1 Ė Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
2 Ė Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)
3 Ė Valtteri BOTTAS (Mercedes)
(Conducted by Jenson Button)
Q: Lewis, youíve have had some pretty epic victories and a lot of them come
through sheer aggression and excitement. This one was a very different
victory it seems. Looking after these tyres like you did was immense.
Lewis HAMILTON: Firstly, weíve got to applaud this incredible crowd. This is
like the best crowd I think Iíve ever seen. Weíve never seen anything like
this. Today is an incredible result. I have to say a huge thanks to my team
Ė Mercedes and our partners here. The guys have continued to work incredibly
hard and stay focused. We came here thinking that we were on the back foot,
knowing that itís a difficult race for us, tut we pulled through. I had a
quite a bit of damage on my car, so the race was quite a bit of a struggle.
I just kept my head down. It seemed like a long second stint, but ah man,
Iím so grateful for today.
Q: Awesome, great to hear. It must a real mix of emotions. The last two
years you come here and you havenít been on the podium but you clinched the
championship. This year, you come and dominate and win but you have to wait
a little bit longer for the championship?
LH: Yeah, I donít mind. I love racing, man, and I just take it one race at a
time honestly. As I said, this is a race Iíve wanted to win for some time
but itís always been a little bit tricky for us. So, Iím incredibly humbled
by todayís opportunity, for the car holding together as it did, and for the
team being so sufficient and executing the best strategy. Just to hold up
the Ferraris was not so easy at the end but I hope people enjoyed the race.
Q: Congratulations, go and enjoy this amazing crowd. Seb, Iím sure itís not
quite the result you were after. You looked really exciting in the first
stint. You were able to put in some really good lap times. I thought you
were going to pop out behind Lewis and make it happen but you didnít quite
Sebastian VETTEL: Not really. I think surprisingly the hard tyres worked
really well. It was a very intense race, because there was no break and
obviously I had Valtteri behind me giving me some pressure in the final
stint, before I could focus on Lewis in the front. But yeah, I think Lewis,
he was just cruising for most of the second stint, up to the point that the
attack was arriving and then I guess he had enough tyres left soÖ Yeah, Iím
happy, because I think it was a good race, but I think here and there maybe
with strategy we could have been a bit sharper. But overall, itís a great
Q: Itís amazing, the support these guys give you must really mean a lot?
SV: YeahÖ I didnít hear what you said!
Q: I said that these guys give you so much support. It must mean a lot.
SV: You can tell! I didnít hear what you said. Itís incredible. Itís one of
the best races for that, so looking forward to the podium.
Q: Great job. Valtteri: Iíll bet itís a bit bittersweet after yesterday Ė
the issue in qualifying Ė getting winded is never a nice feeling. But the
pace today, and your aggression was really coming through.
Valtteri BOTTAS: Yeah, I enjoyed. Considering yesterday it was a good
result. Very happy about the pace I had in the race. The start was quite
tricky, I dropped a place there, so I had to come back a little bit. Yeah, I
donít think we could have done much more today from where I started, so
looking at that it was pretty good.
Q: You seem really confident in the car. In the last few races you seem to
have upped your game, which is necessary with a team-mate like Lewis. Are
you feeling really good in the car? Is this promising for the rest of the
VB: yeah, feeling good. Definitely a lot better than the same time last
year. So feeling like I have the pace and the confidence and happy feeling
in the car. I just need to continue and I look forward to next weekend.
Q: Sebastian Vettel, our second-placed finisher. Great race by you, Seb.
Couple of things: first of all, at the start we saw you flexing your muscles
on the run down to Turn 1 to Lewis?
SV: Not really. I didnít see him. He came after the race as well and asked,
but no intention to push him or anything. Obviously, as soon as I saw, I
obviously got off and I tried to get in Charlesí tow and I checked the
mirrors on the right and the mirrors on the left and thatís when I saw Lewis
and then, you know, I tried to go right but before that point I didnít see
him. We see quite well in the mirrors but there is still obviously an angle
that you canít see.
