guess more understanding of the world in a way. Yeah. It’s my gold trophy, my gold medal. Very, very proud.
Q: Lennart Wermke – Bild) Question for all three of you: was it really necessary to start the race behind the safety car? What do you think?
NR: Yes. For sure. Because there was some big, big rivers in places, so it’s important to let us have a look at least where they are before getting going.
MV: yes, I think so. Especially on the main straight there was quite a lot of water but maybe it was a bit too long. I was ready to race after maybe two laps.
Lewis, we had a radio message from you saying you thought it was ready to go. You called to Charlie to release the cars
LH: I personally start we could have started on the grid – but for sure there were patches all over the place and it would have been tricky – but that’s what motor racing’s about. But then we did stay for sure out far too long. It was pretty much intermediates by the time we let us go. It was pretty much intermediates by the time they let us go, so… but it would have been fun. It was easily just as wet, if not… there was more water on the track when we started in 2008 when we started from the grid, that’s why I say that.
Q: (Sean McGreevy – CSMA) I asked you this question on Thursday – but now you’ve actually won. So you’re the most successful British F1 driver at Silverstone with four wins, the first to win three consecutive F1 GPs at Silverstone. You’re tearing up the record books today – so how do you feel about making more F1 history?
LH: I think I’m just going to have to sit on it and try to let it sink in because it’s just so strange. It’s very, very surreal to think that I’m here and I just saw Nigel in the corridor there and he said “welcome to the club”. It’s just crazy to think that I’m up there with them. I know whilst I’m here – and I’ve been here for a while – I should just be used it or it shouldn’t be so surreal – but it just is. I think it’s because it’s that special and I’m incredibly proud. It’s crazy to think that, if I was to stop tomorrow, that will remain for some time. I will still be able to come back in many, many years, way beyond my driving experience and come and experience this great crowd and always be accepted. It’s an amazing feeling.
Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Three very quick questions if I may: nearly out-braked the Safety Car into Copse I think, if you could talk about that; secondly, sector one didn’t appear to be your strongest sector when you were in a defence mode – if that’s that right way of phrasing it, I don’t know if you were just cruising at that point but then you had that big moment on Lap 27, perhaps we could hear about that… and finally Massa holding you up.
LH: I’m not going to remember all three. The Safety Car, I’d glazed my rear brakes and they were really low on temperature so I was trying to pick them up. The Safety Car’s so slow, you can’t imagine. I’m sure he’s going as fast as possible but our car is so fast that… and you can’t see really that well even behind the Safety Car. There’s a lot of spray but yeah, I braked and the thing wasn’t stopping. So I nearly hit the Safety Car. It’s a first. Fortunately I didn’t. And then after that, in the first sector, I was never in defence mode. At the beginning just taking it easy. I had quite an over-steering car so just took it easy through the first part, and the second, I knew I was quicker in the second and third sector so I utilised the time there. And then I had that over-steer moment and after that I continued to take my time. If there was any point I needed to pick up the pace, there was plenty of pace in that first sector for me to have picked up. With Massa, he just came out on new tyres. We were obviously doing a long stretch on tyres. However I’m pacing at the same pace as him and within a second or two. It’s like these two racing each other: whoever’s being was in dirty air, and he wasn’t particularly racing anyone in front of him but I think he got a lot of blue flags and after God-knows how many blue flags he decided to pull aside. If you notice, after that my pace picked up almost a second. So, it’s crazy how big a difference it does make.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Almost every driver went off at turn one. What was the particular problem there because obviously you made it on some laps and some not? Was there a patch of water, did you change the line on that lap when it happened?
MV: Yeah, I had a few moments. No, it’s very difficult because I think when everybody touched the water sometimes the spray goes to the left so you just approach it exactly the same way but suddenly you pick up a little bit of water on the tyre and you just slide off. I think Lewis went off and I went off on the same lap so I think because of the spray it comes onto the normal racing line and then you have a bit of a moment when you have to go off.
NR: Early on in the race, because there were just rivers but afterwards on slicks it was difficult because there were still wet patches.
Q: (Don Kennedy – Hawke’s Bay Today) Lewis, we heard about you setting new records in Formula One; I think we can probably now include the first F1 driver to go crowd-surfing. Was that planned and if not, what are you planning to do tonight to celebrate this fourth win?
LH: That wasn’t planned, no. Every time we do a podium, straight after the podium, apart from standing there holding the trophy up and the bottle, there’s no real way of connecting with people otherwise. Usually we just come back and here and it’s the same old same old so I was going to give them a hard time and I put the trophy down and I ran down and I could see the crowd there and I just wanted to connect with them in some way and then as I got there I was like, I wanted to go over the top. I was hoping that I would crowd-surf further in and then I would have to say ‘take me back’ but I got right to the edge and I stayed there for like a second and then they pushed me back on. But very very cool to see the support here, as I said, it is just phenomenal. And then the heavens opened at the beginning and then the sun came through and it turned out to be the most beautiful day. In terms of tonight, I think we’ve got a team family… I think the team have got the family event this evening so I get to see the team’s families and then tonight there will be a nice dinner in London and then a little bit of party.
