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Hungarian GP: FIA Race Press Conference

July 31 2017

 FIA Race Press Conference

1 Ė Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)
2 Ė Kimi RAIKKONEN (Ferrari)
3 Ė Valtteri BOTTAS (Mercedes)


(Conducted by David Coulthard)

Q: Sebastian, 46th victory in Formula One, very measured but looked like you had some issues there with the steering, we heard lots of radio transmissions saying ďkeep off the kerbsĒ. First of all, congratulations on your win and tell us about what you had to manage thereÖ
Sebastian VETTEL: Iím over the moon. I mean it was a really difficult race, maybe it didnít look like but I had my hands full from three or four laps after the safety car. There was something wrong, I donít know why the steering started to go sideways and it seemed to get worse. Then I stayed off the kerbs, tried to save the car. It wasnít easy. I didnít do a favour to Kimi who obviously could go faster. I didnít have the pace. But then towards the end it did come back a bit. I had a couple of laps where I had a bit of a cushion and I could breathe a bit. But yeah, I really had to stay focused the whole race. I was hoping for a couple of laps to breathe but they didnít come, so really tough. But great result, great day. Thank you for the support. There was a guy out of the chicane, every single lap he was thumbs up, thumbs up and keeping us going, so it was really great.

Q: So you had one eye on the fans and one eye on the steering?
SV: And one eye on the steering, because it wasnít straight.
Q: Can you explain that? Can you explain what can give you that?
SV: I donít know, weíll have a look, but to be honest it doesnít matter now, we won the race. It was a weird feeling because basically it was tilted to the left so you go down the straights and the steering isnít straight and then in right-handers itís sort of OK, but in left-handers you have to get used to it. After a couple of laps itís OK but if itís changing all the time itís difficult because you have to further than you want and than you think in your head. Not ideal, but as I said, it doesnít matter. A big thank you to the team, it was a great race.

Q: Kimi, thereís huge Finnish support here, maybe a couple of words of Finnish for your fans before we got to EnglishÖ
Kimi RńIKK÷NEN: Oh, I think they all understand English. Obviously great support, unfortunately I couldn't give them the win. We had a one-two as a team, so I had a great car today, but obviously when youÖ I had a mistake yesterday in qualifying. I got a good start but I didnít want to force the issue and obviously after that just kept following the 71 laps. Not ideal, obviously I want to win, but itís great for the team.

Q: You have been very consistent on this race track, this is your eighth podium here. Sadly, six of those have been second place. Clearly you had the speed today; itís just impossible to overtake on this circuitÖ 
KR: Yeah, the other guy has to do quite a big mistake or have some issue. Itís not easy to overtake and especially with team-mates you take more care. But at least they are still happy Ė thatís the main thing.

Q: Valtteri, we saw a very sporting gesture from you, at the request of your team, to move over for your team-mate. You must have thought towards the end that he as not going to be able to give that place back because of all the traffic and because of Verstappen hunting you down. What are your thoughts on this great sporting gesture?
Valtteri BOTTAS: For sure in the end I was getting a little bit worried as the gap was increasing. I really struggled with the backmarkers today and was a little bit unlucky also with those. But really, thanks to Lewis to keep the promise and let me by in the end, because I gave him the shot to try and get past the Ferraris. Itís a shame, we had good pace in the end today but with the starting position we couldn't finish any better. Just want to say thanks for all the support this weekend. Itís been really cool to drive here with all this support and Finnish flags.
Q: Did you doubt at any point whether the team would make the call on Lewis given that you are in the championship battle, absolutely, but given that he is the lead driver? Did you have any moment of doubt or absolute trust in the team?
VB: Well, for sure when the gap was big I knew it could be a problem but in the end I just want to thank the team.

Q: So, Sebastian, 14-point lead, thatís a nice way to go into the summer break?
SV: I donít mind; itís OK. It could be worse!

Q: What are your plans for this break from Formula One. Youíre notorious for being a hard worker, are you going to be at the factory simulator or are you really taking time out?
SV: Well we have a test here in a couple of days, but after that to be honest no big plans, I just want to enjoy the time at home. We spend so much time on the road travelling and I know you have a family as well, so you know how it is, so itís nice just to have a couple of days at home and rest and enjoy that.

