Monthly Archives: July 2015

Renault close to making a decision on Lotus buyout

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It has been announced that Renault is close to making a final decision on whether it will set up its own works team by buying the existing Lotus outfit.

Renault’s F1 future has been in doubt since the start of the year after its relationship with current customers Red Bull and Toro Rosso became increasingly frayed on the back of poor results. Renault has been looking into buying a team and setting up a works outfit has been under consideration for some time and the French manufacturer is hoping to announce its future plans in the second half of the year.

In an interview with the media today, Renault Sport F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul stated the following about the matter:-

‘Nothing is done as of yet, but we are much further down the road and we are much closer to a conclusion and a decision. We are much clearer on why we want to be in F1 and also we are much clearer on the value of the sport and the sort of cost and budget we think we should allow.

‘We are clear also on the conditions that are required to have a successful involvement in Formula One and what we want to do and what we don’t want to do. So, a lot clearer internally, but nothing to express.

‘We will have some news in the second half of 2015 and some news on what we will do beyond 2016 because at this point in time our plans are made and fixed for 2016, which is that we have a binding contract with Red Bull and Toro Rosso, which we will be allowing. We are making plans in that respect and start to work on engine parts in that respect.’

It is clear from what Abiteboul has stated in his interview today that Renault after exploring all the options that they have available to them and will be making a decision in the near future when they have managed to realise what their position is currently in the sport and where they would like to be in the near future.

Even though we will not hear their decision until the second half of the season, the main thing is that they are contracted to Red Bull and Toro Rosso for 2016 and are working on making sure 2016 is better for them as a manufacturer and also for their customers.

Further on in the interview to the media today Renault through Abiteboul has confirmed that they have approached several teams about a takeover, but has been deliberating over the size of the financial burden it is willing to take on. Abiteboul added the following:-

‘We have been in talks with several teams and there is no secret about that. There have been many different types of speculation, one day it’s Lotus, one day it’s Sauber and the next day it’s Toro Rosso. There have been others and there will be others.

‘It’s part of the option we are looking at and with Lotus we need to be extremely careful because it’s no secret that the team has been struggling financially. When you see a team that is struggling financially, there is what you can see and you cannot see; it’s like an iceberg.

‘We need to wonder about the collateral damage associated in particular to the people outside of an organisation associated to the financial difficulties. But we still have a lot of respect for Lotus and what they have been doing. They are not in an easy situation; I worked for Caterham and I know what it means to be struggling to be able to participate in Formula One, so we’ve got a lot of respect.

‘But we need to wonder what will be the right partner team for Renault if – and it’s a big if – we make the decision to stay in the sport and do something different from what we have got. But, again, no final decision on that.’

With Renault approaching several teams on the grid especially Lotus, Abiteboul is correct to say that there is a lot going on behind the scenes with them and they would have to consider all of this if they wanted to buy the team out while also ensuring that they are able to best fit their needs within the sport.

Overall, as we know Renault owned the team currently known as Lotus between 2000 and 2010 before selling a majority stake to current owners Genii Capital. At the time Renault switched its F1 strategy to become an engine supplier and won four consecutive titles in partnership with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013.

However, since the introduction of new V6 turbo power units, Renault has fallen off the pace of rivals Mercedes and Ferrari, bringing about the discussions about its future which is are still circulating throughout the paddock as we speak. Abiteboul has stated today that there will be a decision on their future within the second half of the year and whatever the decision will be; let’s hope its the correct one for them and enables them to get back to winning races and championships as quickly as possible.

Tweaks have been made to the Singapore GP track

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It has been announced today that the Marina Bay Street Circuit will undergo a couple of minor changes ahead of this year’s Singapore Grand Prix with organisers hoping it will aid overtaking.

Modifications have been made at Turns 11, 12 and 13 with the former two no longer a fast chicane as Turn 11 will remain a right-hand, but it will be re-aligned to sit tighter with the left-hand side of Fullerton Road for a slightly slower corner speed.

The left-hand Turn 12 will also be modified slightly so that drivers now enter the left lane of Anderson Bridge, before accelerating towards Turn 13. The hairpin at Turn 13 will be widened by one metre to enable more overtaking opportunities.

In a statement to the press today, Senior Project Manager and Engineering Track Manager Jonathan Giesecke said the following about the changes made to the circuit as follows:-

‘It is a fantastic challenge to translate changes to Singapore’s Civic District into improvements to the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

‘I expect the modifications from Turns 11 to 13 will enable closer racing and the potential for additional passing opportunities.’

