(Conducted by David Coulthard)
Q: Lewis, welcome back to the podium. That was a crazy race!
Lewis HAMILTON: It was! I’ve got to say a huge thank you to everyone here in Australia and Melbourne for having [us]. I’ve had the best week here, this week. And the weather has been amazing today and this track, this town continues to put on a great show. So yeah, it’s very unlucky for George today and on our side we’ve got to look into… Our reliability has generally been really good, so that’s really unfortunate. But otherwise, to get those points is really amazing today. I definitely didn’t expect to be second. So I’m super grateful for it.
Q: There’s so many questions, because you’ve been saying you feel a bit disconnected from the car but yet come race day that pace was good. Maybe not enough for Red Bull. But you looked ‘fighty’. You really pushed Max into Turn 3 on that opening start and you looked up for it.
LH: Yeah, I still feel uncomfortable in the car, though. The car… I still don’t feel connected to it. So I’m driving as best I can with that disconnect. And I’m working as hard as I can to try and create that connect. But I think it’s a long project. But still, considering we’ve been down on performance, we’re clearly down on end-of-straight pace compared to the Red Bulls, for us to be up here fighting with Aston is just amazing at this point in the season. And we’ve just got to keep on fighting. Big, big thank you to all the people back to the factory. Let’s keep pushing. We can close that gap. It’s going to be tough, but not impossible.
Q: I just want to pick up on a moment when you were on the radio quite early on the Grand Prix, saying that I don’t think the tyres will make it. I wasn’t sure if that was you kind of bluffing to put the opposition off?
LH: No, no. I definitely wasn’t bluffing. I think, honestly, I was having to push a lot to keep… Right at the beginning, obviously, to keep Max behind. And then Fernando was pushing, you know, they’re very, very quick. So I think ultimately, he was a little bit quicker today behind me, but I just managed to hold him off. So, for that I’m really grateful and also just… What a legend. We’ve got a World Champion up ahead. We’ve got two World Champions in the top three or three World Champions in the top three. That’s pretty mega.
If you like SilverArrows.Net, consider supporting us by buying us a coffee!
Q: OK, very well done. Lewis, coming to you now. You seemed elated after that one. Just how unexpected was this result?
LH: It was very unexpected. Obviously just coming into the weekend, but obviously, also getting a second and third and qualifying yesterday really blew us all away and a huge boost of energy throughout the team. So that meant today we had a shot at, you know, trying to at least overtake Max for a second. And so, we both got ahead, which was amazing. To have a Mercedes one-two for a second. And obviously he came sailing by at one stage, but it was a really entertaining race and I had a really good battle with Fernando, which was awesome.
Q: Can we touch on that overtaking move with Max. Just talk us through the rundown to Turn 3.
LH: I thought it was pretty decent. I mean, he braked early and I braked late and I was fully up the inside and I think we both left space for each other. I didn’t run him off the road and he didn’t turn in on me. So we didn’t touch and that’s racing.
Q: All right, you touched on that battle with Fernando. It was real cat and mouse all afternoon between the two of you. Who do you feel had the faster car this afternoon, you or him?
LH: I think Fernando’s a little bit quicker this afternoon. I mean, he was in my tow, so I think we were probably slightly quicker on the straight and he was quicker through all the corners. So I think we definitely have some performance to find. It definitely wasn’t easy keeping him at bay, and keeping them out of the DRS zone. But it was really quite interesting, just to see where we were, where we were lacking, and where we were good. And so there’s lots of positives to take from today but we do naturally need to add on some performance. I mean, they’ve been ahead the past two races but for us to somehow still finish ahead is pretty awesome. So I’ll definitely take it.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) You changed tyres after the very first red flag and it looks like you were going to go to the end without stopping. How difficult was it balancing keeping those tyres alive whilst also chasing each other and it looking like the pressure was on? Thanks.
LH: Yeah, I think I had a lot more tyre than I thought that I did at the end. There was a moment where I thought the tyre was opening up and Fernando was applying pressure, then backing off and I had decent pace and then closing the gap again. He had two or three charges which I had to then really up the ante and try to match him, which was which was tough. I was able to be around a tenth or so off him, or sometimes ahead. But definitely, with 18 laps to go, I was thinking jeez, I don’t know if these tyres are going go all the way. But then he had a moment where he backed off and I was able to save a bit and then got into a good rhythm and I was able to just keep that gap exactly the same for those last 10 laps or whatever. So was just counting it down, just hoping, hoping that it would just stick with it. And yeah, he was very, very consistent from what I could tell, didn’t make any mistakes. Fernando doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. So, it needed to be a good job.
Q: (Fred Ferret – L’Equipe) When you go into a restart in a race like that, do you fear losing position? Or are you happy to try to be the first at the first corner?
LH: I was always trying to get to first, even when I was third. And then obviously up alongside Max at the end, I really was hoping for a better start than I got. We both got pretty much similar getaways and then he had a better second phase. And then it’s just not to lose out to Fernando you know, he’s having good starts as well. So it’s all very, very close and all within a meter or so by the time you get to Turn 1. Initially, I was trying to get ahead and then otherwise we’re just at the end not wanting to lose a position to the Aston.