Lewis Hamilton at the post 2021 Belgian GP Press Conference

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

After a two-lap Belgian Grand Prix Formula 1 decided to go full charade mode so they had track interviews, a podium ceremony and a press conference. Here’s what Lewis Hamilton had to say.

TRACK INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by Paul Di Resta)

Q: Lewis, it’s the end of a difficult day for everybody in Formula 1 when you don’t see cars racing, but I guess it’s a podium for you and the guys in the grandstands are the heroes aren’t they?

Lewis HAMILTON: Yeah, firstly I feel really sorry for the fans today. Obviously it’s no one’s fault with this weather but the fans have been incredible today to stick with us this whole time and hold out for a potential race. They knew when they sent us out at the end there that the track wasn’t any better and they did it just so we could start two laps behind the safety car, which is the minimum requirement for a race. I really hope the fans get their money back today.

Q: How difficult were the conditions out there? Were you able to race at any time during the three hours we had?

LH: No, no. You couldn’t really see, like  five metres in front of you the car disappears, so it was very difficult down the straights to even know where that flashing light was. You couldn’t even go flat out because you didn’t know what part of the track they would be on. It’s a shame because of course I wanted to race and it could have been a great race if it hadn’t rained so hard.


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PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Lewis, can we just get your thoughts on the afternoon, the conditions and how you filled your time.

LH: It’s a real shame. We obviously can’t control the weather. I’m sure all of us love racing in the rain, especially here in Spa. It’s one of the greatest circuits in the world. I think today, I think just really disappointed for the fans. They stood out there for absolute hours in the rain, no covering in the grandstands – I think maybe on the pit grandstand there is – but cold and wet and particularly the kids. More importantly, they had to spend so much money with travelling, accommodation and then they didn’t get a race. Unfortunate, and I’m a little bit confused as to why they restarted the race because between the two hours when they stopped us the first time to the last time, there was no change in weather. But… yes… I mean I know why, but I do feel the fans were robbed of a race today and I think they probably should get their money back.

Q: Lewis, you’ve had a long career in Formula 1. Have you experienced anything like this before. Brazil 2016? Korea 2010? Was the weather reminiscent of any of that?

LH: Weather-wise I don’t think… I don’t remember experiencing… I mean, I’ve raced for years, so I don’t remember on the weather-side. In the background, us being in Melbourne last year when we shouldn’t have been, there are some similarities to how today’s gone down but at least everyone’s safe. Ultimately, the visibility behind… once we did the start on the grid, as soon as Max pulled away, he just disappeared. I couldn’t even see his red light ahead of me, so it must have been even worse for the guys back at the back. The worst thing is to see drivers in carnage and getting hurt. So…

Q: And how did you fill your time in the gap?

LH: I was back in my room, listening to the new Kanye album. I was watching the weather, looking out of the window most of the time just praying the thing would clear up so we could get going. Obviously that time never came. I did speak to Stefano, who came along, just telling him how bad it is out there.



QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) Lewis, just regarding your comments just now and also to TV crews earlier on about F1 making the wrong choice today. I just wondered, what do you think should have been done differently? What would have been a better outcome?

LH: Well, there was no point at which we could race so there wasn’t a race, but there is a rule that says for it to be a legal race, it has to be – I think – a minimum of two laps so they knew that and they sent us out for two laps behind the safety car and that activates a bunch of things and I don’t know all the politics and the background but my most concern is that the fans should probably get their money back, I think, and I don’t know if by doing the two laps it means they don’t and that’s… I just don’t think that’s what we want. We have better values than that as a sport.

Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) If it was logistically possible, it could be contractually arranged, would you be in favour of maybe returning to Spa later in the year, given that races have already been cancelled by COVID? We don’t know what’s going to happen with the pandemic and it might be easier to have another race in Europe if possible. Would you like to see that?

LH: I’d absolutely come back. I love it here so if there is a way we could find a window where it wasn’t raining and we give the fans a free race, that would be great.

Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) Just returning to what it was like in the car during those laps that you did do behind the safety car, I just wondered, could you just explain what were you thinking at that moment, at those particular moments, and also were there any areas of the track where the water was particularly bad, where it felt particularly unpleasant with aquaplaning and things like that?

LH: Yeah, there was aquaplaning into five, I had aquaplaning there. I couldn’t go flat out down the straight because I had no idea where George was, whether he was braking, to get a gap to the guy because he can’t see the car ahead of him and there was moments where I was like ‘I’m slowing down’ because I can’t see where they are and who knows where the car is behind me also? And then Eau Rouge was pretty tricky and I guess really the worst thing would be if we had a crash, like we saw yesterday with Lando and you come up that hill… you wouldn’t be able to see if there was a driver in the middle of the road. There definitely was, unfortunately, no moment today that we could race. Maybe in the morning, I think there was less rain in the morning.

Source: FIA.com

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