Classic #jonesonf1: The 2001 United States Grand Prix

The most iconic picture of the 2001 United States Grand Prix; Mika Hakkinen's final F1 victory.

The most iconic picture of the 2001 United States Grand Prix; Mika Hakkinen’s final F1 victory.

The United States Grand Prix: Round 16 of 17 in the 2001 Formula One World Championship. Heading into the race, Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher leading the Drivers’ Championship by 107 points ahead of McLaren driver David Coulthard in second place with 57 points ahead of Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello who was in third place with 54 points.

Michael Schumacher claims Pole Position for the 2001 United States Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Michael Schumacher claims Pole Position for the 2001 United States Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

In qualifying, Michael Schumacher claimed his tenth Pole Position of the season ahead of the Williams drivers of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya who qualified in second and third placs.

It was one of the closest qualifying sessions this season with provisional Pole changing between drivers with Montoya the first to claim provisional Pole followed by Hakkinen then Barrichello. Michael Schumacher’s first attempt wasn’t good enough but his brother Ralf Schumacher managed to claim provisional Pole from Barrichello.

On his second run, Michael Schumacher took provisional Pole only for Hakkinen to better his time by a mere 0.002 seconds but in his 3rd run Michael Schumacher took Pole position for good.

Mika Hakkinen qualified in fourth place ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Nick Heidfeld in fifth and sixth places. David Coulthard only managed 7th fastest behind an impressive Nick Heidfeld in eighth place ahead of the Jordan drivers of Jarno Trulli and Jean Alesi who rounded off the top ten qualifiers.

After waging a tremendous qualifying battle with Schumacher on Saturday and securing a front-row starting position, Häkkinen dug himself a hole on cool but sunny race day on Sunday.

First, he slid off the track into the guardrail at the end of the infield straight in the morning warmup, damaging his McLaren’s suspension and requiring a heroic job by his crew to get the car ready to race. Three hours later, he learned that his failure to wait for the green light to begin the warmup session had caused his best qualifying lap to be taken away which dropped him from second to fourth position on the grid.

Juan Pablo Montoya leads Michael Schumacher on the opening lap of the 2001 United States Grand Prix.

Juan Pablo Montoya leads Michael Schumacher on the opening lap of the 2001 United States Grand Prix.

At the start, crowd favorite Juan Pablo Montoya pulled his Williams from third spot around the outside of Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari into Turn 1. Side by side through the initial right-hander, the two avoided contact by inches as Schumacher closed the door and seized the advantage into the left-handed Turn 2.

Rubens Barrichello leads the 2001 United States Grand Prix in the early stages. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Rubens Barrichello leads the 2001 United States Grand Prix in the early stages. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

It soon became clear however; that the fastest car on the track was the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello who was ostensibly carrying a light fuel load and on a two-stop strategy. The Brazilian took second from Montoya beginning Lap 3, then passed Schumacher two laps later for the lead.

While Barrichello was making his way to the front, three of the field’s youngest drivers, Sauber teammates Nick Heidfield and Kimi Raikkonen, along with Jordan driver Jarno Trullli entered the braking zone for Turn 1 three-wide on the second lap. Räikkönen became the meat in the sandwich and had his front wing broken by contact with Trulli. He retired immediately after pitting for repairs, while Heidfeld and Trulli were undamaged and both eventually ended up in the points.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya trying to catch Michael Schumacher in the 2001 United States Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Once in the lead, Barrichello quickly opened up a considerable gap back to Schumacher and by his first pit stop on Lap 27, he led by 12.5 seconds. He returned from the pits in fifth place, behind the two McLarens; as Schumacher returned to the lead. Meanwhile Montoya was flying as his Michelin tires began to gain traction and provide him an advantage.

On Lap 34, just a lap after nearly losing control in Turn 4, Montoya took the lead by outbraking Schumacher down the inside of Turn 1 as they approached the Minardi of Alex Yoong.

Almost immediately, Montoya built a 2.3-second advantage, recording the fastest lap of the race before pitting on Lap 36 and returning in fifth. Once again, Schumacher led, this time from Häkkinen, with neither car having visited the pits.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya retires his Williams from the race on Lap 39 of the 2001 United States Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Just two laps later, immediately after Ralf Schumacher had spun and stalled his Williams in Turn 6, the crowd on the front straight groaned as Montoya moved over to the pit wall and rolled to a stop.

When Schumacher stopped on Lap 39, the McLarens were briefly first and second ahead of Barrichello. Coulthard surrendered second place by pitting on Lap 42 and returned in fourth, while Häkkinen took control of the race by staying out until Lap 46.

