1 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2 - Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
3 - Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
(Conducted by Martin Brundle)
Q: Congratulations, Lewis, you led from start to finish, but it was pretty
tricky at the beginning, the conditions looked part slick, part
Lewis Hamilton: It was incredible. Firstly, a big thank you to all the
people here in Shanghai for coming out. Thank you. Weíve got such a great
crowd here. Today was very, very tough for us all. It was difficult to know.
I went out in inters initially, on the laps to the grid, and then I tried
the slick and it was impossible, and then we all started on inters and it
was very, very hard, because there was a lot of dry patches everywhere,
mostly dry except for a couple of corners that were wet. So trying to keep
the car on the track and look after the tyres at the same time was very
tough. A great job done by Sebastian and this young dude here [Max
Verstappen], whoís always likeÖ
Q: [Max] has actually been voted driver of the day today, so heís beat you
on that vote today.
LH: Oh, great, great! Itís OK, I donít mind being on the top step! Lastly, I
just want to say a big thank you to this team. Iím just so tremendously
proud of everyone on my own personal team, in terms of my own like staff and
that, but also my team who work so hard back at the factory to make this
possible. And this race is so real; itís so exciting for me personally. I
donít know how it is for everyone else but I hope theyíre enjoying it.
Q: But he suddenly appeared just eight seconds behind you and closing you
down at the end. You had to get back on the gas.
LH: Yeah, exactly. We were matching times. I think if there wasnít safety
cars and stuff it would have been a lot closer.
Q: Talking of that, congratulations Sebastian, a bit unlucky really, you
pitted under the virtual safety car and there was a safety car straight
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, my start was OK but then I realized that the
intermediates had quite a lot of degradation. It was very dry in some parts
of the track so I knew they would not last. I was happy to take the risk.
Obviously virtual safety car you save a bit of time in the pit stop. And
then the safety car came just when I was about to start to feel that the dry
tyre was a lot quicker, so I couldnít use the momentum, the advantage and I
lost a lot of positions. But then I had a very exciting race; I really
enjoyed it. I was stuck a little bit in the train for a whole but then I
finally made the move and then, yeah, I tried to chase Lewis down as much as
possible but I had the feeling that every time I put a lap in he was able to
respond, so I think we were a good match, it could have been a different
race but a good recovery and as I said, wheel-to-wheel racingÖ I touched
wheels with Daniel as wellÖ.
Q: You took the paint off the side of his tyre!
SV: It was good fun at least.
Q: Take us through those moves, because I think any racing driver in the
history or Formula One would like those moves on his CV, because they were
committed werenít they? Down into Turn 6 you were really going for it there.
SV: Yeah, obviously my target was to catch Lewis and I was stuck in the
train and I was getting a bit angry or annoyed and I wanted to get by and I
had the feeling that I could go a lot faster in these conditions, so when I
was behind Daniel I saw him blocking down the inside because I had a good
run out of Turn 4. I said ĎOK, you have to try it around the outside, brake
really late and hardí. Fortunately he didnít lock up. I had him in the
mirror, checking, otherwise I have to open immediately before he would make
contact. Then on the exit I was a bit compromised, a bit in the dirt,
getting a bit of wheel spin, but then I got a bit my elbows out. Yeah, he
really squeezed me, but it was good fun and I had the inside for the next
Q: Some cracking overtaking today. Moving on to Max. Wow, driver of the day
as I said, the fans have voted for you. You had some pretty spectacular
first few laps coming through the pack, tell us about it.
Max Verstappen: Yeah, it was very challenging. I think on lap one I passed
nine cars. So, not to badÖ
Q: It was like a video game for you!
MV: More or less! It felt a bit like that. Of course very happy with that
and then afterwards I think a very good race. I didnít have a lot of track
time with the car balance from yesterday because I didnít do qualifying, so
I was just basically nursing the car to the finish. And then, of course,
very happy to be on the podium, I didnít expect that at all, especially
Q: We sensed a bit of tension at the end. Daniel was catching you. You
couldnít lap the Haas in front of you and you were getting a little bit
anxious on the radio.
MV: I just wanted clear air, because I was already struggling a lot with the
fronts and that doesnít help, but in the end I still finished on the podium,
so very happy.
Q: Great drive, congratulations, you gave us a lot of thrills there. Back to
you, Lewis, you are equal on points now [with Vettel] after two races. This
is going to be a real championship isnít it?
LH: I think itís going to be one of the closest ones, if not the closest
Iíve personally ever experienced and Iím looking forward to this fight, not
only with Sebastian but the other guys as well who are still going be in
amongst it. I think itís great that we haveÖ we were just saying that we
were both pushing. Those last 20 laps or so really exchanging times. I kept
having to be fed what times he was doing so I could try to match and he was
closing the gap a little bit, but I managed to stay ahead.
Q: You know what makes me really happy is youíre all up here really smiling.
Youíre enjoying these cars arenít you, youíre enjoying the championship this
LH: We are because itís that close a battle, and the cars look better and
they are nicer to drive. Itís not the easiest to get past but this guy seems
to find it possible, particularly when itís wet, so weíll have to watch the
video and see what heís been doing.
