Tag Archives: Post-Race Press Conference Transcript

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference Transcript

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Here’s the official transcript of the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference Transcript as provided by the FIA as follows:-

DRIVERS

1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

2 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

3 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)

PODIUM INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by David Coulthard)

Q: Lewis, you’re 53rd victory in Formula One but I suspect this is a slightly different feeling to some of the others?

Lewis Hamilton (referred here after as LH):- Honestly, I feel great. Firstly, I want to say a big thank you to everyone that came out to support us. I’ve got so many British fans out here this weekend. Thank you so much, I love you guys. Thank you to all my family for all their support and especially to  the team for doing such a great job. It’s been a real privilege being part of this team and achieving the success we’ve had this year.

I never would have thought when I joined this team that I would have that many wins. I think that’s 32 wins with this team so a big thank you to everyone here and back at the factory. And a big congratulations to Nico, of course, his first world championship. Good job, man.

Q: Allow me to get out of the way when you are doing the handshake. Well done [Nico] you’re nice and wet. I don’t want to force anything but maybe you could do the handshake again. There you go, there’s the love. Nico, just another day at the office?

NR: Hell, no! That was definitely not the most enjoyable race I’ve ever had. With Max in the beginning and then with those guys coming up in the end, really not very enjoyable those last few laps. Very, very glad it’s over and unbelievably ecstatic. What do you call it when you give the win to my wife, to you [Vivian], amazing, thank you for all the support and to our daughter Alaϊa…

Q: Don’t you cry on us, Nico!

NR: Oh, I’ll thank everybody else afterwards… unreal.

Q: I can see the tears and we understand why. We do have to wait until a week on Friday until you are announced as champion but this time 34 years ago this was a similar time for the Rosberg family?

NR: Yeah, very, very proud to have done the same feat as my dad achieved, he’s going to be coming in about half an hour I think, so it will be exciting to see him.

Q: Fantastic, well Nico, we’ll come back to you. We;’ll leave you with those thoughts. Now, Sebastian Vettel – it’s been a while, you’ve not been here since Monza.

Sebastian Vettel (referred here after as SV):- Yeah, we’ve aged!

Q: I have, you look wonderful. Where have you been? Why has it taken this long? That was an amazing strategy and you really came back and pushed these guys hard.

SV: Well, before I answer your questions, congratulations [Nico]… it was tough out there in the last couple of laps. I didn’t want to be in his shoes. I was trying to get close and have another go because I was thinking to, why not pass both of them, if Lewis is going that slow in front? But it was difficult because my tyres were also dropping more to the end.

But you mentioned the strategy obviously. Bit stuck at the beginning of the race, couldn’t really unfold my pace, I was starting to get a bit frustrated but once I had clean air I could really also on the old tyres unleash the pace we had today. The whole team deserves the podium today. I think we have worked so hard. We have had so much criticism this year – sometimes right, sometimes not justified – but that’s how it goes, it’s a tough game, we’re fighting really tough opponents.

It’s been a tough year but it’s nice to finish on a high and I think we take that momentum into next year. There is a lot of work going on back in Maranello, so big thanks also to everyone there.

Q: Just coming back in, Lewis, you’re a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, your face doesn’t lie. We’ve seen you celebrate some victories… tell us a little bit your thoughts, your emotions right now on where you are today?

LH: Well, I did everything I could these last four races and that’s really all I could ask of myself. I leave here… I’m going to have a lot of fun tonight, celebrating with the team and everyone and you can’t win them all. Obviously we had a lot of problems this year, and that’s inevitably why I’m in this position but I’m still grateful for all the success and the ups and downs we had as a team.

Q: Well, congratulations on this victory. Nico, coming back to you: you’re holding it but you want to unleash those tears don’t you?

NR: No, it’s OK. I also want to say congrats to Lewis, you did a great season, great competitor, massively quick always. Congrats, always tough to beat you. Guys, at the team Mercedes, please put the music on, I’m coming down in one second. And my mom, I’m really looking forward to seeing her, she’s going to be coming with dad in a second, so whole family together it’s going to be wonderful.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Lewis, congratulations on the strong end to your season. Fairly straightforward grand prix for you really until the final laps when obviously… you were saying in the press conference earlier in the weekend that it was difficult to back the pack up but tell us your thinking in the final part of the grand prix?

LH: Yeah, obviously happy with the win, it was relatively easy to get the win in the end. Great job by the team throughout the weekend and through the year so big thank you to everyone there. I knew being in the lead I knew I was losing the world championship, I was hoping that Sebastian… I heard the pace he was on and I knew I could do that pace exactly, so I was hoping that he would close up, but I guess he said his tyres were going off towards the end and Nico drove well to not make mistakes.

Q: How do you feel then about the season, looking back?

LH: Good. I did everything that I could, particularly towards the end and obviously Nico had a very, very clean year without any real issues to be honest and that’s why we sit in this position right now. But he did a fantastic job, so big congratulations to him, it’s a great feeling to win the world championship and I look forward to fighting with him next year.

Q: Thank you. Coming to you Nico, many congratulations. Obviously a critical point in the race for you was the overtake on Max Verstappen. You were told by your engineer it was critical to pass him and it was very, very close. A heart in the mouth moment for you?

NR: For sure. The feelings out there in that battle with Max… unreal, really unreal. I hope I don’t experience that again any time soon. And the same again at the end, you know: pressure on from behind, Lewis driving slow at the front. It was a tough one.

Q: You’ve had your emotions and your whole psychology so locked down, you’ve talked about going one race at a time. Now it’s all over, what was it like? Really, on the inside, mentally?

NR: It’s crazy. The thing is it was so intense – the race – it’s still going to take some time I think to settle it and come out because it was really intense out there and so tough in the end. Those last couple of laps with those two guys behind. If I dropped being them it’s over so not enjoyable.

Q: Very well done. Sebastian, Ferrari have been criticized a number of times on the strategy front but today they absolutely aced it. Brilliant tactic – long second stint, attacking on the supersofts, tell us your feelings and particularly your decision-making process in the last couple of laps?

SV: Well, in the last couple of laps it was clear. It was clear we would be able to make big progress but before it was difficult. Obviously with Max coming back, staying out so long, coming back to fight for the last podium spot, or the same positions as the group of Kimi, Daniel, myself, made it tricky. Then Max pulled in very early.

That was one way to do it and the other way was to go long. When I was behind the two cars of Kimi and Daniel I was trying to save my tyres and trying to stay in reach but still having enough tyres to make it longer and once they pulled in it was clear that we would go long. Then I think those laps were really critical. Fortunately I had some tyres left and I could really make that count with consistent laps.

I didn’t lose too much versus the group that had pitted already. Once I came out the question was ‘how long are these cars going to last’ and it proved to be just enough. Daniel was fairly straightforward to pass, but then when I arrived behind Max, the problem is that you have car after car after car and you begin to slide, so my tyres got worse. Then I was behind Nico and I was faster, but I think also due to the fact that Lewis was slowing down.

I tried everything but they were very, very quick down the straights. I think with the Red Bulls it was a little bit easier. I think also, Max didn’t have DRS, whereas at the end I think Nico had DRS. The second straight was the spot I was having a look, but Nico defended well and closed the inside so I couldn’t really go anywhere.

I couldn’t try something really stupid because Lewis was just ahead, so if I really dived down the inside or down the outside then I have a risk of hitting Lewis at that point. It as critical and I also saw Max coming back in the mirrors but for sure the last laps were intense, I was thinking also at some point to win the race as well, because I think the chance was there, but both of them did their job well at the end. Nevertheless, as you said, happy with the podium.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Ysef Harding – Xiro Xone News) Lewis this season you took your fans and everyone on quite a rollercoaster of a ride. For the millions of fans that watched you along the way, you had some incredible drives and you also achieved quite a few goals, with that are your able to take those positives heading into the off-season?

LH: Most definitely. There have been a lot of great things that have happened this year. One in particular is the bond and relationship I have with my mechanics and engineers – my new mechanics – that joined my side of the garage. They did a fantastic job all year long. I think the working relationship has been better than ever, particularly going through all those experiences. There’s that and I was generally quickest most of the year, so it’s definitely been a positive, a lot of positives to take from it. So I take that into next season.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) How much was [it] annoying [you] the box asking you to improve your pace and aren’t you afraid that the relationship with the team now is a little bit more cold?

LH: Not really. I don’t know why they didn’t just let us just race. There was never a moment where I felt I was going to lose the race. It’s a shame that they wouldn’t but it’s quite clear their through process and yeah I mean I don’t really have much to say.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Lewis you said there was never a moment you were afraid of losing the race but you probably knew Sebastian was on different tyres, were you not afraid that maybe it could catch you out with his tyre advantage?

LH: There was never a moment that I felt that I was risk, so no.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Lewis, you just said there was never a moment you were afraid of losing the race – but you probably knew that Sebastian was on different tyres. Were you not afraid that maybe it can catch you out with his tyre advantage.

LH: As I said, there was never a moment that I felt I was at-risk, so no.

Q: (Jerome Pugmire – AP) Question for Lewis. To follow up on that, do you find it an inconvenience… do you find it a bit annoying that you receive instructions like that a few laps from the end when you’re under intense pressure in a title race? Could you do without that?

LH: Not really – because it wasn’t really intense to be honest. It was pretty chilled at the end. There was not much… maybe intense for you but it wasn’t intense for me. No. For me it’s… I’m in a position where I’ve obviously had a lot of points lost during the season so for me, I’m out there fighting and I generally never try to do anything to harm the team or the brand or anything like that.

But we’ve won the Constructors’ Championship so it was down to me and Nico today. And however, they still felt they needed to make comments and so… well, y’know, we’ll discuss it afterwards as we always do as a team and pull back in. But we can’t let that overshadow the fact that Nico’s just won a Championship and the team has dominated all year long, we’d had more wins than any other team I think in the past maybe. So, we cannot ignore that fact that it’s been an incredibly successful year.

Q: (Jens Nagler – Bild) Question to Sebastian. Could you have even more pushed on Nico in the last couple of rounds?

SV: Well I did what I could, obviously. At that point, you follow two cars, you slide, the tyres start to go too hot. I was struggling with my fronts at that point so it was difficult to stay close. So I did what I could. As I said, Lewis was probably a bit too close otherwise I could have had a better look. Nico defended well.

Turn 11 was the spot where maybe I could have had a chance, and then maybe I could have had a chance and then towards the last laps he had always the tow also from the car in front, from Lewis. Without the tow, I think I could have had a better chance but that way it was impossible. My interest as soon as I passed Max was to win the race – but bearing in mind obviously that they are fighting for the Championship and… I mean we could all feel and see what was going on. Lewis was trying to back Nico up into the rest of the pack…

LH: Just trying to help you out buddy!

SV: Yeah, I’m sure you would have waved me past as well. As I said, my main interest was in winning the race but I couldn’t get past both of them.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesport.com) Lewis, when you realised that Nico had difficulties to overtake Max, did you think maybe you have more chance to win the Championship?

LH: Not really. I think that that point I didn’t really know… I didn’t have a lot of information from the team in terms of what I was supposed to do so I pushed a little bit, got a little bit of a gap. I was obviously just take care of my race – but I didn’t know if I needed a ten second lead or less. So, I just tried to look after my tyres and get to my target, which I did. And then I saw that Nico had passed and picked up his pace which was good, and at that point I tried to pick up my pace also.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta Dello Sport) Question to Lewis. Lewis do you really think it’s fair to slow down the race on purpose only to push you team colleague into troubles. Only in terms of being fair.

