Monaco GP: Post-race press conference
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing), Sergio Perez (Force India)
(Conducted by Martin Brundle)
Lewis, well done. Finally, 44th victory, your favourite number, what a race.
Lewis HAMILTON: Thank God that today went the way that I hoped. Big thank you to the fans that came out today, you really made the weekend. Big thank you to my team for providing me with a great car to see it through to the end. Honestly, I’m kind of lost for words really. I prayed for a day like this and it came through, so I feel truly blessed.
You got the wet tyres a long way so that you could put the slicks straight on but you had a long way to go on those tyres from lap 31.?
LH: I’m telling you that was the longest run to get there before I stopped for those tyres. It was crazy how long it was and really difficult to understand how much wheelspin you’re allowed, how much you can use the tyres because you don’t know to what end they’re going to go and I think the last lap was the time they were literally just about to drop off, but as I say thank God they stayed on.
Daniel was chasing you hard, especially on the re-starts?
LH: Yeah. Firstly, big congratulations to this guys [Daniel Ricciardo]. He drove phenomenally all weekend. Just one of the best drivers I’ve raced against, really he did a fantastic job today. That was a lot of pressure I was under and it was incredibly close, particularly on those re-starts but he did a phenomenal job. So I’m looking forward to many more battles with him. I’m sure he’s not that happy, since he started pole and it’s never great to start pole and come second, but he should feel proud of the way he drove.
Daniel, the one that got away my friend.
Daniel RICCIARDO: Ha! I don’t even want to talk about the race to be honest. Just want to say thanks to the fans, thanks for sticking out this weather. I guess from the outside we put on a show. Shouldn’t have been as exciting as it was to be honest. Two weekends in a row I’ve been screwed now. It sucks. It hurts. But thanks to everyone for sticking it out, I appreciate it.
Any idea? Can you tell us what happened with the missing tyres on that stop?
DR: No. No idea. I was called into the box. I didn’t make the call. I got called. They should have been ready. It hurts. It hurts. I don't have anything else to say to be honest.
You had a few scary moments with you front brakes locked up as well. You were so quick on the re-starts but obviously it was a challenge all afternoon out there for grip?
DR: Yeah, I think we had the speed. I think we had the speed in the wet on the start. We pulled away, pitted for inters and we put ourselves in a race with Lewis, which we didn’t need to be in. And then the pit stop was the pit stop. I felt that I was the quickest in all conditions but again second place doesn’t show much for it.
You’ve been on fire all weekend; your day will come,
DR: Thank you, I appreciate it.
OK, third place man: Sergio Pérez, you look a very happy man and rightly so.
Sergio PEREZ: I’m extremely happy because my team has done a tremendous job – with the strategy, with the calls, with the pit stops. It’s been an amazing day for us certainly my favourite podium with the team, so a very special to have it in Monaco, especially in these race conditions. I want to dedicate this podium to our boss Vijay Mallya. He has been very supportive during these times and I really want to dedicate this one to him.
You had Vettel in your mirrors; Seb was there the whole time. You were so fast on those soft tyres.
SP: I think we did the right call. I think the best strategy for us was the soft at the end. I was controlling the pace at the beginning, then Seb, as you say, had a lot of pace, he was a lot faster than us, but then I think I saved my tyres and when I needed to push I had the tyre life. It was amazing race really with all the calls and everything, so I’m extremely happy.
Well done. Finally, back to you Lewis, just 26 [sic] points behind in the world championship. Game on!
LH: Yeah. I haven’t even thought about that just yet. I forgot to congratulate Sergio today – he did an amazing job today to come up from where he was. Of course we’re in the battle. We’re still going. There’s a long, long way to go and just when you feel like when it couldn’t get any worse it gets better, so I think the message from today for everyone is ‘never give up’.
Lewis Hamilton, what a win, one of those Monaco Grand Prix people will talk about for many years to come. Your first win of the season, in fact 24 points behind Nico Rosberg in the world championship, less than a win, he lost a place on the line. The key, clearly, was the decision to delay the pit stop and go directly onto the slick tyres. Just talk us through that whole communication process, because ironically it was a communication process here 12 months ago that did for you the other way and it’s totally come your way this time.
