British GP: Post-qualifying press conference
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), and Felipe Massa (Williams).
Lewis, it was the first run in Q3 again for you – absolutely perfect – that nailed it. Pole position for your home grand prix, how are you feeling?
Lewis HAMILTON: It’s a special day. It’s special when you get the pole position here on your home turf. So many people have come today and this weekend and they really do motivate me through the weekend, so it’s particularly special when you do get the pole. Generally, it’s not been the smoothest weekend, it’s been a bit up and down in terms of set-up and balance and getting laps and throughout qualifying, I made a change to the car, going into qualifying, which was perhaps not spectacular for the quali lap but hopefully will be good for the race. But I’m really, really happy and once I got to Q3 I kind of could just go all out and get that lap in. So, yeah, incredibly happy and my brother’s here with me as well, so big thank you to everyone for all the support.
Thank you. Nico, you missed out today; you were saying on the radio there were a few problems there on the final run, you weren’t completely happy with the balance of the car. Was it something to do with the front tyre?
Nico ROSBERG: Well, first of all the first lap was really good, so there’s not much to say about that, Lewis was just one tenth quicker, which is annoying, but that’s the way it is. Other than that, really awesome to see how many people have come today. Out in the grandstands it’s incredible, it’s full house already more or less today. It’s great to see how enthusiastic everybody is in this country about our sport. And then the last run, something strange. Nobody improved on that one or not many at least. Felipe did? There was something wrong with my left front, so I had big understeer. There was something very wrong, don’t know, we need to look into what it was.
OK, thank you for that. Felipe, you’ve done it again, not only ahead of your team-mate but once again ahead of both Ferraris; good day for you.
Felipe MASSA: Yeah, I think it was a fantastic day for us. As they just said, it’s amazing to see how many people are here. It’s also our home grand prix for the team, so I’m sure it was great to see me and Valtteri third and fourth. We were fighting each other through the qualifying, especially in Q3. I just managed to get a fantastic lap at the end and improve a little bit his lap time. So happy and really looking forward tomorrow that we can have a very strong race, especially in this fight with Ferrari, so today was a very important day for us to see that we can be in front of Ferrari with both cars. I hope we can be also tomorrow. It’s really nice and I’m very happy with what we did today and we just need to concentrate for tomorrow now.
Very well done. Coming back to you Lewis, tomorrow the chance to equal Nigel Mansell and Jim Clark as a three-time British Grand Prix winner. Tell us a little more about what the crowd has been doing to motivate you this weekend and also your two previous wins have come from outside the top three so presumably this makes your task a little easier tomorrow?
LH: I think the previous times… well, naturally I’ve been very fortunate to have had those two wins here and the support has been incredible every year. It’s the banners that are out there, it’s the flags, it’s the team caps, it’s the messages that get sent every day through social media. I was replying to some just before qualifying and they just really create the atmosphere and that buzz. When I’m about to start my lap or when I finish my lap, looking out of the corner of your eye and you know those guys are there, they’re right behind you, so I hope that that wave of energy that they give will help to carry us tomorrow.
Q: Lewis, pole a lot this season, clearly qualifying has been much, much stronger in 2015 than it was at this stage in 2014. What do you think has made the real difference, as far as you’re concerned?
LH: I don’t really know. Naturally that was something that I wanted to improve this year and last year obviously, I think I had seven poles in the whole year. It made the races a lot harder for me, to obviously get past Nico on those occasions, which I did on quite a few occasions – but generally made the races a lot harder to win. So that obviously was a focal point. It’s difficult to say where it’s improved. That first lap in Q3 has been a really important one and generally just through the year I’ve been having good laps in that session. That’s… generally thought the qualifying session wasn’t going great, I had a lot of understeer and… so through the session you’re putting in more and more wing but… and also the wind it all over the place throughout this great track, it makes it very tricky. But, yeah, I’m really happy with that lap, felt fantastic, particularly the middle sector. My favourite part of the track when you go through Copse and then Maggotts and Becketts, it’s fantastic and I really hooked it up on that lap, which made the difference.
Q: It’s interesting that, isn’t it Nico? Because between the two of you since the beginning of last year it’s fairly unusual for whoever gets fastest in the first run of Q3 to be overturned in the final pole position. It does seem to be quite important between the two of you, that first run.
NR: I don’t know. I didn’t see that trend. And yeah, anyway, for me today it was all to play for with the second run – still pushing all out for sure and the chance was there because it was so close.
Q: And a word from you Felipe about the conditions. In the first two parts of qualifying, we saw a lot of drivers exceeding the track limits at Turn Nine and having their times deleted – a lot of drivers – was that ever an issue for you? And how much of a part did the diagonal crosswind into Copse play in that?