Q: Lewis, that was the third grand slam of your career: pole, win, fastest
lap, led every lap. Youíve had a few minutes to reflect on it now: how good
LH: Itís been a fantastic weekend and very, very grateful for all the
efforts that the team have put in to enable us to be where we are and where
I am today. Itís very overwhelming when you have a weekend like this,
because Iím just a link in the chain and, when you really think about it,
thereís thousands of people involved, hundreds and hundreds of people
involved in me being up here and us being where we are. So, congratulations
to all of them. I hope theyíre all celebrating back home. I hope theyíre
feeling the spirit, I hope theyíre feeling the fightÖ because itís on. With
the raceÖ qualifying was great, to be able to pull that good lap out, it put
me in a great position. Start was fantastic: Iím so happy with the way
starts are going to I need to keep that up! And then in the race, really
just keeping my composure. Some really tricky conditions out there,
particularly on the Intermediate. Then, after that, once weíd done the
pitstop with the Safety Car, the speed was very low and being very cold, our
temperatures in our tyres, theyíre likeÖ theyíre just not working, theyíre
so cold. So it was very, very easy to make mistakes and Iím just grateful I
didnít. And then at the end, the last 20-odd laps we were just pounding
around as fasts as we can, exchanging lap times and I think thatís what
racing is all about. Perhaps in the future there will be times when we wonít
have a Safety Car and their wonít be that six seconds gap, itíll be right on
the tail either way. Excited for that.
Q: Who had the faster car today? Mercedes or Ferrari?
SV: Well, you won, soÖ
LH: Yeah, the only summary we can come up with is that. It is, as I said,
very, very close and there were times when Sebastian put laps in and it was
hard to even match the time. The last ten or 12 laps he was doing a 35.6 and
I was doing a 35.8 and it was very hard to get to where he was. Then there
was other times in the race when I was quicker.
Q: Sebastian, perhaps I can put that question to you as well. Who do you
think had the faster car today?
SV: Iím maybe not clever enough but I try to not confuse myself. So I just
go with the fact that who wins the race deserves to win. Every race we do I
think the race winner deserves to win. So, yeah, Lewis did the best job.
Obviously we were a bit unfortunate maybe with the Safety Car maybe early on
Ė but even if it wasnít there you never know how it could have impacted on
the race. Was it enough? We thoughtÖ I thought yes Ė but then itís a long
race from there and it could have been a different outcome. But yeah, it was
really good fun. Like Lewis said, I had a bit more to do in the race than he
had. I saw he was controlling the pace, probably, in the beginning. Once I
got past Kimi and Daniel I obviously tried to hunt him down but knowing that
it would be difficult with that gap. And in the last couple of laps I asked
the team to give me an average of what we needed to catch up etcetera, just
to know what I have to do. When they came up with the conclusion that itís a
bit more than half a second a lapÖ yeahÖ I kept pushing because you never
know, maybe Lewis is doing a mistake, or has an issue with the car so I
wanted to keep the pressure on Ė but yeah, I enjoyed the fact we were
racing, even though not side-by-side or right behind each other but five,
six, eight seconds apart. To hear that he was pushing as well I think is
good news. So in terms of pace it was probably a match. Sometimes he was a
bit faster, sometimes I was a bit faster. Overall it was good fun.
Q: Could you have challenged Lewis had you not lost so much time behind your
SV: Ah, would, could, should. I think Lewis was quick. Full stop. I think
they did a good race, he did a good race, so to get into these kind of
conversations, or discussions, usually there is no point. Today we finished
second, very happy with that, we take it, good points. More than that, and
much more valuable than that, it was an entertaining and fun race for me. I
had some overtaking. It was difficult to get close to the car, like last
race you felt the effect but here I think itís a better track to overtake
and yeah, itís the way it should be in my opinion: you need to make it stick
so it shouldnít come for free. You shouldnít just open the flap and sail
past. It was good fun. I canít complain.
Q: Max, youíve scored Red Bull Racingís 100th podium today Ė but when you
ripped open your curtains this morning, did you really think third place was
on from 16th on the grid?
MV: No, of course not. I was targetingÖ if we could score some nice points
that would be positive but then the first lap was very challenging. I think
I passed nine cars. So thatís not too bad. From there on I think we made the
right call with the change of tyres to slicks. Itís a bit of a gamble but it
worked out. I was a bit cautious to not go too early and it paid off. Then I
was in a good position afterwards. I managed to get past Daniel in Turn Six
and then I was building a gap. But then straight away I felt the balance of
the car was a bit limited to the front so I was destroying the left front
and I couldnít get the car to turn and thatís what basically happened when
Sebastian was behind me, just under braking, very difficult, locked up and
went wide. Then had quite a bit flat-spot. Tried to continue for one lap but
then I decided to box. I knew the last stint would be very hard with which
lap I stopped, but I managed to stay in third and thatís, of course, very
positive, especially after starting 16th. It was a great and entertaining
race, I think.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Fu Yu Ė China Radio International) Question to Max. Congratulations on a
podium finish. You conquered much of the field ahead of you and surged up
early on in the race. When did you realise a podium finish was in sight and
what did you do after that? I mean, did you keep on pushing and hope for a
better place or were you more conservative and trying to hold on to your
MV: To be honest, with ten laps to go I looked on the board and saw I was
third. Before that I didnít know where I was. I had to keep pushing because
I had my team-mate behind who was trying to get past. And then I had a Haas
in front of me. He didnít move out of the way and he was always one and a
half seconds in front so it was very tricky for me to get the front tyres to
work, yíknow, with the understeer? So yeah, I had to push quite hard at the
end Ė but thatís how it should be.