LH: Yeah, I’m massively overwhelmed. It’s been a long time coming to get this win, not only in this season but to get the grand prix win here. This is one the toughest, if not the toughest, races of the year for us. Just so much pressure on all of us. Honestly, yesterday didn’t go well and of course I could only come here today hoping for the best and just making sure I was focused. But as soon as it rained it just opened up all the doors of opportunity. Fortunately I was quick enough in the wet, as I usually am here. I think with the strategy it was really just about that the track was drying so quick, but unevenly across the lap, so the first and middle sector were drying up really quick and the last sector was going quite slowly. So it was really kind gauging that and I noticed other people when they came out – Nico I heard had pitted and Sebastian and they weren’t lapping much faster than me, if at all. My tyres weren’t really degrading, so I was like “I got to stay out”. The team were saying we should move but I knew I would drop behind Daniel, so I eked it out as far as I could and luckily right at the end… I switched just at the right time. Coming back out on those slicks, I tell you, it was so slippery for us all. Trying to get temperature into those tyres and quick reflexes for the big snap oversteers you have, so incredibly exciting. And Daniel drove just phenomenally, as I said before. He was all over the back end of my car. I couldn’t really see a huge amount out of my mirrors, because when it rains it gets so dirty. S trying to defend from him and not always knowing exactly where he was probably one of the toughest if not the toughest races I’ve had for as far as I can remember. Huge respect for him and for the way he drove today and a big, big thank you to the team, especially the new guys on my side of the garage that have taken such a…. it’s been a hard five races to be here, six with yesterday and I think today can take a huge amount of weight off them, knowing that they’ve been doing a great job.
Thank you very much. Daniel, a warm tribute there from Lewis. Clearly they made some moves but there’s no question that on your side there moves that were made that cost you the race. Second race in a row a pit stop has cost you a win. I know you were just looking at the screens there as to the pit stop, the tyres not being ready. Do you understand how that happebed and what are your feelings about the call to come in for inters when you had the race under control in the first place.
DR: Two races in a row, two races in a row. That’s all I can say. We were quick in the wet, we had a comfortable lead, pitted for inters, got stuck behind Lewis and we just effectively put ourselves in a race we didn’t need to be into. Then I got called into the pits for the slicks and the tyres weren’t ready. I didn’t make the call. I didn't make the late call. I got to the pits and everyone’s running around like headless ‘chooks’. Massively, massively disappointed. I don’t like being up here being miserable, because I got a podium in Formula One, so it should be a good day, but when it happens two weekends in a row it’s hard to take.
Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) Lewis, after another difficult qualifying, after another mechanical issue, what or who helped you the most to keep your head up and basically, how did you spend the rest of Saturday?
LH: Honestly, for me, just God really. I just said my prayers. I’ve had my great friends around me yesterday, watched a movie, I just had good company but honestly it was just in my thoughts. I never pray to win, I pray for everyone’s safety, I pray that I’m able to be the best that I can be and today I think I honestly feel super-satisfied and happy with how I drove. To be able to drive at your best and to be able to do what you come out to achieve is a wonderful feeling inside, so that’s what I’m feeling now and carry that on for the next days, that’s for sure.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Lewis, in the beginning when you saw Daniel disappearing in the wet, did you get nervous that he might get away and did you ask the pits to ask Rosberg to let you pass? And was it actually a real passing manoeuvre or do you think he let you past by himself?
LH: I really don’t know. I don’t remember if... I didn’t ask to be let passed, I had the pace, obviously, on Nico but it’s very hard to overtake but it looked like he had a problem for a second, he pulled to the left and I went by so... I guess I’ll find out afterwards.