Mika Hakkinen takes the lead

Mika Hakkinen takes the lead of the 2001 United States Grand Prix on Lap 50.

At Häkkinen’s stop, Barrichello led again until his second stop on Lap 50, when Häkkinen took the lead for good, having won the strategy battle with the World Champions.

As Barrichello returned from his second stop in second place, he seemed to be the only one with a chance to challenge Häkkinen. Both Williams were gone, and the teammates of the two front-runners were showing no signs of mounting an attack, but it seemed the Brazilian might indeed have the speed to chase down the Finn’s McLaren.

Rubens Barrichello chasing down Mika Hakkinen in the final stages of the 2001 United States Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Rubens Barrichello chasing down Mika Hakkinen in the final stages of the 2001 United States Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The gap dropped steadily, down to 2.2 seconds on Lap 61 until smoke started to appear intermittently at the back of car number 2. The engine note on the long front straight each time by made it clear that the usually bulletproof Ferrari was on its last legs.

David Coulthard chasing down Michael Schumacher in the final stages of the 2001 United States Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

David Coulthard chasing down Michael Schumacher in the final stages of the 2001 United States Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

On Lap 71, with Coulthard closing in, Schumacher could hope no longer that his teammate would limp home in second. The German took second from Barrichello, and on the next lap, Coulthard took third, just a few turns before the Ferrari seized and spun on the infield straight.

It was a disappointing end for Barrichello, whose chance for second place in the Driver’s Championship slipped further away, but a tremendously popular and rewarding win for Mika Häkkinen.

Mika Hakkinen wins the 2001 United States Grand Prix, his 20th Grand Prix win of his career ahead of Michael Schumacher in second place and David Coulthard in third place.

Mika Hakkinen wins the 2001 United States Grand Prix, his 20th Grand Prix win of his career ahead of Michael Schumacher in second place and David Coulthard in third place.

Having endured a frustrating and unproductive season, not a Championship contender for the first time in four years, and one race away from a voluntary “sabbatical” from racing, Häkkinen basked in the crowd’s glow, for what would prove to be the last time ahead of Michael Schumacher in second place and David Coulthard in third place.

Jarno Trulli’s three points for fourth place moved Jordan ahead of the Honda-BAR Team in the Constructors Championship that year. Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine finished in fifth place which was his his first time in the points since making the podium in the Monaco GP and Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld’s sixth place was a fitting reward for a fine weekend.

The 2001 United States Grand Prix saw Mika Hakkinen achieve his final win in Formula One after a fantastic career which saw him achieve two world championships and twenty Grand Prix wins. Hakkinen drove a good race and showed the world once again that when he has the car underneath him, he can deliver.

For me, Hakkinen will always be my hero and he was the reason why I got into the sport in the first place and I will always be thankful for this. And it was amazing to see him win a race before he took his sabbatical and then finally announced his retirement from racing. I will never forget how much I cheered for him that day and how emotional it was seeing him win.

This race will always be remembered for being the first international sport/race event held in the USA after the September 11 attacks. It was also the final Grand Prix commentated by the F1 legend that is Murray Walker for British television which also brought a tear to my eye as I grew up with his amazing and unique style of commentary that is still much loved, remembered and missed by the F1 world still today.

And as the 2001 World Championship leaded towards the next round in Japan at the Suzuka Circuit, Schumacher was leading the Driver’s Championship by 116 points ahead of Coulthard with 61 points and also ahead of Barrichello who had 54 points in third place.

Verstappen overwhelmed with his fourth place in Hungary

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In an interview with the media after the Hungarian GP today, Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen said he was “overwhelmed” with fourth place at the Hungarian Grand Prix – the best result of his young Formula One career.

Verstappen convinced himself his chances of a strong race were over after colliding with Valterri Bottas following the safety car restart, an incident which damaged his front wing. However in his interview with the media today; with chaos ensuing around him in the closing stages Verstappen soon found himself fourth position, something he could not believe at the time. Verstappen stated the following:-

‘I’m incredibly happy, to finish P4 is an incredible result. I think my second stint was quite good and then with the safety car restart a lot of people in front me were touching each other, I even had a touch with Valterri. I destroyed my front wing and I even had to serve a drive through penalty and from there on I thought my race was over.

‘But then with five laps to go I asked my engineer for which position are we were racing and he said P4 and I was like ‘where did that come from?’. I still can’t believe it.’

It is clear that Verstappen cannot believe what he has achieved today and believes that everything that happened in the race certainly helped him achieve this result as well as also keeping his head on the track when many drivers didn’t. It is a fantastic achievement for the young rookie and is showing why he was signed to Toro Rosso in the first place.