Q: You said a little bit earlier to Jenson Button that you could have been a
bit sharper on strategy today as a team. What did you mean by that? You
pitted at half distance, do you think you left yourself too much to do?
SV: Not really. I think in the endÖ after the race itís always easy to say
but I think we were confident that we split the cars, we covered both
options. Obviously in Lewisí shoes and Mercedesí shoes they had nothing to
lose so they might as well from that early to make it. And Lewis did well
managing his tyres in the second stint, and just cruising up to the point
where we arrived. It worked finally but neither them nor us expected the
tyres to last that long. We saw a lot of graining on Friday and so did they
actually, they saw a bit more than us, so it was a bit of a surprise that
today we didnít have any and that made the difference. You might as well
try, so itís a brave call. In the end if it works you look great, if it
doesnít then youíve tried. I think if it was so straightforward for them,
the thinking of fitting the hard so early and easily making it to the end,
then they should have pitted Valtteri as well, but you can see that
obviously he stayed out with me, long, to try and make sure that you make
the one stop work and you donít fall off any cliffs. As I said, we tried
everything but ultimatelyÖ yeah, maybe we could have been a bit braver, but
then itís a lot of unknown and you donít want to do anything stupid at that
point. And second, I think you could see that in the race trim we were just
missing a little bit of pace. Valtteri was closing in at the end of the
first stint. Lewis was fairly easily closing in during the first stint as
well. So I think itís also fair to say that they were just a bit quicker
Q: Thanks. Valtteri weíll come to you in just a moment, but weíre joined now
by our winner Lewis Hamilton. Congratulations Lewis. Now, given the pace of
Ferrari and Red Bull this weekend, how surprised are you to be sitting in
LH: I think probably for both of us itís a bit of a surprise. We came into
the weekendÖ I can only talk about my side, and not having ĎBonnoí for the
first time in seven years and the challenge of having two new engineers step
up into different roles and trying to keep the balance of pressure and make
sure we deliver and ultimately make Bonno proud was not easy. We come to
Mexico, we always struggle here with our tyres, last year we lost by like 60
seconds or something. I think we finished like fourth but we were a long way
away from these guys and on Friday their pace, particularly the Red Bulls,
their pace was quite stronger than ours. Seb went like eight or nine laps
further than I could make the tyres go. But we just kept our heads down and
tried to work on trying to get the most out of our car and it wasnít great
through qualifying but the race pace, once we got through all the commotion
at the beginning, he tried his best toÖ
SV: Not really. As I said, I didnít really try, I just didnít see you!
LH: Iím messing with you.
SV: But if I had seen you, yes, I would have tried.
LH: And then I obviously got torpedoed. I thought at some stage Iíd get
torpedoed by Max. And then after that trying to keep up with Seb was a real
challenge. A first and third is a true showing of real strength and depth
with our team and itís a real pleasant surprise really, because we didnít
expect our tyres to go as far as they did. We didnít think we could manage a
one-stop and we made it work.
Q: You said you were expecting a bit of action from Max early on in the
race. Talk us through those opening corners?
LH: I actually got a really good start, so I was pulling up to Charles and
Seb is coming across, coming across, coming across and Iím thinking ĎIím on
the white line, I donít have anywhere further to goí. And he just keeps
coming. So I had to avoid crashing with him, going on the grass. Avoid his
wheels as well, otherwise I could have caused a big collision for him. Then
I was surrounded by a bunch of cars, I braked into Turn 1, and all of a
sudden Max is alongside me. If youíve seen races before, I always leave Max
a lot of space Ė itís the smartest thing you can do. But there wasnít a lot
of space to give him space. I think he had an oversteer moment or something
and then I got a massive hit from behind. Then I nearly took him outÖ
SV: He hit you?
LH: Yeah. We were going through the corner, you were about to go into Turn
2, my back end came out and I nearly took you out and then we went straight
over the grass. It was hair-raising.