LH: I don’t think I did anything dangerous today. So, I don’t feel I did anything unfair. We’re fighting for a championship, I was in the lead, I control the pace. That’s the rules.

Q: (Ysef Harding – Xiro Xone News) Sebastian, in a different condition, without the Championship deciding this last race, you could try something else? And when, during the race, when said by radio “it’s four laps that I’m asking to do something,” because in that moment you didn’t have clear picture of the race? You change something in the strategy during the race?

SV: Well, you have a plan but then, to be fair, you never know how the race unfolds. Obviously we are all starting from the grid, you might change position first corner, first lap. So the plan is flexible. I think you know what to do, you know where you can go with which tyre, etcetera, but from where I was obviously I was stuck. It was very difficult to make progress because the car in front of me had a tow from another car, so obviously Daniel was behind Kimi and therefore it was difficult for me to really get close and overtake.

I was probably a bit quicker but not enough – and it’s also not the easiest track to overtake. And then I was asking to do something and at the same time Max dived into the pits and then that opportunity was gone, because it was really going for an aggressive undercut, going very long on the harder tyres, or the soft tyres.

When that door closed obviously it was clear that Kimi will come in next, and Daniel, because they were battling each other and then I decided, we decided to go on the supersoft tyre, try to do something different which turned out to be the right thing. And at the end, could I have done more? I don’t think so.

As I said, I was running out of tyres, I think. I have also one comment to make. I think, in my point of view, you don’t win the Championship by luck. Nico won the Championship today. He’s a deserved champion. You collect a lot of points throughout the season, sometimes you might have, yeah, fortunate situations, unfortunate situations with your car but I think there’s been other situations in the past with other drivers, that’s the way it goes. Sometimes you have better years in this regard, sometimes worse years but I think today is Nico’s day and it’s a sign of respect and greatness to give him that. I think we owe it to him, he’s a deserved champion.

QUESTIONS TO NICO ROSBERG

Q: (Ysef Harding, Xero Xone News) Nico, now that you’ve won this championship, can you convey to your fans, who was driving you, who was pushing you, who was giving you the energy and the strength to get through this season and win this championship?

NR: It’s everybody who’s supporting me in the world. It’s all the people watching on TV who support me, all the people who come to the races, even this weekend, a lot of Germans out there and from the whole world, supporting me through the whole weekend. That’s really, really special. It’s a special feeling, a very unique feeling. I’m very thankful to all of them.

And then of course the people closer to me. It’s my whole team, which is my racing family. I joined Mercedes in 2010 and it was a rough ride initially and now it’s come good in the last years and now it’s come good for me today – and that’s very, very special also. So, big thanks to my racing family, to Mercedes, to my family, to all of my team around me, working around me. Everybody has there part in this. It’s such a long way to get to today, really.

My go-karting engineer from when I was ten was writing me last night, memories from ten years old, fighting for the French championship, stories of motivation he was sending me yesterday, so it’s just all the way from there, every year it builds up to this success today. Even all those people through my career. I had a lot of important mentors in that sense. All the way through. If this is the moment to mention them, I will.

It’s Serge Dino in go-karting, then in cars it was Team Rosberg and Peter Sieber and Erich Baumgärtner in Formula 3. Arno Zensen, Team Rosberg. After that came GP2 where it’s Nicolas Todt, Fred Vasseur, big thanks to them for getting me into F1, and Steve Marcel who unfortunately passed away. After that F1, Williams, Frank Williams, Sam Michael, Patrick Head, to get me into F1. And after that, what come after that? The people that took me to Mercedes, that was Norbert Haug and Ross Brawn, Nick Fry, thanks to all of you to get me into Mercedes. That was the beginning of the story, and then of course Toto, massive thanks to Toto and Paddy and Niki for continuing it on and taking me to where I am today.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Congratulations Nico. On Thursday Lewis said that the last night of 2014 was awful for him and he didn’t sleep. How was that weekend for you and how did you live with all that pressure?

NR: If it’s OK maybe you can understand that maybe I wasn’t completely transparent the whole weekend. Of course I need protect myself a little bit also from your world which is pretty intense, the world media world. So yes it was a very, very tough weekend for me. Many moments not so enjoyable of course, like especially the race, for example. Very, very tough with Verstappen in the beginning there and then in the end of course. Not nice!

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Nico, massive congratulations. I know that Germany right now is celebrating their new champion, but how much glory of that achievement will you give to your Finnish side and your Finnish father?

NR: Heikki Kulta, if I can give you a new statistic: two Rosbergs are World Champions now! That’s just a statistic for you – if I got my statistics right, so that’s quite a nice new one. What was the question? Sorry.

I have a Finnish passport as well, so I would love to know that everybody in Finland that was supporting me is also very very happy. That would be great and thanks for all your support back in Finland. Of course a part of me is Finnish and always will be and I’m very proud of that.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Nico, Lewis said he was leading the race, he has…

NR: Gerhard Berger also, for his support this year. Sitting right there.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Nico, Lewis said he was leading the race, he had the right to conduct the pace of the race…

NR: That’s a pretty simple discussion. You can understand the team’s perspective and you can understand Lewis’s perspective so there’s no… that’s it.

Q: (Kevin Eason – The Times) Nico, did you sleep last night?

NR: I managed to get a few hours in, yeah. I didn’t know what to expect but it worked out OK, yes.

Q: (Kevin Eason – The Times) And where have you been hiding your family, your parents?

NR: My wife is right there and my daughter is back in the hotel.

Q: (Kevin Eason – The Times) And what about your Mum and Dad?

NR: Mum was in the garage just now and Dad, well, he’s going to be here as well.

Q: (Kevin Eason – The Times) Where have they been?

NR: I’ve no idea. They’re here now, they were hiding.

Q: (Kevin Eason – The Times) Have they been hiding then? Did you not want them around? How did it work?

NR: I hope my Dad survived that race actually. I haven’t seen him yet. I’m sure it was pretty intense for him so I hope he’s OK and I can’t wait to see him in a while, because I’ve only seen my Mum for now so I don’t know where he is.

Q: (Kevin Eason – The Times) So was he hiding from you?

NR: No, no, they were not here. They just came now, after the race.

Q: (Jerome Pugmire – Associated Press) Nico, do you think that one of your biggest achievements if not your biggest achievement this year was your mental strength, your focus? You don’t seem to have been distracted by pretty much almost anything this season, even when there were incidents earlier in the season you seem to have managed to keep your focus. Would you say that’s your biggest achievement alongside your title?

NR: For sure it’s a key ingredient, yeah, to why I’m here now. It’s continual, yeah, it’s just my approach that I’ve taken from myself. Everybody does his own way; for me that feels best and I’ve really learned to focus hard. It takes a lot of sacrifice also to stay so focused during a whole year. For sure that helped, yeah.

Q: (Jon McEvoy – Daily Mail) Congratulations on your win today, Nico. Your father’s obviously been in the background. He hasn’t been seen in the last few days but hasn’t been seen either for the last few months. What’s been the level of involvement with your father? Are there any words of wisdom or has he really been at arm’s length over the few weeks and months and days as well?

NR: Every Saturday night I get a message from him and most of the time it’s like ‘pedal to the metal tomorrow, full stop, exclamation mark.’ So that’s his words of advice every weekend. But my Dad and my Mum both have such a big part in this, my Mum on the private side of course and my Dad for the career steps and all the support all the way. It was massive. I think it’s been good how’s he’s let me get on with it and taken a step back. I think it’s been very very good and it’s worked well for us and for me, it feels right, so I’m very very thankful for that. It’s his way of stepping back a bit for sure.

Q: (Saher Soukar – Saneou Al Hadath ) Congratulations Nico, my question is, what will change in your life after winning today?

NR: OK, that’s a question. I’m sure it’s going to be pretty crazy now for the next few days but I look forward to all that, it’s going to be special. Tonight is going to go absolutely nuts, I mean tonight is going to be insane. I think I’m going to be not available for a few days after that and… I don’t know.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Sometimes attack is the best form of defence; once you realised what games Lewis was playing, did you ever think about attacking him or vice versa, in the end, using Sebastian Vettel to put pressure on him, by letting Vettel past?

NR: Lewis was using all his skill to do it perfectly, so there was absolutely no way for me to manage to get by, so of course I thought about it but it was just pointless so there was no way. He did it in a very good way, in a perfect way.

Q: (Graham Caygill – The National ) Congratulations Nico, you had a really strong inter last season, you won here 12 months ago and you won the last few races and the last six pole positions of the season. How important was that strong inter-season after a difficult earlier time in the year, to building to this season? Did it play a part, was it important to have a good winter?

NR: For sure that was a big turning point, it was Austin, because Austin was a horrible experience for me and I really spent two days just on my own thinking and I said I didn’t ever want to experience that again and then I went and won the next seven races on the trot, so for sure it was a big moment for me and one of the key moments for being here today.

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Nico, do you think you can use number one next year or are you going to carry on with the family number six?

NR: I have no idea. I love number six of course, my Dad won the World Championship with number six as well, so it’s a very lucky number for us. Don’t know, that’s it.

Q: (Ysef Harding – Xiro Xone News) Nico, what’s the flight home going to be like and what do you have planned for the off-season?

NR: I’m going to Malaysia for Petronas to celebrate there with them, so that’s the first flight and then I just want to spend as much time with my family as possible. But it’s going to be completely crazy, it’s going to go all over the place now but that’s a part of it and I look forward to that. I’m making the most of this moment.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Complimenti, Nico, bravissimo. I would like to ask you something about your passion for our country (Italy) because we feel that you are a little bit Italian. Do you think, sometimes, in Italian? Which is the first language that you think in your mind and which is the most beautiful place that you have (visited) in Italy? Third question is – and then I stop for the rest of the season – if you think that becoming the number one can change you, you can race next year more relaxed to achieve even more than this season?

NR: Well, you will see in videos afterwards that my first celebration dance with my family was actually ‘campione del mondo’ just now down in the garage because all my friends are Italian. I love the culture and thank you for all the support as well, from Italy, that’s amazing to see so many people supporting me in Monza, so very special. Yeah, so big connection from me to Italy.

Ah, for sure I’ll do a better performance than today or yesterday because it’s just difficult with the pressure on like that, it definitely is more difficult.

Q: ( Autofocus, Slovenia) Compliments to Nico from Slovenia. But I have another idea: you are a multicultural person, you speak in each press conference in a different language, you speak to every television in a different language. When you are alone in the car, which language do you think in?

NR: English, today it was English.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Lewis, what’s the meaning of this victory against Lewis considering…

NR: Easy to confuse us, we look very similar but my name is actually Nico.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) I called you Lewis?

NR: Yup, it’s not a problem. It’s OK.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) I would say it’s a compliment!

NR: It’s OK, it’s OK. It’s been an intense day for everybody.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Well, the question is, you beat Lewis and he’s considered one of the best in the history of Formula One and the numbers prove that. What does this mean for you, also considering the history you have with him?