Verstappen further on in his interview today admits he was speechless when he crossed the line one place off the podium. Verstappen added the following:-

‘I was so happy and even after the finish line I couldn’t express my feelings because I was really overwhelmed.’

As Verstappen has stated in his interview today, he cannot believe that he has achieved a fourth place finish today. But he did well despite what was going on the track to achieve it and is showing that he is a potential talent of the future for sure and has the ability to build upon this result for the rest of the season and also in the near future.

The result is Toro Rosso’s best since Sebastian Vettel finished fourth at the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, his final race before stepping up to Red Bull. It makes Verstappen the youngest driver to finish in the top four of a grand prix and I’ve always said this; Verstappen will be sooner rather than later achieving podiums and even championships in Formula One in the near future and he is certainly more than capable of achieving this. Keep your eyes peeled on him.

Force India believe the kerbs caused Hulkenberg’s crash

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After the Hungarian GP today the Force India team believes that Nico Hulkenberg’s dramatic front wing failure in the Hungarian Grand Prix was probably caused by vibrations over kerbs.

Hulkenberg crashed out of the race at Turn 1 when his front wing failed at high speed, sending him into the tyre wall.

It was the second big accident of the weekend for Force India, after Sergio Perez rolled in free practice following a suspension failure from running over the kerbs too much.

Force India will investigate Hulkenberg’s failure, but in an interview with the media,  the team’s chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer reckons it was also caused by the kerbs. Szafnauer stated the following:-

‘We’re investigating how and why it failed and I think it’s got something to do with the unique inputs the car gets here over the kerbs and the rumble strips. We don’t test anywhere else like this so you can’t just test and say you’ll be fine there [in Hungary].

‘This is the only circuit like this, and Ferrari had a front wing failure too [with Kimi Raikkonen in practice], and Kimi also lost a camera pod in the race. That’s all down to vibrations and how you mount the parts.’

Further on in his interview today, Szafnauer added changes may need to be made to the kerbs, but Force India will also strengthen its parts. Szafnauer added the following:-

‘Whether they change [the circuit] or we change the car to suit, you’ve got to do one of the two. We’ve not had anything like this before, and it’s tough because the pace of the car has really improved.

‘We can definitely fix this and come back and be reliable. The wishbone is already fixed and we’ll fix the wing.’

Penalty points for several drivers after the Hungarian GP

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It was announced after the Hungarian GP that Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado has picked up more penalty points after being penalised by the stewards on three separate occasions during the race.

The Lotus driver was given two separate drive-through penalties for colliding with Sergio Perez and speeding in the pits, plus a ten-second time penalty for overtaking Will Stevens during the Safety Car period. He was also given two penalty points for the clash with Perez, moving him onto a total of six over the past two months – halfway towards a race ban.

Meanwhile his team mate Romain Grosjeanalso picked up two penalty points for an unsafe release from the pits, when he drove side-by-side with Felipe Massa down the narrow Hungaroring pit exit. Grosjean is also on six penalty points for the year so far.

But Lewis Hamilton was given his first two penalty points for colliding with Daniel Ricciardo, while Max Verstappen moves onto a total of five having picked up three for driving too quickly during the Safety Car period. The stewards did not penalise Verstappen for his collision with Bottas, ruling he “took reasonable actions to avoid contact”.

Two further penalty points were handed to Daniil Kvyat for going off the track at turn while overtaking Hamilton, who left the circuit at the same point.

However, Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo were cleared over their collision. The race stewards announced after the race that they had “examined the entire sequence of events leading up to the incident” and ruled that “no driver was wholly or predominately to blame” for the incident.

2015 Hungarian Grand Prix Post-race Press Conference Transcript

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Here’s the official transcript from the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix Post-race Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-

DRIVERS

1 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)

2 – Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull Racing)

3 – Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing)

PODIUM INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by Kai Ebel)

Sebastian, congratulations, and it’s your first ever Hungarian victory. How proud are you in front of all these people after this very special race?

Sebastian Vettel (referred here after as SV):- Incredible day but this victory is for Jules. We know that it has been an incredibly tough week and it’s, I think, for all of us very, very difficult, so this one is for him and especially all the people in Ferrari and all the Ferrari we knew that sooner or later he would have been part of our team, part of this family. Cette victoire, c’est pour Jules.

Great gesture from Sebastian. Sebastian, coming back to this very exciting race – what was going through your mind when you heard the safety car is coming out after a fantastic first part of the race?

