(Conducted by David Coulthard)
Q: Well, enjoy the summer break, enjoy the victory. Lewis Hamilton, what a drive. This circuit has been very kind to you, your first victory was here (sic). That’s your 11th podium. Where did the speed come from in the second half of that race?
Lewis HAMILTON: I honestly don’t know. I was definitely struggling at the beginning of the race and wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to catch the guys up. But bit by bit I got a bit more comfortable with the balance. I had a really good start as well. I really want to acknowledge my team who have continued to push and never give up through this tough year that we’ve had so far. For us to be on the podium, both cars to be on the podium twice, is pretty special for us. And really unlucky for George today. You know, the other guys still have a bit of an edge but we’re clearly closing the gap. And this is just an amazing way to go into the break knowing that we have this performance. Hopefully, we’ll bring some more into the second part of the season and start fighting with the guys up front.
Q: Is it significant that the cooler conditions for qualifying and the cooler conditions of the race came into a window for the Mercedes car?
LH: I definitely think being a little bit cooler, it seemed to work a little bit better for us. I can’t tell you exactly why, but grateful for it. I was hoping it was going to rain at the end so I could challenge Max, but we ran out of laps. With a bit of a better qualifying, if the DRS was OK yesterday, we would have been in the running for the win. But either way, two seconds in a row I’m really, really happy. So huge thank you to the fans for all the amazing support. Enjoy your summer. Bless you guys.
Q: I can’t help but notice your suit is torn just near your elbow. Have you been in the wars in your cockpit?
LH: That’s probably just banging against the side of the cockpit. I don’t really… I’ve never seen that before. My arms are OK, so…
Q: Good stuff. Anything you’re going to be doing specifically in the summer break?
LH: Of course. Yeah, just training, refocusing, re-centred and making sure we come back strong in the second half.
Q: Lewis, congratulations. And finally, our pole setter from yesterday. The dream didn’t quite become a reality, George, but that’s still a solid result on the podium. For 30 laps you led that Grand Prix.
George RUSSELL: Yeah, it was… When it started spitting at the beginning, and we were on the soft tyres, I thought we were on and we obviously made a really strong start. It was a good first stint. And then towards the end on the Mediums and the rain started to come down I really struggled and losing a bit of temperature. But again, amazing job by the team – pole position yesterday, double podium, we’re definitely making progress. So really proud of the work everybody’s done.
Q: Yeah, there just wasn’t enough peace there in the latter stages on the tyres. Anything else you feel you could have improved on personally during that Grand Prix?
GR: Yeah, I’m sure there’s a lot I’ll look over and that I could have done better. It was challenging to manage the tyres. Obviously, we pitted quite early on both stints. So you’re trying to eke the tyre out until the end but trying to push as fast as possible at the same time. So a bit of a challenging position to be in but nevertheless pleased to come away with a podium.
Q: The next Grand Prix is 28th of August, you’ve got a few weeks off. I suspect having had two podiums in a week you’d probably quite like a race to be again next weekend?
GR: Yeah but I think you know it’s been an incredibly intense start to the season and I think the break we’ll do everybody good. We’ll come back in the second half of the season, reset, refocus and try and fight for some victories.
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Q: Lewis, coming to you now, a great job by you as well, a fifth consecutive podium and an 11th here in Hungary. After Friday, and qualifying yesterday, two difficult days for you, just how satisfying is this second place?
LH: It’s hugely satisfying. It’s a great feeling for us, given the year we’ve had, and obviously to see the progress that we’ve started to make. Last week, just getting the second place last week was huge for us already, and this is already, now two races in a row that George and I have shared a podium, which is fantastic for the team, points-wise. To both finish ahead of the Ferraris is huge for us, given the pace that they’ve had. And, for me, obviously, starting the race in seventh and getting up here is a great recovery. And I think given the troubles we had through the weekend, that shows that we’ve got really great pace.
Q: What would you consider to be the key moments in your race?
LH: I would say probably that second stint. Going longer in that second stint, giving me the option to then go to the softer tyre at the end. That offset that I enabled myself to get. I think probably the race was lost probably with the first stint, with that Medium tyre, but then towards the second and the third part of the race was pretty epic.
Q: So, if you started the race on the Soft, what might have been possible?
LH: We would definitely have been closer to Max, I would have thought. But who knows? Maybe I wouldn’t have been able to go the same distance on those tyres. And who knows? But if we had started, where I think we probably should have started, without the problem yesterday, I think then we would have been in a much better place to race Max today, yeah.
Q: George, coming to you now, many congratulations on your fifth podium of the season. You said going into the race that a win would be very hard, but after getting away so well, from pole position, and driving a great first stint, was there a moment when you thought the win was on?
