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Italian GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
04/09/2014

Fernando, can we start with you? Twice a winner here obviously, on the podium here in Monza for the past four years, but the podium count is down a little bit this year, just the two so far. Do you see signs, though, of encouragement from the performance in Spa?
Fernando Alonso: Well, definitely I think it's one of the most important races for us in the year, here in front of our tifosi, and we would like to give them some good results on Sunday. I've been extremely lucky to have been on the podium in the last four years and hopefully I can repeat that good feeling. It's going to be difficult. On paper it should be one of the toughest for us. But as you said, I think we saw some signs of being a little bit more competitive in Hungary and we were nearly on the podium in Spa as well with Kimi, so hopefully we can have that opportunity and as I said, being on this podium is something special.

You had quite a battle with Kevin (at Spa) and obviously he was penalised afterwards and we'll hear from him in a moment, but can you describe the battle from your perspective?
FA: Obviously, you know, we try always to fight and overtake. More than 30 laps behind Kevin in Spa and it was not easy to overtake. I had one chance with some cars in front of us and I took that opportunity and at the end I went a little bit on the grass. The race direction decided to penalise him at the end. We gained that position; we lost a couple more because of that fight but when you are fighting for sixth or seventh at the end of the race it's not a big deal.

Kevin, obviously you were hit with a penalty after that. Give us your perspective in the battle with Fernando.
Kevin Magnussen: Well, obviously I did my best to fight for sixth position. For us that was a really good result or would have been - sixth. In the end I went over the line and got a penalty. I guess that's just something you learn from as well, it's all good experience and I can always say I did my best. I enjoyed it as well. Hopefully, we can have another good strong race here.

Without that penalty you would have had a sixth points finish in seven races. Are you getting any signs of encouragement from the team that this is the kind of form that will keep you in this seat next year?
KM: We're fighting very closely with Force India. Williams is a step forward compared to us, but we're fighting for position in the Constructors' Championship and every point is very important at the moment, so keeping consistency up is very important at the moment.

Well, obviously another duel that had everyone talking in Spa was the Mercedes battle at the start of the race. Nico, we've all seen the statement from the team and other things you've said since, but what persuaded you that you had something to apologise for because when we spoke after the race in Spa you weren't sure?
Nico Rosberg: Just with time. I took the week to think about it and had a look at it and discussed with the team on Friday and I just in the end decided that it was me who should take responsibility for it.

So, Lewis, in your mind, is it a racing incident? Is that how would put it in your mind now?
Lewis Hamilton: There was nothing in my mind. I think this is the first time that we've been in the room for a long time that there have been so many people here. For me, I'm really excited about moving forward, I feel energetic, I had a good couple of days break last week, so excited to be here, this is one of my favourite circuits so I hope that we can have a good weekend.

And how do you move forward? Have you found a baseline, if you like, of trust and understanding to encourage you to believe that you guys can work together from here?
LH: I knew you were going to say that! I think I already said everything in the press release. Trust is a big word and it's not something I would particularly apply to racing on the track. Naturally, me and Nico have been racing for a long time and I think we have set a good foundation a long, long time ago so that's what we work from.

Nico, coming back to you, this duel is often compared to great duels from the past history of our sport. Are you becoming aware that the two of you are making history this year and do you feel the responsibility of that?
NR: Yes, definitely, yes. And in Spa, definitely I was not proud of the way it went because in general I really want to contribute to ‘my sport' in inverted commas, you know, because I want it to be the most entertaining sport in the world and if I'm able to contribute to that in many ways throughout the season then I'm very happy about that and I'm sure in many we have and that's great.

And Lewis, just a word from you on that: do you feel the hand of history on your shoulder? Are you aware of the responsibility?
LH: I don't think I have a responsibility towards history. I mean, history is created every day. I just love racing and I'm proud to be amongst all the drivers here and I'm just trying to enjoy every single day as it comes, you know. Everything becomes history eventually and I personally don't put us in the same ranking as the greats back in the day.

Thanks for that. Valtteri, coming to you. Another podium in Spa, the fourth for you now this year. You've generally been the fastest man throughout this season through the speed traps at a lot of places we've visited, so is Monza a potential fifth podium for you?
Valtteri Bottas: Well that should be the target. We don't see any reason why it would be not possible, so we're aiming for that. We know it's a good place for us, one of the good ones. We do have good straight-line speed and a special package for here, as I'm sure everyone does. I'm really looking forward to this one and I really think Sunday will be good fun.

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