Track Interviews – Conducted by Martin Brundle
Q: Kimi Raikkonen, congratulations, you’ve made a lot of Formula 1 fans around the world very, very happy today, maybe not quite as happy as you are.
Kimi Raikkonen: Who knows, maybe they are happier even. No, honestly, it’s been a good weekend. I think the car has been pretty good all the time. I got a good start. I needed to push hard. It was tight a few times and in the end the tyres were not in the best shape but I think it was a bit similar for Max, obviously Lewis had more tyres left for the end. I had enough speed; we kept it consistent and just tried to keep the tyres alive until the end, so a long time, you know, but here we are.
Q: Your first victory since Australia 2013. It’s been a long time coming. You must be more pumped up than that?
KR: Obviously I’m much happier than finishing second. I’m happy but let’s see… later on. But great job.
Q: Three critical points: the start, then when you were running a very wide car… the second one actually was when you were pretending you coming into the pit lane and Lewis had to come in instead; he was going to do the opposite to you, and then obviously holding him up for about eight seconds. Everything put together, that’s what made you the victory.
KR: I think it was obviously coming in at the right time and having enough tyres both times. It was a bit of a balancing act but we did it pretty well, well enough to win it, so it was OK, and a good battle and I think that’s what we all want as drivers and also the people here.
Q: OK, well done again. Max, P18 to P2 – great drive.
Max Verstappen: Yeah, a bit unexpected but a good start, a good first lap, and then very quickly we were back into P5, P4 and we could just follow the leaders and we had really good pace. We made the right call to undercut Valtteri and from there onwards we could do our own race. I think in the end we could put a bit of pressure on, but unfortunately in the last three or four laps I ran out of tyres on the supersoft compared to the guys on the soft around me. But yeah, still very happy. I destroyed my shoe; I think I was pushing a bit hard, but it felt good.
Q: Take us through that battle with Lewis right near the end of the race, through 14, 15, 16 and 17 and Turn 18?
MV: So at that time I was really struggling with the rear tyres. I locked up through Turn 12 and then there was a good fight through the Esses, through the hairpin and in the right-hand corner I was just pushing as much as I could but hanging on but clearly also Lewis was already on the edge, so happy to stay in second.
Q: Congratulations. Lewis, the championship goes on for another week, but you had some adventures during that grand prix. How do you feel about the race?
Lewis Hamilton: Well, first of all a bog congratulations to Kimi, he did a great job today. No mistakes, he had a great start and managed it all the way. Also Verstappen did a great job as well. He was on a slightly better tyre than us at the end so naturally a bit of a struggle. I naturally thought we would have been able to do better but this is the best we were able to do in the end. But it was great that we actually got to do some racing at least but yeah, we just have to keep working, keep pushing for the next race.
Q: That pivotal moment where you were told to do the opposite to Kimi and you came in on lap 11. It gave you a long way to go didn’t it? You did a cheap pit stop under the Virtual Safety Car, but you just ran out of tyres.
LH: Yeah, I think ultimately I came out and the pit window was very, very close, but then after I did my stop it was 12 seconds and it was way, way too far to catch up. I’m not really quite sure how the strategy ended up like that. It’s always difficult. You only have a certain amount of life with the brand new tyre to make a difference and once you put 12 seconds up there’s none left. But anyway, I’m really happy. We still got a top three. It’s still close; Ferrari picked up their game this weekend, so we’ve go to push hard for the next race.
Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) Two questions for Kimi. How difficult was that balancing you were talking to Martin about, of pushing very hard at the start of your second stint to catch Lewis and to have enough of a gap to be in front and saving those tyres until the end of the race for the last 10 laps with the two guys behind?
KR: Yeah, I think it was already during the first stint, maybe one lap, two laps, and then you try to take of tyres, fuel, things like that, but it’s more guessing, obviously you kind of go by feeling. At a certain point the tyres are going to fall off and there is not a lot you can do. We had a pretty good battle. I tried to stay as far as I could. I could hold him back. And then once we did the pit stops obviously I just needed to keep the gap. I caught up a little bit and then keep the gap and aiming for certain lap times and looking after the tyres, because it will be an issue in the end. So you never know how it’s going to play out, especially after a Friday like we had. I was pretty confident after the first stint that it will be OK, but like we saw it got pretty close and 10 laps I was a bit probably not the most happiest guy in the world. But the closer we got to the end, the closer they got to me, it’s more dfificult for them and then it was OK.
Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) And the second question is what’s more satisfying: getting the win and, as you said, shutting your critics out; or knowing for now that for a long time none of us is going to ask you when is the next time you are going to win a race?
KR: (Laughs) it might be next weekend already! I don’t know. I’m happy with how it went. I’m happy for the team. Obviously we had a pretty rough two races and I’m proving people certain things. I might be getting older but it’s not too bad still. Maybe I’m OK to be [here] a few years more. I enjoy it, so we are here to try to win. I always try to do it, but obviously it’s not easy, otherwise anybody could do it. So, I think this weekend we have been pretty solid in many ways. I just had a good feeling with the car. We’ll see what happens in the next race, but so far it’s been OK. I don’t complain a lot. We’ll have for sure some fun tonight and we go next week to the next one.
Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Lewis, do you think you had the speed to win today, had you been on the same strategy as the other guys?
LH: I think it would have been… Kimi, one he was ahead, I didn’t have the greatest pace to really challenge him. Obviously, I was relatively close, I think, after the… in that first stint, second half. We were kind of exchanging lap times and kept beating each other’s times. And he was on the better tyre but he eked it out for quite some time with that safety car. Pace-wise, I think we were very, very close – but the whole deficit, they kept putting me so far behind, I could have told you exactly what was going to happen once we had those big gaps that we had to catch. With the tyres, it’s a very, very aggressive circuit on tyres and yeah, I think it we would have pitted at the same time, or around the same time, we would probably have come out behind him and we would have been racing right to the end on the same set of tyres. So, ultimately… yeah, it’s all if, but and whens. He did a great job at the end of the day.
Q: (Joey Barnes – Motorsports Tribune) Kimi, your last win, five years ago, you weren’t quite known as the family man. So, now that have this one, how special is this, that you get to share it with your family?
KR: They’ve been asking for a while, so more interested in the Pirelli cap than probably the win itself. I know that we can buy it also but I know it’s not fair play to bring them if I had to buy it. So yeah. I have a lovely wife and kids and I’m sure they’re happy. I’m not sure if the kids… they probably fall asleep during the race but the wife probably looked at it. I’m more than happy for all of us. It’s nice. Yeah… I don’t know. It’s nice to win again – but like I said, it doesn’t change my life or they don’t look at me differently. My son asked the previous race that he wants a new Pirelli – the same tyre from the qualifying – because he wants to play with it. Again, I’m sure they’re happy and I’m happy to help them, more than happy. We’ll have a nice talk when we get home.
Q: (Christian Menath – Motorsport-magazin.com) Question for Lewis, you said you knew what’s going to happen with these tyres when you have to catch up this much. Do you mean the Pirelli tyres or the soft tyres in particular? Because we saw that it was blistering quite a lot when you pushed at the beginning.
LH: I was meaning the tyres in general but the soft tyre was not a great tyre for us today. I was actually a little bit surprised at the end that we were put back on a soft tyre, knowing that Max was on a supersoft. I knew that… when you compete with someone that has a slight advantage then you know that you’re at a deficit but I was hoping I would close the gap in time but again, as I said, the tyre wouldn’t last as long as it is to catch a 12 seconds gap, was a lot to ask for.
Q: (Jaap de Groot – De Telegraaf) Question for Max. At the end, when Lewis tried to overtake you, it was a sensational part of the race. Could you describe in detail how you underwent that action.
MV: So, following Kimi that closely, of course it’s not great for my tyres, so I was struggling a bit more with the tyres. So then Lewis came close and yeah, we had a few corners where I had to close the door a little bit. Then he tried around the outside – but I was on the edge already in the fast corners so I was just sliding a lot. Then I saw also that Lewis ran out of room and then, of course, if you go a bit wide you get a lot of marbles on the tyres so it takes like a lap before they have grip again.
LH: Was it close between us? I think I gave you too much space
MV: I think you could have squeezed a bit more! Yeah!
LH: I never know with you. I didn’t want a coming to come together…
MV: A bit of wheel-banging is… I was also thinking ‘I don’t know what Lewis is going to do here!’
LH: I couldn’t see you!
MV: It was alright – I was just really struggling with the tyres the last two or three laps but, yeah, made it a bit more fun!