Here is the transcript of the post 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix track interviews and press conference featuring Lewis Hamilton! He joined the conference a bit later due to being checked by Mercedes’ doctor.
(Conducted by Johnny Herbert)
Q: Lewis Hamilton, what a race. Frustrating day?
Lewis HAMILTON: Yeah, well, first of all I’ve got to say a huge congratulations to the Alpine team and to Ocon. He’s been a shining star for some time now so it’s been a long time coming and I’m really, really happy for him. It’s great to Aston Martin up there. Their best result so far and I know there is more to come. Otherwise, generally we have had an amazing crowd this weekend so thank you for all being here. Today was definitely tough and we always make it difficult for ourselves. Crazy to think we were the only ones on the grid at the start but these things happen and we learn from them. I gave it everything and I had nothing left at the end.
Q: Tell us about, not the initial start, because you probably didn’t see much, but the second start when you were the only man to take that start. What went wrong there?
LH: I was telling the team how the track was through the lap but they said the rain was coming when we got in the car and I thought they had other information. I saw everyone diving in, but anyways…
Q: Well, you’ve taken the championship lead, you’ve got to be happy with that ?
LH: Yeah, I mean, we cam here this weekend and we definitely didn’t know how it was going to go and considering the circumstances today I’ll take it.
[Lewis Hamilton joins the press conference after being checked by Mercedes’ doctor]
LH: I’m so happy for you buddy, been a long time coming.
Esteban OCON: Yes!
Q: Lewis, it’s great to see you. You’ve driven 277 grands prix but we’ve rarely seen you look this drained after a race. Can you just describe how tough it is and how you’re feeling?
LH: Once again, just a big congratulations to this dude here. What an amazing result for him and his team. Fernando gave me hell out there! It was awesome racing, pretty on edge at least once but great racing. And yeah, really difficult weekend, or day, obviously I had a lot of work to do from the back. Very hard to follow here but just giving it absolutely everything right until the last lap. I hoped that I could maybe catch these guys. Maybe a couple of laps more we could have a bit of a duel – but I’m actually glad that we didn’t have any more laps because this is very much needed. I think in his journey, this shows to everyone out there his potential. He’s racing against a two-times World Champion. Fernando’s not an easy driver to beat. So this really speaks volumes. I’m just so exhausted afterwards. It was one of the weirdest experiences I’ve had on the podium.
Q: You mentioned Fernando Alonso. How much did you enjoy your battle with him out there today?
LH: Yeah. Now, looking back on it, it was amazing. It really, really was fantastic. I wish the cars could follow closer and excited for what the cars are like next year. Hopefully that eradicates a lot of that bad drafting that we have here. But yeah, it’s a really difficult circuit to overtaken in general, and to follow particularly in that last sector but great, great wheel-to-wheel battles. It literally was wheel-to-wheel at least once and yeah… I don’t really have much more to say about it. When you’re racing against a two-time World Champion he probably is one of the hardest drivers – but fair. I’d say today was a little bit over on the limit.
EO: He has to do that to keep you behind!
LH: yeah, I totally get it and I would do the same for my team.
If you like SilverArrows.Net, consider supporting us by buying us a coffee!
Q: (Christian Menath – motorsport magazine) Lewis, can you talk us through that situation, after the restart, why you didn’t pit? Did you know that there was the chance to pit after the formation lap and how was the communication with the team?
LH: Yeah, I know that we can pit. Obviously we all started on the inters and I tried, just through the formation lap, giving the team information. It was dry in all the corners and so I kept telling them: dry, dry, dry and they said to stay out. I don’t really understand but I’m sure it is top off… definitely a mistake from us all but we win and lose as a team and we bear the burden of the mistakes together and we just keep fighting. The team did an amazing job with the strategy, with the pit stops and I just had to make it work out there, so it was flat chat for the entire race and very, very hard with tyre temperatures and that but nonetheless I enjoyed it.
Q: (Rebecca Clancy – The Times) Lewis, we’ve just been told that you had to go and see the team doctor because you were suffering from fatigue and a bit of dizziness. Firstly, are you OK and secondly, what do you think caused that?
LH: I’m OK, yeah. Yeah, I had real dizziness and everything got a bit blurry on the podium. I’ve been fighting all year, really, with the health, you know staying healthy after what happened at the end of last year and it’s still… it’s a battle.