Q: Sebastian thatís win number 46, your fourth of the season but it didnít look like it was one of your easiest. When did the problems with the car first materialise?
SV: Well, it was a tough one. I was hoping for a bit more quiet afternoon. I had a very good pace and I think Kimi had a good pace, so I think he could go a lot faster than me for the majority of the race. I donít know, I felt already that there was something not right when we dropped the car on the grid. Now, driving the car to the grid was fine but then for the formation lap when we dropped that the steering wheel was not straight and thenÖ well, I did the start and then there was a safety car and then during the opening laps I felt that it wasnít right but it didnít impact too much because it was only small. Then it did get worse and towards the end of the stint it started to ramp up and gradually get worse. It was more and more difficult. SimplyÖ I think after this race I am quite certain there is a reason why the steering wheel is straight and not shifted to one side. Because itís very tricky Ė left-handers to right-handers and then if it keeps changing to adapt. I did try to adapt and I obviously knew that we canít change it. Then I tried to save the car, also we spoke a little bit on the radio about it. I was talking through the problem and they told me to avoid the kerbs, which I was doing already, but on a track where you use the kerbs nearly on every corner itís obviously also compromising your performance. In the second stint then I just wanted to make sure that Iíve got enough tyres with whatever problem I might face, so just towards the end of the race Iíd have enough tyres. So of course I was holding it back a little bit. Itís not like I had an awful lot more pace. Also, in the end I was really going flat out and obviously they were all behind me, queuing and itís good that you canít overtake that easily around this track but I had no room for error. It was a tricky race, with the lapped cars not the easiest to go through. As I said, there was no room to the cars behind. It was difficult but the mindset that I had half way through the race was ďit doesnít matter. I canít change it now Ė Iíd love to but canít. We keep going and just try to hang in there as much as possible.Ē The race felt very, very long. Every lap I was looking down; it didnít end. The last couple of laps I was able to find a bit of a rhythm, opened a bit of a gap, which helped me to take the very last bit of the race a bit easier through the traffic and controlled the race to the end. The result is great. How we got there was very tense but very happy, obviously great result for the team.

Q: Kimi, how do you feel after that one? Youíve said that you had a very good car, do you think you had the pace to win this grand prix?
KR: Yeah, definitely. But obviouslyÖ I had a pretty decent start, our starts were pretty similar but obviously I get the tow effect and braked slightly later but obviously Iím not going to force the issue in the first corner. Weíre going to fight, but weíre going to fight fair. Since that moment there is not an awful lot you can do. I had a very good car today, like it was yesterday, but obviously my mistake didnít help. The biggest chance was in the start and then took it quite easily at the beginning and my car was handling well and I was closing up. We were pretty on the safe side in the first stint because we pull away from Mercedes and then I catch up with Sebastian again in the end of the first stint but once he went in I had very good speed, I could have stayed longer out. I guess there are reasons Ė maybe the Mercedes they stopped earlier and they fresh tyres soÖ Anyhow, the whole race, basically, following Sebastian and hoping that he goes as fast as he can but not saving tyres because then there was a Mercedes catching me. Once you are in the middle itís a bit awkward place, because if you get a bad exit in the last corner or something the guy behind you with the DRS might get you with a good run but actually maybe once when I got a little bit sideways. I must say the car was great today. I was just, basically, following my own rear wing, same looking at least. Obviously I want to win but great for the team.