NR: Yeah, for sure, it feels like I’ve been racing him for ever and always he’s just managed to edge me out and get the title even when we were small in go-karts. And he’s just an amazing driver and of course one of the best in history so it’s unbelievably special to beat him because the level is so high and that makes this even more… for sure, so much more satisfying for me because the benchmark is so… and I took the World Championship away from him which is a phenomenal feeling.

It’s been a great year as well, for sure he drove at an extremely high level, he’s done some incredible racing so he’s been a very very tough competitor and I don’t know how many points we are apart at the end, you know, five points, which is unbelievable. With the same car.

Q: (Graham Caygill – The National) Given the circumstances and the pressure you were under, do you consider that pass on Max that you did, wheel-to-wheel going through two corners together, one of the best of your career?

NR: Yeah, for sure, yeah, it was great, definitely a great one. Fair play to him, also. He went full-on aggressive of course, he didn’t given an inch, as usual but fair play, we didn’t collide and I got by, so that felt amazingly good. It was an awesome feeling at the time, really, very relieving and so intense, unbelievably intense really, in the car. I’ve never felt something like that in the car before.

Q: (Jerome Pugmire – Associated Press) Nico, Alain Prost was saying that you haven’t been given the credit you deserve as a driver. Do you agree with that and think that now you will be seen in a different light?

NR: I don’t drive for credit, I drive to win the World Championship and I have achieved that and it was my childhood dream to win the World Championship and that’s done and that’s what I’m excited about and I look forward to celebrating with all the people who have been supporting me.

Q: (Sandor Meszaros – Autosport Es Formula) Nico, congratulations, what did Mr Ecclestone say to you?

NR: He didn’t have much time to talk, he was up in the air before he could say something.

NR: Thank you very much, thank for this year, thank you.

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2016 Brazilian Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference Transcript

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Here’s the official transcript of the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-

DRIVERS

1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

2 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

3 – Max VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull Racing)

PODIUM INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by Martin Brundle)

Q: Lewis, what a race!

Lewis Hamilton (referred here after as LH):- Not too bad, huh!

Q: You were out front but calling for the red flags and aquaplaning coming up the hill… talk us through it a little bit?

LH: Firstly, as you said, I want to say a big thank you to all the fans that came out today because that was a long, long race and they stood out in the rain and still at the end there were even more people at the end than there were at the start, so I appreciate all the support here in Brazil. They are always so welcoming to us and their hospitality is second to none. For me, I was generally just chillin’ up front.

When it rains it’s usually a good day for me. Today it was tricky for everyone, there were definite opportunities for aquaplaning, which everyone did, but I want to say a big thank you to my team. We’re creating history in this team. This year the stuff that we’ve done, the results we have got are just incredible and I’m so proud to a part of it.

Q: You talked about water coming in your crash helmet following the safety car early doors, was that your only drama today?

LH: Yeah, that was the only drama: no mistakes, no issues, no spins. It was kind of interesting to hear along the race how many people were spinning and that, but I didn’t have that problem so I’m really happy about that.

Q: Fifty-second victory, you move ahead of Alain Prost, second in the all-time list only behind the great Michael Schumacher. Nico, second place, not what your were looking for but it will do today in the championship. You head to Abu Dhabi in two weeks’ time with a 12-point lead, what are you thinking standing here?

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- Yeah, of course, it didn’t go my way today with the win; Lewis just did a great job. But for sure, yeah, it was very difficult conditions out there and I can live with second today for sure.

Q: Max was pretty handy out there. He was pushing like crazy and taking some rather unusual lines and you must have been thinking: “just leave me alone, I’ve got a championship to win.”

NR: Yeah, and then I arrived on the straight and I saw him pointing 90 degrees towards the wall! I was like “what the hell?”

Q: We saw you also once having a bit of a scary moment up the hill?

NR: That is true, yes. But it worked out fine to stay on track.

Q: A tough call for the race direction today, safety car, red flag. Do you think they got it right?

NR: It was on the limit, but in the end, yes, they got it right. They did a good job of judging it but it was quite a fine line out there.

Q: Max, may I shake your hand, because that was some kind of incredible performance, and he’s already been voted driver of the day by the fans. What an adventure you had this afternoon.

Max Verstappen (referred here after as MV:-) Yeah, it was an incredible race, of course, with the red flags, difficult conditions, especially the last straight, really slippery. And then in the final re-start I managed to overtake Nico and I was in quite a comfortable position over there and then I had a massive moment…

Q: Talk us through that.

MV: I just… I don’t know, maybe I clipped a bit the kerb, had a massive moment, locked all four wheels, managed to keep it out of the guard rail, continued still in second. Then we decided to pit for intermediates but unfortunately it started to rain afterwards and it didn’t work out. But then after that, I think I was 15, 14, I don’t know what I was, and some great overtakes afterwards to come back on the podium so yes, of course, amazing.

Q: You were just using a different race track to all the other all afternoon – wherever they went, you went somewhere different.

MV: Well, I couldn’t see when I was straight behind them, so I had to take another line.

Q: That big incident you had up here, how much luck and how much skill to keep it out of the barriers?

MV: 50-50 I guess.

Q: I thought you might say that. Well, you gave us a thrill. The bravery when you guys just could not see. Did you guys see his incident?

NR: I just saw him pointing 90 degrees towards the wall.

LH: I saw both of theirs on the TV.

MV: He was watching the TV!

Q: Well, you were cruising out front, Lewis. The showdown, then, in Abu Dhabi, 12 points, what’s it going to be Lewis, how do you go to Abu Dhabi?

LH: Well, I’m hunting. I’m hunting and all I can do is do what I’m doing right now. The team have been giving me a great car and finding the reliability has been really good, so the results are really showing that. I’m going to go and give it everything I’ve got. Abu Dhabi is generally a really good track for me. But right now I’m just going to live in the moment. This has been my dream since the first time I watched Ayrton race, when I was five or six years old, so to win here…

Q: Your first victory in Brazil of course.

LH: Exactly, exactly. And it’s the 44th grand prix here, so it’s kind of a lucky weekend.

Q: Where would you put this in your 52 wins, one of the tougher ones? One of the very toughest, top five?

LH: For me, one the easier ones. It was a very easy race generally. Usually in the rain here it’s the hardest but honestly I didn’t have any spins, I didn’t really have any moments and it was pretty straightforward. Silverstone 2008 was way harder than this.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Lewis Hamilton, clearly a very special satisfaction for you today, your first Brazilian Grand Prix win as we were hearing on the podium there with Martin. But I don’t know if you’re aware it’s also a new record: it’s the 24th different race track you’ve won on and that’s never been done before in Formula One history. Obviously today was about what Formula One is all about – but just sum up your feelings and the emotion, I guess.

LH: I just feel very grateful right now and just incredibly happy. Of course this is a race I’ve been dreaming of winning since I was very, very young. Unfortunately these experienced feel very surreal and probably won’t really kick in until later but after so many years of trying to win this grand prix, all the ups and downs, the emotion, y’know, it’s a hard grand prix to win and today was one of the most difficult in terms of being wet and aquaplaning and everything. Probably the most smooth-sailing race I’ve had here in ten years. I’m just very, very grateful for all the hard work my engineers and mechanics have done because I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.

Q: Just one detail. When the race was stopped straight after the resumption, you were a bit surprised on the radio. You were saying: “the track is fine.” Tell us a little about the condition at that point and how you felt about the decision to stop it.

LH: Yeah, I mean, it’s understandable after the first red flag obviously because people were going off, and then the second one… once we went back out after that the track was intermediate tyres – but the Safety Car stayed out for ages. And then that went back in. And then I don’t really understand why the last one came out but the track was the same pretty much throughout, apart from after the first Safety Car so it was kind-of a pointless need to have a Safety Car come out, we should have just kept going.

But, y’know, obviously safety comes first and they obviously felt that was the case. Fortunately everyone’s safe so it was obviously the right decision.

Q: Coming to you Nico, you obviously did what you needed to do today. I guess the key was not being tempted to respond to the provocation of Red Bull twice when they went onto the Intermediate. You basically just, both of you, stayed with that Wet tyre.

NR: Yeah, it was touch and go but for sure it was risky to go on the Inter because it was just very, very tricky through those couple of sections. It just, as you saw, it caught out Felipe and a few others and you know, of course, in the position that we’re in, can’t really take such big risks. So it was the right decision, of course, and the strategy came in our favour, which is good.

Q: And what’s the emotion now. Are you feeling relieved at the end of today? If you’re here again on Sunday afternoon in Abu Dhabi, you’re the World Champion.

NR: Yeah, I mean of course in light of that I have to… I can live with a second place today for sure even though I was hoping for the win – but of course second is OK, yeah.

Q: Max, an astonishing drive, where do we pick the bones out of that one? Maybe we could start with those passes at the start on Raikkonen and the restart on Nico. Talk us through those.

MV: Yeah, in the first run I was trying some different lines and I found a good one so I knew that if Kimi was not going to take that line then I had a good chance of overtaking him. That worked out, he couldn’t really see what was happening in front of him and I pulled out of the spray and then I could brake on the inside and pass him, so that was all clean.

From there on, I was a bit relieved because they were a bit slower behind me so I could follow the guys in front. But then of course, with the red flag and stuff, coming in twice actually, the same like Lewis, the second one I didn’t really understand because I think I was ready to go. It was similar to before. Then from there on, once we restarted again, I think the track was worse than before. We had good pace again, I had a good fight with Nico in turn three so of course enjoyed overtaking him there and then trying to follow Lewis a bit and then I had a massive moment in the second last corner onto the straight, so lucky not to hit the guardrail.

And then I continued and then at one point I got the call to box because I heard Daniel was already gaining a second on the intermediate tyre so we did a pit stop. The first set was actually pretty good but then it started to rain a bit harder than before so then the last sector was undriveable, it was very difficult before but then undriveable on the intermediates, so we had to pit again and I don’t where I was, fifteenth? I hadn’t a clue, fifteenth, sixteenth?

Yeah, then I started to pass people again and then it was very difficult, very tricky. I couldn’t see where I was going on the straight, at such high speeds it’s not nice but we managed to pass a lot of them and then of course you come back on the podium and it’s a great result at the end of the day.

Q: Obviously the feeling was that if you could get the race onto the intermediate condition across the three of you, maybe the Red Bull would be the quicker car. You tried it twice, two gambles as you just referred to, but if you hadn’t taken those gambles, looking back on it, do you think this was possibly a winnable race for you or were they just too strong today?

MV: Win? Maybe not but I think a second was definitely possible. I think we were in quite a safe position in second but sometimes you have to gamble a bit to try and win the race. That’s what we tried today, it didn’t work out but we’re still on the podium with some great overtakes so I’m quite a happy person.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Max, can you describe to us a little of the sensation you had overtaking so many drivers and chosing a very original line on the track?

MV: About the line, I think it’s just because you can’t see where you’re going when you just stay behind them, so you try something else and it seemed to work. The car was working really well also so that helps. Of course it’s great because you have to go forward. We didn’t have the best strategy at the time so you try to make up for it.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Maybe to all three, starting with Lewis: the race was twice interrupted, you had to hang around for half an hour each time. How distracting is that?

LH: Well, honestly it wasn’t distracting at all. Just very focused at the beginning and managed to maintain that. Got to stop and have something to eat the second time. Fortunately, I just never had to step out of the zone, I was in the zone the whole time which was a positive. In those conditions, obviously it’s much easier to lose focus, particularly in those stops but fortunately I didn’t have that.

