1 Ė Max VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull Racing)
2 Ė Pierre GASLY (Toro Rosso)
3 Ė Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
(Conducted by Rubens Barrichello)
Q: What a great race Max. You looked unbeatable today. Did it feel like,
driving, that if you had been on any tyres you would have been unbeatable?
Max VERSTAPPEN: Well, Lewis was very quick, so I had to keep pushing. All
the time with the strategy he pitted one lap earlier so we had to be really
on top of our pit stops. But yeah, two times we had a good move with him, so
all the time that brought us back into first and yeah, from there onwards I
could control the race with the tyres I had. Unbelievable. It was a lot of
fun out there and of course great to win the race.
Q: With the speed, whenever you overtook the Ferrari onto the last corner,
did you think you had that speed to overtake Lewis at the same time?
MV: Well, I was behind so I was pushing flat out on my our lap to try to be
close to him and it was my only shot. Because of that I was close into the
DRS. We knew that we had great top speed the whole weekend already, so yeah,
then still of course itís a guess but very happy to get past.
Q: Well done to you and Honda, itís a great achievement. Lewis and Pierre,
how was this final move. Lewis, when you went to the inside, did you think
that you had the gap to go, that you had the speed to get past him on the
Lewis HAMILTON: Honestly, I didnít, but he did a great job, he was very fair
with where he positioned the car. I massively apologise to Albon. I went for
a moveÖ the gap was kind of there, but obviously it closed right at the end
and completely my fault. But still, a great race. Max did a fantastic job
today. They just outclassed us in terms of overall performance. We couldnít
keep up with them on the straights. Honestly, I raced my heart out,. I gave
it everything. I left nothing on the table and I took a lot of risks today,
as you saw.
Q: As you always do. The Brazilians love you. When you are here itís always
pure racing, so we saw pure racing today. [With] Max, do you think any
strategy would have done the case with him today. He looked unbeatable
LH: We threw everything and the sink at it. Honestly, we could keep up with
them in the corners but they were outshining us on the straights, therefore
I donít think there was anything we could do.
Q: Well done. Hey, Pierre! After a tough season, is it good to be back on
that podium, the podium that you deserve since a long time ago?
Pierre GASLY: Itís my first podium in Formula 1 and yeah for sure I will
never forget it. Itís such a special moment, I donít know what to say. Itís
so emotional and also to get it with these guys, with Toro Rosso; they gave
me a fantastic car since I came back and Iím just so happy for Honda, for
Toro Rosso, itís amazing day.
Q: I know itís your first [F1] podium but I meant that because youíve been
on the podium for so long in your career that itís good to be on the podium
in Formula 1 isnít it?
PG: Iíve been many times on the podium and you kind of forget it and thatís
what I love about motor sport Ė these emotions, the fight. I just kept
believing until the end. I saw they were battling and I tried to push as
much as I could and the opportunity came to us. A great finish with Lewis as
well. I was like trying to get low in the car, trying to get each Kp/h I
could, but no, to these guys just a big congrats and a big thanks.
Q: Well done to you and to Honda. To hold on to that last straight, that
corner alongside Lewis must beÖ
PG: I was strained. I told me engine to give me everything it had and I
think without the progress have made it would have never been possible. I am
just so happy; I donít know what to say.
Q: Max, can you just explain to us what happened there. It was an
inch-perfect race from you. How do you sum it all up?
MV: Err, long summary! A lot of things happened. I think the start was good
enough. I was happy about that. Then, the first stint everything looked
quite good. Towards the end of that stint, yeah, just the tyres started to
wear off a bit and then I had the traffic with the Williams cars and Lewis
of course pitted that lap. It was not very nice. Actually, I did my pit stop
and I came out also Robert came out and he almost took me out, I went into
the wall. I had to brake thereÖ
Q: Did you lose any time there?
MV: yeah, I almost caught the anti-stall, so yeah, it was very close. Then
my out lap: luckily for me Lewis got stuck in the middle sector with
Charles, so I pushed up to them and luckily I could get by Charles into Turn
12 and then I still had the tow and the DRS of Lewis and yeah, I was on full
power and DRS open and I could get Lewis into Turn 1. From there onwards in
that stint we managed the tyres quite well. I was waiting for Mercedes to
react again but luckily we had enough of a gap to go one lap longer, so we
did that. Good pit stop from the guys as well. I think it was 1.9 seconds,
so that was incredible. And then on the medium tyre Lewis was pushing hard
and I think we were quite closely matched and I think if there wouldnít be a
safety car it would have been a good fight towards the end of the race. But
of course then the safety car came out and I think there the team did a
really good job calling me in again for soft tyres. At the time I was a bit
like, Ďis there going to work, Iím not sureí. But immediately in the
re-start I had a good tow off Lewis and went around the outside. We had a
good battle in Turn 1 and again in Turn 4. And then you could see that the
tyre advantage really helped me of course and we could stay in first and
control the race.
