The top three finishers of the Hungarian Grand Prix discuss the race.
In attendance: 1 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2 – Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 3 – Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull).
(Conducted by Kai Ebel)
Q: Congratulations Lewis, you are the leader of the world championship right now, was it due to a tailor-made start, man?
Lewis Hamilton: Well, firstly a big thank you to all the fans here, they’ve been amazing this weekend. It’s because of these guys that this race is so spectacular. We always have such a great time here, the track is great, the city is great, but the fans really make the event, so big, big thank you. With the race, yeah the start was everything. I got a good start… I mean I had one of the Red Bulls was on the inside of me, so I was pressured quite a lot into Turn One. But the team did a fantastic job with the strategy, preparing the car as always, the guys back at the factory continuing to push flat out, so a huge thank you to them, because this is a great result as a team, so yeah, what a day!
Q: There was a crucial situation in between when the lap Gutierrez was blocking you a little bit, so I guess he’s not the next to be invited on one of your sailing trips?
LH: No, it’s good. But definitely traffic today was difficult to navigate through but… love you guys!
Q: Coming to you Nico, even you had a fantastic start but just not good enough. Big question mark?
Nico Rosberg: Yeah, it was down to the start in the end. I lost out a little bit and then into Turn One, with Daniel on the outside, Lewis on the inside, I ran out of space, so I had to bail out of it. That was it really. I was happy to take Daniel back in Turn Two and from then I was trying to put all the pressure possible on Lewis but of course it’s not possible to pass on this track.
Q: So is it some kind of good news maybe that the next race is already on next Sunday in Germany on your home turf, you can hit back?
NR: That sounds very good. The next race is coming up very quickly, it’s my home race and that’s going to be awesome.
Q: Coming over to Dan Ric. Dan, you are familiar to this podium here. They all know you, you have been here a couple of times. So was this third position enough to get the famous Dan Ric smile back on you face?
Daniel Ricciardo: Absolutely. If that noise doesn’t, I don’t know what does. Yeah, thank you guys. It’s great to have another podium this year. Obviously the first one was a bit bittersweet but this one I can definitely enjoy and for sure the smile’s back. Super happy to be here today. It’s three years in a row I’ve been on the podium at this circuit. It’s been good to me and as Lewis said the fans are amazing, so thanks to everyone. Thanks to the team, we are continually getting better, so that’s great, and yeah, I’m having fun.
Q: Coming back to Lewis, you guys are battling each other on the track but I know you are working out as well as Danny in the boxing business. So how about a charity match between Daniel and you in the paddock. You both work out at boxing, so would that be another idea, not only battling on track but in the squared circle?
LH: You never really have very good ideas, do you, so I’ll leave you to your ideas. But, to the man in the orang suit! Ha! Some of my best friends out here, thank you so much for coming and lastly to the fans: thank you all for coming out and we’ll see you next year!
Q: Lewis, many congratulations. You’re now the most successful driver here at the Hungaroring, surpassing Michael Schumacher. What does that statistic mean to you and how does this victory compare to the four that came before at this racetrack.
LH: It’s pretty incredible to hear those words and to… especially when you think I grew up watching Michael so to now have had similar, if not one more, than he had here, is just incredible. But, y’know, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the great people I’ve worked with, both at McLaren-Mercedes and now here. It’s a result of great work from such a large group of people. I’m really just a chink in the chain. I love it here. I hope there’s more to come before I stop. Yeah, it was not the easiest grand prix I’ve had here in the ten years, nine, ten years – but definitely one I enjoyed. And a great battle between the three of us.
Q: Nico, it seems that so much was won and lost in the opening ten seconds of this race. Could you just talk us through what happened?
NR: For sure, yeah, the race was decided there. My start was OK but slightly down on Lewis’ start and Daniel also, ever so slightly. And then Daniel obviously got a tow and Lewis had the inside line. Just lost out there into Turn One. Got a bit tight between the two of them also so had to back out and then, OK, I was glad to at least get back second place from Daniel in Turn Two, that was cool, around the outside – but lost the win there.
Q: Daniel, moving onto you, it was a very close battle with Sebastian Vettel at the end of the race. Are you pleased to have beaten Ferrari or disappointed not to have challenged Mercedes harder this afternoon?
DR: I’m pleased with the podium. Obviously we got close at the start and tried around the outside of Turn One and I couldn’t really see I think at the time Lewis, when Lewis and Nico were in my blind spot, so at the apex of Turn One I thought I was in the lead and then saw one of the Mercedes sneak up on the exit. And then, yeah, into Turn Two, I was just on the inside and Nico had a clear run and got better drive. I think the first part of the race we looked quite competitive. But then yeah, it looked like Mercedes had a bit more in their back pocket and were able to improve the pace as the race went on. In the end the fight was then with Sebastian. It got pretty close at the end; did quite a long stint on those tyres. It wasn’t easy. The last lap, I’m sure he had DRS and, at least in my mirrors, it looked like he got quite close in Turn One. So, yeah, bit of a fight. So it was a bit of a relief actually coming across and keeping third.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Barna Zsoldis – Nemzeti Sport) Lewis, you mentioned many times that you love it here, so do you plan some celebration in Budapest maybe?
