Lewis Hamilton at the post 2022 Austrian GP Press Conference

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Here is the transcript of the post 2022 Austrian Grand Prix track interviews and press conference featuring Lewis Hamilton!


(Conducted by David Coulthard) 

Q: Well, that was a great Grand Prix, congratulations on the victory. And moving on to Mr Consistent for another podium result. Lewis, maybe not as close as you were a week ago at Silverstone, but that was still an important result today.

Lewis HAMILTON: Yeah, no, thank you so much. And what an incredible crowd we’ve had here this weekend. Definitely wasn’t expecting that, but of course, yesterday was a bit of a difficult day. It’s been a bit of a rough weekend. But I’m really grateful. As a team, we got a third and fourth. That’s great points. And we move forward from here.

Q: Well, you say a rough weekend. You saw you were in amongst the action at the start there but you were able to pick your way through and find your strategy. So does this get some light at the end of the tunnel? You got a couple of weeks off now before the French Grand Prix. 

LH: Well, firstly, I do really want to say a big thank you to the guys, the men and women in the garage, who worked so hard to rebuild the car. I had a brand new car on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, something I don’t do too often, but so thankful to them for working so hard and we made some improvements this weekend, so we just have to keep chipping away.


Q: Alright, thank you and Lewis coming to you, great job by you. Your third consecutive podium finish, your fourth of the season. Given your starting position today, how satisfying was this race for you?

LH: Massively satisfying. So happy to… I was a bit lonely once I got… These guys were like 30-something seconds ahead of me. So I was just watching their race on the TV, So, down the straights I was just watching where they were. I could see them coming through like Turn 6 as I was coming out Turn 1. So I was getting a bit of a fan view of what was happening. I saw some of the overtakes they were having. I think they did replays and stuff. But after such a difficult weekend, you know, with the crash, with a monumental effort from the team to rebuild the car this is a really great result. So I’m very grateful.

Q: Now, you had arguably the fastest car at Silverstone last weekend. How competitive was the W13 here? 

LH: I would argue that we’ve not yet been in a position where we’ve been the fastest car. These guys still have had the edge. I think we’ve sometimes been able to match their times. But, yeah, to the point where we’re actually ahead of them, we’re not quite there yet. So we’ve just got to keep… I think we’ve made some improvements this weekend to the car once again, but for some reason at this track it just wasn’t the same, as they were a little bit further ahead, particularly in race pace. Hoping that when we go to these next tracks it’s a little bit more favourable to us, a bit more like Silverstone. If that’s the case I would really love to be in the battle that they’re having at the front.

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Q: (Péter Vámosi – Racingline.hu) Question is to Lewis and Charles. How troublesome is the orange haze in reality. Because Max says it’s okay.

Charles LECLERC: The formation lap was quite a lot but yeah, but nothing too bad. I mean, you could still see so it was fine.

LH: I would say the same. Just on the formation lap, you couldn’t see the apex of Turn 7, and at the end of the race, you couldn’t see anything through Turn 6! So fortunately, it wasn’t necessarily the case during the race but maybe they should just save them more so for the end? Yeah. I can’t believe they’re already good environmentally either. So…

Max VERSTAPPEN: I saw one flare, like they threw it onto the track or into the grass. I think that’s the only thing they shouldn’t do – but as long as you keep it on the grandstand. I mean, the wind blows it over the track for like one lap, so it doesn’t arrive within the track, I think it’s OK.

Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Just to all three drivers. There’s been some reports this weekend of fans abusing other fans, suffering from verbal abuse and that sort of stuff. I mean, how concerning is it to hear that and how much of a problem do you think that is in Formula 1 at the moment?

MV: Yeah, of course it’s not good. All the things that happen anywhere. These things shouldn’t happen. I read a few things, a few shocking things. So yeah, that’s clearly not OK. And I mean, I shouldn’t even need to say this. I think this should be a general understanding that these things shouldn’t happen. A normal human being, I think, should think like that and should behave like that.

CL: Yeah, it’s horrible to see that. I’ve seen the statement of Formula 1 just before the race and yeah, I just hope that Formula 1 can do something for that. I don’t know how it can be tackled but obviously it’s unacceptable to see that anywhere, but obviously if we can do something we should and need to do something.

LH: Yeah, I arrived with a really positive mindset this morning and then I heard some of the things that had been said and just in a bit of shock and just really sad and just to know that people arrive on the weekend to have a great time, to celebrate, to enjoy their time off and enjoy a great experience. And you know, if you go to the UK, we’ve got a obviously a wide range of fans that go there. Here of course you’ve got a lot of the Orange Army, and so when we do the parade lap, you have to look quite hard to kind of see the neon caps, they stand out a little bit better but there’s, of course, not as many as the orange here, but just to notice someone sitting in a crowd supporting someone else is receiving abuse is… It’s crazy to think that we’re experiencing those things still in 2022. So, we have to continue to do more. It just highlights that it’s still an issue all over. And it comes down to education, and, of course, ignorance. So, we all have to work together, with our platforms to spread that positive word, with all of our platforms, to all those people that are watching, because people should come here, should feel safe, should feel included. And you should be able to follow whoever it is you want to follow. Doesn’t matter. And it shouldn’t matter, your gender, your sexuality, or the colour of your skin, you know, it should just be everyone here to have a great time.

