The following is the complete transcript from Sunday afternoon’s official FIA post-race press conference. Please note that Sebastian Vettel, who is classified third during the conference, has now been demoted to fifth for his on track actions when defending from Daniel Ricciardo.
1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
2 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)
3 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)
(Conducted by Juan Pablo Montoya)
Q: Hello México! Lewis, hell of a day, win number 51, how was it today?
Lewis HAMILTON: 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: 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 the end there; talk us through it?
Sebastian VETTEL: 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.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
- 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: 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.