SV: Ah, thatís why there was such a big gap and there was Albon all of a
LH: Yeah, me and Max went through the grass together, came out and there
were other cars coming by. I thought I was going to get hit by other cars.
But I managed to get my bearings and keep my head down. I was not expecting
to have that pace and to be able to keep up with the Ferraris but it worked
and even with a damaged car. Obviously Seb went a lot further and I think so
did Valtteri, he did a fantastic job to come from sixth. I thought I was
going to struggle at the end with Seb, with 10-lap younger tyres.
SV: More than 10. Was it just 10?
LH: Maybe more than 10. But I just managed to save enough in the early phase
while he was doing that long run, which I was able to utilise. Particularly
those last seven laps were the important ones and I kept him behind.
Q: Great race, thank you Lewis. Valtteri, as Lewis said, great race from
sixth to third. How was the car and were you suffering any after effects
from your crash yesterday?
VB: I think it was a good day considering the circumstances. And looking
back to yesterday it was a pretty good contrast in a good way for today. The
car felt good. It felt as good as before the crash and obviously the team
made a really good in getting it back together, so thanks to the boys again
for that. From my side no problem really. Small headache in the morning but
I wasnít sure if it was from the tequila or the crash. Anyway, all good. I
felt good in the car and Iím pleased for today, even though I lost some
positions at the start and I lost a lot of time behind the McLarens but I
had really strong pace in both of the stints and as a team we maximised
today for sure.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Frťdťric Ferret Ė LíEquipe) Question to Sebastian. We heard you during
the race questioning the strategy of the team two times: about the Plan C
and going to box. Do you think afterwards that one of these two strategies
could have been better for the victory?
SV: I think, as Lewis said as well, obviously before the race we were quite
sure that you need to get to a certain lap to make the one-stop work and
when Lewis pitted, that wasn't the case yet. Obviously, you know, we were
one and two and the two-stop looked like the better strategy and faster
strategy so we split the cars, and obviously if you go for the one-stop, you
might as well go for the one stop properly and not, sort-of, half-hearted,
so when Lewis pitted, I think it was borderline and probably a bit too early
but, as he said, he made the tyres last well and had enough towards the end.
Plus, I think we didnít see any graining in the race, which we did on
Friday, which I think made the biggest difference. So, then, after that, you
can argue maybe we could have taken more risk Ė but at that point youíre
really driving into the unknown. I think what they tried to do is fit the
Hard, see if it makes it. If it doesnít make it, you might as well fit
another set at the end and thereís your two stops. When you are sitting in
P3 and then having the option to finish, maybe, first or fifth. I think you
may as well try. So, thatís one. The second one, I think is just the laps
when Valtteri was closing through traffic. Maybe we could have boxed one lap
sooner because I hit that traffic quite hard and there was Sainz Ė or
Norris, I donít know Ė one McLaren and a Toro Rosso fighting each other very
hard and I lost, like, three seconds just on that lap. That didnít help but
obviously itís also difficult to foresee that these two guys on that lap
will have a major fight. So, I think nothing big. As I said, I think we
tried everything. Two and One stop, and you have to give it to Lewis, he
drove well, he made the tyres last and I think Mercedes in the race was
maybe just a little bit quicker than us.
Q: (Christian Nimmervoll Ė motorsport-total.com) Lewis, after the incident
with Max, was there any damage to the car and, if yes, did it actually cost
you lap time?
LH: Yeah, a big part of the side of my rear floor was missing. I didn't
actually know how much was missing or what was damaged but the balance was
quite a lot different. The rear end was quite weak so I was particularly
sliding around a lot in the high-speed, so I had to change my settings quite
a lot and had to drive it a little bit differently because I couldnít attack
the same way on the entry of corners because the rear stability wasnít the
same. Iíll probably find out later on just how much we were losing but I
would imagine a good couple of tenths probably, just from rear floor damage.
Itís quite a sensitive area around where the tyres is. But why Iím probably
even more happy that I was able to make these tyres last the way we did. And
to do it here in Mexico is pretty special.