Q: Valtteri, I guess it was an afternoon of damage limitation for Mercedes? It seemed to be just a tense, difficult race for the team. Radio problems etcetera, just talk us through it.
VB: Yeah, unfortunately we couldnít really gain any positions today. First of all the start was quite average so I couldnít really attack in Turn One. The initial bit of the start was OK but then I had bad upshift from first to second gear so I lost a bit of momentum and after it was tricky. In the beginning Ferrari seemed to be just really strong with the supersoft but then when we went to the soft, with the issues of Sebastian, everything started to be a bit more interesting. We were struggling with radio communications Ė sometimes they couldnít really speak to me. I donít know what was the issue Ė but anyways, I was trying to get close enough to Kimi at some point to attack but there was no opportunities, and then we swapped, as a team, and Lewis tried it as well. When he was trying, at the same time I really struggled with the backmarkers. I felt that I was really unlucky with a few of the guys, being behind them for full laps and losing time, losing the rhythm but then the team promised me that once we did the swap and I let him go and try that, that we would swap again back, if he couldnít make it. And he couldnít make it and the team kept the promise, which Iím really, really happy about and really thankful for the team that we swapped again at the end. Big thanks to Lewis as well because I donít think every team-mate would have done the swap back. If youíre running for a podium place Ė so I think that was nice from the team and nice from Lewis. But unfortunately, damage limitation.


Q: (Flavio Vanetti Ė Corriere della Sera) Question to both Ferrari drivers. Can you tell me how did you deal with the situation, especially from the mental point of view, having such big pressure from Mercedes behind Ė was it one of the toughest tasks of your career?
SV: Well, I didnít have a Mercedes behind me so it was quiteÖ I saw obviously that Valtteri was closing in. I didnít know about the Lewis swap and stuff but yeah, I was very busy driving to be honest and trying to keep it on the track without using the kerbs, which wasnít easy. I saw that Kimi sometimes got closer, sometimes not. At some point I think they were asking how much faster I can go. I knew that Kimi doesnít feel comfortable because he was a lot faster. I know that I wasnít very quick, so not a great position, as he said, to be in the middle for him but for me obviously it was good because I had Kimi and then, letís say, other people, so it was OK. In the end itís not so easy to pass here. I still had some pace Ė I donít think I was completely off the pace, which obviously helped. But not an easy on, as I touched on before.
And Kimi, that pressure from Mercedes?
KR: I was really not too worried. Obviously I talk with the team in the radio but I was not too worried because my car was handling so well. Even though I was very close, the whole race, to Sebastian, my car was still very good and no issue with the tyres. I could follow very well through the last corners. I had only oneÖ two times a small issue in the second-last corner and then in the last corner pushed a bit too much, really the only time my car snapped, even once. But it wasnít ideal, obviously, because I felt I had speed and I was stuck in the middle because then itís alwaysÖ we know how fast they can be on the straights sometimes, Mercedes. I also felt pretty comfortable because my car was so good that I didnít reallyÖ once there was traffic or something and I dropped a little bit back, I could just speed up and make the gap before the last few corners. So, that was justÖ to know what we were going to do because I could have slowed down in the first part and speed up in the last part. It helped me a bit. Not a big worry.

Q: (Tomasz Kubiak Ė ŚwiatWyścigůw) Question to Sebastian. You said you wanted to answer the critique which came after the last race. Would you say now that itís a job done?
SV: I didnít say that. I donít remember. Maybe I have a bad memory. What I said I think, what I meant is that thereís always a lot of talk and itís good to move on and get to the next race and then the talking usually stops. I think itís normal, based on what you did last race. People say something good or say something bad. I think something that has always worked for me is that youíre never as good as they say, and youíre never as bad as they say, soÖ yeah, if the Silverstone race was the worst race of the year, then thatís fine, we move on. But itís a long year, a lot of races, normal to have some ups and downs. It was a nice race here. Really enjoyed it. Obviously yesterday was great, today was a bit more difficult but the result in the end matters and thatís what makes us very happy, obviously, thatís what the team deserves. I think they are working very hard. Again, you mustnít forget where we were last year, the end of last year, and the step that Ferrari has made is bigger than anyone else. That is easily forgotten when you are fighting, challenging Ė but thereís a lot of things that the team can be proud about, and they can be proud of themselves, so Iím very, very happy. I think weíre both very happy where we are with the car. The car felt good today and the whole weekend overall. So, yeah, itís been a good day.

