Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers: 1 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2 - Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus), 3 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)
PODIUM INTERVIEW (Conducted by Martin Brundle)
Q: Lewis, when we spoke last night you didnt believe you could be on pole position and you gave yourself no chance of winning todays race. How on Earth does it feel now?
Lewis Hamilton: Its an incredible feeling. I really have to say a big thank you to all the fans today for turning up. It was great to see their support. And my team: they just did an incredible job. We studied a lot last night. We were hoping the tyres were going to work for us. We had no idea it was going to go that well but the last 20 laps was just managing the tyres and cruising.
Q: Well you got a great start but there were two key moments where you overtook Jenson, so you didnt lose any time behind him down into turn one and then that turn three pass on Mark Webber, that was just incredible.
LH: Yeah, I think you could tell I was hungry for it today. I was just going all-out. I needed to get past those people and usually I get stuck in traffic, generally in my races, and today I wasnt having it. I was going for every move I had.
Q: Incredible support here for you as always Kimi. P2 on the podium, you really had to work hard for that today.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, obviously I keep making my life difficult on Saturdays so then we pay a price but I had a good car and we managed to do two stops so that was the only way really to jump people. In the end it was a bit tight with Seb but in the end it paid off for us and we gained some points in the Championship. So thats good.
Q: You made the last set of tyres last 33 laps which is quite spectacular today in these conditions. Surely you thought he was going to have a great chance to pass you towards the end but you just seemed to park your car in the middle of the track and make it so difficult.
KR: Yeah, I mean I knew it was going to be a bit tight but I felt that the tyres were good still in the last ten laps. So maybe last two laps they drop off quite badly but I didnt really have any doubts that I couldnt keep him behind. I had good speed through the last sector so I knew that in the first corner they will not have a chance. Obviously you take a chance always when you make so many laps with a set of tyres - but like I said, the team worked well, everything worked well for us and unfortunately yesterday wasnt an easy day so otherwise we could probably have fight for a win. But anyhow, we are here.
Q: Satisfied you take a few points off the World Championship leader?
KR: Yeah, its better than nothing.
Q: Sebastian, only third but the fans seem pretty happy with that. How do you feel about it?
Sebastian Vettel: Well, it was not the best race. The start was difficult but was able to defend second and then Lewis pulled in, we thought we had a little bit more on the soft but the rear tyres seemed to fall apart pretty quickly and then I lost a bit, came out behind Jenson which was crucial and struggled to get past, damaged my front wing which didnt help, after that managed to get past. It was a long time but lost a bit of speed and basically tried to hang in there, tried to fight back. Very close with Kimi in the end but as he mentioned, he was very quick through the last two corners and then I couldnt really get him on the straight. So yeah, I did all we could but surely wanted a little bit more today.
Q: You felt Kimi didnt leave you enough room at turn four towards the end of the race. You felt that was a bit too close?
SV: Yeah, I told him but he was laughing only. It was fine. Obviously in the heat of the moment it was quite tight getting into there, I tried to prepare the next corner but nearly lost the car. Thats racing.
Q: Lewis, two very quick questions. Does this put your World Championship crusade very much back on course and how does this race today compare with your other victories?
LH: I think this is probably one of the most important grand prix wins of my career. To move to a new team and to win for Mercedes-Benz is just a real privilege. The guys have done an exceptional job, Im so glad I could be a part of the team and I really couldnt be happier. I hope theres many more to come.
Q: And this years World Championship? Surely youve still got a chance of it, youve got to work hard.
LH: Weve got to work hard, you never know how the tyres are going to last elsewhere but if we come here and make our tyres last then we should be able to do it anywhere. So, fingers crossed.
Q: Lewis, congratulations. You werent too optimistic yesterday but a lot of factors obviously worked well for you today: good start, getting the traffic right as well and some great overtaking manoeuvres. Tell us about them.