Q: (Lawrence Edmondson Ė ESPN) Question for Valtteri. Your contact with Max
in the stadium section, can you talk us through what happened there? And
also, to all three drivers: Max Ė do you treat him differently when youíre
racing against him and do you think heís probably the most aggressive driver
VB: Yeah, for me, just out of nowhere he appeared on the inside into Turn 13
and, you know, I couldn't disappear from there. He just dived in and we
touched. He got a puncture from that, soÖ yeah, I couldnít really avoid him,
so I think he earned his own puncture, definitely. ButÖ I donít know, every
driver is obviously different. Some are more aggressive, some are less. I
havenít raced very closely for some time with all of them, so I canít say in
detail for all the drivers.
Lewis, you touched on this earlier. Do you treat Max differently to other
LH: ErrÖ yep. I think every driver is slightly different. Some are smarter;
some are like very smart, aggressive and some are silly with it. And so,
through those experiences of racing with people, you give some more space
and others you donít have to. Theyíre quite respectful. But yeah, Max, itís
very likely youíre going to come together with Max if you donít give him
extra space, so most of the time you do. But as I said, in my experience, I
didnít have a lot of space to give him extra space. But I donít think it was
intentional or anything like that. It was justÖ heís a magnet for those kind
of things but yeah, nonetheless, I managed to keep the car together and in a
straight line, fortunately.
SV: Yes and yes.
Can you put a bit more flesh on the bone?
SV: No, just copy-paste. Itís true.
Q: (Omar Alvarez Ė Graining) This is question for Lewis. What do you think,
from your point of view, is missing from Ferrari? What is Ferrari doing
wrong? They show pace. They show the speed and on the race day something
happened. What do you think is missing in Ferrari?
LH: Honestly, I usually get paid for that kind of advice, so I probably
wouldnít tell you exactly what it is! I donít know. Theyíve done a great
job. The second half of the season has been obviously spectacularly for
them. They came with a slightly different philosophy, I think, to some of
the other teams. Thereís generally a little bit less downforce through
corners but faster in straights Ė which has worked really well because in a
lot of tracks, positioning is everything and you canít get past them down
the straights and theyíre just about quick enough in a straight line. But we
managed toÖ I guess we managed to overlap them, or outdo them, particularly
with great tyre usage within the race, and strategy. You donít too often see
me and Valtteri, our team like falling over each other. With us, they did a
great job with that but sometimes Ferrari has that and itís been unfortunate
for one Ė or two Ė of the drivers. But Sebís been driving great recently so
itís been good to see him back up there, driving so well. Naturally we want
to have closer wheel-to-wheel races but on some of these tracks you canít
get too close, unfortunately. [to Seb] Youíre sticking around for a little
bit longer, right? Good good.
Sebastian, I feel we should give you the right of reply. What do you feel
youíve been lacking on Sundays?
SV: Well, if you want to be just pure and honest, then I think our car is
good in a straight line: one because we have an efficient car, so thatís
credit to us; two because I think weíve done a really good job on the power
unit front, so compliments to Maranello. But we are lacking downforce which
leads into maybe a weaker race pace, leads onto struggling a bit more on
Sundays when itís about managing the tyres and successive laps, whereas in
qualifying I think we can extract a bit more from our car, cover our
weakness a bit more with fresh tyres on the car. With new tyres you can mask
a little bit the problems here and there. So that would be just the
straightforward, technical answer. To do better, I think we need to put
things a little bit more together. I think we have all the ingredients; we
have the people; we have the intelligence. So I think we just need to make
sure things fall into place and once they do, I think things will start to
click. Obviously Mercedes have proven in the last years that it is possible.
I think they just got stronger and stronger throughout, which is credit to
them as a team, credit to obviously Valtteri and Lewis, and in particular
Lewis over the last years. They have shown what is possible, they are the
benchmark and itís up to us to do a better job in the future. Easily said,
not so easily done but yeah, I think you also have to give credit where
credit is due and both Mercedes and Lewis have been too strong in the last
couple of years.