Q: (Keren Wang Ė Top Driver) Max, do tell us more about the first lap when
you said you passed around nine cars on the first lap. How did you find the
grip so quickly on the first lap?
MV: To be honest, I had a good start, but I got a bit blocked because the
two cars in front of me went into the middle so I had to back off, but still
I gained one or two positions and then, yeah, basically just trying to find
a gap so trying to go round the outside in turn one, I got another car, then
inside turn two, another car, outside turn three, because there was space,
trying to find grip because when youíre behind a car you lose a lot of
downforce so just trying to find some free space and basically everything
happened... also turn six, turn seven, eight, always trying to go around the
outside or inside and it worked. Yeah, nine cars is quite a lot on one lap
but of course very happy that it worked.
Q: (Ma Yue Ė Shanghai Daily) Just wanted to ask you all, do you think the
weather was an advantage or disadvantage for you?
LH: I think the weather often makes it more exciting. These are some of the
most exciting circumstances when you have a track that starts wet and it
goes through a drying phase. It just adds so much more fun and more of a
lottery into the equation, so then your smart decisions, driving and how you
utilise the tyres. Driving in the dry is a great thing or just in the wet is
also very tough but this one is quite spicy with both in it.
SV: Nothing to add.
MV: Well, for me, definitely for me today it worked out because I started
16th, so in the wet itís easier to overtake. I think it was a perfect race
for me because then afterwards you go on the slick tyres, you have passed
most of the field already and you are basically back in the position where
you should be.
Q: What do you think you could have achieved, Max, had it been dry?
MV: Well, not third, for sure. Maybe sixth? Good conditions for me.
Q: (Luigi Perna Ė La Gazzetta dello Sport) Sebastian, what do you expect
from the Bahrain race, another great battle against Lewis as in Melbourne
and maybe better than today?
SV: I donít know what to expect. Obviously in a week we will know. I think
if we can challenge Mercedes again, thatís very good news. They are very
very strong. They have had a very very strong run the last couple of years.
This year as well, so a good package. If we can be close itís good. I think
we need to look after ourselves. I think thereís stuff that we can do
better, must do better, can improve so Iím happy to get a surprise, but
expectation I donít really have.
Q: Before we move on to Max, Lewis, what are you expecting from Bahrain?
LH: Being that itís often a warmer race, Ferrari is very good in hotter
conditions. These were quite good conditions for me today with our car. When
it steps up in temperature... so far in the first race itís been shown as
not the greatest for us just yet, so weíre just learning on the tyres.
Hopefully it will be better... it will definitely be better than it was in
the Melbourne. I think they will be very very quick in the next race but
thereís a lot of straights there as well and weíve obviously got, I think,
still the strongest power unit on the grid, so I think that will come into
play, for sure.
Q: (Luigi Perna Ė La Gazzetta dello Sport) Max, was that the best race of
MV: I always find it difficult to compare but it was definitely one of the
best, yeah, of course very happy with it. Looking back to last year, I think
a victory is always very special so itís one of my best for the moment and
Brazil was also very nice but this is definitely in my top five, I think.
Q: (Oscar Garshagen Ė NRC) There were in the last weeks some issues with
your car, Max. Does this third place mean that those issues are behind you
MV: Difficult to say. On true pace, both Ferrari and Mercedes should be
ahead with both of their drivers so we still need to work very hard to catch
up. I think at the moment weíre a bit in a lonely competition because in
front of us they are too quick and behind us they are too slow but like Iíve
already said before, we are working really hard and trying to close the gap
but itís not that easy. But weíll keep pushing hard.
Q: (Arjan Schouter Ė AD) Lewis, I was just wondering how you see this young
Dutch guy next to you? Heís delivering all those overtaking shows; what do
you think of it?
LH: I quite like him up here next to us; makes me look younger when Iím up
here. Itís good to have a younger person around and yeah, Max has obviously
done a fantastic job since heís been in the sport and I think heís been a
real breath of fresh air for everyone so obviously heís got a great
following and heís definitely been in some great situations in some races
and really maximised above and beyond in those, which is why he gets driver
of the day. Itís a lot harder to do that when youíre in the lead of a race,
obviously, because you canít really do much overtaking.
MV: If you want to swap itís alright.
LH: No... Honestly, I hope that Red Bull can improve through the season
because I think a third element in the fight I think would be even more