LH: Its been a great weekend, really a great weekend. Really didnt expect it coming in. Its probably been one of the toughest weeks for me. Obviously we hadnt had the test, we didnt do the test, we were on the back foot when we came in. Really wasnt even expecting to be on pole. Really surprised with that and then yeah, at the start of the race the pace was OK. I think maybe Sebastian perhaps was just as quick or a little bit quicker but fortunately he was behind and my tyres went off just maybe a lap or two before his. I think I called the pitstop just right - the first one - and after that it was just managing the gap. I had to make sure I got past people. I normally get held up in my I thought when I came behind Jenson I thought it was just my luck because thats what usually happens. But I got past him and was surprised to see Sebastian and the others get stuck behind him as well. I guess he did me a favour there. But I think generally we had the pace on everyone today. I know I was really controlling the pace, particularly through the second, third and last stint, particularly on the last stint. This is just down to an exceptional job from the team. We came here with upgrades and constantly doing work to try and understand these tyres. I think today we bolted them on and they just worked for us. I really was not inspecting it.
Q: Kimi, that was a robust defence at the end of the race. Im not certain if it was a good job interview for joining Red Bull Racing for next year but tell us about it.
KR: Obviously I dont have anything for next year so I mean it does matter what happens on a race circuit for that matter. I knew that my tyres are pretty OK and I was good through the last sector so I was pretty sure there was no chance to try to overtake me into the first corner but then obviously turn two was a bit more tricky for me all race. He got a good run, Sebastian once before and then second time and I defended. Maybe Im over a bit on the right and its a bit tight but then I kept him behind and that was the only time he had a good run on me. In there it is very difficult to overtake because it is so narrow on top of the hill. After that I had no issues. That was the only part of the circuit that I really had some problems with the tyres. But it was good work for the team, the car was working well but unfortunately I keep making Saturdays after Saturdays making the race a bit difficult for myself. Hopefully we can fix that a little bit and be a bit more on the front at the beginning of the race.
Q: Sebastian a little bit of trouble behind traffic during the race itself. What do you feel about third place?
SV: Generally happy. Not the best circuit to be stuck in traffic because its quite difficult to overtake. I think we had not enough speed on the straights to put people under enough pressure so yeah, obviously got stuck behind Jenson for a long time. Damaged my front wing as well which dropped us back and after that obviously it was about the fight back as much as we could. In the middle of the race I didnt know where I was. I just tried to hang in there and try to come back as much as we can. In the end obviously quite close with Kimi. We were faster, I had fresher tyres but as I said, no way past. Once I was pretty close up the hill. I think I didnt have enough room on the outside but its pretty difficult to judge. Obviously I couldnt go around the outside and pass him but I was trying to maybe put him under pressure for the next couple of corners and try to create my chance but yeah, was not a decent gap anyways. So, I tried, didnt work, we have to be happy with third. The car was good all weekend, there wasnt much missing. But as I said, I should have done a better job with Jenson in the beginning and especially not damaged my front wing - and then it could have been a different race. But would, could, should. In the end I think were happy with third.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Abhishek Tackle - Midday) Lewis, track temperatures were in their fifties today; would you say youve turned the corner with your tyre wear issues and how much of that was work going on back at the factory, and how much of that was the new tyres, new constructions?
LH: I think it was a bit of both. As I said, coming into the weekend, we are making improvement but not big enough to make the difference it did today so Im assuming that a large part of that was the tyres. I really wasnt expecting it. Our long runs didnt look that great in P2 but I got the balance just spot on today with the front wing and yeah, if we can be quick here in a race with these track temperatures then Im very hopeful that we can be competitive everywhere else, so this could be a really good... could be a good turning point for us.
Q: (Leonid Novozhilov - F1 Life) Lewis, which of the ingredients made the difference in your success today?
LH: Teamwork, absolutely teamwork. The guys have just been phenomenal all year with the work they do in the garage, preparation of the car, the reliability has been exceptional - obviously not for Nico today - and the teams in the position where its beginning to develop the car still through the season. At this point of the year, last year, they said they werent anywhere near making improvements so its good to see that. I think hopefully Im a part of that as well. I feel like I really earned my keep today so Im really happy for that.
Q: (Peter Farkas - Auto Motor) Sebastian, we have heard you complaining a bit over the radio two laps from the end when you thought that Kimi didnt leave you enough room in turn four. Was it serious?
SV: In the heat of the moment, for sure, obviously its narrow there. As I said before, it was clear... or it was to me at that stage that I didnt find a way past around the outside. First of all, Kimi is not an idiot and secondly, its a narrow part of the track so it was clear but I was pushing very hard, trying to create a chance, put him under pressure and as I said, it was clear I didnt pass him there, but maybe two corners later or something. Yeah, I was not too happy but as I said, it was quite hot this afternoon, I was pushing very hard and it was quite narrow and I was a little bit on the dirt, turning in. You feel that you have to say something so thats what I said.
