(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.
Q: If I can just come back across to Lewis…
LH: Where’s the gold trophy, man? This thing’s falling to pieces, look!
Q: 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 FLOOR
Q: (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 greatest 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 Jäkälä – YLE) Valtteri, two podiums in a row. Does this show you and the team have learnt your lesson, how to score podiums. And is this maybe the start of a catch-up battle?
VB: Well, we are definitely a stronger team than we were in, let’s say Melbourne, or the first few races. Difficult to compare even to last year or two years before. I think we are really getting stronger all the time. It’s not going to be easy to be on the podium in every race as I think this season is going to be quite a bit race-by-race but we are definitely on the right way and really happy to be part of this. Myself, I have been improving also all the time. Every race I aim to be a better driver and as a team we aim to be a stronger team every single race – and that’s what we’ve been doing.
Q: (Haoran Zhou – F1 Express) Lewis, obviously the celebration after the race has been extraordinary. You managed to do a doughnut despite the strict restrictions on the engine and gearbox and you were singing – I’m not sure if you were singing or not but you obviously were feeling on top of the world. Can you share your emotions on the slowing down lap with us?
LH: Yeah, it’s so difficult to really explain the feelings. When you feel like the world is crumbling beneath you, somehow with your family and friends, they help pull you through and also the fans. Yesterday, after qualifying, it looked so hard to… I really was almost speechless when I spoke to them, and it was no one else’s fault but mine. I was just so disappointed in myself. And then to get that result today, to really climb through… the team have just done an incredible job. Even coming into this weekend, the developments and improvements to our car, the balance. My engineers, who work so close to me, regardless of how well we do, they’re so supportive and having that good team of people round you really makes a difference. I did the doughnuts… yeah, I hope it doesn’t do anything to our gearbox but I know how much the fans love it here and so it was really important to try and do at least one but fingers crossed, it should be OK.
Q: (Rosanna Tennant – Pole Position) Lewis, as media, we like to speculate on upcoming races as to who might win and who won’t win. Are you looking ahead, thinking next race Nico is going to have the home advantage, obviously Hungary was good for you last year? Do you look ahead through the season like that, blocking it out and perhaps where you might be stronger and work out the points?
LH: I don’t. You look at the schedule and you see what tracks you know that suit you. Just going into Germany, to Hockenheim, I know whilst it’s Nico’s home Grand Prix, he doesn’t have even one eighth of the support us Brits get here. The fans are unlike anywhere else so I’m not worried in that sense. It’s a track where I won before, in 2008 I think it was. It’s a good track for me, so I think… I’m gonna use the pace that I have, because I have the pace. I’ve just got to put the damn laps together and when I do, then I think the opportunities will come in front of me.
Q: (Ian Parkes – Press Association) Daniel, you’ve obviously become one of the most likeable guys in F1 I think it’s fair to say, but in denying – there’s that big beaming smile, thank you – but in denying JB’s (Button’s) long overdue podium here, do you perhaps feel like a bit of a villain for once?
DR: It did cross my mind a little bit. I was thinking… especially in the last few laps, he was catching me pretty quickly at the end. I had sort of stabilised the gap a bit and then with four laps to go, I think my options were really suffering and he was coming, so I was thinking, yeah, probably for once I’ve got a lot of people booing me and cheering on the local lad but obviously for me it was good. I think for him as well; they haven’t had a great season so a fourth is – yeah, it’s not a podium, but he’d still be fairly pleased with that result so hopefully we’re all happy.
Q: (Kate Walker – crash.net) For all three of you, and it goes along the lines of momentum but not championship momentum. Obviously we had a fairly long delay after all you guys all made mega starts on the first lap. When you’ve got that one hour delay, what are you thinking? Are you worried that you’re going to lose the momentum that you picked up? What’s going on in your heads?
LH: Yeah, I think it’s… We work very hard, I’m sure everyone is working so hard in preparation. You get in the car, do the start, you really gain the momentum and then the race stops and we had quite a long break. I went back to my room just relaxing, drinking, making sure I was having plenty of fluids and trying not to think of anything else. Yeah, it wasn’t alcohol. It isn’t easy but I managed to get back and start where I finished.
VB: Yeah, it’s not easy, you know. There’s a break and you need to keep your focus in the race. You can’t really start to think about other things than the race so you just need to keep thinking about… forward: the restart, how to get your tyres warm, brakes warm, everything. You can always speak with the engineer. You just really wait, let the time go and all the time keep focused for the next moment.
DR: It’s tricky when you don’t know how long the break’s going to be. The race was at one today, so you do all your preparation to sort of peak at one o’clock in terms of your energy and your focus so you get the race started and you feel your adrenalin and everything is where it needs to be and then it comes back down and I think the limbo of not really knowing when we were going to start again, it’s like do I still keep a high level of intensity or do I go and relax? When do I start to then warm up again? It’s a little bit tricky but at the same time it’s the same for everyone. It does break a little bit of momentum, I guess, but then it’s up to us and our trainers how we get it back and make sure we’re switched on for the restart.
Q: (Paul Turner – South Wales Evening Post) Lewis, this victory, is this going to help you mentally for the next race or is it back to square one at the next race, you have to start again and plan all over again?
LH: I think this is now, kind of… we’ll draw a line under that last nine races and now it’s attack mode, start again and now, utilising that pace and utilising the car’s pace. There are still some things we need to improve on. I wasn’t too worried about the time lost in the pit stop today as I knew the next one would be better. I’d been working on my position so I didn’t lose time in that but qualifying really – just getting myself back to my normal qualifying mode and that, I think, will be good.
Q: (Rosanna Tennant – Pole Position) Daniel, we were talking about what you do before the restart; can you explain what you do with your trainer and the tennis balls?
DR: We sort of change it a lot but it’s more to get the hand-eye co-ordination going. I guess everyone does something a bit different. Sometimes we use tennis balls just to get my hand-eye co-ordination switched on and make sure my reactions are there. We do some different drills with that. It depends as well on what… I don’t have a ritual routine as such but it depends on what I feel like doing before the race, but that’s something. (FIA)