Q: (Tomas Slafer – Car and Driver, Spain) Nico and Lewis, well you’ve won your home Grand Prix for the last three seasons; Nico you’ve won the last German Grand Prix, so Nico, do you feel pressure to win in Germany again this season, and Lewis, if you win in Germany, will that mean something more than a big victory for you, for the championship?
NR: Pressure? No, I don’t feel pressure. It would be great, it would be good fun and that’s the target for sure but let’s see how it goes. It’s going to be a good battle against Lewis and whoever else. Maybe the Red Bull or Ferraris. Let’s see.
LH: When was the last one (German Grand Prix)? Was it 2014? I remember that one. I think I had brake failure or something and it meant I had to start last. But the pace has always been good there so I’m absolutely going there hoping to redeem that kind of result that we had last time. Again, that is a great place for the German fans, they are fantastic. They actually have more than one amazing circuit in Germany but this is one with great history and it’s a great place for Mercedes Benz so I hope we can really shine the silver star there.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Nico, many times this year mainly you make the life of Lewis very hard but this weekend, particularly, is maybe the one where you’ve spent most of the time following far from him. My curiosity is after Max overtook you, you did the fastest lap of the race at that stage. Can you explain this contradiction please?
NR: No, no contradiction just Lewis was quicker in qualifying and then in the race I was feeling really good once I got onto the slicks, as you saw. Pace was great, I was just a bit too far away once I got off the intermediates. That’s it.
Q: (Frank Woestenburg – De Telegraaf) Max, like many you were sliding around at Abbey, especially. Can you tell me how much you enjoyed racing under those circumstances and do you think the FIA is sometimes too conservative at keeping the safety car out too long?
MV: Well, first of all, I think from the FIA side I think they want to have a safe race and OK, maybe it was a bit too long but everything went well, so I don’t really have much more to add about that. And in general, I have always enjoyed tricky conditions, especially in the rain. We have a lot of rain in Holland as well so in go-karting, yes, you had a lot of time to practise that. If you have a great car you can make the difference and I think we definitely did today, I was definitely enjoying myself and even when we went onto the slick tyres I definitely had some fun. The pace was good and it was of course very tricky in turn one as you could see but that’s all part of it and at the end, great fun.
Q: (Daan Coronel De Geus – AD Sportwereld) Max, another podium finish, you’ve been adamant about this year being a learning one since you switched to Red Bull. How normal are these results beginning to feel to if they are beginning to feel normal?
MV: Well, I haven’t really thought about that. I just try to do the best I can every race and now it’s again on the podium so two races in a row and I think that’s very good and if only we can keep going like this and we can close the gap to Mercedes. I think that’s our main target and first of all we still have to overtake Ferrari as well in the Constructors’ championship. I think those are our first targets, to overtake them and then close the gap.
Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Lewis you’ve spoken very descriptively about your emotions in the closing laps but can you just describe what it was like on the last lap, just hoping the car was going to make the finish, nothing was going to go wrong and then the sudden switch in taking the chequered flag and what that feeling of elation was like in a millisecond?
LH: Honestly, I approached the race with an incredibly positive attitude and approach so I didn’t at any point think I hope the car doesn’t fail on me. I was only feeling positive energy rather than letting any negative energy come in. Of course, those last three laps the car was feeling good, I had turned down my engine on the last ten laps or fifteen laps. Those last three laps, I knew I had a good buffer between me and the cars behind so I didn’t have to lean on my tyres, it became kind of really nicely flowing and trying not to take too much notice of the crowd and then get carried away with it. That’s generally the feeling but it wasn’t until I came into the last corner that I knew that I had it. I was like I’m going to roll across the line if anything happens now and again, I could see the crowd cheering from Stowe onwards, I could see them already beginning to stand up and cheer in the excitement and I felt exactly what they felt. And on that down lap, once you come across the line, it’s just the most amazing feeling, when you come across the line as the winner of the British Grand Prix. I’m sure it’s the same in Germany for Nico, for example. You just want to jump, go jumping but you’re obviously strapped into the beast still.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Nico, you spoke before about the battle with Max an there’s a lot about energy deployment. When you are behind, is it a slight advantage because you see the car in front when it’s de-rating, does it give you an idea of what state it’s in or what condition the other guy is?
NR: No, it’s not easy to understand so no, that doesn’t help, it’s just a matter of keeping the pressure on and Max needs to use it up and hopefully he runs out before me. That’s it. But we ran out at the same time so that didn’t help.