The top three finishers of the Italian Grand Prix discuss the race.
DRIVERS: 1 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes) 2 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes) 3 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)
(Conducted by Eddie Jordan)
Nico, I don’t need to tell you, your 50th podium, your 21st race win and more importantly, his first win in Monza!
Nico ROSBERG: Thank you very much everyone, it’s absolutely amazing. It’s a very special day for me. I’m very happy to finally win here in Italy. You guys are unbelievable and it just makes it phenomenal to be up here so thank you very, very much and I’m going to enjoy this day.
Come on, tell us a little bit about the race. It was pretty much trouble-free, could your sort of control it from the front all the time apart from the pit stop?
NR: It was all down to the start. I had an awesome start and that made the win, so it was all there.
We’ll be back to you in a second. Ladies and gentleman, we know this man. Come on, how good is it to be here in front of all your adoring fans. Lewis, was it all down to the start?
Lewis HAMILTON: Firstly, look at this crowd. A big thank you to everyone for coming out. This is the best crowd we get all year; this is incredible. Obviously the start, but it’s still a great day for Mercedes Benz and I’m proud to be a part of it.
I’ve got to say, 14 race gone, two points between you two guys, I mean it’s all to play for isn’t it? it’s fantastic for us, the fans.
LH: Yeah, it’s good for you guys. I don’t know it it’s fantastic for the fans in the sense that there should have been more of us racing, there should have been a bigger race between Ferrari and us this weekend but hopefully in the future there will be.
Lewis, fantastic, well done and well done yesterday, great qualifying. Sebastian, first of all… it’s hard to believe this, isn’t it? It’s unbelievable.
Sebastian VETTEL: Unbelievable. This is the best podium in the world. Noi, Ferrari abbiamo i migliori tifosi del mondo. Grazie a tutti, grazie per essere venuti, grazie!!
This is dreamtime but nevertheless I’ve got to ask you the question: when do you think, how soon can you take these boys from Mercedes on? How soon can you be on the top of the podium?
SV: Well, we’ll try. We’re working very hard. They are doing a very good job, so you have to say “well done” and show them the respect for what the achieved in the last couple of years, but we’re fighting. I’m sure Ferrari will come back. I can’t make any promises about when, but I know we will, so keep believing, keep it up, I know that we believe in it and I’m sure we will succeed.
Why don’t you just say a few words to them in their Italian tongues?
SV: Un’altra volta – grazie, grazie mille. Noi siamo Ferrari.
Nico, a wonderful day for you, can you describe it?
NR: Oh yeah, it’s unbelievable. This makes it unbelievable. A part of me is Italian in a way, because I have a lot of friends and grew up with the culture, so all the more special. Siete i migliori del mondo, veramente. Incredibile. Grazie mille. Troppo bello. Proviamolo!! (then he sings).
We knew you were a driver but we didn’t know you were a member of The White Stripes! Anyway, please tell us, you’ve come back from the summer break and you’ve won those two races, you’re like a new man aren’t you, what’s happened to you?
NR: I’m feeling great. The race is on with Lewis of course, it’s always going to be a great battle and I look forward to what’s to come.
Nico, congratulations, your first Monza victory, second win in a week. Obviously you won it at the start. We talked about the start as an opportunity here yesterday, so tell us about that? Two points in it now in the championship and it looks like you’ve got a future in singalong as well?
NR: As we discussed, the start was the big opportunity and that worked out fantastically. I got a great start, because of course we had the soft and Ferrari had the supersoft and that worked out great and that gave me the race win in the end, because from then on I was able to control the pace and we had good speed. The singalong was awesome. The Italian crowd is just the best in the world and it’s really good fun.
Is that become a new signature when you win now?
NR: It just works here with them.
OK. Lewis, conversely, you lost it at the start. I understand you told the team by radio that it was your mistake and you obviously did everything you did to recover but were the 10 laps behind the Williams of Bottas… did that leave you too much to do in the end?
LH: Well, obviously yeah it was lost at the start. To be honest, I knew my engineers would be worried and nervous of how the start went, so that’s why I tried to put their minds at ease. I don’t really know what happened at the start, though obviously I will try to understand it later. I did everything normal. But, yeah, it’s hard to overtake here. Live to fight another day and you know a great audience here, as every year just an incredible crowd. A lot of Ferrari fans but also a lot of British flags were here today so I appreciate them coming out.