FM: Actually it was a problem. It was so easy… it’s a corner where you want to try everything you can – but you have also the wind which sometimes is pushing just a little bit and you lose a little bit of line and you go forwards off. But I was very careful at the beginning not to go off there – but that I was just pushing a little bit harder every lap, a little bit, just to understand what was really the limit but not going to high – and I just managed to do a good job and not passing the lines there.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speed Sport magazines) Felipe, you’re really up there at the top of this group here. Do you feel you’re driving maybe even better than in 2008?
FM: I feel good. I feel that I’m driving well, understanding the tyres and trying, y’know, putting the right lap and…
LH: …2008 was pretty good though!
FM: 2008 I had more pole positions – but the car was more competitive. The problem is them! [LH and NR] If they were a little bit slower maybe I could have been on pole today! That’s the problem compared to 2008. But I feel good. I feel really in good shape.
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speed Sport magazines) Lewis and Nico, I read something about you guys having a barbecue together. Was that last night or tonight? What can you tell us about it?
NR: We’re here with motorhomes, sleeping in the middle of the track, everybody, all the drivers together. Not in the same motorhome obviously. It’s good fun, I invited the team, and Lewis as well, of course, so we had a good evening, team barbecue.
Q: How’s his cooking Lewis?
LH: Nico doesn’t… I’ve never seen him cook! He has this great motorhome, and this nice setting outside for everyone so it was good to have all the team there. It’s a nice evening for everyone and Nico invited me along. I was next door, so I would have gone anyway! The barbecue was great but I didn’t get to eat too much. He put all these sweets out just for me. He knows that’s going to make me heavy – but I didn’t go there – so that’s good.
Q: (Sean McGreevy – CSMA Club Magazine) Lewis, throughout your career you’ve met many personalities, many famous people, Hollywood stars to Nelson Mandela. How did meeting and spending time with the Queen compare to all of them?
LH: I’ve been very, very, very fortunate to meet these people and with the Queen – it’s really strange because people made up some silly stories recently about my meeting with the Queen but it was actually amazing. It was great to... firstly be invited back to sit with her and have lunch. But growing up, seeing her on TV all the time and then having her right next to you, so you can literally have a normal conversation was just...never in a million years thought that would ever happen. And the same with meeting Mr Mandela: when you walk into a room and he’s sitting there in his silk shirt and it’s like walking in to see the King. The atmosphere, as you walked in with him, it was immense, incredibly special man so I’m very, very grateful that I got to be in the presence of both these great people.
Q: (Mike Doodson – Grand Prix Plus) Lewis, I was interested because you were chatting with Felipe earlier and you and he have a bit of history together. At the beginning of your career, the two of you were pretty close and then things went into a rather unhappy phase when you tended to blame each other for things that perhaps you might have regretted afterwards but I wondered if you have healed all that up - looks like you have – but I wondered if there’s another driver from another team in whom you take an interest or who you regard as a particular friend in Formula One?
LH: Well, Felipe was a friend of mine before I got to Formula One, when I was in Formula Three and in GP2. Sometimes he would invite me along to some dinners so we had some great times before then and then obviously had a great battle in 2008, fantastic battle in 2008, he drove incredibly well. Then we definitely had a difficult year, I think. Somehow we always happened to be together on the track and the majority of the time I was behind him and Felipe is very good at making the car as wide as the track. It was very hard to get by.
FM: He was a little vague. You were not really concentrated on that year.
LH: I say it’s the other way round. But I’ve never ever had any problems with him. There was nothing ever to get fixed so...
FM: I was just saying that in 2011 he was not really concentrated you know? But anyway, I have a good relationship with most of the drivers. I think the problem with Formula One is that we are together but everybody is separated, you know? I don’t think this is really nice, so I think the problem with Formula One is that we need to be... We fight on the track, but outside we need to be... I’m sure that nobody knows each other in a proper way but I’m sure everybody’s... maybe most of the drivers are very nice but maybe we don’t know each other because is too separated. We need to be more open, we need to be closer. It’s not a problem to go out to dinner with another driver. For me that’s pretty normal, it’s what we miss in Formula One. At least, that’s what I see.
LH: We do get along with other drivers but I can’t pinpoint a particular one.
Q: (Don Kennedy – Hawke’s Bay Today) Lewis, do you feel extra pressure trying to win your home Grand Prix for the third time, I think? And speaking of pressure, did you happen to catch the Heather Watson/Serena Williams match last night and your thoughts on that?
LH: Honestly I didn’t get to see the big match and I don’t know who won. (Serena Williams) I thought she would, yeah, which is fantastic. There’s definitely extra added pressure. It comes from yourself, mainly because you know that so many people save up through the year to come here, spend a fortune on team merchandise and flags and camping and hotels, whatever it may be, and then they come here and they are here to support you and you just want to make sure that you put the icing on top of the cake. They’re already having a great weekend with the great weather but if you can deliver then there’s that extra bit of pressure to do that. But I think that pressure is a positive pressure in which I would hope that I can thrive off.
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British GP: Post-qualifying press conference
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