GR: Yeah, definitely. It was always going to be a tricky afternoon because there was rain in the air throughout. And usually, if you’re on pole position, and it’s spitting, you’re pretty disappointed, but knowing I was on the soft tyre, I was kind of rubbing my hands together and made a really good start: the first four laps was really strong, pull the gap, three seconds, I think to Carlos. And then unfortunately, the rain sort-of stopped, the Medium tyres came into their own. But we still had a good first stint. And we pitted early, both occasions to try and cover Max, cover the Ferraris. Ultimately, Max was too fast for us today. But then, that put us in a very tricky place on that last stint when we were on the Mediums. I was already struggling a bit and my engineer said we had 25 laps ago, and the rain started falling, temperature was dropping. I thought, ‘it’s going to be a tricky last few laps.’ But Lewis did an amazing job. And obviously had far superior pace at the end. Could be, I think, had a very strong middle stint. So, I think as a team, we’ve got a lot to be proud about. We did everything right. For both of us today to give us, as a team, the best opportunity to fight for victory. Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way today. As a team, we did everything right.
Q: And talking about your own performance this weekend. How would you sum up what you’ve done?
GR: Yeah, I think it was a good weekend, obviously. Coming away with pole position was great. I think we had a really strong first stint on the soft tyre which, given how the conditions panned out, probably wasn’t the best tyre for that stint. Obviously, you’re always disappointed if you start from pole, to finish anything lower than first position, you’ll be disappointed with. But when you look at everything objectively, I think that was probably a fair result.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Ronald Vording – motorsport.com) Ferrari put on the Hard tyre and as you said, it didn’t work out. But were the Hard tyres, were they even part of your pre-race considerations? Or did you just know that it would not work in these cooler conditions? One of the Mercedes guys? Was the Hard tyre ever a consideration?
Q: (Marijn Abbenhuijs – AD Sportswerelt ) Lewis, last week you were very happy with the second place; today you’re satisfied as well but you’re talking about what could have been? So yes or no, are you going to win a race this year?
LH: I hope so. That’s what we’re working towards. I think today there was potential for… I think this weekend, there was a potential for a win. You saw George on pole. I think if we had both been up there, I think we probably could have worked a bit better together as a team. One of us would have had to support each other strategy-wise. But I think if we are able to take this pace into the second half of the season for sure we can start to fight with the guys. This is the first time we’ve been able to fight and battle with a Ferrari. That’s huge for us. I think the Red Bulls probably still are ahead. The fact that Max started 11th (sic) and spun and still was 10 seconds ahead says enough about their car but I think we still have made huge progress and huge steps. And so to have this consistency and two double podiums in these last two races gives us great hope and a huge push for the second half.
Q: (Eva Vandor – HVG) Max, you have so many wonderful fans here. The stands were full of the orange army, but actually some of them, based on some videos, were burning Hamilton merchandise here around the track. Do you have any reaction to that?
Max VERSTAPPEN: Yeah, that’s of course not acceptable. I mean, these individuals… No, I definitely don’t agree with that because that’s just disgusting. But overall, I think the majority of the fans which also were cheering a lot, I think throughout the race and also on the podium for every driver, I think that’s how it should be. And yeah, those videos, or video, of burning merch I think that’s disgusting.
Q: (Victor Bodnar – Magyar Szo) There was this light drizzle pretty much throughout the race. How did you like the circumstances? Did you enjoy it? Or was it more of a struggle?
LH: It wasn’t an ounce of wet part of the track just so you know. It was completely dry, and it didn’t rain enough unfortunately.
GR: Yeah, I think the drizzle made it exciting and there were certain points in the race it probably made the tyres and cars go faster because the tyres may have been overheating slightly and the drizzle helped. But definitely, in that last stint when the Medium tyre was towards the end of its life and the rain was coming, it felt pretty, pretty frustrating. But on the flip side for me in those first four laps when I was on the soft, I think it definitely benefited me. It’s just I wish it could have stayed for longer, less at the end and more at the beginning and I think it would have transformed the race.
Q: (Matt Kew – Autosport) To both Mercedes drivers, have you seen enough now particularly from last two races to completely stick with this car concept for the rest of season going into next year, particularly after Friday when you do have like a bit of a peak and trough? Does that too temperamental to really nail to or wedge yourself to going forward?
GR: I think we need to just continue to keep an open mind. I don’t think changing car concept is going to make us go any faster, maybe the contrary to be honest. Sometimes you just got to stick to the process and keep on pushing. And that’s difficult to do when you’re off the pace and things don’t seem to be going your way. But personally, I believe in every single person within our team and I think we’re making huge progress for the time being and you know, we saw with the job we did yesterday, you saw with the pace that both of us showed today, I think at the start of the season we were finishing races a minute behind first position. The last two races we’ve been within 10 seconds so I think it’s definitely going in the right direction.
LH: Not really much after that. That’s a good answer.
GR: Thank you.