Q: (Luis Vasconcelos Ė Formula Press) Questions for the Mercedes drivers.
Valtteri, you managed to catch Sebastian pretty quickly at the start of the
second stint. Twice you had DRS, didnít seem to make any difference, what
would you have needed to have been able to attack. And Lewis, this is the
first time you had to deal with Alex Albon in a race. In the first 15 laps
you were behind him, what impression did he make on you?
VB: Yeah, got pretty good pace in the race in general, that was the feeling
in general. Got close to Sebastian at a good rate. Sometimes got DRS, got
close enough but I think mostly it was because of some backmarkers. Or he
had a bit of a lock-up or something Ė but there was just not quite enough
pace difference to make a move for the overtake. I was trying everything I
could to get as close as I could but yeah, to get closer than 1.5s or one
second is so tricky, and to overtake them, you need to be right in the
gearbox, going to the main straight, because our speed on the straight is
nearly the same when I have the DRS and they donít. So, it was pretty
impossible today and Sebastian didnít really do any proper mistakes. So,
that would have been needed, or massive help by backmarkers. There was no
Lewis, Alex Albon?
LH: I donít really remember a lot. He was obviously just in front of me for
a while Ė and then he pitted, right? He was driving really well, not making
any, or too many mistakes. I think this year has beenÖ itís a real challenge
to go up against a driver thatís been spoken so highly of by so many people
and built up onto a pedestal. And to come in so young, and with all the
difficulties heís had in his life as well Ė his life story is quite an
interesting one Ė against all adversity. It was quite cool to just sit and
view him for a second. He pitted very early, Iím not quite exactly sure why
but they obviously then went onto the two-stop strategy and I didnít really
see him again after that. But heís got a bright future ahead of him. I hope
Red Bull give him the support over the years. Itís very, very important
because they often spit drivers out pretty quick if they donít always do the
job. I hope theyíre good to him.
Q: (Alan Baldwin Ė Reuters) Lewis, this sport has American owners, theyíre
trying to grow the sport in America. Youíre very much a household name in
the United States, youíve got a lot of friends there. How big a deal is it
for you to win the title in America?
LH: Honestly I hadnít really thought about it. There is obviously an
exciting market for me. The most important one for me is England. Iím
constantly trying to grow with the fan base we have in the UK and I think
the Silverstone Grand Prix is obviously spectacular but the US is getting
more and more popular there. Iíve obviously done quite a few shows out there
and definitely becoming more and more known in the States but itís quite a
diverse country. I think my story and my familyís story is something that a
lot of people in different countries can relate to. Americaís always a cool
place to live. They do it their own way, itís different. Itís not England
with the British Grand Prix, which is so special in its own way. Itís not
the Mexican Grand Prix which is Ö there were so many people here. Itís
unbelievable. Itís its own unique amazing Grand Prix. The track is fantastic
and itís been a good hunting ground for me so very excited to go there and
who knows whether we can get the job done, who knows? Weíll hopefully have a
good race there.
Q: (Jack Benyon Ė Autosport) Lewis, where do you rank that race in terms of
your best of the season and also you mentioned adversity ; obviously Ferrari
have been very strong since the summer break but this weekend youíve been
without your engineer as well so a lot of adversity to face. Could have you
done that earlier in your career or is that something thatís come with
experience to find that resolve and dig deep in races like that?