Q: (Giles Richards – The Guardian) Question for all three drivers. Just to follow up on what you’ve just said. Formula 1 has said the abuse that some fans have received is unacceptable. But what would you like to see the sport do to try and combat it? And secondly, is there anything you can do as drivers collectively to make a difference to fans’ behaviour, such as you did quite effectively with the We Race as One initiative?

LH: I’ve not given huge amount of thought in terms of coming up with solutions for what the sport should do. It goes back to some of the messaging that we talked about in terms of the stuff that we also need to do here within the sport, which is commit more to diversity and inclusion within our industry. Because that then reflects the direction we’re going and it also often does reflect what our fan-base looks like. It’s time for action. We Race as One was all good and well, but it was just words. It didn’t actually do anything; there was no funding towards anything; there was no programme to actually create change and spark that conversation. So, definitely need to utilise our platforms, as I just mentioned, but we really have to step up and actually really start actioning some of the things we’re saying. Just saying…  it’s not enough. It’s unacceptable. It’s not enough.

CL: Yeah, well, first of all, I believe that as a community, people that are witnessing any type of harassment, should act and actually, yeah, do something. And of course, as Formula 1, if we manage to find these people, we need to take hard actions, they shouldn’t be allowed to be anywhere close to our sport, I believe. And then, as Lewis said, as drivers obviously we have a lot of followings all over the world, we should speak about it. And so people, obviously listen to us a little bit more and do these type of things.

MV: Like they said, I think one thing can be improved, maybe with security around places, you know, to keep people more in check, supervisors. And also don’t forget, it’s not an excuse, but of course, they watch the races and then they go back and party and have fun and drink alcohol. And sometimes when you drink alcohol, you can do stupid things. I don’t say this as an excuse but also these things can be regulated: there’s a certain amount of alcohol maybe until it’s time to maybe go to bed and wake up again next morning and be sober because if you start to go really crazy, you can do also stupid things.

Q: (Ronald Vording – Motorsport.com) This weekend, we’ve heard quite some talk about consistency or maybe even the lack of consistency in the stewards. And we’ll hear from two race directors. George Russell said it would be better to have one race director. Do you agree with him? And what do you think of the level of consistency this year compared to last year?

CL: I think consistency has always been a thing that we’ve searched for and you can always be better, obviously, two race directors, it makes it probably a bit more difficult. Whether it’s impossible to achieve a good level of consistency? I don’t think so. So, yeah, I don’t really have any solutions for now. But I do believe that probably with one race director, it might be a little bit easier to manage.

MV: I don’t think necessarily it depends on one race director, I think it’s more about working with the drivers instead of just keeping your stance and just being stubborn. You know, we want to make it better for everyone and it’s not like we’re fighting for ourselves. We have good conversations between the drivers and at the end of the day, the more or less, on most things we agree. Of course everyone has their own opinions about certain things, but like track limits, I think track limits debate this weekend has been a bit of a joke, not only in F1 but in F2 and F3. It’s easy to say from the outside, yeah, but you have to just stay within the white lines. It sounds very easy, but it’s not because when you go that quick through a corner and some of them are a bit blind, if you have a bit more understeer, tyres are wearing, it’s easy to just go over the white line, but do we actually gain time? Maybe yes, maybe not. And to be honest, there’s only two or three corners where you can really just go a bit wider. And yeah, I don’t think we should have this value on one mill over that’s a penalty or whatever. Then just add a wall or put some gravel back where we… like Turn 6 on the exit. I think that’s great because there is gravel, you punish yourself if you go wide. So these are things where we have to look into how we can make it better because also for the stewards and just the people involved with checking these track limits, I mean it’s almost impossible to check these kind of things because you need what… almost like one guy on one car the whole race to check the whole lap if he’s not going outside of the white line, where on this track, at least, in some places, you get naturally penalised if you just you know go a bit wider and you touch the gravels. These kind of things, I think it just doesn’t look good for the sport as well and this is just one thing. Then the other thing is racing incidents and stuff. Yeah for sure we can do better. I think we will work on it we’ll try to make it better.

LH: Nothing to add, nothing to add. I agree with what they said.

Q: (Tom Morgan – The Telegraph) Lewis this one is for you. I notice you’re still wearing your mask. Sport obviously returned to normality over the last six months, rates going up again. I just wondered really how you feel about where we are really in terms of sport, relaxations and whether you feel we’ve gone back too quickly.

LH: No, this is personal choice. I just noticed a lot of people around me are getting sick and definitely don’t want to get sick again. I’ve already experienced it twice. But just I notice a lot of people around me, a lot of my friends messaging me that they’ve got COVID and some of them are much worse than others. And obviously I didn’t have Bono with me this weekend. No one’s wearing a mask so I’m definitely wearing my mask. I urge people to do what they want to do and it’s your health at the end of the day. But yeah, I want to go home healthy. I want to be able to get up and train and do the things I love doing. And I try, if I can, to keep the people that I love around me also safe when I can, when I’m around them. So yeah, that’s it.

Source: FIA.com

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