Full transcript from the top three press conference after the British Grand Prix, Round 10 of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship, at Silverstone, featuring race winner Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), second placed Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
Track interviews conducted by Martin Brundle
Sebastian, you’ve matched Alain Prost’s total of 51 victories and surely that was one of your more satisfying victories? What a drive.
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, obviously the safety car spiced it up. It was a nice time because Valtteri was pushing like crazy. I had the advantage on tyres but it was not so easy to find a way through but then I surprised him. I wasn’t sure I’d make the corner but I did, so it worked really and very, very happy. Great thanks to the team supporting me and the people in the background because yesterday I was a bit damaged but much better shape today, it was no problem, so yeah, really, really happy.
I can see you have still got a lot of tape on your neck. We were concerned you were going to struggle to finish the grand prix.
SV: I was as well going into the race but it was fine. I think with all the adrenalin going… probably I will feel it a little bit tonight. It doesn’t matter. It held up. The race was fantastic; we got a great crowd. A race I enjoyed a lot, I think the people enjoyed it a lot, really an amazing day.
Eight point lead in the championship over Lewis, who I will try to find. Where is he? I’ll go to Kimi first. Kimi, you had a few adventures to be on the podium again.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, obviously in the third corner I locked the wheel and I was behind the cars, so I ended up hitting Lewis in the rear corner, I oversteered, he spun, my bad, but that’s how it goes sometimes. It was not a straightforward race.
You thought the 10-second penalty was fair enough?
KR: It was my mistake, so that’s fine. I deserve it and took the 10 seconds and kept fighting. That’s how it goes.
You had countless wheel-to-wheel fights, Red Bull, with others. You must be satisfied with how aggressive you were in the race and how it paid off for you?
KR: Yeah, for sure, without the mistakes and the 10-second penalty it would have been better, but I tried. Obviously my view is that I did the best that I could do but obviously there seems to be some awfully opposite looks on what I’m doing, unfortunately, so we’ll see.
Lewis, a brilliant comeback drive in front of your home fans.
Lewis Hamilton: This is the greatest race of the year and this is the greatest crowd and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to bring it home for you today, but thank you for your support. It’s you guys that helped me get through today. We’ll take it on the chin and keep pushing hard, because believe me I will not give up. I will not give up.
By Turn 3 you were pretty much last and you’re up here in second place but I sensed when you got out of the car you were still pretty unhappy?
LH: Well, the team did an amazing job this weekend and we’ve got so much support but so much pressure for us all. Interesting tactics, I would say, from their side but we will do what we can to fight them and improve in the next races, but I’m just so grateful for all the support we had here. This is the best grand prix we’ve had all year, look at the crowd, it’s been amazing.
Seb, you said the Safety Car spiced it up a bit, but don’t you think it helped you a bit because it seemed like you had more problems with the tyres in the first stint and in the second stint Valtteri came a bit later and would have probably been able to push you a bit more?
SV: No, I disagree. I think in the first stint it was crucial to open the gap, which we did. And then in the end, I think Valtteri’s tyres were a little bit in better shape but in the second stint we were largely controlling and I think it would have been fine until the end. Obviously with the safety car then it was one or the other. Obviously we are the first car, us deciding to pit, obviously they stayed out. I think if we stay out, they pit. So he had a free pit stop and I lost a position to him but after the re-start I knew we have our chance, with fresher tyres. Obviously then there was another safety car and then you’re losing laps but it was crucial to make the move early on. He was pushing very hard and did a good job and it was difficult to get past in the beginning because his tyres were still fine and he was in free air. But I was able to surprise him and then I could control the last couple of laps, turn things down and bring the car home.
Lewis, can you just talk us through the start and what happened at Turn 3 please?
LH: Yeah, I just had a poor getaway. Too aggressive on the… just got wheelspin and lost ground to the others and then just got a tap from behind and that was that.
To both Ferrari drivers, can we say that the car has passed the toughest examination, as Silverstone has been the favourable circuit for a long time?
KR: I don’t think Silverstone is any more difficult than other circuits. They’re all tricky and obviously it depends on the layouts and stuff, that they need some special things from the car – but they’re all hard and difficult to make work. I think, maybe in people’s eyes yes – but I don’t think it changes anything.
Seb, anything to add on the competitiveness of your car?