Q: Sebastian, obviously a slightly different strategy, supersoft, supersoft, soft. Was there nothing more you could do to protect the track position that you got after Lewis’ poor start in the first stint, with the tyre choices you had. And what positives do you take from this weekend in general?
SV: Well, he did one stop less, so obviously it was clear after our second stop he would be ahead of us – and I think the problem was that he was too far ahead of us. Simple as that. I think we were slightly quicker, we were on a fresher set of tyres but not quick enough to really catch up. I think in the end the gap was still fairly big. Nevertheless I think it’s been a great day. We’ve had a really good start, got a bit stuck. Maybe I should have gone to the left, I wasn’t sure what Lewis was going to do. Then I decided to go in the middle of them and was side-by-side with Nico but he did a good job braking for Turn One. I was hoping that he’ll go on the brakes a bit sooner but he didn’t. And then I had another crack, another look into Turn Four but I wasn’t close enough to be honest. After that I think we had good pace but it was sort of expected that they are obviously a bit quicker than us, in race pace as well. And I think you could see at the end the result was fairly clear. Still, I think it’s been a mega day for Ferrari. To get so much support. I think it felt even more than last year, which is great and hopefully it all peaks next year. Still, I can’t complain: two podiums in Monza two times at the start with Ferrari. I think it’s a great achievement, really happy and proud of that. But for sure, you’re always aiming for the top step, also to give the maximum support back. It’s been incredible. Coming into the track, leaving the track, even leaving late at night, they’re just happy to wave, with all the Ferrari kit, with all the flags equipped, it’s great to see the passion in this country for Ferrari and to be part of that is great. Obviously our mission doesn’t stop here. It’s only the beginning. We want to win. That’s what we really want. That’s what the people deserve as well.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Nico, I would like to congratulate you to become the first ever Finnish national who has won a grand prix on Italian soil. Winning at Spa and then Monza first time, legendary places, how does that feel in your career.
NR: It feels great.
SV: Being a Finn, you should answer in Finnish…
NR: Just talking about today it’s special because I really feel close to the Italian culture in many ways. All my best friends are Italian, I speak Italian and have a lot of connections with Italy and a lot of support here also, so it’s amazing to see. On this historic track it’s been a special place to win.
I didn’t… Imola, Monza, no Finn has ever won? Wow. Cool.
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speed Sport) Lewis, you said you don’t know exactly what happened in the car at the start but can you tell us what was going on in there and how you felt to see all those cars go screaming by.
LH: To be honest I don’t really remember. I do remember a bunch of cars coming by but, as I said, I did the sequence, everything exactly the same and yeah, I think I just got lots of wheelspin. A bit like Nico’s start perhaps in Hockenheim. Yeah.
Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Sebastian, yesterday in qualifying, bigger difference to Mercedes than last year, today in the race, maybe a smaller difference, you were even closing on the Mercedes with the soft tyres at the end. What was the reason for that? That you were so much quicker today. And how encouraging is it for the next two races especially?
SV: Well, we had a different strategy so obviously we had fresher tyres, different compound at the end, it was clear and expected that we were quicker and catching up – but probably not enough really to put them seriously under any pressure. I think we extracted our best race which obviously, y’know… it’s been a while since it’s been the case. It speaks for the team. I think we’ve done a very good job this weekend, everyone has been really focused and, y’know many times I hear that coming to Monza, yeah, it’s a sort of extra burden and pressure and all this. I think it’s much the opposite for everyone in the team. You come here, people are able on Thursday, Friday to bring some of their family to the track, Ferrari is very helpful and open to give the chance to some of the mechanics and engineers, a lot of their families come here to see them and support them. And equally we has so much support from all the fans around the track, so of course you want to do well, it’s family in the end. We have probably the largest family we bring to a race track in that regard but I think everyone knows when I’m saying you want to do well in front of your family. So, of course, there is a bit of tension but if anything I think it lifted us up this weekend. It was great to see also the majority of the board of Ferrari coming, turning up, our president, giving the support and it’s been exactly the opposite of what people thought – or wrote probably – about. Really no pressure. We knew it would be tough against Mercedes, it has been tough and we didn’t beat them. Nevertheless, I think we did a great job, we pulled out our best, we had a great race. We finished third and fourth is the optimum we could get. That’s a lot to be proud about. Obviously the fans deserve nothing else but the top step and hopefully we can give it to them the next couple of years.