EO: If I can just jump on that. It was really a hard race. In general, on this track, with the heat, the humidity, the corners and you get the combination. You don’t have a breather here, so you need to really fight the car until the end. I feel flat, I feel completely dead as well. It’s not that Lewis has certain issue or not, but I tell you, I will have a good sleep tonight as well.
LH: After you party!
Q: (Scott Mitchell – The Race) Absolutely. Lewis, Seb wore a shirt with the pride colours on the grid and it’s looks like he’s been summoned the stewards around the procedure, to do with that. It’s obviously something similar to what you had last year with your Breonna Taylor T-shirt and falling foul of the FIA protocols. We don’t know, obviously, what the outcome will be for Seb but are you hoping that for this sort of thing there can be a bit of common sense applied because obviously I know it breaches FIA protocol but Seb was trying to a send a positive message earlier?
LH: I think it’s wonderful that Seb has taken a stance this weekend, really to speak out for those in the LBGTQ+ community here. I spoke at the beginning of the weekend and I think it was important for him to do so, so I don’t think he… he probably won’t be in too much trouble but we have to make a stance. We are pushing diversity and inclusivity and that community 100 per cent includes that… is included in that. I’m proud of him for it.
Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Lewis, you seem to have made a significant step forward as a team this weekend. Do you have an explanation for that at the moment and do you think you can carry it forward beyond this race?
LH: I hope so. I really hope so. I tell you it’s definitely been a hard slog for us in terms of trying to… those guys with their update, they had I think a combination of things but they took a really good step once we got the midpoint. Monaco onwards was intense and the upgrade really has worked and then we’ve just been working on our procedure through the weekend and trying to extract more from the car and I think now we’re a lot closer. This weekend has been very strong and definitely surprising to see how strong it is compared to them so proud of everyone back at the factory, as I said, who continue to not give up. Even with today, the big mess-up, the team has still not given up, keep pushing and that’s what we do. We never give up. We keep pushing and fighting and I’m so honoured to be able to race for a team like this and we learn from these mistakes, unfortunately, we wish they didn’t happen, but it’s not how you fall, it’s how you get back up.
Q: (Christian Nimmervoll – motorsport.com) Lewis, at one point Toto came on the radio and he said, I believe it was ‘you can win this, Lewis.’ Does that provide extra motivation for you, when it’s a different voice than Bono’s? So what does it do when Toto comes on the radio, which is quite unusual?
LH: He’s got a great heart, Toto, but with all due respect, when I got the call, I was like, I want whatever they’re smoking at the end of this race! Because you guys were so far ahead and I had to make another pit stop at the same time and I was like, impossible to catch you guys…
EO: He believes in you, man.
LH: For sure, when you’re out there it can definitely seem lonely at some stages, you know, and sometimes you’ve got such tunnel vision that it’s like ten laps, it’s like a light year. It’s just so much time has gone by in that period of time, it feels like you’re travelling through time, it’s a very, very strange experience and then you forget that people are on the other line, so it’s nice to be reminded that they’re there.
Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Lewis, just picking up on some comments that you made earlier about your health. You obviously tested positive for COVID in December and there’s obviously been a lot made about long COVID. Do you think that’s something that you’re suffering from, given what you had earlier?
LH: I haven’t spoken to anyone particularly about it but I think it is lingering. I remember the effects of when I had it and training’s been different since then and the levels of fatigue that you get is different and it’s a real challenge, as I said. Just continue to try and train and prepare the best way I can. Yeah. Today, I think, as well as yesterday, maybe it’s hydration. I don’t know but I’ve definitely not had that experience. I had that something similar in Silverstone but this is way worse.
Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) Lewis, just a specific one again, about the second start. As you were coming round, you were reporting that there was something quite heavy, left hand down on the steering. Can you just explain what the feeling there, and also did that have any impact on the decision-making process whether to come and pit for slicks or not?
LH: No, it didn’t. I went to the grid on slicks and the steering was straight and then we put the wets on and the steering wasn’t straight and I didn’t understand it. As I pulled away for the first start, it felt like the car was pulling a little bit to the left and yeah, didn’t understand it but they said it was fine. I don’t think the balance was spectacular in the race so it will be interesting to see what exactly it is, if anything, but we’ll look, we’ll go through it with a fine comb.