Hamilton and Bottas at the post Dutch GP Quali Press Conference

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Here is the transcript of the Post 2021 Dutch Grand Prix Qualifying track interviews and press conference featuring Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.


(Conducted by Giedo van der Garde)

Q: Lewis, that was close in the end.

Lewis HAMILTON: So close. So close! First I want to say a big, big thank you to all the orange fans here, the Dutch fans. What an amazing venue, what an amazing track and I really do genuinely love coming to this country. I really appreciate the welcome. There are great sporting fans here. It’s just been good an I really appreciate it. Max did an amazing lap and I was so close to… I was trying to catch him but with obviously with yesterday’s session missed it made it a little bit difficult of a day but I gave it absolutely everything, but he did a fantastic lap and he deserves the pole.

Q: Obviously you were here 16 years ago in the Masters and you won the race, but what do you think about tomorrow’s race?

LH: It’s going to be tough, It’s a difficult circuit to overtake but what a place for us to be racing. I think strategy will come into it a lot. But we are going to see a crowd like this. We haven’t seen a crowd like this in a while. It’s really great to see so many people here and I hope the track helps us provide a good race. It’s a very, very tough circuit, which is what makes it so fantastic to drive.

Q: Valtteri, P3, good result. Already since FP1 it looked quite. Looked like the car was handling quite well and you were already enjoying it here?

Valtteri BOTTAS: Yeah, it’s definitely an enjoyable track with a nice atmosphere as well, so it’s good fun. The car has been feeling good. We are still lacking a bit in Sector 1, especially in Turn 2 and 3 compared to Red Bull and they were a bit out of reach today but we still got two cars into the top three, so all to play for.

Q: Tomorrow, do you think you have some possibilities to overtake on this track?

VB: It’s quite a hard track to overtake on but the race start is always an opportunity and of course the strategy, so I am sure we are still going to see an exciting race tomorrow.

If you like SilverArrows.Net, consider supporting us by buying us a coffee!


Q: Lewis, it is an incredible atmosphere as Max said. Do you think there are many team LH fans out there?

LH: Well, I haven’t really looked necessarily too much at the crowds, apart from when we just came in there and we saw the whole pit straight completely full. But I know yesterday there was a plane that went up with a team LH fan. It was awesome to see so I definitely know that I’ve got team LH Netherlands here. But in general, the response from everyone having me here has been great, even just driving in has been really pleasant, so I’m really grateful and what a track. Whoo! It is absolutely incredible driving this track, with the banked corners and today was one of the sessions that I have enjoyed the most, qualifying. Qualifying here is just phenomenal with a light car. So close at the end but obviously yesterday didn’t help but I’m glad we got back to where we needed to be today.

Q: Lewis, just talk us through Q3 specifically. You were just three-hundredths of a second behind Max in the end, so close, fastest in the final sector as well. Just how good was that lap?

LH: Max has been incredibly fast through the first sector and that’s an area where we’ve really been working hard at improving with the car balance over the night and through P3 into qualifying, and just slowly chipping away at it. It’s a circuit where you need to continue to chip away and build that confidence – but the lap was… particularly the second and third sector, the third sector was really on the edge, you saw the last corner, there wasn’t any road left, so I was really, really happy with it. I think it’s great that we were able to get that close because obviously, they pulled quite far ahead at one point pace-wise. I still think, if we had another session, again, we would all go quicker and I think there’s more time to find.

Q: And Lewis, just your thoughts on the race tomorrow. What opportunities are there out there for you?

LH: Well, I haven’t done any long-running, so I don’t really know too much of what the track’s like with heavy fuel. I only have my reference from 2005 and I don’t remember that! No doubt it’s going to be tough tomorrow. Just from watching these guys, I think Max and his team were quicker than us, I think, on the long run – but it’s not a track that you can particularly overtake in, so it’s going to be strategy tomorrow and how you can utilise the tyres. The start will be fun.

Q: Valtteri, perhaps we could start by talking about the long-run pace of Mercedes. You got more running than your teammate in the second practice session yesterday. What do you think you’ve got underneath you?

VB: I think like Lewis said, Red Bull seem pretty quick in the long runs so, for sure, it’s not going to be easy to challenge them – but of course we try, and we will have two cars against one of them, so that’s always good news. There’s always the start as well, so there will be opportunities, and strategy-wise, I don’t know if it’s going to be one or two stops, so anything is still possible and it’s not like they’re miles away, so looking forward.

Q: And what about your qualifying session Valtteri? How clean was it?

VB: First run in Q3 was good. I was happy with the lap, felt like I got pretty much everything out of the package, that was the feeling. Second lap, it was going well until Turn 11. I braked a bit too late, collected a bit of gravel in Turn 12. I think I got a bit too greedy towards the end of the lap. But anyway, pole was just a little bit out of reach for me today but otherwise OK. It’s good to be in the top three, and that opens up all the opportunities for good teamwork for tomorrow.