LH: I do. I definitely will go and have a nice meal in town and see what the nightlife has to offer but obviously we race next week so nothing too heavy. And then I might go and spend the day sightseeing tomorrow before I head back to the UK.
Q: (Peter Vamosi – Vas Nepe) Lewis and to others, Lewis you are a fashion addict, how do you like the new dresses of the Hungarian grid girls?
LH: I like it very much, actually. I think they looked amazing. It’s not always that we have the best grid girls or outfits, should I say. This year it worked well and for some reason, Hungary just has an abundance of beautiful women. It’s perfect for us, we’re single, not so much for Nico but really enjoyed it.
DR: He (Nico) has to be careful what he says! Yup, they looked great. It’s hard, it’s hard for us obviously, you know that Sunday we’re focused on the race and the task ahead but it would be nice if we raced on Saturdays and then had Saturday evening to explore the city a bit more.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Lewis, it looks like you controlled the race as you wanted. The moment Nico approached you, suddenly in one lap you could increase the gap easily.
LH: Compared to practice we knew that the temperature was a lot higher. I think it was 43 degrees track temperature in practice and today was about 53. It’s an unknown how long these tyres are really going to last. We have a target which need to get to so once I got into the lead, I was able to just manage my tyres, my car and manage the gap and react only when I needed to. For sure, I think the backmarkers caused a little bit of trouble towards the end but generally I was able to keep the buffer to the right amount. There was one moment… I was thinking… the whole race I was thinking, this has been great, I’ve not made any mistakes and in one moment… I can’t remember if I was behind someone but I locked up one or two front wheels and I went slightly wide and Nico then was all of a sudden on my tail which wasn’t exactly a moment… but then after that it was just head down and increase that lead.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Daniel, I realise you don’t have a crystal ball but if you’d taken the lead of the race at the start, would it have been possible to keep it?
DR: I think for a part of the race, sure. You know there were moments when we looked competitive compared to Mercedes. I think once the first stint settled, they had a bit more pace than us but at the start of the second stint with the soft (tyres) we seemed really competitive but in the end it looked like Mercedes were just doing what they needed to do and then it felt like their pace got stronger and stronger. Little parts of the race where we thought we were quick enough but I think as the stints got on then they were able to keep a bit more pace. Probably wouldn’t have lasted the 70 laps if I had the lead at the start but yeah, what if? I don’t know.
Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Lewis, in yesterday’s Mercedes team press conference, your session, you said that you’d asked for urgent clarification of the double yellow flag ruling, regulation. In fact your words were ‘it just needs to be clarified now.’ About an hour later, Nico got called to the stewards. Do you believe that you influenced it in any way, did you contact anybody or was it purely coincidental that Nico was called in an hour after you made that comment?
LH: Well the stewards needs to come up with some kind of solution because it is… the whole 23 years of racing, it has been ‘if it’s yellow flag, you slow down’ and if it’s double yellow flag, you be prepared to stop and Nico was doing the same speed at the apex as I was doing on the previous timed lap. If there happened to be a car that was spun or a marshal on the track, it would have been pretty hard for him to have slowed down in that case, so that’s why… and the fact that he didn’t get penalised for it means that we need to be careful because the message we’re sending not only to the drivers here but also to the drivers in the lower categories is that it’s now possible for you to lose only one tenth of a second in a double waved yellow flag section which is the most dangerous – one of the most dangerous scenarios with the double yellow flags. They need to clear that up because before it was two tenths that you were meant to lose with one yellow flag and half a second with two yellow flags. It wasn’t the case yesterday and there was no penalty, so going into the next race, we could be battling for pole position and we see double yellow flags and we know we only have to do a small lift and lose one tenth of a second and we’ll be fine and go purple in the sector. So that’s why it does need to be clarified and I’m sure Charlie and the stewards are going to do so because it needs to be clear.
NR: Can I respond? Thank you very much. Thank you for making that statement, so now I’m going to put my response. What you have to do with a double yellow is significantly reduce your speed and make sure you go safe. I went twenty kilometres per hour slower into that corner, twenty kilometres per hour is a different world in an F1 car. Twenty kilometres per hour, you are going proper slow. It’s completely… everything is safe. That’s how I did my speed and lifted off thirty meters before my braking point, so I was just rolling there, twenty kilometres per hour slower until I got to the apex. Then of course when you’re in the apex, I would have a much tighter line because I went in slow and then so I could accelerate out again. So definitely I significantly reduced my speed and that’s what it says you need to do and that’s why for the stewards that was completely acceptable. It was very very obvious what I did, very clear and of course on a drying track you’re going to get massively faster every lap. It’s not like the track was consistent. On a drying track, it’s irrelevant what the sector time was because you’re going to get so much quicker every time you go out there because there’s wet patches and when they dry, you just go so much quicker. And so in that segment, I was slower, where there was the yellow flag but of course in the big sector, yeah, I’m quicker because the track is getting quicker and I’m pushing in all the other corners. So it was a pretty clear case for the stewards and that’s why I didn’t get any penalty.
