(Conducted by Usain Bolt)
Q: Thank you Lewis. Sebastian, a pleasure. So, you kept the race alive until the end. It was a real exciting race. You really pushed yourself at the end?
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, I did. At the start it was looking good, obviously we got past Lewis. But then fairly quickly we had to realise that we couldn’t go his pace today, so well done and congrats to him. Then I think we were a bit in no-man’s land, not quite sure. It was close after the first stop again, but then obviously stuck again and towards the end we decided to pit again and fit a fresh set of tyres, which was a bit more exciting, the last couple of laps especially but overall not the result we wanted.
Q: Did you feel like Mercedes came here with a good strategy today?
SV: Well, I mean, there was no real secret other than that they were quicker than us. I think we have to admit that today in the race we couldn’t go their pace. So I don’t think it’s down to strategy, it’s just… You should know, whoever is fastest usually has a good chance of winning.
Q: Sebastian, I guess your side of the story on the overtake. Great start, and also we have to ask you why you reacted when Verstappen made that extra stop, why you felt you had to do that, to react to cover it. And also, that insane move on Bottas through the middle with the lapped traffic, which was reminiscent of Mansell on Senna in Hungary back in the day. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that but it was another one a bit like that anyway. A lot to digest.
SV: Yeah. Started off well with a great start but then we were just not quick enough. Obviously, I felt the car and the tyres suffering quite a lot after three or four laps only, and Lewis was easily able to stay with us, close the gap and easily get into DRS, which usually is not easy after the fast section, so he was just quicker. And then, yeah, not so easy to see. I tried to block. Maybe I could have done a bit more – but on the other hand I think he was just so much quicker that it didn’t really matter. So, yeah, disappointing to lose the lead when you have it but I think with the difference in pace they had on us today, it wasn’t probably our race to win. After that, yeah, I struggled. Stopped quite early. It got close around the first stop with Lewis again and yeah, after that, managing the race, trying to get to the end – but I felt the tyres on the first stint were quite bad so I wasn’t sure on the second, and we talked about it by radio and decided then obviously to do something different, which at the time, was difficult to predict what was going to happen but I think if you look in terms of where we were three or four laps to the end, it’s probably the right choice. Obviously we had two cars racing for the podium today and we managed to both be up here. Trying to help Kimi in the end a little bit with a tow on the straight which worked but I think then the tyres… Max and my tyres I guess were just so much fresher it was quite easy to get past. The move on Valtteri was quite spontaneous. I wanted to go around the outside, I saw the lapped traffic, hesitated for a second, didn’t know where to go then I thought ‘OK, there’s a little bit of a gap, I just go for it.’ When I was in the middle of them I thought, ‘OK, just try to get out of here.’ It worked. It was very close. It also felt special. I think Valtteri was trying to wait and block the inside, so I had a bit of momentum and yeah, made it stick, so that was quite nice. Obviously overall not the result that I wanted today.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: And to the Ferrari drivers. Why was Mercedes able to look after the tyres better than Ferrari today?
SV: Well, I don’t know the complete answer. I think, for my part, I wasn’t expecting to struggle that much, especially in the first stint. I think towards the end it was a bit more normal – but obviously by then the race was lost. I think coming here, looking at the track, it was probably more Mercedes ground but the last couple of races gave us a lot of hope and confidence and I think we’ve been OK. We were fairly close yesterday, closer than we expected. And unfortunately, today we were not gaining compared to normal where on Sunday we seem to be a bit closer – but not today.
Q: (Jorge Mendoza – La Prensa de San Antonio) Question for Sebastian. Sebastian, I know you had a lot of pressure on your shoulders this weekend. How was your approach for this coming race? I know you had to deliver, and you delivered a good second place with the car you had. Did you do something different from the previous races in regards to your mind and your attitude? What was the difference making you to deliver? Because you did a very great move this morning in the first turn. Did you risk at all? You weren’t able to pull it through. What was your approach for this race?
SV: Thank you very much. Yeah, to be honest, I wanted to win, so not that different to other races, obviously the situation coming here is not what we wanted it to be, which the last couple of races not really on our side. To be honest it was fairly straightforward. I was confident we have the car, we have the speed and yeah, yesterday was important to get the front row. As we saw today, I was quite confident today would be better but it wasn’t the case. I probably realised a couple of laps in, and more or less a lap before the lap that Lewis passed, I was suffering more with the tyres than maybe he was or other people were in the race. So I need to understand why that was – but yeah, for sure it’s bitter. Nevertheless, we tried to fight and in that regard, at least it was a lot better than the other races where we didn’t have a chance to fight. Today we had. We got beaten fair and square so congrats to Lewis – but obviously yeah, there were a couple of things I think we could have done, should have done better. We were missing the Friday this weekend, which probably didn’t help – but the mindset was fairly straightforward. It was an easier weekend in that regard because we knew, and I knew we had to deliver – but I wanted to deliver as well. So yeah, that maybe made it a bit easier.
Q: (Graham Harris – Motorsport Monday, Motorsport week.com) To all three drivers: the start of the race today with the pre-race ceremony was a little different to normal. Usually this is a time when you want to be yourself with your trainer and talking and quiet. This was anything but that. Could we have some comments? What did you think, pluses, minuses?
SV: I think for the people it might be nice if they like it and obviously it’s a nice idea. For me, yeah, I don’t really care to be honest. I like jumping in the car and racing. I’m not a big showman.
Q (Lennart Wernke – Bild) Follow up on the previous question, is that something you might see in Germany maybe next year? Did you like it that much that you maybe enjoy it at Hockenheim next season?
SV: No, I don’t think so. I think Germans are very difficult to get excited so…
LH: I don’t have a problem with it.
SV: Yeah, I think Americans appreciate that sort of atmosphere and entertainment a lot more. I think Germans are maybe a little slower on that front.
Q: (Alejandro Bulle – Graining.es) I want to ask the three of you if there’s anything special that you like about the Mexican Grand Prix, thinking that we are very close to it next weekend?
SV: Usually there’s a lot of people – we haven’t been there too many times but… The track’s a bit so-so but there’s a lot of people, a huge city and yeah, hopefully we will have a lot of support again this year. It’s a fun place, so overall I’ve been enjoying the time there so looking forward to going back. Is there anything in particular? Not really. Tacos, maybe.