Q: (Christian Menath – motorsport-magazin.com) Question for Lewis. You mentioned that you’re losing a lot in Sector 1. I think that Shov said yesterday the problem is Turns 2 and 3, especially the banked corner. Can you specify a bit? Is it only that one corner – and do you know why you’re losing time there?

LH: It is mainly the exit of 2. They’re a lot quicker, and particularly 3, they’re a lot quicker. We’re generally down, I think I was even on that lap, I think it’s something like, I was told 0.18, I was told still, so close to two-tenths we’re losing in that area. It’s difficult to say exactly what it is – but there’s something. Some characteristic of our car that doesn’t like that corner. But still, it’s incredibly fun and, again, I think also having time in the car to just chip away at it, continue to try different lines. Obviously there was a lot of time lost yesterday. Lost a whole session so didn’t really get that practice and getting the car to where it needed to be. Fortunately Valtteri did some great work yesterday, set-up-wise and so, that gave me some guidance. But yeah, I think it got closer towards the end but still there’s more time there. And I hope that tomorrow we can somehow capture that.

Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Max and Lewis, you’ve both said that it’s going to be difficult to overtake tomorrow. How important is that opening lap going to be in terms of Max, from your position, defending to Lewis, and Lewis trying to make that move on Max? Do you think we might see some fireworks on that first lap?

Max VERSTAPPEN: I guess time will tell – but I think as drivers you always try to do the best start you can to Turn 1 and then see what happens afterwards. Yeah. I mean, like I said, everyone always tries to do their best right? On the first lap to just try and gain a position of defend a position. Depends where you are at.

LH: Not much more to add.

Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) I just wondered what you thought the best corner on the track was and why? Is it maybe Hugenholtzbocht turn three or Scheivlak, Turn 7 and also on the subject of turn three, what do you think of that type of corner that something that Formula 1 could use in the future and what benefits or disadvantages does it bring?

VB: Today my favourite was Turn 7. It was flat out, not super easily but it’s so fast. In the car it’s an incredible feeling. Yeah, Turn 7 and then Turn 8, I do really enjoy that. And banked corners, overall, they’re always nice. The more they’re banked, it makes the corner faster, it opens up more opportunities for different lines. I would imagine it’s also good for racing so they would be more than welcome in other tracks.

LH: For me, I think Turn 3. Even though it’s our weakest corner, it’s amazing that the banking is very different to what we’ve seen in the past. Banked corners are really awesome to drive. Even 13 and 14 are great to drive also.

Q: Lewis, is Turn 14 here similar to the final corner at Indianapolis, back in the day? Do you remember?

LH: Similar. I think in Indy we were much quicker there. There was a much longer run to it so you were going through there faster but similar. Because it’s slower, it’s relatively easy for us. I think when you’re in Indy, you’re hitting much higher speeds through there. Still relatively easy, but with a different feeling coming from down the bank and back up as it is here.

Q: (Christian Nimmervoll – motorsport.com) Following up on the circuit, really. It looks quite unconventional from the outside but absolutely spectacular. Is this the best track, in your view, that Formula 1 is currently racing at and do you feel comfortable with barriers being quite close to the circuit at some points? And what about having the barriers quite close in some places?

LH: I think it’s a great track. I like the old school circuits way better. I would just go along with all the other original circuits: Suzuka, Silverstone and Spa. They’re the kind of the OG circuits and this one’s been phenomenal to drive. I personally like that type of run off area. As Max was saying, it’s more old school and I think today people have been safe but it’s like the olden days in the sense that it doesn’t reward mistakes and that’s how they should be.

VB: Also goes definitely quite… well, it is high on my list as a track. I can’t say it’s the best one on the calendar but one of the good ones, for sure. And with the barriers, you tend to worry about them once you go off and you’re waiting for the impact, so you don’t really think about it but as a type of track, old school, I really enjoy it.

Q: (Christian Menath – motorsport magazine) There have been some scenes that look ridiculous from the outside, cars going so slow and even stopping in the pit exit. Can I have your opinion on that please?

LH: I don’t think… I don’t really know why that’s ridiculous. We all need to get gaps, that’s just how it is. I don’t think it’s unsafe for anyone, it’s in the pit lane, everyone’s going slow so you just try to optimise your time and you need… it’s a downforce dependent circuit. You can’t be up the back of someone when you do a lap, so you need at least a six/seven second gap.

VB: Nothing to add, really. It obviously increases the effect – the more cars are slowing down and in the front then the ones at the back of the train need to slow down even more because everyone is getting bigger gaps so… But at least everyone got the lap, that’s the main thing.

Source: FIA.com

Follow us on Twitter @SilverArrowsNet and like us on Facebook!

Comments are closed.