PARC FERMÉ INTERVIEWS
(Conducted by Marc Gené)
Q: Lewis Hamilton, second place. You were pushing all the way. You were pushing Max at the beginning of the race. Did you think at some point that you could win the race?
Lewis HAMILTON: Yeah, well first this has been an amazing crowd and definitely a bit awkward this time rounds, boos all day, but nonetheless I have so much love for Mexico and for the people here and what a great race and event they have put on this weekend. I was so close, I think, in that first stint, but I think the Red Bull was just clearly too fast today and ultimately maybe they had the better tyre strategy.
Q: About the tyres and the strategy: you tried the Hard compound, we could hear you on the radio that it was difficult. What was the problem? Do you think the Hard was not the right tyre at that moment of the race?
LH: Yeah, not sure it was the right tyre the end. I thought we should have started on the Soft but obviously we had the opposite tyre. It was OK in the first stint but that Hard was just offset, so congratulations to Max and it’s great to be up here and separate the two.
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Q: Lewis, we’re coming to you now. Great job. Your second, second place in as many weeks, although you didn’t seem totally happy with your strategy after the race. What would you change if you ran the race again?
LH: Well, firstly I’m really happy to be up here and to be able to split the Red Bulls, I think, is a huge result for us. Brought an upgrade into the last race and to have kind-of close the gap a little bit – they still have the edge I think – but I don’t know, I think it was amazing for us to be fighting in qualifying and have the second and third. I was speaking about in strategy about us taking a risk with one of the cars at least doing something different. I had a gut feeling that they will be on the Soft to start with and when everyone took their blankets off, everyone around us was on the Softs and we’re on the Mediums. At that moment. I thought that we may be in trouble. But then again, it’s a long, long race, so I thought maybe they’ll be on a two-stop. But that Medium tyre just had no drop-off. So ultimately, I think they were on the right tyre strategy. But I am grateful I was able to just about keep up within that first stint. That’s huge, to be able to keep up with a Red Bull.
Q: You said during the race, that you weren’t happy with the Hard tyre. Did you consider going longer on the Medium and then going straight to Soft?
LH: I mean, I kept telling them the tyre was fine, but I’m assuming that they were coming into my window. Sergio had already stopped. So I’m assuming they… they were going much quicker than me perhaps. So, if we stayed out longer, I would have come out behind Sergio and it would have been all over. So, I think that’s the reason. Unfortunately, at the beginning, obviously had a good battle through Turns 1 and 2 but obviously my team-mate got jumped by Sergio, so I was basically tag-teamed by the Red Bulls. It’s very, very hard in strategy when you don’t have both cars there. I think Sergio was able to come in and pull me in, which definitely hindered our strategy.
Q: We’re talking a lot about strategy – but what positives do you take from this weekend? I mean, was this the most competitive the car has been this year?
LH: Yeah, it’s so, so many positives, to take from this weekend. And, yeah, this is definitely the most competitive and the best the car has felt all year – and that is truly down to the amazing work from all the women and men back at the factory, who have just been doing such an amazing job. And not giving up. I think it’s just been a real showing of resilience, and perseverance. And I’m so happy to be kind-of back in that fight. We saw in the last race, kind-of, almost having a chance to win. And I don’t know what the car will be like in these next races. I’m hoping in Brazil, something special may come of it. But we’ll see.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Lewis, can we have your thoughts on this place? Just your thoughts on the toxic culture on social media at the minute?
LH: Yeah, I think social media is getting more and more toxic as the years go on. I think we should probably get off it, ultimately. So many people… mental health is such a prominent thing right now. I know so many people reading their comments and the stuff that people say and it is hurtful. Fortunately, I don’t read that stuff but the media platforms definitely need to do more to protect people, particularly young kids and women. But at the moment, they’re not doing that so I think it will just continue.
Q: (Alex Kalinuckas – Autosport) Lewis at one point in the first stint, Red Bull told Max to push to break the tow back to you. How hard were you finding it to stay in that position, a couple of seconds behind because it looked like the pace between the two of you was swinging around a little bit?
LH: I think at the beginning, tyre difference was the issue. I think the soft tyre naturally is a little bit faster in the early phases. It definitely was surprising to see how consistent he was able to keep it. So in the early phase I’m sure he was managing a little bit, but I could tell that they had the upper hand in that first stint. But then towards the end I started to close up a little bit and I was hopeful of some sort of a bit of a battle but yeah, as soon as we migrated onto that hard tyre, it was kind of over from that point.
Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Lewis, just reflected on a post you made on social media yesterday on Twitter. It was a thumbs up with a picture of you and Fernando; I think it was when you beat him at the US race in 2007. I guess that was in reflecting on an interview that he gave where he made some comments about you and the titles you’ve won. I just wanted to know your thoughts of the comments that he made? Do you think they were unnecessary? Did you feel a bit let down by them, just your general reaction?
LH: I gave you it. That’s my thumbs up. I don’t really have a lot to say about it. It does make me giggle a little bit to be honest, but I have tried to be really respectful over the years and for example, when you’ve ever asked me about who has been the better driver for me I’ve always tried to give praise, but it’s definitely interesting to see the comments that are made, but it doesn’t really matter. So that’s why I just kind of put the thumbs up.
Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) One for Lewis and one for Max, please. Lewis, do you think this was a winnable race if you started on the softs, and why didn’t you? And Max, how much pressure were you under in that first stint and were you always planning to one stop it: soft to medium?
LH: I think ultimately they still have the upper hand. They’re still a little bit quicker. Maybe today we were the closest that we’ve ever been and perhaps if we were on the same tyre maybe it was a couple of tenths a lap perhaps. But they’re quite quick in a straight line and not losing through the corners. I was in his tow and I was struggling just to keep up so they’ve definitely got a little bit more in the tank than we do. But we’re getting closer. I think if we had started on the soft, maybe I would have been the same distance behind in that first stint. I don’t really know what else… what different we would do. Perhaps we would have tried the undercut and ultimately that would have been much more enjoyable to try something like that. But, yeah, hindsight is a great thing. I’m just grateful for the progress we have made as a team and the fact that we are now in between the Red Bulls. I think that’s huge.