SV: Well, this weekend was a bit different, obviously, it was very warm, which is a bit unlikely for here, compared to recent years. Also there was less wind, new asphalt, so a couple of new things but I think the main thing is that we were competitive, which we weren’t in the past. It’s a tricky circuit, you need to get the balance right, of downforce and drag. I think we have a very good car, we brought some bits, they seemed to work, so, I think we were very, very happy with the result. Obviously… yeah, it’s been a difficult track for us. This year I think we were a match. Probably there were still some weaknesses in the race at different phases. As I described, I think the end of the first stint, I think Valtteri was a bit faster to overall I think we had pace in hand, managed the second stint and managed the race well. If you have a car that is fast, I think you can make things happen, and that’s what we did today.
To Lewis. Why your team didn’t call you and Valtteri to pit, that was more or less the obvious decision to do, as the winners did and other teams also. You with medium used tyres were able to follow them with new soft tyres, in the same conditions of them, very possibly would fight for the victory, no?
LH: I can’t speak for Valtteri, I guess he was obviously in the lead and they believed that perhaps he would be able to hold on. For me, the guys pitted in front of me, that was an opportunity for me to get up into third. I think it was the right decision. If I’d followed them in I would have come out behind them, we’d have equal tyres and I would have struggle to get by them and most certainly wouldn’t have been second. These guys would have pulled away. So, I think it was 100 per cent the right decision, particularly on my car. I don’t know how many laps Valtteri had had – but most likely it was the right decision for him too – but it was very, very hard with our tyres, fighting against people with brand-new tyres for sure. And in a perfect world, I would have had new tyres – but it wasn’t that kind of day for me.
Kimi, tell us about those last few laps. You were charging and passing and really moving up.
KR: Yeah, obviously, the beginning was far from ideal. I locked a wheel and hit Lewis on the rear-right corner. Then we served the penalty and it was tricky with Red Bull for whatever reason. Every time we got close to them or behind them it seems to be very difficult to follow them, seems to be just different than any other car. We had some fights with them at the beginning of the race and at the end and managed to finally get past them. I think the Mercedes was somehow more easy to follow. Must less effect on my car. We got a pretty decent run out of Three every lap, got the momentum and managed to pass. So, it was OK but obviously but far from ideal. That’s how it goes.
Lewis, on the podium, you said ‘interesting tactics, I would say, from this side’ appearing to look at the Ferrari drivers. Do you in any way think that Turn Three collision was deliberate?
LH: All I’d say is that it’s now two races that the Ferraris have taken out one of the Mercedes, and a five-second penalty and a ten-second penalty doesn’t appear to feel… ultimately it spoils the race. It’s a lot of points that ultimately Valtteri and I have lost in those two scenarios. And, of course, it is a race situation. I couldn’t see behind me but we’ve just to work hard to try to position ourselves better so that we are not exposed to the red cars – because who knows when that’s going to happen again. We’ve got to make sure that we work hard together as a team to try to lock-out the front row and make sure that we’re fully ahead of these guys.
In the green room, there seemed to be a fair degree of frustration, not to say anger, in your body language. You didn’t appear to even be looking in Kimi’s direction. Would that be a fair analysis of your emotions – because obviously so much riding on this for you?
LH: Not at all. No. It’s easy for you to sit and watch the race. I sweat my arse off in that race. I pushed absolutely 100, 1000 per cent. Every bit of energy I had. I didn’t have anything left when I came in. People expect you to get out of the car and wave and smile and all that. I gave everything I could, I was struggling to stand. It’s so physical nowadays. It’s different when you’re in the lead and can control the pace. I was coming from last. So, I didn’t have much to give at that time and needed to take a deep breath. I don’t have any problems with Kimi.
Ferrari drivers, would you like to reply? Are you using interesting tactics? Is it your mindset to go out and take one of the Mercedes drivers out or is it just unlucky?
SV: Well, things can happen but I think it’s quite silly to think that anything that happened was deliberate, at least, I would struggle to be that precise, you know, to take somebody out. In France, I lost my wing so I screwed my race. I think it’s easy to obviously attack and have a great move and also easy to have an incident. I don’t think… I mean, I only saw it briefly on the monitor, I don’t think there was any intention and I find it a bit unnecessary to even go there.
KR: Things happen sometimes. Funnily enough you start blaming us that we did it purposefully but he locked a wheel and unfortunately we touched and both paid the price for it and that’s how it goes sometimes. It’s easy to say after the couple of races that we’re suddenly doing something against them but we’ve been hit very many times ourselves so that’s how it goes unfortunately.
Lewis, if you’re having concerns maybe that there are some interesting tactics going on…
LH: I’m not.