Q: How much did you enjoy your battling with Lewis today?
MV: Yeah, it was good. If you can battle against the world champion itís
always better than battling someone for P10 or whatever. I think it was a
good battle and we gave each other enough room, just enough but I think it
Q: Can you just talk us through that last re-start as well, because you got
on the power very late?
MV: Yeah, it was just the way I wanted to do it, so it worked out well. I
immediately had a gap so it was good.
Q: Is that something you learn in karting?
MV: Yeah, I guess so. You do many re-starts in go-karting. Many things
happen all the time. F3 as well, I guess. In F1, you know, we have done so
many, not even you being the guy in the lead, but you are in the group.
There are always things you can do better, things you can learn.
Q: Pierre, first podium, just give us your emotions.
PG: Itís just the best day of my life. As a kid you dream about being in
Formula One, and then when it happens it becomes the best day of your life
and then after you dream about your first podium. To be fair, I didnít think
this would happen, coming back with Toro Rosso during the second part of the
season. I just kept working on myself, tried to push the team as much as I
could, telling them, OK, we need to make the best out of all the
opportunities we have until the end of the year. And today it just came to
us. We had a really strong race before that in P7, behind the top teams, and
then, when they started to battle. First the Ferrari, and then I was like:
ĎOK, this looks quite similar to Bahrain 2018, in P4í, and then after I knew
Lewis would try something. And then yeah, we just managed to get past the
two and yeah, quite intense finish and just incredible to get my first
podium in Formula 1.
Q: What were your expectations coming into the race?
PG: Starting in P6, I felt good in the car the whole weekend. I think we
managed to get the car exactly where I wanted. I said OK, if we finish best
of the rest again in the race, this will be amazing for us. So, thatís what
we were doing. The whole race we had good pace. I was controlling the gap
with the guys behind but we always had quite a safe margin. I could push
quite nice. Even at the beginning of the race I could see that Albon and
Charles werenít pulling away so much, so I think the car was working really
well. With all the safety cars it was like: ĎOK, letís see what happens,í
and just tried to stay there and get the best out of what happens.
Q: Can you just describe the view from up on the podium?
PG: Itís crazy. These guys are used to it. You get used to being on the
podium in the lower series, and then after coming into Formula One, itís a
feeling you miss. I was really missing it. My last podium was in Formula 2
when I was champion in 2016. And then, itís something you want to
experience, especially in Formula 1 and yeah, today, to be in the middle, in
second place between Max and Lewis, my first podium in F1 is justÖ yeah,
just insane, and amazing and really emotional for me.
Q: Lewis, coming to you. Such an eventful race for you. Talking about your
pace specific to Max, is there anything you could have done differently,
strategically or otherwise, that you think could have led to you being
faster than him today.
LH: No, I don't think so. Firstly congratulations to Max and Pierre, itís
really awesome to see, especially through the experience and journey heís
gone through from being in one team then to the next. To come through is
really awesome. We had a close battle right to towards the end. Ultimately,
it was a very tough weekend for us, a really tough race, trying to keep up
with Max. The Red Bulls have had great race pace, particularly the second
half of the season, which is often the case each year. So, fighting him,
staying consistent, trying to stay on his tail through the race wasÖ I was
giving it absolutely everything. And then obviously we got him through the
pitstop and then I got caught up behind a Ferrari and then he just blitzed
past me on the straight and there was nothing I could do. Then we had
another scenario. But at the end it was kind ofÖ it was impossible at the
end with the tyre deficit that we had. I made the call to pit, as they said,
Iíd only lose one position and it ended up being two. So, I gave it
everything. I took a lot of risk at the end and I apologise to Alex.
Obviously had no intention of coming together. Itís probably the first time
Iíve come together with someone for a long, long time but I saw a door open
and I kind of went for it, and it closed very, very quickly. I went straight
to him after the race to apologise. Nonetheless, I think it was a great race
and itís great again to see the youngsters coming and driving so well. Iím
battling as hard as I can to stay in the mix.
