1 Ė Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
2 Ė Valtteri BOTTAS (Mercedes)
3 Ė Max VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull Racing)
(Conducted by Jenson Button)
Q: Lewis, not the easiest route to that pole position but an amazing couple
of laps there in Q3?
Lewis HAMILTON: Yeah, ultimately, obviously there is a relatively big gap
between us and third place, but it doesnít matter. At the end of the day
Valtteri is pushing me right to the limit and heíd been doing such a
fantastic job all weekend and I made some changes going into qualifying and
it was worse, so it was a real struggle out there. This track is just
awesome because, as you know, with a gust of wind, you have a head wind, a
tail wind, a cross wind in different parts of the circuit. Itís like
juggling balls whilst youíre on a moving plate, at high speed. Then,
obviously we had that spin. Qualifying is a lot about confidence building,
as you know, and damn, I had that spin. I was already down, I was struggling
through the first section every lap and I donít know how but with some deep
breaths I managed to compose myself and Q3 started off the right way. It
still wasnít perfect the first laps but still a really clean lap and the
second one even better. It never gets old for sure.
Q: I bet. As you can see this is quite an unusual British Grand Prix. I know
how you love the fans, it really does lift you here. Have you got a message
for the guys who arenít able to be here today?
LH: Yeah, honestlyÖ look, you see them [the grandstands], all empty here.
Normally you have the sirens going off, you see the flags everywhere, you
see smoke and the atmosphere here is buzzing normally. You normally get out
of the car and there is a different energy, so we definitely miss them. But
hopefully they are happy with that turnaround back home and I again just
want to say a huge thank you to the team, the guys at the factory, not far
away from here, who are constantly working tirelessly to push us forwards,
develop and weíre continuing to do so and Iím really proud to be a part of
Q: Valtteri, it was looking so strong through Q1, Q2 and this guy, after a
spin, was just, just able to pip you in Q3?
Valtteri BOTTAS: Yeah, it was a pretty good qualifying in Q3 really. I felt
really comfortable with the car and with both tyre compounds and I was
really just waiting for Q3 to get everything right. But by the time of Q3 I
started to drift a bit more with the rear end than I was hoping. I donít
really know, Lewis found more than me, so ultimately he did a really good
job today. Itís disappointing and I need to look into it.
Q: Looking to tomorrow, it looks like itís a two-horse race tomorrow, you
guys are so far in front of the rest. Are you able to do anything with the
strategy, to find a different way to the finish line to challenge Lewis?
VB: I think my long run performance this weekend has been really good and I
believe there will be opportunities and Lewis last year managed to win it
from second place with a different strategy to me, so yeah, everything is
still wide open and no doubt the guys will try to mix it up behind so we
Q: Max, it must be really tricky after a session like that. Youíve got the
maximum out of the car and youíre a second behind the guys in front pretty
much. What can you take from this qualifying session?
Max VERSTAPPEN: Well, I think the lap itself at the end of Q3 was pretty
good, but you could see of course very early onwards in qualifying they were
just way too fast, like they have been the last few races. You just have to
accept that. You try to do the best we can and thatís P3 for us. So Iím
pretty pleased with that. Also, after Hungary, to come back and be P3 in
qualifying I think is a good start. In the race, you know, again, itís
different. Automatically youíre a little bit closer in the race. I donít say
Iím going to fight them but at least you have a fighting chance starting
Q: We know youíre going to fight them, Max. How is the car around here. We
all know Silverstone is a very open track, very windy today. Does that have
a big effect on what the car is doing?
MV: With these new type of cars from the last few years they are very
sensitive to wind because they are that big and that wide. And especially
here in Silverstone, you could really feel, like yesterday, for example, it
was really tricky in the low-speed corners and today the wind changes and it
becomes a completely different car. Luckily, in the right way, because today
it was a lot more fun to drive. But yes, it is very sensitive.
Q: Lewis, pole number 91 was certainly a very good one. What were your
expectations going into Q3. Did you think a 24.3 was possible?
LH: Well, honestly I donít really know what the previous records are or laps
that we have done in previous years here. I donít really look at that. Itís
not really necessarily the number Iím looking at. What matter is what the
position is. I donít even really look at the time when I come across the
line. Iím generally just trying to make sure that Iím up on my previous best
time. But itís pretty incredible the performance here this weekend. This
track is really one of the best tracks in the world, especially when the
wind is right, like today, and the temperatures are just right. Itís so fast
and flowing. The speed that weíre able to carry through Maggotts and
Becketts isÖ I remember when I did my first test here I never would have
thought that one day we would be doing the speeds we are at some stage. And
then secondly, this team is remarkable and Iím incredibly grateful to
everyone who continues to do a great job back at the factory and also here
during the weekends, because bit by bit we continue to step forwards. Weíre
still powering ahead, weíre not resting on the performance that we have,
weíre trying to push the boundaries and the limits and thatís the most
impressive thing I think about this team.
Q: Awesome in Q3 Lewis, bit of a wake-up call for you in Q2. Just talk us
through that incident down at Luffield?
