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German GP: FIA Race Press Conference

July 23 2018

 FIA Race Press Conference

1 Ė Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
2 Ė Valtteri BOTTAS (Mercedes)
3 Ė Kimi RńIKK÷NEN (Ferrari)


(Conducted by David Coulthard)

Q: Lewis, starting from 14th place today, you truly couldnít have believed you could win this race?

Lewis HAMILTON: I did. I mean, itís obviously very, very difficult from that position and highly unlikely, but youíve always got to believe. I said a long, long prayer before the race started. We did the parade lap, I could see how much support I had out there and I just wanted to stay collected, stay calm. But the team did such a great job, the car was fantastic today. Honestly, Iím so grateful. I would never have though you could do something like that today, but I just kept pushing, I kept believing and it happened. I really manifested my dream today. So big, big thanks to God.

Q: Iíve seen you emotional on many, many occasions, but you look as if youíre struggling to grasp what's just happened. You know youíve just won the German Grand Prix and taken back the lead in the world championship?

LH: Yeah, I hadnít really thought about that. It was so tough out there and conditions wereÖ perfect! The conditions were perfect for business time. When it rained I knew I would have a good position. But then you never knew what would happen after the safety car. The other guys behind had the new tyres on. I would say, as I said, Iím just so grateful for the hard work the team has done and I hopefully this solidifies their belief in me and hopefully my driver solidifies my belief in them. And I guess for those that donít know me Ė now you do.

Q: Lewis, truly world-class drive; go and celebrate. Valtteri, tough afternoon, because you had the chance, as did Seb, but ultimately Lewis took it. What are your feelings now? Second place is still a good result, but the win was there.

Valtteri BOTTAS: Yeah, you know, as a driver the win is what you are looking after and when Seb went off I thought Ďnow is a good chanceí, but I think for Lewis the safety car was better timed, he could stay out, I had to stop. Taking positives: as a team, a perfect result for us, in Germany, our home grand prix for Mercedes, for Daimler, so thatís very good.

Q: We heard the team telling you to hold station and you very quickly said ĎOk, understandí or ĎOk, Jamesí. What was your mind feeling at that moment?

VB: You know, we had a bit of a battle lap one after the safety car with Lewis. I didnít get past then so then they told me to minimise the risk, which I understand, but yeahÖ

Q: Well done, great result. Kimi, we just talked to Valtteri and he was told to hold station. We heard you team coming on and not really telling you to move but telling you that tyre temperatures were critical. You said: Ďtell me what you want me to doí. You understood what they were trying to do wanted but you wanted it to be very clear that you needed the instruction to let Sebastian through.

Kimi RńIKK÷NEN: Yeah, we have certain rules but it wasnít clear enough. I had speed and obviously it was a bit in a moment in the race that I wasnít ideally to stopÖ yeah, thatís what happened. In the end, it didn't change an awful lot. It was a tricky race with the rain and it was pretty slippery in a few places. I had a small moment with one of the lappers, the Sauber, under braking and Valtteri got past me, so not an easy race. Happy to finish. A bit disappointed but Iíll take it today and weíll try next time.

Q: We saw your team-mate go off in the hairpin there. Do you think the Ferrari was more sensitive in those conditions, it was more difficult to drive than Mercedes today?

KR: I donít know, I only drive my car, so thatís only what I feel like. In the past itís been very difficult in that amount of rain and I was surprised by the grip we had. It was very difficult to know where the grip is and where not. Usually when you go fast and suddenly itís not there, there is nothing you can do.


Q: (Edd Straw - Autosport) A question for Lewis and Valtteri. I heard a couple of communications about steering loadings on the Turn 1 kerb, which I presume was related to the problem yesterday. I think Valtteri there were a couple of messages for you and I think Lewis you at least had one, mid-race. How big a concern was that and how was it impacting your driving knowing you were having to be a little bit more cautious there for fear of causing a reliability problem?

LH: I hadnít thought about it really until they mentioned it , but I felt it, it was quite aggressive on one particular part of the kerb, so I just stayed away from it. I had been riding the kerbs all weekend but then it started to become more and more of something that we had to be aware of. I was still running the kerb later on, just not as aggressive. I didnít have any more problems after that.

VB: Yeah, similar for me. There was one point on the kerb, if you hit it at a certain angle, you can feel it gets you harder, so you try to avoid that and itís fine.

Q: (Rebecca Clancy Ė The Times) To Lewis, congratulations. You seem a bit emotional. You sounded like you had a bit of a lump in your throat. Youíre sat their smiling, kind of shaking your head almost in disbelief. Are you able to process yet how big this race is in terms of the championship. Was it maybe slightly slipping away from you and now youíve firmly got two hands back on it?

LH: It definitely feltÖ I mean itís too early in the season to ever really feel like itís slipping away but of course it never feels good when you face adversity but, the longer you endure it, the stronger you grow. So yeah, I definitely felt at one point, there was Jesus, itís a steep hill for us, but itís OK. Yíknow, just keep believing, positive things are going to come ahead. Just keep fighting, just give it everything youíve got because at some stage things will come good. Today is one of the most unbelievable days for me becauseÖ I prayed as I always do before the race and my prayers were really answered. It freaks me out a little bit more than normal. And then to see the kind of biblical storm afterwardsÖ there was a lot of negativity before the race. Yíknow, I think when you come to England, going around I donít remember any of the fans booing. Weíve got quite a good group of fans in England. And when I came here, there was a lot of booing. The weird thing is that I was really happy about it. It was unusual. Itís weird that Iím still happy. It was because I kept seeing individually, a couple of different British flags in amongst a hundred or a thousandÖ a sea of red and then youíve got a British flag in there. Then you have people from Mexico, people from England, you have people I think from Nigeria or somewhere in Africa with Hamilton shirts on Ė the name Hamilton on, standing in amongst the red. And it was just so positive for me. Thatís why I said at the end, that love conquers all. And I really feel that the rainís come down and just washed away any negativity. Itís a glorious day. It couldnít have been a better day for me and one that I will always remember.