Q: (Kate Walker - GP Week) Sebastian, three weeks ago in Germany, I asked you if you would relish the challenge of having Kimi as your teammate next year and you said you would enjoy having such a competitive teammate. I was wondering if your opinion had changed, now that you had finished behind him.
SV: There have been races where I have finished behind him, especially in the beginning of my career - I finished nearly every race behind him. And there are races where Ive finished ahead of him so that doesnt really matter. As I said, I think hes one of the drivers I get along most with. Hes been very honest all the time which I appreciate a lot. I think at the end of the day were a group of 20, 22 guys; some of them you like, others you dont. I think at the end of the day you have to beat everyone. Obviously we enjoy it a lot more as well if youre fighting other drivers in similar cars, meaning with similar pace, because its kind of boring when youre only fighting your teammate. I think this is something we all enjoy.
Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat) Sebastian, at Nurburgring, after your battle with Kimi, you said that one day you will feel as angry as Kimi felt that day. Do you feel angry now?
SV: I dont think it was really really angry but obviously it was a battle for the win so I was happy that I succeeded. Today was for second, but still, you know, second is better than third. Im not entirely happy with my race because I think the car was probably a little bit better than where we finished today but as I described, with the race that I had, I think P3 is what we have to be happy with. Its not a disaster. We were still on the podium which is nice, a lot of people here which is still very special so I think we have to keep our feet on the ground. Ive always said that there will be days when there will be people ahead of us and there will be days when we will be ahead of them so its just life.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Lewis, do you think that with nine races to go its possible to fight for the championship?
LH: I think its too early to... still far too early to... of course, when you have a win like this, you get excited and you think anything is possible and obviously today shows that anything is possible but I think its still too early for us to say whether or not we can challenge these guys. I know the guys are working hard so that we can close the gap and I hope today is the first step in doing so but weve got a lot of tough races coming up. I just hope that thats not the last time my tyres work for me.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Sebastian, do you think that today there is some complaint about the strategy because as you said before, you were twice stuck behind McLaren when you came out of the pits?
SV: Usually in the past it was not a bad thing when you came out behind a McLaren but this years a bit different. Yeah, Im not blaming the team. I think its pretty easy (to see) what happened. In the first stint I lost more time on the way to the pits, because the tyres were falling apart (more) than they expected, probably around 1.5s. If you take those away, I come out ahead of him, so I think in terms of strategy they did the right call. Second time round, I think he was on a very used set of soft tyres which was going away quickly and I found my way past pretty quickly as well, so Im not blaming them. If theres anything to blame, today, then its me because I damaged my wing which wasnt the best thing.
Q: (Michael Neudecker - Sud Deutsche Zeitung) To all three of you: how did the high temperatures today affect you, your performance?
LH: Physically it was quite easy, to be honest. I wasnt on the ragged edge the whole way. Particularly the last twenty laps I was able to really chill, I was drinking a lot and just trying to bring it home, look after the car and the tyres, yeah, for the first time ever that I can remember my tyres not being a problem. I think this track has always been good to me. I hope theres many more like this.
KR: Obviously I was bit out of tyres at the end because we did a run with a set of tyres but apart from that it was OK. It was a bit hot but as normal as any hot race. No problem.
SV: Yeah, it was pretty hot, especially, obviously, towards the end of the race when the drink is not cool any more, its more like tea, which isnt the nicest to cool down. But yeah, I think we were probably in a bit of a different situation to Lewis, still fighting towards the end, I was pushing very hard. Every time you get close, you lose some grip. I was struggling to get past, didnt succeed but yeah, its not the only hot race we have during the season.
Q: (Anthony Rowlinson - F1 Racing) Lewis, does it feel different winning for Mercedes than it did for McLaren?
LH: I think it feels different. It always feels like its the first time, thats for sure, when you win. I remember the first time I won it was exceptional, an exceptional feeling and today it was a really calming, relaxing feeling when I came across the line. I really wasnt expecting it. As I said yesterday, I talked it down a lot because I really was expecting a real tough race today, I thought we were going to fall behind. The experiences I had at McLaren were some of my greatest but I think this is one of the highlights of my career up to now. Moving to a new team and a team that was struggling massively last year and to finally get a win with them after the first nine or ten races is a great feeling.
Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat) Kimi, now youve got some feeling with the new tyres, do you think you have the right package to win in Spa?
KR: I dont know. Its a different circuit. I have no idea. Last year we were not very strong there. I think we know the reasons and for sure our car is better this year but is it good enough for fighting for a win? We will see in Spa in one month.
Q: (Peter Vamosi - Vas Nepe) Kimi, you are now second in the championship. What does this mean now, at this time, for you and for the next four weeks? Will you go to Enstone and help to develop the car or just have fun and holiday?
KR: I dont design the car so theres not much use for me there. Everybody has to be off work in a weeks time so theres nothing happening at any of the factories, at least, thats how it should be. I will do something and see what happens at the next race in four weeks.
Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo) Sebastian, if, at the end of the first bend you were first in the race after the start, the story of this race might have been different. And Lewis, I would also like to hear your opinion about that.
SV: Well I wasnt so, hard to... If. If. If I was sick today I wouldnt race so... I think Lewis did a great job today, a good lap yesterday and deserved to win today no doubt. I think we had a bit stronger pace than what we probably had towards the end of the race, but I didnt do the best job either. I damaged my front wing, I got stuck behind Jenson, didnt find a way past unlike Lewis so yeah, there are things that I could have done better but its hard to say where we could have been without those two things. I think it would have been close. Obviously he had track position, overtaking is difficult, maybe we would have been a bit closer, maybe with strategy we could have found a way past, I dont know. But in the end, as I said, it wasnt the case.
LH: Its nothing I really want to think about. I got into turn one first, thats the most important thing. I think if Sebastian was out in the lead it would have been hard to have kept a hold of him but I think generally my second and third and fourth stints were pretty strong. I think I would hopefully have had as good a pace as he would have had so I think it could have been a close race.
Q: (Gabor Joo - Index) Kimi, last year you finished second, this year you finished second as well. Are you satisfied with the progress Lotus is making in terms of car development?
KR: Obviously we always hope for more, myself and the team hopes for more. I think weve made progress, for sure. Now we have tyres that are a little bit different and I wasnt so happy with how things ran on Friday and yesterday - more happy in qualifying than the whole weekend before that but still not ideal and in the race we usually run better than in qualifying. I was happy with the car in the race but obviously when you start from such a bad starting place its difficult to make big progress on this kind of circuit but I managed to do two stops and were still pretty competitive so were happy how weve done but were here to try to win races and if we keep finishing second and third like weve done many times this year, its probably not enough for the championship but the best thing today when we finished second we gained a few points on Sebastian, so its better than nothing but with a win it would have been a much bigger difference.
Q: (Sarah Holt - CNN.com) Lewis, tyre problems cost you your first chance of a win for Mercedes at Silverstone and its ironic that now, because of that, the tyres have been changed and here we have them, youve got your first win, so does this make up for everything that happened in Britain and if the tyres now suit you, it could have ironically set you up for the rest of the season?
LH: Well thank you. Yeah, yeah, you cant really make up for Silverstone. That was my home Grand Prix, we were in a good position to have won that so I dont know when I will ever get a chance to win at Silverstone again in front of my home crowd. But this is definitely a great feeling to finally get the win. Ive been on pole position for the last three races, its good to finally not lose position and just stay and be able to hold it and maintain position throughout the race, its a good feeling. I came here saying and praying that when we put on these tyres that they would come towards us more than away from us and it seems like theyve done that: 52/55 degrees track temperatures today, one of the hottest races I think I can remember doing and for a team that really struggles with tyre degradation today was a walk in the park. Im really baffled... I used all the technique I could possibly use to look after the tyres which Im sure everyone is doing, but it worked today. I really really hope that when we go to the next race it happens, that were able to do the same.
Q: (Geza Suranyi - Heves Megyei Hirlap) Lewis, you said that this circuit is a classic, so as a four time winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix, perhaps its about time to name a corner after you. Which corner would you chose?
LH: Id forgotten that its four times here. Thats incredible, absolutely incredible, Im so happy with that. I love it here: the weathers great, the fans, we have such a great turnout, they have beautiful women here, great food, I really cant say more about it. A great track. If I was to chose a corner, I would say turn two.
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