NR: Yeah, it was not a problem. It was fine, it was a good time to relax, eat some spaghetti and good to go again.

MV: Yeah, pretty OK I think. I was ready to go again so I was just sitting there waiting to hear the message that we could race again.

Q: (Rodrigo Franca – VIP Magazine) A question to all three and then one for Lewis. The Brazilian fans don’t have a Brazilian driver winning and fighting for the title and they stayed from 7am until now in the rain, so I would like you to comment on that because you guys gave them a very good race despite the conditions. And to Lewis especially, I would like to know if you feel the energy of the Brazilian fans because of your admiration of Ayrton Senna?

LH: Without a doubt this is one of the best crowds we have in the whole season but the Brazilian fans have always been incredibly passionate about Formula One. I came here with a helmet which was a mix of mine and Ayrton’s as everywhere I go around the world  and bump into Brazilian people they think about Ayrton and it’s just incredible how much he meant to the people here.

I feel incredibly proud to have now won in the place that he has done but yeah, the fans are remarkable, to be able to get here that early and even though it was raining… most people would go home but they stayed and cheered the whole way. That’s just fantastic. Brazil generally spits out pretty good drivers so over time I’m sure there will be another winner at some stage.

NR: For me, even yesterday going to the auto show it was amazing. So many people were wearing my hat and so it’s really good to see a big big support and even now, just before the press conference, I went down to see everybody and they were going crazy so it’s nice to have so much support here in Brazil so I’m very thankful for that.

MV: Yeah, it was very nice to see them staying, first of all, after two red flags, then you can clearly see the dedication they have to F1 and also when my engineer opened the radio when I was pulling passes on the cars they were cheering, so they were really living up to it and I think that’s great.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) In the past we’ve had much worse conditions than these, much more rain – for example Fuji 2007 – but it seems more and more that driving with these cars is almost impossible, too dangerous in these conditions today. Can you explain why it gets more and more difficult to drive these cars in the rain and can you understand that some people can’t understand that a racing car is not driveable in the rain by the best drivers in the world – how is that possible?

NR: It’s down to the tyres, you know, not coping well with the aquaplaning. We know that and we’ve been working on that now for next year and so we’re hopeful to make progress on that. Of course it would be good, you know, if it wasn’t so on the edge as soon as there’s a bit of standing water.

LH: This is Formula One and the rain conditions are the trickiest conditions. If everyone just went round and didn’t make mistakes it would be too easy and then everyone could do it. We are going at some serious speeds and there is a lot of water to disperse by the tyres and the tyre just struggles; the faster we go, the harder it is for the tyres. This wasn’t a particularly difficult race in terms of being wet, there’s been much much worse races in terms of aquaplaning.

MV: Well of course I haven’t driven in 2007 but yeah, I think it’s a combination of having more horsepower now, so more torque, so the cars are speeding up more and less downforce at the moment. Yeah, I think next year it should be solved already, it will be much easier to drive the cars in the wet because of having quite a lot more downforce on the race. Of course, I think we can do improvements on the tyres, we’re working on that for next year but I think that with more downforce that should help already.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) To Nico and Lewis, Nico, you won last year in Abu Dhabi, Lewis won in 2014. A comment from you about the last round of the championship, the decision of the world title. Do you think you have more chance than Lewis who has more affinity with track? A comment in general about the last round of the championship.

NR: Well, it’s going to be a great, exciting race weekend, a great battle for sure. I would like to win the race and that’s what I’m going there… I’m going to try and do that for sure. I’ve had good experience there in the past but of course that’s not going to help this year. You know we all start from zero this year, every time we go to a different track. Yeah, feeling good so let’s see.

LH: Obviously I have to continue what I’m doing. Nico’s finished every single race this year apart, obviously,  from  Barcelona which we both didn’t finish so he’s had fantastic reliability, so I think right now, as the way it’s going it’s going to be very hard to beat him. That doesn’t mean I can’t win the race, so I’m going to take the energy I have now and the speed that I have which has been great this past few races and really try to push as hard as I can in that race to get as far ahead. That’s all I can do.

2016 Mexican Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference Transcript

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Here’s the official transcript of the 2016 Mexican GP Post-Race Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-

DRIVERS

1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

2 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

3 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)

PODIUM INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by Juan Pablo Montoya)

Q: Hello México! Lewis, hell of a day, win number 51, how was it today?

Lewis Hamilton (referred here after as LH):- It was amazing because of all these people – Viva México! This is honestly the best crowd we get anywhere. In our home country it’s always a great thing, but I don’t know, these guys… I guess this stadium helps, but they turn up and they have such passion for the sport, it’s great to see.

Q: Great, how is Mexico?

LH: I love it here. I’ve had tacos every night and I’m super light, so maybe I need to have tacos every day for the rest of my life.

Q: Congratulations again. Nico, long weekend for you but you still came out second. What do you feel about the championship?

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- Que tal México? Los mejores del mundo! Muchas gracias, muchas gracias. It’s been a good day. Lewis has been too fast this weekend, so I just have to accept second place. We’ve had some massive battles out there. At the start I got shunted and then with Max later on and everything, so it’s OK to be second.

Q: Perfect. Sebastian, a lot of people got really excited there at then end there; talk us through it?

Sebastian Vettel (referred here after as SV):- Well I was using a lot of sign language and using a lot of your language I think. Probably looking back I felt like you when you got angry in the car. No, you have to understand the adrenalin was pumping, I put him under pressure, which was difficult enough, our tyres both were pretty old and then obviously, yeah, he left the track and didn’t move, so you can understand why I really was annoyed. But what a turnaround. I was really disappointed when I crossed the line and then all of a sudden I was told to come up here and being here in front of the crowd is fantastic.

Q: There you go, great day. So Lewis, the championship, what are you thinking?

LH: Well, Nico is doing a great job to pull in the position that he has to finish. I’m really grateful to the team, they did a fantastic job. It’s great for us to have another 1-2 this weekend, and it’s my first time here to win in Mexico. I don’t know where my sombrero is but I do love it here and can’t wait to come back next year.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Lewis, for several reasons that was a bit of a landmark victory for you. It’s your 51st victory, meaning you now tie with Alain Prost for second on the all-time list. It’s also Mercedes 17th victory of the season, meaning they become the first constructor to achieve that record. Your thoughts on those two please.

LH: Well, the most important one is the team one. That’s just incredible. Fantastic. Over half of the victories I’ve had have been with this team. It’s a true showing of just how incredible the group of people we have and how well we work together and for the third year in a row proved that we are the best team. So, very proud and, as I always say, really proud to be a part of it. That was the plan, coming here to this team, being hopefully a part of that growth and success. I couldn’t have dreamt it to be any better than it is.

Q: From your races’ point of view it looked to be quite uneventful – perhaps apart from Turn One of the first lap. Could you talk us through that?

LH: Yeah, basically on the formation lap I had a glazed front right brake. I couldn’t wake it up. So, I had 500°C in the left front and 150-200°C in the right front. So I’m on the grid…

SV: How do you know?

LH: They told me. So, I went into Turn One and the right front eventually woke up and just locked. I was carrying such speed. I was lucky I didn’t go in the wall or something. And after that I had just the biggest vibration. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it in the first stint. Honestly I thought I had to stop, the vibration was so big I would barely see, to be honest. It was really nice when I got some new, fresh tyres, and it was much smoother.

Q: Coming on to you Nico, it seems that you and Max Verstappen rubbed wheels quite regularly today, can you talk us through the two incidents with him, on lap one and again towards the end of the race on lap 49.

NR: Yeah, it’s a bit on the limit but it’s good racing I guess, so good, I’m sure it was enjoyable to watch on TV. From in the car it was pretty exciting stuff and I’m very happy that I managed to come out on top every time and finish second.

Q: Do you feel that Max was a little bit too aggressive with you?

NR: As I say, it’s on the limit and it’s not for me to judge after that. I haven’t even seen it really. But I think it’s good racing.

Q: And any other dramas for you during the race or just a controlled race to second place?

NR: No, apart from that everything was OK, yeah. Just Lewis was a little bit too quick today and the whole weekend. So he did a great job and I have to live with second place this weekend.

Q: Coming on to you Sebastian. Talk us through those last few laps with both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

SV: I don’t think there’s much to add. I think it’s pretty clear I was quicker. I was closing the gap, got into DRS and put him under a lot of pressure and he made a mistake, which I think was clear he should have moved. He didn’t move. Obviously that battle, that fight, being stuck behind him, losing time, fighting with him allowed Daniel to close in. He was on a superior tyre. I think there was one incident into Turn Four which I need to look at again to be honest.

I obviously knew that Daniel is quite jumpy and sometimes a bit optimistic with these kind of situations, which partly fair enough, we’re racing and for him it’s a podium to grasp. Obviously he came back and is now having the advantage on a better tyre. So I need to have a look at that again. It was very close, we made contact. I was pretty lucky.

I thought initially I have a puncture. But obviously lost out to Max again and had to close again and couldn’t put him under serious pressure again before the race ended but I think it was pretty clear that he had to give the position back. As far as I learned on the radio he was told, he ignored that. You can understand that adrenaline was pumping and I was very angry. I think when Maurizio came on the radio I calmed down and tried to finish my race.

Q: You drove a very long first stint. Is there a sense of what might have been had you qualified better yesterday?

SV: Well, it doesn’t matter now. Yesterday was a disappointing day. Today we turned it around. And we used the benefit of being on the harder – as in soft – tyre, not on the supersoft for the first stint. I was disappointed that I lost a position to Felipe. I made contact in Turn Two, right after the start. I wasn’t sure if I have a puncture. I don’t know what it is about Mexico, I always think I have a puncture because last year I got one. But yeah, turned out not to be a problem. I don’t think there was any damage to the car so very lucky.

Then I really struggled behind the Williams to get past. They were very, very quick down the straights. Really difficult. He pitted and then I just said “OK, let’s try and go,” and it worked really well. We were opening the gap to the leaders, with Lewis right behind. Had free air and could just unleash the pace the car had. For sure, if we start higher up then I think we sail to third without any problem at least.

Probably even in a position to put them under pressure but, I don’t know. I think the pace was very good. We sensed it right from Friday onwards. So of course it’s a bit of a shame. But then again, we did a very good job today so, finally, I’m quite happy.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globo Esporte.com) Nico, I know you don’t much like these questions but one win in Interlagos next race you will be world champion. Could you make a comment please.

NR: I hadn’t thought of it that way now, but yeah, if you say that, I can see that. Sounds good. At the moment I’m more thinking about the missed chance to win the race here today. But of course, from tomorrow on I’ll look forward. But I’ll stick to my plan of just going there and trying to win – which satisfies both things!

Q: (Carlos Alberto – Reforma) For the three of you. Is there something to improve at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez? It’s the second time you raced here. Is there something to improve?

Lewis, let’s start with you

LH: I would say that we should bring a much, much softer tyre here. One stop, I don’t know if that’s exciting for the fans but more stops, maybe a tyre that, for once, doesn’t go as far. The medium tyre we could do the whole race with. So, I don’t know, maybe that would enable us to have more battles, more struggles out there as today was generally very easy on those tyres. So it makes the race a lot easier.

Nico, any thoughts?