OK, but if it’s something that maybe you’re going to talk to Ferrari about or take further…
LH: No. I don’t have any concerns.
Lewis, obviously it’s a disappointing result for you but can you take any pleasure in the fact that you came back to second place and that the crowd appeared to really appreciate you doing so?
LH: Yes. The fans have been incredible this weekend and I’m grateful for the England football team at least doing great this weekend and keeping it positive. Obviously we’re in a tough battle this year and it’s the most intense battle that I think we’ve probably all had but I’m very very grateful that the car was still in one piece after the first turn three incident. Whilst I appeared, at the beginning, to have lost something on the rear end, when I looked at the car afterwards it seems to be OK and it was driving better and better throughout the race so that was a great thing. Honestly, to get back to second it’s huge for us and I will definitely take it, of course, and I’m happy with the drive that I did and as I said, what the team were able to do but yeah, we’ve just got to work harder and er, that’s all.
Sebastian, you were having a good look at the gold trophy when you were on the podium, presumably looking at some of the great names that are on there, a trophy that Lewis almost owns. How satisfying is this win for you and how important do you see this now in the championship, given that Ferrari seem to have the measure or at least equal pace with the Mercedes around here?
SV: To be honest I had a look and the trophy obviously carries over names of previous winners but it stopped in 2005 so I was wondering where the last 13 years have been. And then when I came back to the podium room, they showed me that there’s another bit that they forgot to put on but for sure it’s a very prestigious trophy with a lot of names. I think it’s the original motor sport… racing here’s always something special, the track is phenomenal, the fans are phenomenal as well. I’m looking whether we can have something similar in Germany, that would be great. Obviously I won the race a long time ago and it’s great, it feels great to win it again. I think it’s one of the most satisfying tracks as a driver and to come out on top obviously is a great feeling.
Sebastian, can you talk us through that final battle with Valtteri and the move that finally got him for the lead?
SV: Yeah, it was quite intense. Obviously I had the advantage on the tyres but he had the clean air so in the high speed stuff I was able to follow, but it was difficult the closer I got and I saw sort of sniffed my chance already and the first laps after the restart out of turn four and then on the Wellington Straight down to turn six, yeah, and the final move, obviously I was able to surprise him so I think he thought that I won’t dare (go on) the inside and the braking zone was coming quite fast but I thought OK, I have to go for it because I was obviously also struggling… the longer I spent behind him, struggling with my tyres as they got hotter, and losing that advantage that I had a little bit, and I felt great when I was side by side and wasn’t sure if I would make the corner but I did, so it was great and once I was ahead, obviously I could use that advantage to pull out a gap and control the race from there. But it was crucial, it wasn’t easy, they seemed to be very strong on the straights, the mid part of the straights but yeah, obviously with DRS and a tow, I was a bit stronger at the end of the straights so it worked. The main thing is that it worked and it felt great.
Lewis, you came here for your eighth podium in Great Britain, it’s a record. You have already overtaken Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher with that record. How do you feel about that?
LH: Well, I say it doesn’t mean anything to me at the moment. I’m not a record person so it doesn’t really hold much to me.
Sebastian, you said that you were trying to surprise Valtteri with that move at the end but were you surprised when he didn’t react to the move and try to close the door?
SV: No, obviously you sort of imagine where you could be at the end of the straight. I had a good exit, I would have liked to have been closer but I wasn’t but I still thought it was good enough to have a shot so I gave it everything and yeah, I obviously tried the outside on the run before and he was very late on the brakes and so was I and then I couldn’t really go anywhere so I thought OK, you can’t do that again and you have to somehow surprise him and the fact that I think that I was a little bit further back and we were close to the braking zone he was covering the inside but then still gave me a little bit of room and that’s what I used to make the move happen and obviously once I was on the inside and I had clean air from the front, the car was great and I could make the corner. I wanted to win and I had to go for it. Obviously I think he struggled a little bit more towards the end with his tyres but I wanted to get by as soon as possible and that was the key.
Seb, we’ve seen on your headrest some additional parts. Can you explain what you did exactly for your neck and we also saw that you were fine tuning it on the starting grid?
SV: Yeah, it felt good on the laps to the grid so I took some off. Obviously yesterday was a different day. Qualifying wasn’t very enjoyable. I did as little runs as possible and I had the padding just to support in the corners where you don’t… like turn eight that is easily flat so I was resting my head yesterday and today it wasn’t necessary so I had a good feeling and the race was no problem.