SV:- Well, there was definitely, from our point, no need for that, but it obviously made it a lot more interesting at the end. We had a great start and obviously it was crucial to get in the lead straight away. The car was difficult but great to drive and it has been a great race, we showed great pace.

Thank you very, very much to the team for the recovery since Friday and today I think it just came together and despite the safety car we still managed to win, so this one is for the team as well.

Dany Kvyat, it seems to be the day of surprises – your very first podium. How surprised are you by yourself?

Daniil Kvyat (referred here after as DK):- Well, yeah, thank you, thank you to everyone, it’s been a very tough year, race, everything, but I think as a team we all deserve this podium very much. I thank my team very much for this podium. But you know this podium it goes first of all to Jules Bianchi and to his family. We lost a great guy, a great driver. So all my thoughts are with him right now. But first podium, like you said, it’s a great achievement and it feels great.

Thank you, great gesture from you, Dany. But at what stage of the race did you start thinking, well, I can do it today?

DK:- Well, after Turn One I thought my race was over to be honest, because I had such a massive flat spot I could hardly stay on track. But then the team told me to keep pushing. You know some people say “never give up” but they don’t know what they’re saying and until today I didn’t also know what it means really, but today I really learned what it means to never give up because it can always come your way.

Thank you Dany and coming to the next Danny – Daniel Ricciardo come to me – the honey badger is on the podium. Lots of tough fighting today. How tough was the fighting on track for you?

Daniel Ricciardo (referred here after as DR):- It was a crazy race. There was contact in Turn One, I thought there was a lot of damage, I thought the race was over. Then contact on the restart with Lewis, I thought the race was probably over and then contact with Nico as well. We were resilient today.

I left it all on the track. Let’s say I put my heart into everything today. I think that’s the way Jules would have wanted it, so I owe that race to him and I’m very grateful to be on the podium, it’s feels like a victory. It’s been a long time, a long season for me, so I feel that I gained some strength today and I owe this one to me. Yeah, that’s it.

Coming back to… a lot of incidents today, to the incident today. Did you think you would keep the third position? We have to talk about this, because it was a really tough manoeuvre between the two of you?

DR:- I came from a long way back. We know we don’t have the speed on the straight, so… I knew we were quick enough to win. I saw Seb wasn’t getting away, so I thought if I could get Nico I could probably get Seb, so the laps were counting down, I saw a gap and I went for it.

At that stage the move was clean and then it just looked like Nico cut back on the exit and came across and just… I guess I didn’t have enough room and we touched. I touched his tyre and he touched my wing. It was close. It’s disappointing, we both obviously ruined our chances of a win but I wanted to leave it all out there.

Thank you Daniel. Final word with Sebastian. Sebastian, going to the summer break and I know you’re here with your mobile home. Why not spend a couple of weeks here in this fantastic land of Hungary with all the guys?

SV:- Yeah. The weather is always great, the people are great…. Now I have no choice! No, I’m sure we’ll have a great night. Obviously I still remember what happened in Malaysia after the race, so I hope it’s going to be very similar. No, it’s great, it’s great; so many fans around here, so much support all around the track, a lot of German flags, it’s really special. Thank you.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Sebastian, congratulations and amongst the other things to note today, you equalled Ayrton Senna’s 41 career victories, and a great example of how motor sport can stir the emotions in so many ways. The win obviously built on the performance at the start; the safety car threatened it towards the closing stages, but how proud are you of the win that you achieved today and the way that you did it?

SV:- Well, as you mentioned, it’s incredible the ups and downs you can go through… look, in the end we have a common passion, something we love, something… we are very different people, different guys, but we share a great passion and that is what drives us. I think the love for racing is bigger than anything else.

It was a tough start, a tough week, obviously with Tuesday, and then to think about Jules again on the grid – certainly very emotional and difficult to get back in the rhythm. But then you find yourself back in the car, visor down and there are so many things you have to think about there’s not really much space for other things. I guess we do what we love to do, what we have to do. Equally mentioning Senna’s record is something incredible.

I don’t know how to put this in words. I think nevertheless today is for Jules and his family. I think that’s bigger than everything else. But certainly for us, for the team, for myself, it was an amazing day. A great start. Obviously a bit hairy at the end where we had to push again.

Unfortunately lost Kimi’s comfortable second position, also due to a problem that he suffered. So, I don’t know, I think if you take the last couple of days, the up and down, both emotionally and in terms of performance, I think it’s difficult to beat, but obviously it’s great to come out on top and sit here now.

Thank you, coming to you Daniil, your second season in Formula One, your first podium. Early on in the race you had to let Daniel through but you made quite a recovery to finish in second place. Was strategy they key to that?