LH: Yeah, it really wasnít a nice qualifying session for me. Weíd made some
big changes overnight, we went out in FP3 and the car was actually feelingÖ
night and day difference probably for everyone with the wind change, and the
track temperature changeÖ and the car was feeling pretty good but the easy
thing is to stay where you are and just leave it and hope for the best but
weíre always, as I said, looking to move forwards and so made a couple of
subtle changes and it was worse and youíre stuck with that once the
qualifying starts. So, I had this inconsistency with the balance of the car
and I was struggling and obviously I got into Q2, had that big snap and spin
Ė which is my first spin in some time. Luckily the tyres were fine. We came
in, I got to go back out on another fresh set, which was fine, but then itís
just really trying to recompose yourself and get yourself back in line
because itís really just building blocks when you go through qualifying. And
that was probably the hardest turnaround, I would say, knowing that Valtteri
had just been putting in quick lap after quick lap. So to go into Q3 with a
kind of fresh reset mentally, and putting in those two laps, yeah, I feel
great. But Valtteriís been pushing me all weekend. Heís incredibly quick
here, so I think I had a tenth-and-a-half advantage to him after the first
lap and I knew that he would pick up some pace in that second run, so the
pressure was still on to go out and do better. So, really grateful. While we
really, really missed the roar of the fans and the energy of the fans here
this weekend, hopefully back home they enjoyed that today.
VB: As Lewis says, it was quick lap after quick lap from you but you talked
earlier about the rear end causing you a few problems in Q3. Can you talk to
us a little bit more about that? Where was it causing you problems?
VB: It was a pretty smooth session otherwise. Had some really clean laps and
could really build on lap by lap. The car was feeling pretty good, just the
balance of the car throughout the qualifying was drifting a bit more towards
oversteer. I donít know if the track temp was getting higher or what was it
but on both runs in Q3 I really struggled to attack the slow speed corners
as I did before Ė and the same in Turn 12 Ė Turn 13. I started to struggle
with the rear end Ė just a bit snappy. And at the same time Lewis obviously
had a perfect lap in the end Ė or at least near to perfection. It was a
pretty impressive lap time and I just couldnít quite match it with the
balance I had but otherwise it was OK. Obviously a bit disappointed being
second, as it was a strong session otherwise Ė but yeah, thatís the usual.
It is tomorrow that counts but at this point really thankful the car is so
strong. Itís amazing and the team is doing such a great job with it and itís
a pleasure to drive.
Q: Max, talk us through your session and how good your lap was in Q3. And
then just tell us, are you surprised or not by the gap to Lewis Hamilton.
MV: No, Iím not surprised. We are clearly still learning about the car,
trying to improve it. But I think overall the qualifying itself was pretty
OK. I mean, I was pretty much all the time in third. Thereís not much more I
think I could do. I think also my final lap in Q3 was pretty good. I had a
bit of a moment out of the last corner butÖ itís just a big gap and just
tried to do the best we can and for us, thatís third at the moment. So we
did that. Yeah, itís a better position than seventh, letís say that, to
start the race.
Q: Can you take the fight to Mercedes tomorrow?
MV: Normally not, but we just hope to have a clean start and from there
onwards I just try to do the best I can in the car and if thatís try to
follow them a bit, we can be happy with that and score some points.
Q: (Alex Kalinauckas Ė Autosport) Question to both of the Mercedes drivers
please. It looked like you struggled quite a lot yesterday in practice,
obviously it was very, very hot and windy but in a different direction. Was
that cured by the changing conditions today, particularly the lower
temperatures, or was it just significant set-up gains that you guys found
overnight? Thank you.
LH: I think it was probably a mixture of both. I think really fantastic work
by the engineers overnight just analysing where we were and how to perfect
the balance of the car. Part of it was that, and then I think today, just
being 10įC cooler Ė or whatever it is Ė and the wind being in a slightly
different direction, really shifted things I think for us. And the hotter it
got for us yesterday, it got generally worse for us. We have understood that
overnight and we corrected that today.
Anything to add to that Valtteri?
VB: No, thatís all.
Q: (Christian Menath Ė motorsport-magazin.com) Question for both Mercedes
drivers. Do you expect to be allowed to use different race strategies to
race each other tomorrow?
LH: Honestly, I think itís the same as always. We have a philosophy and an
approach as a team and we just continue toÖ we donít change things
unnecessarily. So, I don't think that there will be any difference here.
Also, itís not really of a benefit. Today it is quite clear which strategy
on tracks like this, just like last year. Actually, it was a little bit less
clear, I think perhaps, than last year but itís generally pretty
straightforward, so itís unlikely weíre going to change anything.
Q: Valtteri, what do you have to do to beat the guy on your left?
VB: For sure weíll try everything. Itís still very close between us in the
championship points, so of course Iím going to do everything I can and of
course will look overnight with the engineers what we can do and if thereís
anything different I can do. But yes, we have a certain philosophy and
usually the car ahead can kind of choose the strategy a bit more, as a bit
of a priority, which is fair enough. Thatís how it goes Ė but you never
know. We saw a pretty different race from mine and Lewisí side last year.