Q: (Pťter VŠmosi Ė Vas Nťpe) Question to both Finnish drivers. Are you interested in a day competing in the Race of Champions as Team Finland? Mostly the question is for Kimi as you had opportunities with testing Peugeot at World Endurance Racing, NASCAR, whatever, so you have really tried out many cars. And Valtteri, what are you interested in more; to compete in Race of Champions or Stars and Cars?
KR: Iíve been asked to be there many times but I always said that once they go back to how it started with rally cars and then the proper circuit with the two lines, with the gravel and asphalt, Iíll be in Ė but before that, forget it. Itís notÖ itís a show, thatís it.
VB: Yeah, Iíd be up for it, I like to drive anything with an engine and at least two wheels, so Iím up for it. I donít really know much about those competitions, Iíve never really looked into it but Iíve always liked driving soÖ
SV: Öbut you need a team-mate and youíve just lost himÖ
VB: Better change the competition thenÖ

Q: (IstvŠn Simon Ė Auto Magazin) Question to Kimi. Had President Marchionne not been here today, would you have tried a proper overtaking manoeuvre against Sebastian? Because youíre car has been obviously faster todayÖ
KR: No, it makes no difference. Obviously we know as team-mates what we have to do and like I said, I had a pretty good run into the first corner on the first lap but being team-matesÖ we can fight but we probably leave a bit more space and not going to force the issue as maybe against somebody else. At the end it was obviously for a one-two and I can only look what I did yesterday and complain to myself I was not in a very good chance to win the race Ė but nevertheless my car was good and, as I said, we had a plan as a team and, yíknow, it was a fair game. Seb was yesterday first and he got away first and obviously the aim was whichever way we finish weíre going to finish one-two. Thatís the aim. No difference would the president be here or not. To be honest I havenít seen him Ė apart from podium. Havenít had time so far todayÖ

Q: (Livio Oricchio Ė GloboEsporte) To Sebastian. Sebastian you know Ferrari history of team orders and giving privilege to one driver. Could you comment please on Mercedes having one driver that is your main driver that is your main competitor for the world title asking to him, give this place back to Bottas?
SV: Well, I donít know. As far as I understood, Lewis was behind you, and he said he wanted to try, and the teamís decided to swap as I understand and then swap back, so itís pretty straightforward. I donít think itís the first time that somebody has done it. Obviously if it works, great, if it doesnít work, then you have to give the position back Ė so I think itís pretty straightforward, otherwise you overtake yourself and you donít need to give positions back. Not sure I understood the question stillÖ

Q: (Ysef Harding Ė Xiro Xone News) This is for Kimi and Valtteri: after speaking with a number of Finnish fans last night who were very passionate about you guys, and finding out that saunas are a thing in Finland, they asked me to ask you guys what you plan to do for the break and how will you celebrate being on the podium today?
KR: Obviously we have the test on Wednesday so from that point thereís not an awful lot of plans. The biggest plan is to be with the family; obviously we have some time and spend time with them. We have to travel an awful lot so itís great to have some freedom now.
VB: Weíll be testing here on Tuesday but then weíll go back home to Finland. Weíll go to the sauna and have a beer. Thatís my plan.

Q: (Luis Vasconcelos - Formula Press) We are in a unique situation in which the three podium finishers donít have a contract for next year as far as we know. Is this going to be a priority for the next four weeks or are you happy to sort it out later in the season? 
SV: I think thereís a bit more time to talk about these things but Iím also quite keen to find out how long Valtteri lasts in the sauna and what type of beer he is drinking, so Iím waiting for an invite.
KR: No different than any year. Itís not really my decision. For the team knows what is my preferred option and then see what happens.
VB: Yeah, for sure soon we will start toÖ we need to speak (about) whatís going to happen, obviously. I have no idea about the future yet so for sure we will speak at some point but the problem is that the mobile phone is not so good in the sauna. It doesnít work so it could take a while so donít expect anything in Spa.