Q: (Ralf Bach – AutoBild Motorsport) Two questions for Nico: firstly, are you the new Pirelli ambassador or why do you wear this cap here? And secondly, for what reasons didn’t you and Lewis use the supersoft tyres here
NR: I apologise for that mistake to Mercedes, sorry for that. I didn’t realise. I’m sure I’ll hear about that later on.
And what was the second part? Why didn’t we use them? Because the best race for us was soft-medium, that was the fastest way to get to the end of the race, as you could see. It was good speed.
Q: (Livio Orrichio – GloboEsporte.com) Lewis, curiosity, when you face a situation like today and you see your opponents overtaking you at the start, knowing that you have a very fast car, do you have time at that moment to think ‘oh my God, maybe I lost the race’ or do you only concentrate yourself to try to get some positions back?
LH: I think at that moment you only think about getting back to where you started. So I’d fallen back and my goal was to try and get back up to where I was. But of course, I could see Nico pulling away, and I know from my experience of being here in Formula One that whilst anything can happen, the chances of the win decrease lap by lap, second by second so of course I knew that at quite an early stage that winning the race was not going to be possible but I would try but I got up to second and that’s the best I could do with such a loss at the start.
Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Sebastian, it was quite unusual to see you leaving the pit lane after your second stop with the DRS open on the run down to the first corner. I presume that’s because you were in the activation zone behind Kvyat coming into the pits. Can you talk about that? It’s quite interesting. And b) you had a big lock-up coming in and I wondered if that was due to the DRS being half-closed or not?
SV: No, I had lock-up because to be honest the mindset when you come in is that you don’t really care about those tyres any more and you just to try to hit the brakes as hard as you can and stop for the line, so I had a bit of a lock-up but at that point you’re not really bothered, you just stamp on the brakes so that’s what triggered it. And then on the way out, I did have the advantage of the DRS so even if it’s 0.0 or something, you still go for it.
Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) To the Mercedes drivers; it was the seventh time this year that either of you lost the leading position, just after starting from pole. Usually you very quickly adapt to every technical rule change so can you explain why it’s so difficult to get it right with this simple clutch?
Q: I think he means single clutch.
NR: It’s the rule change, it makes it more challenging. Because now it’s down to the driver to do it. It’s more difficult.
LH: Don’t agree that it’s more down to the driver. I think the driver thing is the same as it was before, it’s just that we have a relatively inconsistent clutch and it’s hard to… In the past we were able to be told our clutch temperature and it was easier to hit our target as well but now it’s a lot less easy to know what your clutch is going to be delivering and what it’s not.
Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Nico, just following up from what you were saying earlier about starting on the harder tyre than Ferrari, are you able to simulate that, practise that, given the allocation situation with tyres? Are you able to be that precise in practice starts?
NR: Well, that’s the thing. No, because we’re not even practising on the grid, we’re practising at the end of the pit lane which is a whole different world. Everybody’s practising, their rubber’s going down so it’s a little bit trying to make the best guess and that’s what makes it so variable
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Sebastian, after Spa with Kimi, were you more cautious at the first corner than usual?
SV: Er, well, I was side-by-side with Nico so yeah, but as I said, they did a good job on the brakes and obviously I didn’t see the car behind. To be honest, at no point did Spa cross my mind. I think after plenty of starts, I think Monza at turn one, we all know it’s tight so I did what I felt was right and it seemed to be right. I think I left enough room for Nico, obviously I wasn’t really a challenge for him into turn one and for the cars behind, obviously I saw down to turn one that Nico and myself were putting up a shield and giving a lot of tow for the cars behind so it was natural that they closed up. Equally I think they behaved well, doing their job right under braking, not overshooting so it all seemed fine coming out of turn two at least.
Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Nico, it’s often said that it tends to go, for some reason, in waves, between Lewis and yourself. Both of you have waves when you are winning more races one after another and then it tends to change. So after now, winning two races in a row in one week, do you feel that the tide is in, it’s with you now?
NR: No, not at all. I don’t see waves, I just see it race by race and today I’m very very happy to have won here and next is Singapore and I will try to win there and that’s it.