NR: Well, for one we as Formula One can be really, really thankful because the Mexicans have embraced our sport in an incredible way. A huge, huge crowd coming here and the atmosphere amazing out there. Really so cool to see. And yeah, just a big thank you. And for what can be improved, don’t know, I can’t think of much. I think the race was… seemed to be pretty exciting. With lots of stuff going on, so… nothing.

And Sebastian, from your point of view?

SV: Well, I think we owe a big thank you to the fans. It’s a very special feeling to stand on that podium. You feel very, very special to see… it’s unreal that amount of people that come… already Friday there’s a lot of people but on Sunday it peaks. Drivers parade, yeah, it’s so loud because the people are just celebrating this event and the Formula One to be here.

It’s one of the days that, on the day, obviously the race turned out for me to be quite eventful but I think, yeah probably at the age of 60-65 when you sort-of get a bit fat and lazy, sit in your chair at home, it’s these days I think you look back to…

LH: What the hell are you talking about?

SV: Well, it’s just how I feel! Is those days you look back to, the incredible atmosphere, the people celebrating our sport, what we love, I think you feel very, very special.

And anything to improve?

SV: Yeah, the traffic! But I think the mayor is probably very busy trying to sort that out so I have no suggestions on that front. It’s find, it’s part of Mexico.

Q: (Jorge Mendoza – La Prensa de San Antonio) Nico, I know you were expecting a win from this weekend. Is there anything you did differently from your last race in 2015, regarding mental preparation, nutrition preparation, everything it takes to prepare for the race?

NR: Well, first of all, expecting to win? No. I was going for the win, yeah. Expecting is a big word but it didn’t work out. Lewis just did a better job this weekend and apart from that, compared to last year, I’m generally feeling very good this year. I’ve had a great season which I’m happy about. The only thing that I can think of is that in my private life I’m very very happy, because I have a lovely family with a daughter who is a year and two months old and that’s very very special and I think that carries over into the sport, because when you arrive with a smile on your face it makes a difference.

Q: (Seff Harding – Xero Xone News) Nico, to go back to your comments earlier this week when you said that you are just here to win races and not please everyone. You may possibly win this championship two weeks from now. Who are you winning this championship for, because fans – especially American fans – want to find a champion that they can connect to?

NR: I’m really sorry, that’s going a bit too far down the road. At the moment, that’s not something that I have got into.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Sebastian, your former team was arguing that you moved under braking when you defended your position against Daniel. Did you?

SV: As I said, I want to look into it again. I knew that when I saw my exit out of turn three which wasn’t great because I was fighting Max into the first two corners and yeah, he obviously tried to trick me a bit. Maybe I could have done better to have a better exit, braking testing me a bit into turn one and then turn two, but nevertheless I didn’t get the best exit so I knew it would be tight with Daniel and I know Daniel in these situations: he’s jumping into the gap even if he doesn’t make the rest of the corner.

I think I knew exactly the situation – or in my head – the situation in Barcelona came up where he dived down the inside last minute. I gave him enough room but in fact he didn’t make the first corner. But obviously today’s not Barcelona. He was obviously upset about it and he told me to look at it again. I will do that but yeah, I think I gave him just enough room, it was very late. I think both of us just about made the corner.

Obviously it’s never ideal if you make contact because our cars are not built to make contact. I initially thought I had a puncture, I don’t know if he had any damage, he certainly lost a bit of time after that so, as I said, I want to look into it again.

Q: (Jens Nagler – Bild) Sebastian, we heard you saying on team radio ‘he is a beep, that’s what he is.’ Would you be so kind and fill in the missing word? And the second question is do you intend to talk to Max about giving up the position?

SV: No to the first question, I will not answer. Second question, I don’t think there’s anything to say.

Q: (Ben Hunt –  The Sun) Sebastian, just one for you I’m afraid, your message to Charlie (Whiting – race director). Do you wish to apologise for that message? I know it was in the heat of the moment but you obviously used a bit of a crude word.

SV: Well, I think it was very clear. Obviously I was very emotional so in fact I’ve already asked to go and see him so I think, yeah… when you’re in the car, emotions are… I was full of adrenalin, you can imagine because I don’t think it was right what Max did. I was told that they were looking into it for three laps and I was sort of getting upset as you can imagine.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Lewis, Max Verstappen got a five second penalty because he was short-cutting the first corner, gaining an advantage, that was what race control said. Did you gain an advantage on the first lap when you short-cut the corner?

LH: Well, I had a completely flat-spotted tyre so that definitely wasn’t an advantage but I think I was still in the lead going in so I was in the lead coming out, so that’s not… I don’t believe so.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Any event or punishment is up to the FIA concerning Max Verstappen, but you were there, fighting with him. What comment do you make concerning Max, is he too aggressive, because he’s too young, he will learn? Your  comment please.

LH: I didn’t see it. It doesn’t affect me so not really.

NR: Nothing to add. I made some comments already before. I’m going to leave it at that.

SV: Nothing to add.

2016 Japanese Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference Transcript

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DRIVERS

1 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

2 – Max VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull Racing)

3 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

PODIUM INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by Kai Ebel)

Q: Congratulations Nico, a fantastic win.

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- It’s been an awesome weekend for sure, the whole weekend had gone great from the word go, so it’s been very, very special, especially on this legendary track, beautiful to win here. And of course congrats to everybody, to all my colleagues in the team, for clinching a third Constructors’ World title.

So absolutely deserved, definitely it’s been an unbelievable effort all these years, so let’s celebrate hard. And thank you very much to all of you, a very, very special weekend this weekend, you put on such a great show out in the grandstands, it’s amazing. Arigato.

Q: Turning over, Nico, to the important things. How important is it today not to have Daniel Ricciardo up here to have a shoey again, to drink out of his show?

NR: I’m going to make sure that he never wins again this year because I don’t want to drink any more out if his shoe.

Q: That’s a good one. So, going from Germany over the Dutch border to Max Verstappen. Congratulations, man of the race, fantastic. You had the hot breeze of Lewis on your neck, maybe you two had more traffic on track than on the Dutch motorway? 

Max Verstappen (referred here after as MV):- Yeah, there was a lot of traffic but we saved the tyres a bit in the last stint. I think in general we had a great strategy. Just to race against the Mercedes cars, I think that’s always positive. To come home in second, a big thanks to the team for that.

Q: How hot was the breath of Lewis on your neck at the end?

MV: It was not as hot as in Malaysia. The temperature here helped, but of course Lewis was pushing hard and we had a little moment in the chicane, but of course very happy to stay in second.

Q: Coming to you Lewis, not an easy day for you. The start: what happened there, was it just due to the slippery surface?

Lewis Hamilton (referred here after as LH):- Well, firstly, a big thank you to everyone that came out today. A big congratulations to this team. I’m very, very proud to be a part of it. I’m glad I got some points for the team today. Congratulations to everyone back at the factory at Brixworth and the whole of Mercedes. We couldn’t have done it without all the support we’ve had. I did the best I could from where I was in the race but I’m happy with getting the points.

Q: Now Lewis, the next races, the world championship, Nico leading now – now will we see the best Lewis Hamilton to fight for the championship?

LH: Of course. I’ll give it everything I’ve got, as I did in the race and we’ll see what happens.

Q: Thank you so much, Lewis. Coming back to you Nico, I know tonight you’re flying home but will you rock the plane again or do some karaoke in between in the land of karaoke?

NR: Maybe a little bit, but not too much. The season is still long, many races to go around the world, so I need to keep my energies.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Lewis, let’s pick it up with you first. At the start obviously you lost ground. What part did the dampness on that side of the race track play, do you think, in your getaway? Perhaps a little detail about your fight back and then the championship position as it stands, trailing Nico by 33 points with four races to go.

LH: Firstly, big congratulations to the team, incredible success for the last three years, very proud to be a part of it and to help contribute to it – so a big thank you to everyone for all of their hard work. This is a great result. Yeah, I don’t think the damp patch had really anything to do with it. I just had… I made a mistake and then just working my way up from there was tricky but, y’know, I did the best I could.

And the 33 points, four races to go, feelings on that.

LH: That’s a healthy margin for Nico, he did a great job, so congrats to him.

Q: Let’s return to our race winner, Nico Rosberg, ninth win of this 2016 season, 23rd of your career and your first, as we were hearing on the podium, here in Japan after three pole positions. Clearly the start was decisive today. Your thoughts on that and how your race rolled out. And then, also your thoughts on having that margin. 33 points with four races to go. Niki Lauda has just said on TV it’s a “comfortable” position. Your thoughts.

NR: Yeah, for sure. Just the whole weekend went really well from the word go. Just felt good in the car, found the right balance and all the way through to qualifying. Got that lap done and then the start went well… just everything went well. Just controlling the pace and the gap to Max in the race.

Perfect weekend really. Really happy with that. To win on this legendary track as well. Points, yeah, I’m well aware of the 33 points of course but it’s not something I’m focussed on, as you know. Just want to take it race by race. That’s what I did this weekend. So focussed on trying to win the race and very happy it worked out. Still many races to go, so just keeping my head down.

Q: Coming to you Max, your sixth podium in Formula One. One of the best I’m sure, great measured drive – but tell us more about the move to block Lewis at the end. Before his actual move was there a little bit of memories of holding off Räikkönen in Spain earlier this season, and then when he actually made the move, was it going through your mind that he had more to lose than you did?

MV: To be honest, I never really thought about it, both of those things. I was just doing my race. I think the car was feeling quite good. I was trying to follow Nico a bit and I think in general we did a great strategy, so the car was working well and, of course, Lewis was closing up a lot. At the end of the race he was pushing really hard and I knew he’s fighting for the World Championship, so you’re not going to do crazy things, of course.

But I think in the end it was all good. I managed to keep my tyres alive and to come home in second. That’s of course a great result for myself and I think also one of my best races so far but also for the team I think. For the Constructors’ it’s a very good result.

Q: Lewis, your 100th podium in Formula One today. If you could just tell us a little bit about, particularly when you went onto the hard tyre you were extremely fast straight away, I think you passed four cars in one lap at that phase of the grand prix, so maybe a word about that. And then about the move at the end. You came over the radio and said Max moved under braking, as if to suggest you weren’t particularly happy about that. Maybe you could clarify what you were saying.

LH: Yeah, the middle stint, the car felt good. Generally the car felt great throughout the race, so it wasn’t really a problem and I’m not really quite sure if I was overtaking backmarkers or not but I was just overtaking whoever I could. Had a good run there. Fought hard at the end but just didn’t make it.

But you were happy with his move to defend?

LH: Well… it doesn’t really matter now. It’s done and we move forwards.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Rodrigo Franca – VIP Magazine) Nico, of course there are four races to go, you said you are thinking race by race but you have two match points as we might say in tennis because you have more than one victory advantage. Do you have a different approach to the next races or are you just doing race to race?

NR: There’s still a long way to go, hunh? There’s no point in changing my approach now so I’m sticking with what I’m doing because it’s working well.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport)  Lewis, after the first lap where did you think you were going to end up, being in P8, I think?

LH: Honestly I don’t really remember. I can’t remember, I was just far back and I was just looking to go forwards.

Q: (Lennart Wermke – Bild) Lewis, you said you made a mistake at the start. Can you give us a little more detail, what exactly happened there?

LH: Not really, I just got wheelspin.