Q: Daniel, can we just get your thoughts on what happened in qualifying yesterday?
DR: Yeah. With that incident? Yeah, for me, I think at least the principle, whether it was the situation yesterday or not but I think Lewis touched on the principle. It’s something which we’ve actually been wanting to probably discuss further for a long time or quantify because a single yellow, people are getting away with a micro lift and showing the stewards that look, I slowed down where you’re not really. But a double yellow is a significant… it’s a big risk on the track, perhaps and in my case, Fernando was still at the apex, pointing towards us on the racing line so I had no choice but obviously ,looking at the double yellows before that, it’s a little bit blind so already I was willing to drastically slow down, I guess. I think the double yellow needs to be very different to the single yellow and I think that’s what we’re not too pleased with at the moment.
Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Nico, sorry to ask you but it was impossible not to notice that you were drinking a lot. Was it because maybe your drinking system failed in the car or was it a particularly hard race physically, and is it fair to say and also to Lewis and Daniel, that this is one of the hardest because it’s so hot, there are so many corners, you cannot really rest?
NR: Definitely it’s a difficult race, it’s very hot out there, but I’m just thirsty, because we sweat a lot and it’s nice to drink this good stuff and that’s it, nothing more than that. My drink system was working fine.
DR: Yeah, it was definitely hot, I’m still sweating. We don’t have a whole lot of liquid in the car. You could drink probably four litres during the race if you had it, so sure, we’re hydrating a lot after the race, a) because we’re thirsty and b) because it helps, I think, with recovery. But also this track has always been physical, because there’s not much rest. Obviously you’ve got the one main straight but after that it’s a lot of corners and you keep very busy. It’s probably top three on the calendar, I would say, for most physical circuit.
Q: Faster lap times this year, did that impact on the physicality of the race?
LH: Not really. It’s always hot here, it’s always physical but today wasn’t actually the most physical I’ve had here. I’m sure next year will be.
Q: (Sandor Meszaros – Kelet Magyaroroszag) Nico, for the first time this season, Lewis is the leader of the championship. How do you see the rest of your campaign?
NR: Well, it’s very close. It’s been a good season so far up to now, it’s been a good battle with Lewis and as I’ve always said, I’m not counting the points, there’s still a long long way to go. Everything’s still possible and I just want to focus on winning races, that’s what I wanted to do today, I had my full focus on that, it didn’t work out unfortunately, just losing out in turn one and now I move my focus to Hockenheim, because it’s my home race and I’m really looking forward to going there, racing there. I love the track and so I’m going to try and win there.
Q: (Istvan Simon – Auto Magazin) Daniel, during the podium interview you referred that the smile, the famous grin is back on your face. Is it due to the fact that you more or less managed to keep in touch with those guys in the silver cars, here in this physical race or more, due to the fact that you’ve managed to beat your teammate Max for the first time since Azerbaijan?
DR: Yeah, for me it was, I think for quite a few races, I think the qualifying generally has still been really strong. The Saturdays, I’ve put them together well but the Sundays, whether it was circumstances, bad luck or just not being quick enough, haven’t really felt like I’d get the most out of a Sunday. With Barcelona and Monaco which was so close and then it just felt like… I wouldn’t say, it looked like momentum, sort of swings a bit, but just the way racing goes. It was just nice to… I feel from Friday onwards until the last lap today, I got the most out of it, so I’m more pleased with that this weekend, to leave Sunday feeling happy again and knowing that I got everything I could out of the car and package and it’s nice to be rewarded with champagne and a very nice trophy here.
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action) Daniel, you came in for your stop on lap 33, way before anybody else. Why so early and how difficult was it to keep the tyres alive for so long?
DR: Yeah, at the time we looked quite competitive to Mercedes. I think I was closing on them a few tenths a lap and basically, yeah, we were looking to maybe… we thought perhaps they were struggling, so we thought we’d try and just be aggressive and try and get closer to them, basically, if they were going to pit very soon. And also, I think Seb wasn’t too far behind but I think it was more trying to fight for the win at that time, as opposed to defending, I think, what was happening behind us. That was pretty much that, but then once we pitted, it looked like they just turned up the volume, unfortunately.
Q: (Silvia Arias – Parabrisas) Lewis, we know how much you like music. I would love to know, at this moment in your life, on the top of the wave, as you said two days ago, what is the song which describes this moment in your life?
LH: Right now I need to go the toilet so… It’s killing me, it’s something else! I don’t know. The song that was playing in my head today was LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out. OK, can I go?
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