LH: Experience naturally counts for a huge amount. Honestly I donít remember
every single race this year. I think weíve had good races but it definitely
feels like one of the better races that Iíve had, particularly with the
things that were thrown at us at the beginning. And also with the build-up:
knowing Bono wasnít coming, Iím thinking, Jeez, in this intense fight for
this championshipÖ you could look at it as a disadvantage but me and Bono
pulled together Ė he did a huge amount of work as did Marcus and Dom whoíve
both stepped up into new roles. Iíve never worked so closely with Dom before
and Marcus stepped into big shoes. Itís not easy to work alongsideÖ I would
say a World Champion in this sport, who generally demand quite a lot but
because I have experienced him as my number two he kind of knew how it
worked and heís generally a very laid back individual. And then on top of
that, Bono was on the radio, we were texting all weekend and I really just
wanted to make him very proud this weekend. Heís devoted so much of his life
to me for these seven years so yeah, I really wanted to doÖ Iím sure heís
happy with todayís race. Iíd like to think that I can be really proud of
todayís performance, particularly with the damaged car and the stuff we went
through at the beginning. And whatís crazy is that Iíve Ė God knows how many
races Iíve done, must be close to 300 races and it just never gets old and
it always feels new. Itís a different journey each one, different emotions
you go through in the gap before, you know. We had all the stuff last week
with the media in terms of the stories that came out last week and then came
to this week and an emotional rollercoaster and then obviously Bonoís not
coming and then come to Mexico which is a very very hard race to win..
didnít expect to win, thatís for sure but itís a great great feeling, very
Q: (Ben Hunt Ė The Sun) Lewis, just checking what your plans are now between
these two races: do you lie low, do you have public appearances, do you have
all that sort of stuff to worry about as well as obviously focusing on this
championship that you can win at next time out?
LH: Yeah, I head to the States. Me and Toto have an event together in
Madison SquareÖ Times Square, sorry, Times Square which is kind of cool. I
think Valtteriís going to do the thing in LA. Then Iíve a photoshoot and
then I fly off to Austin, get there probably Thursday or something like that
and then straight into the same kind of week but I get there tomorrow, I get
into my normal training regime. Naturally I like being in the States so itís
a pretty calm build-up. Shouldnít be a problem.
Q: (Carlos Alberto Velazquez Ė Reforma News) Lewis, last three years youíve
celebrated here. Are you going to miss the celebration of the championship
here in Mexico or do you miss Mexico as a place to celebrate?
LH: Honestly I prefer the way itís happened today, I think, as the previous
times weíve won here, championship-wise, Iíve finished like eighth or 13th
or something crazy so you see someone else on the podium, celebrating a win
but Iíve won a championship, so youíre a bit conflicted because you wanted
to do better in the race but youíve got the overall job done. But today and
this weekend, I knew it was unlikely that I was going to be able to win the
championship here because Valtteriís been driving so well but I just wanted
to take it one race at a time, I wanted to try and win this race. It
actually feels better than perhaps itís felt in the past. Weíve still got
more races to fight for soÖ
Q: (Jonathan Chora Ė First Drive Mexico) Seb, what do you think was the main
mistake for this race? And also, were you expecting a more exciting race
here in Mexico?
SV: I donít think there were any major mistakes so as I tried to explain
earlier I think weíve done well. We tried everything so I donít think it was
a mistake that we are not as quick to make things happen and force things to
I think it was quite exciting. Obviously we always knew that itís difficult
to pass and have a lot of overtakes because of the nature of the track and
being so critical on downforce, up in the altitude itís very difficult to
follow, sliding the tyres is what hurts us most and then to get closer is
really really difficult. But I donít knowÖ the top four cars at the end,
within four, five, six, seven seconds I believe. It definitely was very
tense, I was hoping that in the last 15 laps to go, I was hoping that in the
next five laps to close the gap and start a fight; ten laps to go I was
hoping that in the next five laps Iím closing the gap. It was definitely
tense but obviously Lewis drove well and didnít make any mistakes and
managed his race. I enjoyed it but would have obviously enjoyed more to have
a bit of a fight at the end but we were just not quick enough to do so.
Q: (Yhacbec Lopez Ė Motorlat) Lewis, you said last week that you thought the
Mercedes power unit lacked power. Do you think the same today?
LH: We havenít changed anything so that is still an area that weÖ
reliability has been fantastic through the year but it has been an area of
less progress for us as we know. We see the Honda and the Ferrari really
stepping up their game on the engine front so weíve got work to do in that
regard but the engine has done well this weekend, considering usually this a
really tricky one for our engine, it has been ever since weíve been coming
here with the altitude for our turbo but Iím really happy with how it
performed this weekend.