Q: (Rodrigo Franca – VIP Magazine) Max, when you were fighting with Lewis, did you imagine that he would attack in the chicane? Is that why you made a move to defend, you were expecting him to go there?

MV: Yeah, it was just for fun! No, of course you see him coming in the mirrors so… Already the laps before he was closing quite a bit but I saw already out of T14 that he had a good exit so yeah, I was using a bit of energy and I defended into the last chicane. All good.

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference Transcript

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Here’s the official transcript of the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-

DRIVERS

1 – Daniel RICCIARDO (Red Bull Racing)

2 – Max VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull Racing)

3 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

PODIUM INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by Mark Webber)

Daniel, that national anthem was getting to you – great win mate.

Daniel Ricciardo (referred here after as DR):- Thank you. I was a little but… firstly I’m exhausted. It’s such a hot race here. It was a race of challenges. Obviously Lewis got the lead and had his problems, so I feel… I’m not really one for believing in a whole lot, but obviously it went the other way in Monaco, so I’ll take this today. No hard feelings to Lewis, but I’ll definitely take the win.

It’s been a pretty emotional two years since the last win and we’ve come so close this year. Two weeks ago after the race I said… well, we won this year, and here you go, we got there. Big thanks to Red Bull Racing and everybody who supported me through this journey – my mum, dad, my sister, I’ve got some family here, there are numerous people here. So, I’m extremely grateful for this. Thank you for all the support. It’s overwhelming to say the least.

Congratulations, sensational drive, another big win. Max, Driver of the Day voted by the fans, charging drive, strategy was key obviously out there for everybody today? A long fight at the front in those hot conditions, in those trying conditions, how do you feel?

Max Verstappen (referred here after as MV):- I have to say after the champagne a lot better, it wakes me up a bit. But of course we were pushing the whole race. Definitely Daniel and I were pushing each other so we were going flat out so definitely after the race we had to take a break.

Well done, buddy. A sensational 1-2 for Red Bull. Nico, a very, very important third place for you today. Little bit of misfortune for your team but you fought back after an unfortunate first corner with Sebastian tagging the back of you in Turn One. Twenty-three point lead now. What are your thoughts and emotions right now? 

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- First of all, yeah, Turn One, I though it was all over, so I’m really happy to be able to fight back in such a way all the way to the podium. That’s been great. Thank you very much to all of you here in Malaysia, you’ve been amazing all week and the support has been incredible. It’s been amazing to see that. In general, I wished for as better day today, but that’s the way it is sometimes.

Five to go, how do you feel?

NR: At the moment a bit tired after that race! Apart from that it’s a good moment in general and looking forward now to the next one of course, of course full attack.

Congratulations Nico, a big points haul. Daniel, just finally with you: overdue in my opinion, off to Suzuka now which is a cracking circuit as well, so celebrations tonight or is it a short turnaround for the race next weekend?

DR: Ah, a few of us are flying tonight, so maybe a few little whiskies on the flight and sleep well and we’ll be in Tokyo tomorrow. There’s some fine Japanese whisky over there so we might have to have a day off.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Congratulations Daniel, I know how much that means to you. First of all, your view of the start incident involving Nico, Sebastian and Max. Then into the race obviously you held off Max in that crucial battle, that brief battle between the two of you, which I guess turned out to be critical from the point of view of winning the race after Hamilton dropped out.

DR: Yeah, what a day. I’m still… I realise what’s happened but a lot went down in the last two hours so it’s a lot to take in. It’s been an interesting two years since my last victory so it feels awesome for sure, I’m very grateful for it. The start was interesting. I didn’t get a great launch off the line. I saw Seb, I think it was on the inside of me, got a better run.

I think Max also had a decent start from memory and it seemed like everyone went to the inside and it didn’t look like there was a whole lot of room and Seb went even deeper. So it looked like he went a little bit deep and it looked like the inside sort of washed out. Everyone sort of tried to out-brake each other, at least from what I say.

My average start and more cautious approach into Turn One actually worked out but that’s just how it goes sometimes. Yeah, got into P2 and then was just trying to do my thing in the race. The long run on Friday wasn’t very good, we made a lot of changes, so after Friday if I would have said I’d win the race today in dry conditions… nothing is ever impossible but it was looking like it was close to be. Just tried to do our thing. Max pitted under the Virtual Safety Car at the beginning, put the soft on and at that point it looked like his strategy was working out very well for him.

So then I had to hold him off towards that mid-part of the race, just as Lewis had his problems. It was a good battle. Max was on a little bit fresher tyres and I knew he would come at some point, but obviously I was trying to do everything I could to hold him off. It was fun. It was hard racing and for sure we’re both determined to win and we want to beat each other, but I think we did it today very fair and with a lot of respect. So I thank him for that and I think it goes both ways.

It was good fun. At the end I tried to hold him off again. It was tough. It was very hot today. Normally Singapore is the most physical race but I thought today was just as physical as last week. I’m not sure still what happened to Lewis. Obviously we got that one today. Obviously we have him that one in Monaco, so I like to think it’s evened out today, so I’ll definitely take the win today.

Q: Moving on to Max, obviously your view of the start line incident, you were a bit more involved in it. Tell us a bit more about that. And, as Daniel just said, you had a better-balanced strategy than he did, so tell us how that was evolving, how you thought the race was going to pan out. And then, obviously once Hamilton dropped out, you were both pitted together, you stacked behind Daniel. Did you think you would have a chance to win the race from there?

MV: Well, finally I had a good start, so I was happy with that but then into Turn One, yeah, I braked late but I was still behind Nico and then Sebastian just dived up the inside, just went really deep and there was definitely no space for that and he T-boned Nico, so I had to avoid all the debris and the two cars. I lost three or four positions because of that which, of course, was a shame because we were in a good position after the start.

But then, yeah, after the Virtual Safety Car, I saw the green flag so I immediately passed, I think it was Kimi, so I was of course happy with that. From there on the pace was good. I passed the other cars and I was closing up to the guys in front and then we tried a different strategy and, when I was driving on the hard tyres it seems to be the right one, so I was closing up to Daniel and we had a good fight, a fair fight, and I think it shows a respect between us. And even after that little fight it will looked like it was going to happen – but then unfortunately the virtual safety car came out again.

So we pitted again. I had to go on Used Soft, I think Daniel had new ones but still it was a great battle, we were pushing each other in the heat. Normally you can cruise a bit at the end of the race, or at least it’s a bit less physical but until the last lap we were pushing really hard. Yeah, today that’s second but it’s a great result for the team, scored a lot of points. The car was working all weekend, I think it showed already on Friday in the long run that it was working really well. I think we can be really pleased with this.

Q: Nico, a third different perspective on the start line incident from you please. You were 21st at the end of that first lap. To go from there to finishing on the podium and leaving Malaysia with a 23-point championship lead, does that feel almost like a win for you today?

NR: Well, it doesn’t feel like a win because it’s only third place and today was a tough day – because after Turn One I thought it was finished. Of course I’m happy with the comeback; to get all the way back on the podium, I definitely didn’t think that was going to be possible. For Lewis, I’ve been in his position, I know how terrible it is in that moment, so I’m sure he’s totally gutted.

And your view of the start?

NR: Oh, I just got T-boned by a four-time World Champion out of control!

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speed Sport) For Max and Daniel, tell us about that battle a bit earlier in the race where Max got by Daniel and you fought back and got ahead of him again. Run that by us please.

DR: There was just the one was there? Where we went side-by-side?

MV: Turn Five and Six?

DR: Yeah, I was defending. I could see Max coming, I think it was into Turn Four, I went to the inside but I knew he’d probably switch back and get a good exit into Turn Five, so yeah, out of the corner I had a bit of wheelspin and thought he’d probably get me quite easily into five – but I just had enough drive to stay on the inside and, yeah, he gave me room, we both stayed in it.

So he had the inside at Six but I held around the outside and fortunately there weren’t too many marbles, so you could run two cars side-by-side through there, which was fun, which was nice. So held that, then into Seven we tried to basically out-brake each other. I was a little bit on the cleaner line so could just go a little bit deeper into Seven and held off that time.

It was cool. To race Formula One like that, high-speed corners, to be inches from each other. It’s fun. You’re in the heat of battle, you’re seeing red but at the same time you’ve got to smile. You know the guy that’s two metres to the right of you is having the same amount of fun and you’re both trying to take what was eventually the lead of the race. So it’s a good shot of adrenaline.

Max, your view

MV: I think it’s always fun when you give each other enough space. We were not trying to squeeze each other or anything . That’s great racing at high speed. And then, like Daniel said, into Turn Seven, we tried to brake as late as we could – but at one point I decided to give up because I was a bit in the tighter line so, in case you clip the kerb, you bounce to the left, we both have nothing. It’s better to be one and two.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Max, lap number 52 you have 1.1s behind Ricciardo, probably next lap you could get DRS, then suddenly 1.2s, 1.4s and two seconds. It was naturally consequence of the race or did you receive any orientation to stay in second position?

MV: No, I was pushing. Also, when you get very close it overheats the tyres and I was already on older tyres, so it was just very difficult to get into the DRS. And like I said, if you are on old tyres, before with the hard tyres I had a few laps advantage so you can do a few laps within a second but if you are on older tyres, to try to get within a second is very hard.

You were free to compete to the end?

MV: Yeah, for sure. The team said we were free to race – but of course in a clean way. I think that’s what we did.

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Nico, can you tell me something about that situation with Kimi when you overtook him and got a penalty?

NR: Well, I went for it and we touched and that’s it. I can’t remember the details. For sure it was an aggressive move and they judged it to be a bit too aggressive and that’s it. I didn’t think I was going to get a penalty at the time but….

Q: (Chris Lyons – AP) Daniel, before, whilst Lewis was still out there, what was the thinking on the pit stop strategy in terms of how it would play out going on to that final set of new softs?

DR: I’m still not too sure at the moment how it would have worked out. I guess, at the time, because Max was the tail car, I think they thought they would just try something with him, I guess. I was still in a good… obviously I had good track position and my tyres were still fresh so I guess it didn’t really make sense to pit me. My engineer was asking me how my tyres were and I said they were holding on OK.

At the time, I didn’t see any reason to pit either but then as the race unfolded it looked like probably what Max had done… it was looking like it was probably the stronger, the strongest strategy but I don’t think it was that obvious at the time. I think, as I said, him being the tail car there was a bit more freedom to probably experiment with him and then split the strategy. I’m glad I was able to hold on but I think that was the reason for that.

Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS.NL) Daniel, what was the moment you realised ‘I’m going to win this one’ and Max, what was the moment you realised ‘this will be P2’?

DR: For me, the first sign was holding off the first real attack from Max. I thought, when he came and got within DRS, obviously I was going to fight for everything I had, within reason, but I was thinking it was going to be quite hard to hold on for the next 20 laps  or so, but sure I was going to try and do everything I could, and when I held on the first time, I thought OK, I’ve just got to do this probably twenty more times so if I can do it once, maybe I can do it repeatedly.

So that was the first sign and then obviously with Lewis going out and then us putting the soft tyres on, I knew if I sort of drove a clean last stint, mistake-free, I should be able to hold on but you know Max has been quick all weekend, so there was no guarantees ever, but I think the last four or five laps looked like I was able to sort of stabilise my pace and keep out of the DRS so that was the moment of realisation, I think.