Honestly, when I was behind Nico I was only thinking about either finishing where I was and thinking this is a long race, either finishing here or getting past Nico and at least getting some more points than him but then obviously once I got past it was hammer time. I had to try and catch Daniel and he was clocking about three or four tenths, between two and four tenths, slower than me so I was reining him in gently but not quick enough and then he pitted and I was in the lead and after that it was really nerving because the track was drying, I didn’t know if my tyres were going to burn up really quick and he was on a fresh set of intermediates which were for sure much quicker but I managed to just hold him off.
Q: (Andrew Frankl – Forza) Gentlemen, should we salute the marshals who have done a fantastic job, so you could race, removing all the debris and lifting all the cars? I honestly don’t think you could have done it without them and I think they were very very brave.
LH: I personally appreciate you mentioning that. I’ve been racing for such a long time and seen thousands and thousands of marshals that turn up every year to look out for our safety and for sure it’s not mentioned anywhere near enough. So I would like to take that from you and absolutely thank them. I think today they were risking their lives getting on the track with all these cars coming by but they do it for the love of the sport and I’m massively appreciative of them. And also being able to go on the track knowing that if something was to happen to me in the car, I’m confident that these guys could get me out to safety in the best way possible.
DR: Yeah, absolutely. The marshals here are by far the best in the world. We obviously travel around the world and not taking anything away from wherever else we go but the efficiency and the way they are able to clean up and keep the race going, basically keeping it exciting for the fans, letting us race but still doing it safety, it’s impressive, it’s impressive how they work here. There’s always crashes, there’s always incidents and yeah, they’re able to be very efficient and honestly keep us safe, as Lewis said. So 100 percent appreciate everything they do.
SP: Yeah, what I can say is that I remember my crash in 2011 and they did a fantastic job to get me out of the car in very difficult situations and in the end I just want to thank them because they do an extremely good job. I think it’s the most difficult track for that and they show how good they are, so I really want to thank them a lot for the job they do and their love of the sport. I think they are simply the best marshals in the world.
Q: (Christopher Joseph – Chicane) Daniel, yesterday you ambushed Mercedes with a great strategy, today you’re talking about headless chooks. Who calls the shots, what went wrong, what needs to be done for you to win a race?
DR: I don’t know. I don’t know to be honest. I think I took Barcelona on the chin and then took it well but two in a row now, and it’s not like we’re in Mercedes’ position, we’re not able to win a race, so to have an opportunity to lead two races in a row and especially here in Monaco. I put it on the front and you wake up and you see thunderstorms and it’s like, OK, there’s a few curved balls coming my way today but I felt I dealt with them as well as I could have and had the pace in the wet at the beginning and again I thought I was controlling everything I had to. Obviously a big part of it is relying on the team and the strategy but yeah, to get it wrong twice now it definitely hurts. I’m not sure where to go from here, what to do. Obviously they’ve got to understand what’s going on and learn from it but this win I’ll never get back, that’s a fact.
Q: (Sandor Meszaros – Autosport ES Formula Magazin) Checo, can we say that this fantastic Monaco podium finish is another message from you to the top teams?
SP: Well, I hope not only this one, I hope what I have been doing over the past years. I had a really tough time at McLaren and it seems that this is what everyone remembers, my time at McLaren but no one remembers my time at Sauber, my time at Force India. All I can do is keep doing my job, keep doing as well as I can, keep improving as a driver. I think in the last years I have improved a lot. I’m a more complete driver in all aspects, qualifying, race, race pace, better experience. So if the opportunity ever comes, I will be ready for it and I’m up for it. If not, all I can keep doing is doing my job.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Daniel, you said that the Red Bull is not in a position to win every race now. How far are you from the Mercedes, can you still compete in the next races for victories?
DR: I think Canada is going to be interesting. There’s obviously a lot of... it’s still a street circuit but there’s a long straight and it’s a bit more of a horsepower circuit. I think that will be a sign; if we can be quick in a couple of weeks, then I think we can be quick really for the remainder of the season. If we can fight for a podium in Canada then we should be able to fight everywhere else. We knew this track would be an opportunity for us to win but yeah, probably in two weeks time we’ll have a better idea really how competitive we can be, not only on these type of circuits but all the others.
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Monaco GP: Post-race press conference
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