FIA post-race press conference - Hungary 29 Jul 2012
Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers: 1 - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), 2 - Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus), 3 - Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
Q: Lewis, a fantastic race for you, absolutely fantastic, under pressure all the time it seemed.
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, these are the kind of grands prix, the races you win like this, where youre under intense pressure from great drivers like Romain and Kimi for me its a great reminder of the old days with Kimi and this is the kind of day when you have to have your mind 100 per cent and I feel great because the team didnt flinch and neither did I.
Q: Great pit stops as well.
LH: The first one wasnt spectacular but the last one was very, very quick. We had a problem in the first pit stop, I think with the left rear, but otherwise we didnt lose too much time there. But the second pit stop was fantastic.
Q: Was there any temptation to go for a third stop?
LH: The team were talking about it. The plan was to do a two-stop but, you know, I had my target laps and the team werent confident that I was going to make it to those laps but I knew I would. In my second stint I could have gone longer but they wanted to cover the guys behind which was probably the right thing to do. So, as we did that, then it was just trying to make those tyres last a long time while keeping this guy [Räikkönen] behind. Which as you know, they are absolutely rapid, these guys. So, you know, if we were on another track where overtaking was much easier I think perhaps the result would have been different.
Q: They seemed to catch and then drop back. How close was anyone ever coming to overtaking?
LH: He was never really close enough. I purposely allowed him to close up in certain corners, so that he may have problems with his tyres eventually but it didnt look like it was going to happen. But I had to make sure I saved my speed for the last sector and made sure I drew a big enough gap in the last three corners and I did that every lap. I could see it was very difficult for them to follow, particularly through those areas, so it was important to make sure you maximise, especially with the DRS.
Q: Did you have a chance Kimi, with the DRS?
Kimi Raikkonen: Ah, no. It was not so bad to follow through the last corner but youre, I dont know, one second later on the power every time so they just pull too far away and the straight is not long enough and the others are too fast. So it didnt really give you any chance. My only chance was that they would run out of the tyres and then you will have a chance but that never happened, so we probably should have had 20 more laps and then it would have happened.
Q: So, are you happy with second place or did you feel you could have won it?
KR: I didnt, so theres no point to worry about it. I had an OK start but then we had an issue with the KERS and I only could use 50 per cent and I lost one position to Fernando, so the first few laps were not really good because we were trying to get the KERS working. After that it was OK but the same situation with Alonso, I was stuck behind him and just tried to save my tyres and push once we got the clear circuit. It seemed to work both times and we gained a lot of time on those few laps.
Q: And what about the time you came out of the pits and found yourself alongside Romain?
KR: Yeah. The team told me its going to be very close and I made a mistake with the pit lane speed limiter so it meant maybe five metres after the line I was still on it, so I thought that I really didnt do a very good job out of there but luckily it was enough gap and we were side-by-side in the first corner, but I could keep my position quite easily at that point. But it was one of those things: we had a lot of speed but just couldnt use it in all the race.
Q: How was that moment for you Romain?
Romain Grosjean: It just happens. Unfortunately, I got stuck behind another car, which had been [blue] flagged but didnt let me past in this lap. I lost 1.5 seconds. I wasnt very happy at that stage to be honest because I had been fighting for the win the whole race with Lewis and suddenly you get stopped by something you cannot really manage. Basically it was close with Kimi. He did what he had to do to not let me pass. I went a little bit on the outside and got the marbles on the tyres and then I struggled to recover. It is what it is.
Q: And it was pretty close with Sebastian in the first corner of the first lap as well?
RG: Yeah, it was the same story as with Kimi. Kimi was inside of my [car] and I was inside of Sebastian. So it was all right.
Q: How close were you? The gap seemed to go out and come back when you were behind Lewis.
RG: Its really difficult to follow another car here, to be close and not do any mistakes. When I was following Lewis sometimes I was losing a little bit the grip of my tyres. Then I had to recover a little bit. Our first pit stop was a disaster. The second one was OK. We didnt get the chance to jump in on the pit stop strategy. I think that was the only key today because overtaking is really too difficult. You can feel that youre sliding tyres, losing the grip, sliding more and it gets worse and worse. So its very difficult to follow,
Q: So a little bit disappointed with third place?
RG: Yeah a little bit today I think. We were really close to fighting for the win. But as I said I got stuck behind another car under blue flags that didnt really respect it.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat) Kimi, you have been second three times when Lewis has won here. Have you ever been close to overtake him?
KR: I don't know. It was a long time ago to remember the past. Today it wasn't - it was many years. It makes no difference if you don't get past. We were second best today and third. I think it was good for the team but of course we will keep trying to win and hopefully it will come soon.
Q: (Niklas Jakobbson - Budapest Times) Lewis how frustrating is it for you, going into the long summer break now that it seems that your car has picked up pace and both you and Jenson seem to be fighting for the win again?
LH: It's not frustrating at all. It's quite nice to go into the break knowing that we had a win. Every year that we've done that it's been a great feeling. I think it's very very very important how we manage the summer break, mentally and physically, but we've clearly still got a lot of work to do. We should obviously take from this a pat on the back for a great job from everyone but we must know that we still have a lot of work to do. These guys were absolutely rapid in the race. If we're going to stay ahead of these... if they were to have qualified at the front, it would have been impossible to have got past them. So we need to remain focused and of course enjoy the break. This will carry on and the guys will carry this for the next week or so, I'm sure, back at the factory. Guys were wearing their team tops and hopefully we still have good pace and hopefully even more when we come back.