MV: Yeah, I think four or five laps from the end. It’s just very hard – like I said before – to get within one second. It’s a bit like you’re playing a cat and mouse game so if the car behind you… It’s a bit like how I did in Barcelona, you know? If the car’s coming close to you, you just play with it, you keep them under control, you let them slide a bit more and then as soon as you see the car behind you is struggling a bit more, you can push a bit more yourself. I think that’s what Daniel was doing.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Nico, are you surprised that Mercedes didn’t get the Constructors’ championship here and to all the drivers, Suzuka is a very chassis-orientated circuit. What are your predictions for that race?

NR: For sure, yeah, we were hoping to get it here. It would have been great ‘cos it’s our home away from home here in Sepang, in front of all the Petronas people and all the Malaysians who are supporting us. It would have been awesome. But you know, we’re really looking good on that side so if it’s not here, we hope to be able to do it soon on another track.

And then I must say also congratulations really to the people who have done the track here, the new surface and everything, because really we see such exciting racing here, it’s possible to overtake. The last corner, what they’ve done also has been very good because you can do a couple of different lines when you’re following someone close in front. That really helps with the battling and it really has produced a great race today so really, compliments.

Japan? I think I will go very well.

Q: Daniel, how do you think Red Bull will go in Suzuka?

DR: It’s a good circuit for us. It’s a circuit I personally enjoy a lot. I’ve always loved going there, especially with the car we’ve got. As you say, it’s a circuit where a chassis can really make a bit of a difference. It’s a lot of fun. I think the package we have we can definitely fight for a podium there.

The way I see it, if we both finish here on the podium today I think we obviously have a good chance next week, so looking forward to going there. The team’s in very good spirits at the moment. We’ve had a really strong season particularly of late, a bunch of podiums, so it’s a good time to go to a circuit where we’re strong.

MV: I prefer not to say anything. Like Singapore, you say we’re going for the win… I think we hope for a bit more in qualifying, here we were like it will be difficult to get a win or at least be on the podium and here we are first and second, so I’ll just wait and see how it goes, but normally it should be alright.

Q: (Chris Lyons – AP) There must have been a lot of sweat in that shoe. Can I just get an opinion how it tasted?

DR: I love the taste, personally. Yeah, I thought today it was quite fruity. There was… sure you’ve got your salts but I was hydrating quite well today with a lot of sugars and stuff like that. It had a… I don’t know, it was sort of like a dessert, rather than a main course. It was more like a dessert. I don’t know what these boys think. Nico told me he didn’t like it very much.

Q: You certainly pulled a face on the podium, Nico, when you drank it. Is that the first time that you’ve drunk champagne out of another man’s shoe?

NR: I hope he does not win any more races this year!

DR: I haven’t made many friends actually from this.

MV: Nah, it’s alright. It was good sweat.

2016 Singapore Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference Transcript

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Here’s the official transcript from the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-

DRIVERS

1 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

2 – Daniel RICCIARDO (Red Bull Racing)

3 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

PODIUM INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by Martin Brundle)

Well done Nico, fantastic. Your 200th grand prix, your third victory in four weeks, you now lead the championship again, but it wasn’t all plain sailing.

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- No, but it’s been an awesome weekend here in Singapore for me, already yesterday with the pole lap and then today, a great start, had a good car in the race. Of course Daniel tried to pull one up on me with the pit stop in the end there. We knew it was going to be tight at the end, but it worked out, so I’m really, really happy.

They were going to call you in to cover him off and then they made a late call, and it was the right call, but then you were under pressure all the way to the flag?

NR: Yeah, we couldn’t come in because I had traffic, so I was very slow on that lap and he would have beaten me. It was a cool ending.

We heard you were managing your brakes for more or less the whole race, tell us about that.

NR: Yeah, the whole car was on the edge, it always is in Singapore, so it’s all the more satisfying with a race like that.

Daniel Ricciardo, it’s your third consecutive time on this podium, but you needed just a few more centimetres for the top step.

Daniel Ricciardo (referred here after as DR):- Yeah, we’ve come very close this year on numerous occasions but you know, I’m not going to stand up here and be disappointed. I think we gave it a good shot. We tried something at the end with the strategy and we got within half a second. It was close but hey, we’re up here again; it feels great. There are a lot of Australian flags, every year I see more and more, so thank you very much.

You were on schedule to be on his gearbox with one or two laps to go and then he got a bit of traffic but it just fell away. One more lap and you would have been there.

DR: Yeah, it was close. As soon as we did the pit stop we thought Nico was going to come in, so I pushed really hard on those tyres and by the end they were a little bit dead, but at least we close and made it exciting.

The champagne pouring off you is boiling hot – a tough race.

DR: It’s a physical race, absolutely.

Lewis, it’s your 99th podium but it’s not the sweetest one I suspect.

Lewis Hamilton (referred here after as LH):- No, definitely not, but first of all, big congratulations to Nico, he drove fantastically well all weekend and fully deserved the win. Very tough day today, as always it is here in Singapore. This weekend has just been a bot of a tricky one for me, but I’m still glad I could get back up on the podium and get some points for the team.

The first half of the race you were a bit frustrated with the tyres and your own pace and wondering what was going on and then suddenly you came alive.

LH: It was my brakes. I was struggling with my brakes, they were way overheating, so I just had to slow down, so I just had to watch the other guys pull away and I was just looking at different ways to try and get them back under control. Eventually once I did my second or third stop, all of a sudden my brakes were under control. But of course, towards the end I still got a bit of heat in them. I have a lot of support here this weekend and I just want to say a big thanks to everyone for coming out and we’ll keep pushing.

Eight points behind in the world championship now, is that a big concern for you?

LH: Well, it’s a lot different to when I was here last year, but in all in all, with everything that’s gone on this year, I’m still in the fight, there’s still a long way to go and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.

Final word then Nico – six races to go in this championship, you are leading it yet again now, so you must be thinking ‘I can win this, I can take this’.

NR: No, I’m not focused on points. As I always say, I’m just happy with the win today. Thank you very much for coming today, you’ve been awesome this weekend, I hope you had fun and see you all again in Malaysia, soon.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Nico, many congratulations, you’ve won your 200th Grand Prix, it’s your 22nd Grand Prix victory and you’ve now got an eight-point lead in the World Championship. It was a brilliantly judged race – but were there a few nervous moments as the man on your right was closing in?

NR: Like with ten laps to go, or 15 laps to go, just after the pitstop, the team said he would be with me at the end of the race, which was the case, so for sure I had to be on it in that last stint and get everything right and nail all those laps. It really worked out, with the management, all the way to the end. The tyre lasted just right, so very, very happy, of course. By the time I started the last lap I knew it was going to be enough because Daniel also, his tyres weren’t as fresh any more, so by that time it was OK.

Q: Daniel, coming onto you. It was a brave roll of the dice at the end in terms of strategy. What are you feeling now? Just one more lap – or do you think you could have done anything differently?

DR: No, I don’t. I’m sitting here pretty happy because I felt I did all I could. The perfect race. If there was anything that could have been more perfect it was the start but Nico got off the line well. So, even with an amazing start we wouldn’t have got the jump. It looked like his was near-perfect.

From that point we just tried to do what we could. Team put me on a three-stop at the end. It was fun. It was good to push the whole race and I knew I would get close to Nico at the end. So even if the track’s difficult to overtake, it was nice to be able to push to the last lap and know that I was at least putting some pressure on him and giving the crowd still a little bit of hope.

Q: Lewis, coming on to you. It was nip-and-tuck between you and Kimi throughout the race. How surprised were you that they called him in after you made your final stop?

LH: The team suggested they would do the same. To be honest we were both struggling with… we were both pushing quite hard in that stint and we both would have not made it to the end at the pace we were going, and so I kinda knew I was just pushing on my out-lap to see if I could undercut him, which fortunately we did.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Lennart Wermke – Bild) Nico, first of all congratulations, brilliant drive. There was a little incident with an over-ambitious marshal on the track at the very beginning of the race. I think you were driving towards him. Can you describe to us what happened and what did you see in this moment?

NR: Yeah, that was pretty hairy, for sure. I think just as we didn’t expect the restart, he didn’t either, I think, because the restart was somehow pretty abrupt. But he got out of the way just about in time so it was OK. Of course we all had to drive a bit carefully through there.

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speed Sport) Nico, a couple of days ago you told us, 200th race, not that big a deal. Is it now – or will it be one of your big deals?

NR: Yeah, winning the Singapore Grand Prix today is awesome. I’m really, really happy about that. The whole weekend went perfectly, so yes, today it’s a big deal. Tomorrow, not so much.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) To the Mercedes drivers, we heard over the radio your team was giving you warnings because of the brakes. Can you tell what happened and did these brake problems accompany you the whole race?

NR: Yes, the brakes were just on the limit. But we know that, it’s expected and it worked out fine. Yes, it’s right on the edge so it was not easy to manage throughout the whole race.

Lewis, do you have anything to add?

LH: Same as Nico. I guess the things that pops to mind is how much worse it’s going to be next year when we’ve got a heavier car. It’s a shame the cars are as heavy as they are because we can’t push, you can’t race very well when you’re behind people here – but that’s maybe just the circumstances of this race.

Daniel, can I follow up on that. Did you have any brake problems?

DR: Nothing in particularly. You do get… towards the end of the race you feel sometimes the pedal get a bit longer, so you know the brakes are wearing but we never got into a critical phase or I never really had to manage it. We came in expecting a few issues but it was actually pretty good.

Q: (Lim Say Heng  – The New Paper) Nico, seven times in the last eight year the overall leader from after the Singapore race has gone on to win the drivers’ championship. How do you feel about that and how confident are you going into the last few races of the season.

NR: A statistic like that, it’s not something that I focus on, at all. It doesn’t have any importance to me. Today I’m just happy to win the race because that is what I came here to do. And now I’m going to celebrate after this. I can’t wait to get home. Next up is Malaysia, where I want to repeat that because feeling good at the moment. On a good roll so I’m going to try to win Malaysia next.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Lewis, could you explain to us what happened when Kimi overtook you? Was it just a bumpy situation or were there no tyres left

LH: Yeah, it was just a mistake. Locked up on one of the bumps and ended up going almost straight on. Costly, but fortunately I was able to not lose anything after the next stint.

Q: (Ian De Cotta – The New Paper) Lewis, question as a follow-up of the statistic about the Singapore race, drivers going on to win the championship; how do you feel going forward to Malaysia? Do you think Mercedes could solve the problems that you had?

LH: We have a good car. We’ve got to have a good weekend. We’ve come from 43 points down so theoretically eight points isn’t anywhere near as steep as that but still, Nico’s been performing fantastically well. This weekend  he’s done an amazing job. I expect him to continue like that so I’ve got make sure that I do the same..

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Lewis, at the end of the race, you seemed quicker than at the beginning. Was it because you had fresh tyres or because you were allowed to push to maximum attack?

LH: It was partly because of the fresh tyres but mostly because the car was getting lighter, the brakes became a lot easier to control. Once my signal of brake overheating reduced, I was able to start to pick up the pace. I was still getting the warnings towards the end but like the last ten laps, I just kind of just let it continue flashing as a warning and hoped for the best. Fortunately the pace was better.

Q: (Berk Serioglu – Motorsport.com) Nico, it seems like you have changed your strategy in the race. Did it happen as the race went on or was it planned before the race?