Q: And Lewis, if you had, for example, put the Medium tyre on instead of a
second set of Softs at that first pit stop, do you think it could have been
LH: I don't know. Iíd have to think about it. Strategy-wise, I think the
team did a really, really good job with the strategy and, again, it wasn't
their decision at the end, they offered it as an opportunity for me, and I
didnít think losing one place, it would be so bad considering Iíd only come
out having lost one place and give me a chance to quickly get past Albon Ė
but it wasnít the case obviously. I think, when I came out of that first
stop, I thought to myself I should have been on the Medium because it
generally was a relatively easy overlap Ė but again, he would have just
overtaken me on his out-lap anyway, so I would have still got stuck up by
the Ferrari. And it probably would have been hard to have kept up with him
with the pace of the Soft. We gave it everything, we threw everything we
could at it, and we live to fight another day and I hope we have more great
races like that.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Frederic Ferret Ė LíEquipe) Question to Max. As you drove earlier the
Toro Rosso and Pierre was your team-mate at the beginning of the season, how
did you rate this podium. And question to Lewis and Pierre: how was the
battle between the two of you?
MV: How I rate Pierreís podium? Incredible. Of course, he anyway already had
a great race. I think you were best of the rest, right? Thatís already a
good result and then yeah, you just stay out of trouble and other people, of
course, make mistakes and you profit from that. I think itís great to see
Pierre up here. Now itís also the second podium for Toro Rosso already this
year, so I think they are very happy with this, and yeah, like I said, Iím
very happy to see Pierre up on the podium. I always knew he was a very quick
driver. I think this year in the beginning maybe didnít work out the way it
should but, as you can see, I think Pierre is very strong and, at Toro Rosso
again, he regrouped and he had already before this race a lot of good
results. So, this is even, I think, a bigger motivation.
Q: Pierre, your battle with Lewis.
PG: Intense. You see your first podium coming together and then youíve got
the World Champion behind you pushing you to the limit. I tried to defend
the best way I could, and coming out of the last corner, just flat out and
hoping that the engine can give you every single horsepower it can get. I
was pressing the overtake button, trying to get low inside the cockpit and I
could see his front wing and I was like: Ďplease donít pass me on the lightí
Ďcos Iím going to be so pissed off if it happens. I really wanted to keep
that second place. And yeah, I must say Honda have been improving so much
over the last few months. And then yeah, without this progress it would
never have been possible to hold that second place to a Mercedes. Just
insane. I think the only thing we have to say is a big congrats and a big
thank you to Honda today.
Q: And Lewis?
LH: I was very much the same. I was Ďsnuckingí down, tryingÖ he did a
fantastic job. He put the car in the right place in every section of the
track, was very fair and didnít make any mistakes. So, hat off to him. He
did a fantastic job. The Hondaís obviously made some big steps and itís
great to see another manufacturer as strong as they are now. It means that
hopefully next year weíre going to have a serious three-way, four-way battle
and thatís great for Formula 1.
How was your car handling after the contact with Alex Albon?
LH: Iíve had worse! It was OK. I didnít really seem to lose anything. I
never like to see damage on my car, I never like colliding with other
drivers and so, naturally for a youngster like Alex, whoís been driving
fantastically well, itís not easy to be a team-mate for sure, of a
well-experienced driver like Max but heís been doing great and I can assure
you I know exactly how he feels right now. And I can assure you, itís not
intentional, thatís why I went to apologise to him Ė and Iím sure Iíll see
him shortly after this.
Q: (Scott Mitchell Ė Autosport) To Lewis and Max, I donít know if youíve
seen the incident between Charles and Seb but the two Ferraris colliding was
obviously another big story from the race. You two have both got experience
of what itís like when youíve got an intense fight with your team-mate but
one which is usually respectful Ė but sometimes goes over the line. With
whatís going on with Seb and Charles this year, have you seen that as a
weakness within that team and are you surprised that it has eventually come
to blows like it has today?
MV: I think itís always difficult to comment on that when youíre not inside
the team. You don't know what happened because you donít know all the
details. I think itís very difficult to comment on that. I also havenít seen
the footage so I canít comment on the incident itself.
LH: Iíve not seen it. Naturally itís never a great one between team-mates.
Iíve experienced it first hand. Itís never a great thing for a team. Iím
sure it wasn'tí intentional but naturally youíve got toÖ the burden is that
thereís so many people behind you, itís not just about you. When all those
people are relying on you to do your job, and something like that happens.
Itís not a great feeling. As I said, I havenít seen it.
Q: (Gianfranco Papini Ė MomentoGP) Lewis, youíre surrounded by promising
drivers, two young stars. You were young 12 years agoÖ
LH: Hey man, Iím still young.
Q: (Gianfranco Papini Ė MomentoGP) You had intense battles with other fellow
colleagues like them. What is your opinion about this new generation of F1
LH: Well, naturally when you get older you look down on the younger drivers
and you thinkÖ you point the finger at theÖ no, Iím kidding. No, itís
inevitable that the youngsters are going to come through. Thereís often a
wave of young talent that manages to make its way through to Formula One and
as I said, I think Formula Oneís got a lot of new young blood with a lot of
potential and they really are the future of the sport. And as I said, I
think fortunately I feel that whilst the number shows a little bit higher, I
feel like Iím able to still kick it with these guys and so Iím excited for
the future racing with these guys and as Iíve said, if we can get these
teams to be closer then weíre going to see more awesome battles like today
and I think that would be great.