So, weíll see.
Q: (Scott Mitchell Ė The Race) Max, Christian Horner was telling us
yesterday that the team made a big effort to try and understand the data
gained from Hungary and putting it into action here. Do you feel that the
car is more well sorted than it was in Hungary, and now itís just a question
of pace or are you still struggling to find exactly where the balance is?
MV: I think, yeah, compared to Hungary itís for sure better. Hungary was not
really good. Of course, there are still things that need to be improved and
we are working on it, but I think itís now just purely working on balance as
well, yeah, finding more performance in that. We do understand where itís
coming from; now itís just time, of course, to put different parts onto the
car and make it faster.
Q: (Phil Duncan Ė PA) Lewis, you usually used to have 140,000 people coming
here to watch you race at Silverstone and cheer you on. How much of a
motivating factor would it be to deliver that win to them watching at home
tomorrow, particularly given everything thatís going on in the world at the
moment? And secondly, is there any sort of movement on your new Mercedes
LH: To the second part, no, thereís no discussion at all, nothing decided.
Yeah, obviously with theÖ I kept it in mind. Normally when I approach this
weekend there this much much different feeling, I think itís part excitement
and also nerves when you come to this race, knowing how many people do come.
And that nervousness is just really through just wanting to excel and
deliver for everybody, because you go on a pretty incredible journey
together. And so I try to keep that in mind still this weekend; whilst I
didnít have that same feeling coming, knowing that no-oneís going to be
here, and I just really tried to remember howÖ reminisce the last years and
try and somehow get that energy and utilise it today which is not so easy
but I do, as I said, I hopeÖ I canít imagine how many people watching and if
itís the same energy-wise back home where they are, if itís the same as it
is when weíre at the track. But I hope this gives some people some hope.
Q: (Edd Straw Ė The Race) Max, obviously last year Red Bull had some
struggles at the start of the season but the upgrades introduced, Canada
through to France, that sort of time, really switched on the car and got it
going. Do you think something similar can happen this year in terms of
relatively small changes, with time can really unlock the potential? Do you
think thereís a slightly wider ranging problem that will take a little bit
longer to sort out and make the car both have the performance and the
consistency that you need?
MV: I didnít think, yeah, for sure we can improve the car quite a bit, but
the problem is that the gap is so big to the guys ahead that it will be very
hard to close so yeah, I believe the guys are working flat out of course to
improve the car, so Iím confident they can do that but of course also the
others are not standing still so yeah, we have a lot of hard work in front
of us but letís see what we can do.
Q: (Alex Kalinauckas Ė Autosport) To Max: looking at what we saw in practice
yesterday when it was very, very hot and you were able to get close to the
Mercedesí times on the long runs, and then thereís a big gap today when the
temperature comes down, do you think that Red Bull is closer to Mercedes
when the temperatures are higher?
MV: Oh yeah, but we would still be quite a few tenths down. I donít think
the warm weather makes such a big difference. If it would have been 35
degrees today I would still be third, so it wouldnítÖ it would have helped
me maybe a little bit but not that much.
Q: (Scott Mitchell Ė The Race) To all three: obviously Nico Hulkenberg is
back on the grid, very last minute. He is basically three Grand Prix
weekends and three pre-season test days behind you guys so I guess heís
physically going through what you went through on the first day of Barcelona
testing, except he hasnít spent the last few months physically preparing for
that. How difficult do you think heíll find it in the Grand Prix with I
guess, mainly on his neck, how big a challenge do you think it is?
LH: Definitely not the best one to come to, your first practice, your first
race for the neck. Copse is flat out so itís a pretty intense combination of
corners so I wouldnít be surprised if this morning he woke up with quite a
few bruises and sore but heís generally always been really in good shape. I
saw him walking in, he looked like he never left. But think itís even more
so, itís probably the prep is a big part, your understanding of the car,
thatís probably the biggest part. When you donít know the car, you donít
know the tools you have or the simulations that the team uses. I canít even
tell you how far behind he is with that. But he is a great driver but if
anyone can do it. It will be him, for sure.
MV: I could see after the first practice his neck was hanging to one side.
He has quite a long neck so that is alsoÖ thatís not nice to have in F1.
Itís tough, because I spoke to him about it back in the day when he was
still in F1 fulltime. He didnít enjoy that. Itís tough, you can train as
much as you want; the first time you go in an F1 car with these speeds,
especially around here, you will be sore. You can train every day with your
neck but the first time itís always going to be sore so Iím 100 per cent
sure of course, when he woke up today he felt it. But anyway, it doesnít
matter to him anyway, heís happy to be here and he should be here anyway
because I think he still deserves his spot on the grid.
VB: Yeah, Iím sure he will be sore and as you said, heís probably not been
prepared, physically, to drive a Formula 1 like we all did for the first
race but I think heís done really good, I think itís a big challenge for
him, with such short notice, he was setting some good lap times but
obviously big experience from the past. I hope he has a good race tomorrow.