Q: (Ben Hunt Ė The Sun) Lewis, just to bring you back to Sebastianís celebrations after the British Grand Prix, laughing at Mercedes, promising to take the English flag at his Italian HQ, does that serve as motivation in some sort of way? Do you use that as a boost ahead of race like this? Knowing that you could inflict damage on his titleÖ

LH: Honestly, I don't need to search for a boost or energy from other peopleís business. I just focus on mine. I truly believe thatÖ Iím just focussed on trying to be the best I can be in myself. Because the best meÖ if Iím my best and my higher self, I feel like Iím able to drive like I was able to today, regardless of all the people, who else is around doing whatever they are doing. So, I did say when I came here that you can see things and they can often be maybe a sign of weakness. As I said, if we just kept our heads down, we knew this weekend Ferrari were going to be quick Ė and theyíre ridiculously quick on the straights. I think Valtteri did a fantastic lap yesterday, really great lap when I watched it Ė but he was just losing down the straights which thereís nothing you can do about. But, yeah, we justÖ Iím just really proud of my guys as well, not getting phased by this fight that weíre having. They could easily jump to conclusions and say, oh well, theyíre doing this or theyíre doing that, instead of, you know what? All we can do is control our own destiny. All we can do is work on our starts, try and improve, make sure we do a better job understanding the car, doing a better job, pushing for better aero performance, all these different things. Massively proud of them.

Q: (Livio Oricchio Ė Globoesporte.com) To Kimi. Kimi, when we have the restart of the race on lap 58, you were on ultrasoft and new tyres, Valtteri also. But Lewis had ultrasoft from lap 42. Were you surprised with the performance of Mercedes in these last ten laps, considering Ferrari seemed to have the fastest car all weekend?

KR: Yeah, for sure. They were very strong. All the stories that we are so quick on the straight. It wasnít really the case after the restart. Yeah, I think for sure there was some difference I guess, because Valtteri had a good run. I was surprised overall how good the grip was, because it was still some rain and it was pretty decent grip and the tyres were still cold but I think the ultrasoft worked pretty well in that rainy condition. Usually when you have that amount of rain itís usually pretty slippery but yeah, it was slippery in some places but most of it was stillÖ you had some grip. Quite a surprise overall from what I remember from the past. Usually it gets pretty slippery quickly.Q: (Heikku Kulta - Turun Sanomat) To the Finnish drivers: how long do we Finns have to wait for a Finnish victory or is P2 going to be the maximum for the rest of the season?

LH: I have a fraction of Finnish in me, so thatís all three of us. You have a bit of a victory today.

Q: (Heikku Kulta - Turun Sanomat) Yeah, but we are not hearing the Finnish anthem!

VB: Yeah, hopefully we donít have to wait long but obviously there was a possibility for that today. Always through the race, I knew that it is possible and also things started to unfold quite nicely towards the end of the race with the rain and everything. But yeah, like I mentioned before, it was just not for me the best timing for the safety car with the tyres I had. Itís just a matter of time. All the drivers will always want to win and me and Kimi are amongst those. We are both in a competitive car so for sure itís going to happen at some point.

KR: I will keep trying. Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. We will try every weekend and every race and weíre not far from it but obviously so far itís not been happening so we will try next weekend again and Iím sure it will come but obviously thereís no guarantee or anything. Things change quickly and weíve seen it . Home today and come back next Thursday and do a better job.

Q: (Livio Oricchio Ė Globoesporte.com) Next Grand Prix is on a completely different circuit to the two previous ones, Silverstone and here. Considering what you know from your car in this season, what can you project for the Budapest race?

KR: Very difficult to say, I think. Itís traditionally been good for us but thereís a lot on the weather, what itís going to be like there. In the past years we would probably be feeling more stronger to go there but itís the same as always. Itís going to be close and whoever makes the best out of it is going to come out on top. We go there and try and do the best that we can and see what we get.

LH: Itís usually not our strongest track but Iím hopeful thatÖ itís not a power circuit so hopefully this extra chunk of power that Ferrari have doesnít serve them as well there and maybe we can have a decent fight with them but theyíve always been really good on tyres and thatís quite a hot track so undoubtedly theyíll continue to be fast but I really hope thatÖ Iíve got high hopes for it still. Red Bull? Oh yeah, exactly. Red Bullís power unit has been good. They suffered here for whatever reasons but they will be very quick, Iím sure in the next races where it is really strong for them. So, should be a closely matched race.

Q: (Edd Straw Ė Autosport) Kimi, can you just talk through your thought process coming up to the second pit stop. We could hear on the radio that you were keen to take the risk and just stay out because there wasnít too much to lose for you so do you regret the fact the team didnít let you stay out, because even when they called you in you did say Ďare you sure?í so was there an opportunity missed there?

KR: No, itís always easy to say afterwards but honestly we donít know what would happen if we stay out. Iím 100 percent sure that the ultras worked better plus I had very used tyres at that point already but I canít give an answer if it would have been just fine or a complete disaster, so thatís always an unknown and you try to weigh up the differences and hope that the new tyres will give you some grip to come back. Obviously we knew that the Mercedes will be on one of the some aged tyres but they seemed to be the right decision in those conditions so I donít have an answer, I donít think anybody would have an answer what the end result if we stayed out or not. Who knows. Thatís how it goes.


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