DK:- Well, yeah, it’s fantastic to be on the podium for the first time, it’s hard to describe what I feel today. I think first of all, the second place goes to Jules Bianchi and his family. You know, we lost a great guy, a fantastic person and a great driver. Yeah, it was a race where everything happened for me to be honest.

After the start I thought my race was over, because I had a massive flat spot. We were discussing with the team whether we should box straight away or not, but we decided to stay out. Then we had a decent stint on the prime but still it wasn’t feeling great through the race. But then something picked up and it was going in the right direction in the second half of the race. The rivals were fighting and I found myself in second place. Today I definitely learned never to give up, whatever happens. It’s a great lesson today.

The team, you know, we’ve been having such a hard year and I think all the team, all the guys in the team, all the mechanics have been working so hard and they all deserve this so much. Today I understood that we want to be back to the top one day.

Q:- Coming to you Daniel, obviously a double Red Bull podium, your best result of the season as well. You had such an eventful afternoon: the start, I think you dropped down to seventh place in the opening lap, contact with Bottas I believe, later on you had contact with other drivers as well, including, obviously, Nico Rosberg at the end. In amongst all of that some trademark Ricciardo overtakes as well – so it was an afternoon that had pretty much everything I guess?

DR:- It was a crazy race. Already from the start, the first corner there was pretty big contact with, I think, Bottas and yeah, the front of the car jumped and I thought we’d damaged something. It was quite a big hit. But then, yeah, we seemed to still have relatively good pace. I saw Dany in front was struggling, so then the team decided to, let’s say, let me go through.

I was saying I was faster and knew we could do better pace. So then we got quickly past the Force India and then quickly back past Bottas with some good moves. Then the pace was pretty good. At the restart we had the Option, that was an advantage. That was pretty much an advantage from yesterday by only using the Prime in Q1 so were able to take advantage of that today I guess.

Then the restart, I just tried to go around the outside of Lewis. You don’t see much in the cars. Obviously your peripheral vision’s pretty limited but I just felt him come in, so I just assumed he’d locked the front wheel and slid up into me, so we had more damage after that. I saw the right sidepod flapping around. Nonetheless, we’re in third. I saw the pace was good, we were catching Seb and Nico and I was close – but not close enough – to Nico and obviously they’re not so slow on the straights.

The laps were ticking down, I had to try something and I got a pretty good run out of the last corner and yeah, just said ‘I’m going for it this lap, no matter what,’ and I went for it. To be honest, the move, it was, for sure, late but it was clean. Up until the apex it was fine. Obviously Nico saw me and left me room on the entry and then, just the exit, from what I recall he just came back across and just basically didn’t give me enough room.

I don’t know if he thought he’d cleared me yet – but we made contact and that was when he earned a puncture and I got the front wing damage. We gifted the young Russian his first podium – but obviously he was there to take it so congrats to him and, I mean, we pitted for a front wing and fortunately we still ended up on the podium. As all the drivers have said, this race was for Jules.

I left everything on the track. Whether some competitors like it or not, that’s how I wanted to do it and that’s how I’ll always do it. And watching Jules grow up, that was how he did it. He had amazing race craft and made some pretty impressive lunges. I feel all the moves on track were… I drove inspired today and I’m happy to be standing up here.

It’s been an emotional week. Before the race was emotional. Obviously very nice to have his family in the presence and, yeah, this one’s for him. Hopefully we find… yeah… some happiness from this weekend and move on.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q:- (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speedsport Magazines) Daniel, you’ve told us that, other than winning, you love fierce battles. You had those today but is it a bit bittersweet that you saw second and maybe first sort-of slip away?

DR:- Yes, it’s a lot of mixed emotions about many things right now. Firstly, I’m definitely still grateful to be on the podium. It’s been, I guess, a long year, a tough one definitely. All of a sudden to find two of our cars on the podium, it’s pretty surreal. But yeah, I knew I could have sat in third and accepted that but knowing that I had the pace – I had the Option, compared to Seb and Nico on the Prime – I had an opportunity to do something about it.

It was nearly like Déjà vu, nearly like the end of the race last year. Basically I’ve come third before, I thought ‘we have a chance to win,’ so I went for it. I guess it’s a bit of a shame how it ended up but at the same time I don’t regret anything I did on track today. I definitely left it all on there and I thought I drove with a heavy but a strong heart, and that makes me happy. Definitely no regrets.