Q: (Joo Gabor - Index) Kimi, it is your fourth second place this year, I think. Aren't you getting a bit annoyed about this? Spa is coming up, are you confident that you can break it?
KR: I think I've only been second twice, not three times, I don't know. Anyhow, we always try to win; some days you get close to it and it's a bit disappointing that we cannot and we know the reason: we have not been so strong in qualifying and we keep making it very hard for ourselves on Sundays but it's not annoying. We still keep putting ourselves in a good position to at least have a chance to win and get good results, good points for the team. Yeah, you would rather win than come second or third but it's a long season and I think we're improving all the time. If it comes it's great, if not, we keep trying. I've been in the business long enough that I don't really worry about things too much. We improved our position, our situation in the championship for myself and for the team. Maybe we are one place behind right now but we are closer to the front. As long as we keep doing that and hopefully the wins will come, then we will give myself and the team a good chance.
Q: (Sylvia Arias - Parabrisas) Lewis, each win is important of course, but is this more important after all this stuff about your private life, when you said I'm in the best moment so let's party to enjoy this?
LH: I definitely think it's always good when you come away with a win. There always seems to be a lot of talk about me and my private life. Hopefully this will answer lots of the things that have been said. I am 100 percent focused this year, regardless of what people think. I've been on it all year, I've never been so committed but of course, I'm still in my twenties, I do want to enjoy my last bit of my twenties, because I've heard it's downhill from then on. I've got to strike a nice balance and I think I am.
Q: (Dorel Tant - MSport1.com) Kimi, on the podium, did you hear the tremendous following you have here in Hungary, a lot of fans. Does that give you some kind of moral boost for the next races, let's say?
KR: Yes, it was great to hear all the people shouting and cheering. It's good for us, but unfortunately it doesn't make us any faster. I was pushing as hard as I could in this race so we keep trying to do the same in the next race again, but it's always been great here with a lot of Finnish flags and a lot of fans here so it's a great place to come.
Q: (Peter Vamosi - Vas Nepe) It's Alonso's birthday today, what are your messages to him?
RG: Happy Birthday. Fernando is a good friend so I wish him all the best for this year and hopefully we can keep fighting with him in the championship.
LH: I've already tweeted happy birthday to him.
KR: We spoke before already.
LH: Romain says he wants to sing it.
RG: No, no. I don't want it to rain straight away!
Q: (Marco Del'Innocenti - La Gazzeta dello Sport) Kimi, there have been some rumours today in the press about a possible comeback to Ferrari for you. Rumours apart, would you consider coming back to Ferrari?
KR: I always said that I didn't have bad feelings against them. I had a good time with the team. I won my championship there but things probably could have gone a nicer way in the end. Life goes on and you never know what happens in the future but I'm happy where I am now and things are going pretty nicely. Like I said, you never know what can happen in the future but I'm happy where I am. I don't come up with the rumours, so perhaps you have to ask the people who write them.
Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat) Lewis, as an Englishman, how does it feel to win this so-called Grand Prix of Finland every year from Kimi?
LH: Grand Prix of Finland?
Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat) There are so many Finns.
LH: There are a lot of Finns here but you know what? For me it's great to see Kimi up here with me. I think he's done... you know I've got a huge amount of respect for him. I remember racing... I remember watching him on TV before I even got to Formula One and you know, when I used to play the computer games I would always play as him. It wasn't Juan Pablo, unfortunately, and to think that we've had some great races in the past together and now another great race. Hopefully in the future we will have lots more races but Hungary has been good to me, really has been good to me. I really really love the fans here, I love the city. We always have such a great turn-out here but the track is awesome. I don't know how the other drivers feel but it's such a classic, so I really can't wait to come back here again next year and hope to repeat it.
Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo) Lewis, you took good points from Alonso. You are both to the lead of the championship. What does this victory mean in terms of fighting for the title?
LH: This weekend shows that it's all to play for still, not enough points taken from Fernando as he still got ten points but bit by bit, if we can continue with this kind of performance then we can slowly catch him but we know we need consistency and we need to improve the car still in many areas, and that, I'm sure, we will do. The team is doing a fantastic job. We've now got the quickest pit stops or usually the quickest pit stops. Today I got the best start I've had all year, I was really surprised by it. This is a really good stepping stone for us, especially after the difficult races we've had over the last three tough races, it's great to come and end the summer on this high.
Q: (Garry Meenaghan - The National) Lewis, it's been a momentous weekend back home with the Olympic Games starting. I was just wondering if, as a British driver with a British team, winning here must feel extra special? I saw you had the circles on your helmet.
LH: Yeah, it does feel extra special because obviously with the Olympic ceremony and the Olympics starting and obviously wishing all the teams the best, I can't wait to at least watch it on TV, but to be able to have it back in the UK I think is great for Great Britain. Yeah, I carried the flag on top of the helmet today. I hope that it was visible. I feel that I've done my part, even though we're not in the Olympics. I feel like I've done my little bit today, this weekend, as has the team for the Olympics.
For tickets and travel to 2012 Formula One races, click here.
For Formula One and F1 team merchandise, click here.