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Bahrain GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
19/04/2015

Podium Interviews - Conducted by Sir Jackie Stewart

First of all, congratulations to Bahrain for a fantastic grand prix, the 11th grand prix here in this region. What a crowd we've had here, what a wonderful race you've had, and the winner is Lewis Hamilton.
Lewis Hamilton: How you doing man?

Terrific.
LH: How you guys doing? What a great crowd we have tonight.

Fantastic, and what a great race. Three victories this year. There's something called three world championships, potentially, at the end of this season...
LH: Yeah, I'm gunning for it. Firstly, a big thank you to my team, they did an amazing job this weekend. The Ferraris gave us a real good run for our money and out there it was really difficult to look after the tyres in these conditions, behind backmarkers and all sorts, but fortunately I was able to keep the car together, keep the tyres as healthy as possible and pull it through. But we need to keep pushing as a team, we'll of course do [that]. Just a massive thanks to everyone and all the people who came out to support me this weekend, I really appreciate it.

What about the brake issue coming into the end there? There was something on the radio suggesting that you had to back off a little bit on the braking.
LH: Yeah, I think my brakes just got a little bit warm when I was behind a few backmarkers. When you get behind them there's just no cool air coming in the brakes, so they got a bit warm, but it wasn't really a problem.

Well, congratulations on a fantastic race, you must be very happy and it's a hell of a season you're having. Well done. Kimi - terrific. Happy?
Kimi Raikkonen: Obviously you're never happy when you finish second but I think after a difficult start to the year I'm a bit pleased to get some result - a bit better result. Obviously we came through in the end very quickly but we run out of the laps but I think we have to be happy after where we qualified, after we finished, but obviously we're looking for a bit better results still.

Well, it's a terrific success for Ferrari to come back as strongly as this. You must be pleased about that?
KR: Yeah, I'm very happy how the team is working and obviously after last year where we are now is a big step and everyone is working very well together. The atmosphere is good now and we have a good direction to keep pushing. It seems to be working well and things are improving, so I'm sure as a team we'll get there and to be able to be all the time fighting for wins, but it will take a little more time.

Many congratulations. Here's a man who's been on the podium an awful lot these days, but today a tough race?
Nico Rosberg: Yeah, I mean it was OK. The overtaking was enjoyable, to overtake the red cars, I like that a lot. In the end I tried to catch Lewis, but we're pretty similar so I couldn't catch him and he even pulled away at the end a little bit, and then I lost my brakes unfortunately, two laps from the end. I just went straight on and that cost me the position to Kimi, which is very disappointing.

Well, it's been a consistent season for Mercedes-Benz. You must be happy that you've got that kind of engineering?
NR: I'm happy about our car, yeah. The team has done a great job again and I'm very thankful for that and I really look forward to all the races that are still to come.

Many congratulations Lewis, your 36th career victory, two years in a row here in Bahrain and ninth win in the last 11 grands prix. Obviously all weekend a sustained, competitive challenge from Ferrari. Does it mean more to beat Ferrari in a close fight than it does to win an in-house, inter-team battle within Mercedes?
LH: I think winning is winning so it doesn't particularly matter who it's against. You're trying to beat everyone out there. Naturally it's great to be having a fight with the Ferraris. I think for us as a team, and I think still today that Mercedes are still the best and we are working as hard as we can to keep up with this momentum that we have - but they are pushing very hard to close up. A huge thank-you to all the guys back at the factory and also the guys that are here because the car was really nice to drive this weekend. In the race I was really able to manage it and... yeah... really, really happy, really proud of everyone for all the hard work they put in.

Kimi, fourth on the grid, second at the finish, first podium since Korea 2013. Alternative strategy for you. Obviously the middle stint was the key to your grand prix. Tell us about that and the pace that you were able to maintain against everybody else on the softer tyre. But also, you questioned at the end the decision to go onto the soft tyre - how did that work out, was it the right thing to do in the end?
KR: I think we had a few different plans. How to run the race and obviously this one was one of them. It all really depended where we are after a few laps. But I think we did a very good job out of it and the medium tyres worked very well for me in the second stint and I could pretty much... quite easily keep up with them, even catch them. They were working fine so obviously I was wondering if it's the right choice to go on the soft at the end - but obviously it was the correct choice, they were much faster still. So, I was able to catch Nico and got past him. We did more or less the maximum that we could do today and obviously if you think that we were ahead of Nico earlier, he got past me on lap two or three or something, so we lost some time but I think we had a pretty good race and hopefully we can have many more.

Nico, you finished where you started but obviously the story is not quite as simple as that. Obviously you were on the attack today, particularly the overtakes with Sebastian. Maybe you could tell us a bit about that and how much you enjoyed those, and also could you just drill down a bit more into the problem with the brakes at the end.
NR: So, started off on a disappointing note for me after the start with losing the position to Kimi. I just did the wrong... well, got caught out. But then immediately I felt that the car was awesome, so went full on the attack straight away and was happy to get by Kimi and Sebastian. Great fight with those, that was very exciting at that point in time. Then always dropped back again behind Sebastian after a pitstop so had to get him over and over again. After that, yeah, trying to catch Lewis but that wasn't possible. Unfortunately struggling with brakes a little bit throughout the whole race and just lost them. Two laps from the end I lost the brakes, so went straight on and had to carry the car home for the last two laps.

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