NR: No, everything went according to plan, just it was they (Red Bull) who didn’t go to plan that caused a bit of a challenge at the end. But for us, everything was to plan.

Q: (Don Kennedy – Hawkes Bay Today) Nico, you’ve won Spa, Monza and now Singapore, races you hadn’t won before and you’ve taken the championship lead again. Surely that must excite you or do we start giving you the nickname Mr Cool?

NR: No, I’m just excited about winning the race today. I’m not excited about any of those other points. Sorry. Just awesome to win here in Singapore, first time out there. I don’t have the best of memories here, this track hasn’t treated me well here in the past so today is a good one.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Daniel, just before you pitted for the third time, you had reduced the gap to Nico to three seconds, I think. With hindsight, do you think you would have had a better chance even to beat Nico if you had stayed out?

DR: I don’t know. I felt pretty good on the soft tyre, so I think our pace was more or less there but to overtake around here and a Mercedes isn’t easy, so to do it on the same tyre, even if I was half a second quicker, maybe if I caught him, you still need a pretty big advantage to pull something off here unless a mistake is made by the guy in front. Yeah, I think we did the right thing in the end. Obviously it still didn’t give us victory but I think staying on the same tyre probably wouldn’t have given us any better chance.

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action, Speedsport) Daniel, this was, as you said before, one of the best chances to win. Where will the next one come?

DR: With some rain, yeah. I think in dry circumstances this was our best shot. We got within half a second but after the race I said on the radio to the team that we will win this year. We’ll get a downpour somewhere and that’ll hopefully throw a few curved balls and we can middle it and get the victory we’re after.

Q: (Wojciech Paprota – Swiatwyscigow.pl) To Nico and Lewis, yesterday Toto said that it was one of the highlights of his life to see you being competitive during the Singapore Grand Prix after last year’s race. Do you also see this year’s result as a milestone?

NR: It really shows that not only do we have the best car but also we have the best, most competent group of engineers, to extract the potential from the best car, from every weekend, changing the car, adapting to the new circuits, to the different circuits and understanding, because last year we were absolutely nowhere here. We got destroyed by Red Bull and Ferrari and we understood what we did wrong and came back this year and beat them on their strongest track. That’s really awesome to see that.

LH: I think Nico just answered it perfectly well.

2016 Belgian Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference Transcript

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Here’s the official transcript of the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-

DRIVERS

1 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

2 – Daniel RICCIARDO (Red Bull Racing)

3 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

PODIUM INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by Mark Webber)

Ladies and gentlemen, what a weekend here in Belgium! A sell-out crowd. Maybe a driver up here that you might not have wanted but what a weekend! Nico, well done. Crazy start to the race, red flag, big shunt with Kevin Magnussen, run us through it?

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- Yeah, thank you very much. No, it’s been a great weekend, very, very happy with that result of course. I understand that some of you are disappointed. I understand that you wanted Verstappen to up here. Another year, he’s very young. He has many years to go. You’ve been amazing this weekend. So many of you have come, it’s been very impressive to see, great atmosphere. Thank you to my team of course, great car they have given me. A very special day. And of course congrats to Lewis, from last place to third must have been pretty impressive.

Thanks Nico. Daniel, up here again, Spa, great podium, you couldn’t have expected much more? How was it, saving tyres, going long and splitting the two Mercedes?

Daniel Ricciardo (referred here after as DR):- Firstly, thank you for doing that [Webber drank sparkling wine from Ricciardo’s race boot]. I think we just made our country even more proud. It was cool, you know. Obviously it was pretty messed up at the start, a lot of virtual safety cars and then the red flag. We knew we had a bit of damage actually from the first corner but we fixed the front wing and got back out. I mean, it was a bit of a race by myself but obviously I enjoyed the pace and to keep Lewis behind was a good achievement today.

Well done, buddy. Lewis, wow! So, Lewis that was a record comeback to a podium here in Spa. Twenty-first on the grid to third place, I imagine you couldn’t really believe you could hit the steps today?

Lewis Hamilton (referred here after as LH):- Firstly I’ve got to say a big thank you… this crowd is incredible. I know a lot of these people came out for Max, which is amazing and that’s great for the sport, but I just want to say a big thank you to everyone for supporting me today. The team did an amazing job this weekend. I changed three engines. I’m actually ahead of these guys on engines, which is a good thing. Thanks to the team. Just a remarkable day: beautiful weather, great crowd and a great race.

It was that, sensational, well done, Lewis. Nico, your 20th victory, first time winning here in Spa, you have the momentum now for Monza. How do you feel the car will perform there and you know, nibbling away, a couple point off Lewis this weekend: back end of the season, mate, how are you looking forward to that?

NR: It’s been great of course to get the win today on this special track, you know, it’s a legendary track, but Lewis starting from the back made it a lot easier this weekend and I’m sure he’s going to be back in Monza and it’s going to be a big battle as always.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Nico, many congratulations on that 20th victory. You haven’t put a foot wrong all weekend: pole position, the win, did you ever feel under any pressure in that race.

NR: In the race, the start, of course, is always pressure, and then after that Daniel was quite quick in the beginning of the second stint. But in general, yes, I had everything under control because I just had an awesome car out there, and Lewis wasn’t there to battle it out, which made it a less-difficult weekend. But really pleased to get the win, of course.

Q: Any nervous moments this afternoon?

NR: Nervous at the start. Yeah, why not? After that, after that, it was OK. Safety Car restarts are always a bit more challenging but it all worked out fine.

Q: Daniel, it’s your third consecutive podium. Do you think you can catch the guys on your left any time soon?

DR: Hopefully! As you said, three podiums in a row where… we’re definitely making inroads, it’s the second race that we’ve at least finished in front of one of them – obviously Lewis started towards the back today but I think our pace wasn’t too bad. I think the real start of the race eventually was after the red flag.

I was second and Lewis was fifth. I think we held our own quite well. Nico had a little bit more pace but I think generally we’re making inroads, which is really positive. Monza I think will be our most challenging circuit in the second half of the season – but then we’ve got Singapore to look forward to – and Suzuka. So, really pleased, again thanks to the team. Obviously three good weekends, it’s been fun. Yesterday, obviously I was qualified fifth but I knew we would have a good race car today and it proved right – so I’m really pleased.

Q: Lewis, what a race by you. Last row of the grid to the podium. It’s a new record here at Spa. Talk us through it.

LH: What an incredible weekend it’s been. It’s obviously been a much different weekend to anything we have ever really experienced. First of all I’m incredibly proud of my guys in the garage and back at the factory for building these engines and changing these engines this week. I think before, even on Thursday there was an engine swap, warming one up, then warming another one up.

A change after practice one, a change after practice two, so I had three new engines this weekend. So to come away with the points that we have today, I’m extremely proud of everyone. I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen in the race. I was trying to keep my head down all weekend and focus on the long-run paces. It seemed to work and pay off.

Congratulations to the guys next to me, this is great for Mercedes and still great for the championship. I’d have had an even better summer if I went into the summer knowing I’d come out nine points ahead still after three new engines. So I’m very grateful.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Angelique Belokopytov – AutoDigest) Lewis, it seems that press conference has missed you. How do you feel to finish in P3 after coming from the back – and more showing to the ones who have doubts about the fact that you’re back and fighting with Nico for the Championship?

LH: Yeah. I really can’t believe that we came up so far to be honest. I really had no… I woke up this morning knowing how difficult it would be on these tyres, y’know, lots of blistering. But you can never predict what’s going to happen in the race. The great thing about motor racing is that, since I was eight years old, every Sunday has been different.

Your car’s positioned in a different way, your starts a bit different, something happens up front, previous races there were no incidents, today there was. Today was really about trying to approach it with… make sure you had the right approach: not too aggressive; not too easy. I think today, collectively as a team we had just the right balance. This is the best result I could have hoped for.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Daniel, you were following the pace of Nico but at certain moments and especially in the last stint, the gap started becoming bigger. What happened exactly? Was there any difficulty in the car?

DR: No, to be honest the car was pretty good. You know the only time I wasn’t happy with the car was the first few laps before the red flag. The incident at turn one… some debris hit the front wing and I had some damage so up until the red flag I wasn’t too happy but we changed the wing during the red flag and then the car was good. I think obviously Nico just had a bit more pace than us but in terms of balance I think we were doing all we could. So I think Nico was just controlling it but everything was fine from that point of view. I don’t think we could have done too much more.

Q: (Dan Knutson – Speed Sport/Auto Action) Lewis, yesterday you told us you might not even crack the top ten. How much did the safety car and the red flag help you get up to third?

LH: Well, that was obviously a part of it but I think I was already up to fifth before the red flag or maybe not, maybe I was sixth or something like that before the incident. Of course, those things I needed in the race to help progress through. As I said, I didn’t know how long these tyres would last. I think our performance today was stronger than I expected and so I think still, at the pace we were going, I think a top ten finish was still possible. But third is something that was definitely helped by the safety cars, VSC.

Q: Lewis you were fifth at the red flag. At that point, did you think you could even challenge for the victory?

LH: I didn’t, simply because… naturally I was pushing to try and get there but I was obviously… I’ve been racing a long long time and with these tyres, knowing how difficult it is just to get past one car, so I spent a bit of time behind Hulkenberg, I think, and then there was already such a decent cushion between myself and Daniel.

If the tyres were better, for example, I could have pushed and closed the gap and actually had a fight with Daniel but that’s not the case and so I just had to manage them for as long as I could, but I had to stop more than these two guys in order to make that passing manoeuvre.

Q: (Oana Popoiu – F1Zone.net) Nico, how difficult was it to win this race?

NR: Well, it wasn’t the toughest race ever, of course, because Lewis wasn’t there. That’s for sure. And the car was great in the race so of course everything still needs to come together and the start is critical and then with the red flag and everything it becomes a bit more complicated and messy. But I got ahead, I got a little bit of pressure from Daniel at the beginning of the second stint because he was on soft tyres but after that I really had good control of everything.

Q: (Mike Doodson – Auto Action) Lewis, this business of changing engines, three engines in a weekend, is confusing for the press and even more so for the public. It happened to work out for you today  and congratulations but what do you really think as opposed to what your team thinks about the principle of punishing a driver for the shortcomings in your own equipment?

LH: Well, firstly, I don’t say anything my team wants me to say so everything you hear from me is from me. These are the rules, the shortcomings we’ve experienced, there was just an opportunity for us to grow and we have. This is a team sport and we win and lose together so collectively; if I make a mistake the team’s punished and if the team make a mistake we are all punished together.

But I think today and this weekend has shown that a great group of good people in the garage worked incredibly hard to change these engines. It’s not an easy process and of course, if the regulations weren’t so technical, we wouldn’t have to make so many changes but that’s how they obviously like it.

I’m pretty sure it’s not cheap but I’m only looking at the positives this weekend and to get third, only lose ten points to Nico but a freebie for him today but he also did a great job and as he said, it wasn’t such a difficult race for him but for me it was a good race and I’m just grateful, as I said, to be up here.

Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) Nico, considering your starting positions, how disappointing is it that you could only make up ten points in the championship fight against Lewis?

NR: It’s not disappointing, I’m happy with today. I’m happy to have won the race, it’s been a great weekend for me and that’s it. Fair play to Lewis, he did a good job.