Q: (Lars Van Soest Ė De Telegraaf) Max, how would you rate this weekend
comparing it to all your other wins and other good weekends?
MV: You can never compare weekends but itís been very positive and Iím just
very happy with the progress we have been making I think in the last few
races. Just having a whole clean weekend I think is what we are always after
and I think thatís what happened this weekend. Of course itís great at the
end of day to also win the race and yeah, itís promising also for next year.
I think weíve learned a lot of stuff in the last few races so hopefully itís
a good sign to have put a start to next year.
Q: (Marcelo Teixeira Ė Reuters) Lewis, how do you see your move on Albon
late in the race? Did you think it was not the right time to try it or just
a racing incident?
LH: Itís always a big question, when is the right time to try it. We only
had a lap and a half, I think it was, to go. An opportunity came, I was
quicker through turn nine and I was within shooting distance so I gave it a
shot. Ultimately, in my mind, Iím trying to catch MaxÖ it was highly
unlikely but that was the goal. I think Iíve got a penalty so I totally
accept the blame as I was coming from behind, and as I said before, itís not
naturally an intention, you donít hardly ever see me do that, collisions
with anyone soÖ In hindsight, I could have waited, to come across the line
but hindsightís always a great thing. I will live to fight another day. That
wonít be the last time that heís in the position for a podium and heíll have
many more great races so I hope that as hard as it is a pill to swallow, I
hope that he can learn from the experience also.
Q: (Velimer Veljko Jukik Ė Avtofocus) Max, we have seen quite an advantage
in this race, beside your driving skill. Can you attribute this to
management of tyres, tactics or was it just pure power?
MV: Itís a team effort today, I think. The car was working well, I was
trying to be as consistent as I could be and the guys did a great job in the
pit stops and strategy so I think all that together gave us the victory
today. Power was very good, like I said it was a team effort and Honda is
part of the team.
Q: Lewis, can we please just get your reaction to the five second-penalty?
LH: I just answered it. I fully accept the responsibility. I fully accept I
was coming from behind so Iím the one that touched him, not the other way
round. Iíve not seen the incident so I donít know how bad it was but as I
said, it looked like there was an opportunity so I went for it and it didnít
quite work out and I apologise to Alex and put my hand up and move forwards.
Q: (Dario Coronel Ė Granpremioweb.com) For Max and Pierre; itís the first
one-two for the Honda engine in 28 years. How do you feel?
MV: Yeah, I always get reminded with the stats. The pole was the last time
in 1991 here in Brazil and thenÖ I think itís a good time to start doing
these things again. We keep relying on the results from the nineties. I
think Honda is definitely on a very good way like Pierre said before.
Throughout the season they have been improving massively so just very
pleased with it.
PG: Yeah, a similar comment. I think all the work, not only this season but
since they came back into Formula One, they have had some tough times and
they just kept developing, kept working hard and bringing the upgrades, some
things worked, some other things didnít work but at the end of the day, they
are the ones who have improved the most. The attitude and the work they are
putting in is just unbelievable and they have been supporting me since quite
a few years now, since I was in Super Formula and to be part of the journey
with them is just fantastic so today I think I am really happy to be P1 and
P2 with Max and really happy we can give them this result.
Q: (Frederic Ferret Ė LíEquipe) Pierre, when did you begin to start thinking
you could be on the podium? Before the Ferrari accident, before the Albon?
PG: No, no, Iím not a crazy guy you know. Iím objective. At that time I was
likeÖ after Valtteri (retired) we were P6, I knew that we had the pace to
stay there so I was like OK, Iím going to see if I could try something at
the re-start but in terms of pace I knew that thatís where we were at the
time and of course the Ferraris came together so we were in P4. I thought
OK, I might have a chance to try something again at the re-start. Actually
Lewis, I thinkÖ yeah, you pitted so I think I was third. I must say at that
time I was hoping the safety car could last slightly longer, I was like I
would not mind if we cross the line behind the safety car. And then after we
went again and of course I knew Lewis with fresher tyres would try to go for
the win and would try to pass quickly so I just thought OK, if I try to stay
close, if an opportunity comes Iíll take it. Sometimes things work out the
way you want and you need to beÖ so yeah, we were second and yeah, during
that last lap, I saw Lewis was behind whereas we had a gap behind so I knew
there was a podium on the cards. I was happy with that but I really wanted
to hold on to that second place.