Q:- (Oleg Karpov – motorsport.com) My question to Dany – two questions actually – first of all, you were catching on those last laps Daniel and Nico. Do you think you had the pace to give them a fight in the end. Secondly, what did you think when they collided, what was going through your mind?

DK:- After the safety car restart there was an open fight for the podium between all of us. To be honest, I must give a credit to Daniel. His pace has been better this weekend than mine, I think he had a better chance of a shot for victory this weekend than I did. Certainly had a shot for podium in the end but, y’know, my tyres were not in a great condition, to be honest.

I was coming closer, step-by-step but I think it would be really hard, especially considering the Mercedes straight line advantage, to give them a fight for the podium, so Daniel, I think, did the right thing trying to go for it – but yeah, this weekend I think, like I said, I’ve been able to take every opportunity and that’s where I am right now. The pace we will have to analyse. But, you know, sometimes you are faster, sometimes you are slower and this is how it goes in racing.

Q:- (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Congratulations Sebastian for winning the so-called Finnish Grand Prix first time! How much better it would have felt to have to have first one-two for Ferrari in five years?

SV:- I think it looked pretty promising off the line. Obviously it was a great move from Kimi. I think, obviously, he started another row back and we managed to be one-two after the first couple of corners. So, I guess he did a hell of a job to get these Mercedes in the first two corners.

Yeah, then I was told during the safety car phase that he has a problem with the car. He lost the [MGU]-K and obviously then you’re pretty chanceless, you lose a lot of power and then all the systems start to misbehave, so in the end he didn’t finish. It’s a shame – because I think it could have been, first of all, a very, very strong team result and second, y’know, a one-two.

Yeah, it’s a great day for Ferrari but not as great as it could have been. Obviously a bit of a shame for Kimi – it’s not my job but all the bullshit that’s been going around recently, I think both of us were driving a very consistent race and deserved a one-two today. I think that’s a couple of answers to some questions.

Q:- (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) Sebastian, this is your ninth Hungarian Grand Prix but only your first win. On most of the tracks you’ve got much better statistic. Do you think that with this victory you can change your luck in the future here?

SV: I hope so! It has been a while. In all honestly, I’m a little bit disappointed because we didn’t have the traditional Hungarian trophy with the porcelain on the podium today. So, 99.8 per cent happy. I was looking forward to that – not that I have a crush on porcelain or a weakness for porcelain but I think it belongs to this grand prix. To the organisers, please go back and… [to Daniel] did you have a porcelain one last year?

DR:- No, same as yours

SV:- S*** I don’t know what happened. I think 2010 I was very close to win and did a stupid mistake and then we had this very ugly – I’m not saying the brand – dog with four legs, or five legs, or six, I don’t even know – then they went back to the porcelain one, now they’ve gone back to something else!

Obviously it’s great to win but not entirely perfect. I’ve always liked this track. Great to see so many fans, a lot of German flags, a lot of Germans and Austrians coming to support… I guess a little bit less Austrians this year… supporting me but therefore a lot of Italian and Ferrari flags around, so it was great. I’m very, very happy to tick this box finally.

Q:- (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Sebastian, how much of a surprise was the pace of the Ferrari to the… where has it come from because we didn’t see it on Friday and Saturday? And did you think it was a mistake to switch to the medium tyres behind the safety car for the last stint?

SV:- Well, we had to run the primes at some point so no choice. Obviously we knew that by going option, option and then have to go prime, it’s not ideal for the safety car but it was the quickest race. I think without the safety car no questions to be answered now but that’s how it goes:  sometimes it’s in your favour, sometimes it’s not.

I think Friday was obviously a bad day for us so I don’t think you can take that as a reference and yesterday I think we had a good recovery and then it remained open how quick we really were on a long run but today was really really good, I think. It makes a difference if you find yourself in clean air, dictating the pace rather than following the top two cars. In some races we didn’t really see them for long.

In other races we were sort of stuck behind them and you cannot really show your true pace so I think – especially in the beginning of the race, but then again, I think the whole race – the pace was really really good. I think Lewis was still probably a little bit quicker but didn’t have a smooth Grand Prix so this is how it goes sometimes.

Q:- (Viktor Bognar – Magyarszo) I think this must be the best ever race for Red Bull drivers because all three of you were part of Red Bull plus Max Verstappen finished fourth. What do you think Helmut Marko is thinking right now?

SV:- I think he’s pretty happy. To be honest I have a… obviously Helmut loves racing, he’s very straightforward as we all know and for sure he would have loved me to be third and not first today but he has always been a man with great respect and since I obviously told him my decision, he has still been a supporter, we are still in contact.