Q: (Jerome Pugmire - Associated Press) Sebastian: you said just now we mustnít forget where we were last year. Ferrariís made a bigger step than anybody else; a 14 point lead with nine races left. Could you have ever imagined being in this position at the start of the season or is this beyond what you would have dreamt of?
SV: No, itís what I dream about to be honest. I want to win so thatís where you want to be. I donít have very precise dreams in terms of gaps, points and stuff like that. I think Iím more basic on my dreams as long as I remember; most of the time I forget but yeah, I think all in all, the mission has been to get back to the top so obviously we had a great year, Iím only two and a half years in with the team. I think we had a great year in í15 which helped to get the project going. í16 was difficult, I think, for many reasons but I think it was a great year to set things up, a lot of change for the team but yeah, over the winter I think we were the team that made the least noise. There was a lot of talk about the new cars and the new regs and how it will favour one team over the other and how it will bring back other teams and so on. I was very happy that we just worked, we just kept  to ourselves and did the job. We have a great car. We know, I think, by now with a lot of races done, what the strength of the car is, where the weaknesses are, thatís where we need to work on.  For sure you cannot expect it to change overnight but yeah, Iím very confident the group of peopleÖ We have a lot of people that you maybe donít know because from the outside people try to identify a team with one person in terms of who is the driver or obviously itís easy because there are only two but in terms of who is designing the car, it very often ends up with oneÖ you point the finger at one person. Itís not fair. The team is very big and thereís a lot of people so we have a lot of great people, young people coming up and a great culture, people taking risks and thatís what we need to do. We want to win so very happy where we are going but itís not yet enough. Todayís great, we got a one-two but thatís what we want every weekend. We havenít done it so far, I know itís difficult but itís not impossible so we keep working.

Q: (Peter Farkas - Auto Motor) Kimi and Sebastian, the Mercedes guys seem to think that now itís clear that the balance of power between the two teams is track-specific so as you were very quick in Monaco and then the Hungaroring, two very twisty tracks and at Silverstone they were quicker; do you agree with that, thatís itís track specific and if so what do you think will be particularly strong tracks for Ferrari until the end of the season? 
SV: I find itís a bit difficultÖ I mean you have very little time during the weekend to change things so I think itís normal that some tracks are more in your favour, also from a driving point of view. You mustnít forget that we are all different so some things we maybe prefer at some tracks over other tracks and itís not always the same. It doesnít mean that (because) you won the year before that you are always great on this track, you know. Maybe over a couple of years you can draw other tendencies but yeah, overall, I know we have a very strong car, we have a car that is competitive everywhere. We have had circuits on which it was less competitive. If you want to point out Silverstone, we werenít quick enough to win, thatís a fact but we werenít horrible. Itís not like we were tenth and eleventh on the grid so we still qualified well. We outqualified one of them on Saturday so I think we are at the right track, but itís normal that some tracks maybe you struggle a bit more, some a bit less, then you can draw conclusions of the car which might not be wrong, so itís fair to say that we were very competitive here and Monaco; Mercedes was less so but equally if you pick the races out, it wasnít like we were miles ahead and lapping them soÖ It also depends how your race goes. I think the most important thing is that we were always there so far, we always had good pace so I donít think thereís anything to be afraid of in the next couple of races.

Q: Kimi, you have a great record at Spa; do you think Ferrari can challenge Mercedes there? 
KR: For sure there are some circuits that fit us better because there are areas that we have to improve, probably especially for qualifying, the Mercedes has better horsepower but it depends on so many things. Itís not just purely that you look at the layout of the circuit - ah this is going to be good for us and this is going to beÖ The tyresÖ We canít have it which conditions there are going to be and a lot of small things which will make a difference. Letís have a holiday first and see what happens at Spa but obviously if you purely look now, you would say itís not going to be as easy for us as here but obviously we try to improve and we are going to do our best.

Q: (Zsolt Godina - F1vilag) Kimi, do you feel that you could have done a better job with the strategy with the pit stop with a possible longer first stint to win this race? 
KR: I wondered it but obviously I had no idea what was happening behind us when Mercedes stopped before us and then Valtteri went a lot faster with the fresh tyres so the team asked me to come in. I had good speed on the in lap so I wanted to stay longer but I have to trust what the team is telling me and obviously they see the big picture soÖ We got close but itís OK. 


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