It’s great to see that despite the colour that we wear that we still share something that is larger than that. I think that he has… I know that he has received a lot of criticism in the past for his programme, his Junior programme that he’s mostly looking after and I think that if you look at the podium today, I think he’s very happy.

DK:- I owe a lot to Helmut, Dr Marko. He’s a kind of racing father for me. I wouldn’t be sitting here without his support right now.

SV:- We all wouldn’t.

DK:- We all wouldn’t actually so yeah, Seb answered it correctly right now. Always great opportunities, great chances but you have to deliver, simple as that and today it felt like I did my best, super opportunities and this podium is also… you know we all share this podium with him today and I’m extremely happy to share it with him as well.

DR:- You never know what he’s thinking! I’m sure he’s happy.

Q:- (Livio Oricchio – Globoesporte.com) To both Red Bull drivers: here is a circuit where the power of the engine doesn’t have as great importance. Can you analyse the development of Renault and the development of the chassis?

DR:- I think that what’s been the most positive thing about this weekend is from Friday morning, first run on the track, the car felt good. I think it’s the first race in a long time where we haven’t really touched the balance throughout the weekend. We haven’t been chasing our tail, the car had more feeling about it this weekend, at least from my side.

I felt like I could dictate the balance a bit more and position the car more where I wanted to. It’s quite a bumpy circuit. I felt the car was behaving well over the bumps, even comparing to last year I thought we definitely made some progress. Even though for sure this circuit suits our car more, I did feel like we’ve taken a step forward and the updates and everything we brought over the last two races, we made them work in the right way this weekend so definitely a lot of positives and yeah, it’s nice to have I guess a smile on both of our faces but also the team, give them some positivity coming into the break now.

I’m sure Spa… you know there’s more straights there but I’m sure we can still be strong. We’re going to be enjoying the second sector a lot. It was a pretty good circuit for us last year. I think we’ve made some good progress nonetheless even though it’s track specific.

Renault?  On Friday it was an old power unit, old spec everything  so that was not an issue. Today in the race I thought it performed well. Here it’s obviously less… yeah, less sensitive, thanks Seb, with the power and everything. It was good. As we saw in the last part of the race, we had the pace to win.

We were there, fighting for it so I think from Renault’s side, from the team’s side, it’s been our best weekend yet and I’m proud for everyone in the team to show that and show some progress and maybe we won’t get asked so many questions now in Spa.

Q:- (Peter Vamosi – Vas Nepe) Sebastian, before you leave Hungaroring, please sign the 2015 picture in the pit tunnel and draw a picture of you. There is a picture now? OK. Great.

SV:- That’s quick.

Q:- (Peter Vamosi – Vas Nepe) You can sign it now.

SV:- I’ve been thinking about that all weekend when I’ve walked through. I was looking at Piquet, Senna and then Daniel at the end and I thought haaa.

Q:- (Peter Vamosi – Vas Nepe) Now it’s your opportunity, yes. And of course is Hungary right now in a special place in your heart because your last World Series by Renault race was here, your first race for Toro Rosso was also here and after nine years, you managed to win?

SV:- Yeah, it’s definitely special. I remember I was late, I missed the flight coming for my first Formula One race on the Thursday, I was late, obviously my first time with Toro Rosso. It’s a good story now but back then I wasn’t making myself very popular being the new guy in the team and arriving late.

I don’t know, it has been a little bit up and down here. I don’t know why. I think we had quite a lot of pole positions in the recent years. I think 2010 was the most obvious race that I should have won but messed up with that silly mistake during the safety car phase and after I think that we had the pace but then the races decided to go a different way and yeah, despite the fact that we had a great car… we always had a great car around here, couldn’t really use that. It’s great, obviously, to turn around, very special to do it now with Ferrari as well, so very happy and hopefully it’s a sort of turning point in my Hungarian Grand Prix career.

Q:- (Attila Lenart – Auto 2) Danil, does it mean anything to you… I mean does it make the champagne sweeter that your first podium actually happened in a country where most of the people have been taught to learn Russian, so they can more or less spell your name correctly?

DK:- Well, yeah, it’s been a story for a while I guess. It’s only five letters but so challenging to say.

SV:- How do you actually say it?

DK:- I already forgot how to say it right to be honest myself! It’s Kvyat, it’s quite easy but you’re right. Before the Russian Grand Prix, before any Russian circuit was built, this was kind of a home race for myself, I would say, because it’s the most eastern country in Europe where we race.

It’s a pleasure. The Hungaroring has been up and down for me in the junior formulae; there have been good races, bad races. Today was a really good race so yeah, like you said, a very special day.