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Belgian GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
20/08/2015

Kimi, we have to start with you. Obviously Spa has been very good to you over the years - four wins - but your drive for 2016 confirmed yesterday. What do you hope to achieve given the way the team is developing at the moment and your own performance level at this stage of your career?
Kimi Raikkonen: Well, obviously it the same as every year - we want to do as well as we can and hopefully challenge for championships for next year and I'm sure we can produce even a quite bit better car than this year next year. Obviously the team is all working well together and we all feel very good and obviously I'm happy to stay there but we have to try to do a good second part of the year and maximise what we have and then prepare for next year.

You will have seen that after he won Sebastian gave you a lot of support with his words in Hungary before the break. What did that support mean to you?
KR: I know him well and we have a very good relationship and it's nice… I don't know exactly what you mean, I mean I haven't read so much things lately, but he tells me and I tell him if he does well and I do well, we have a very good feeling of respect in the team. It's always nice to hear from him also. We try to beat each other in the races but we still can be friends as before, so I think that is also very good for us as a team that we can work very closely.

OK, thank you for that. Lewis, coming to you: twice on pole here, you've got a win, of course, at this circuit as well. You said that your performance in Hungary was short of your own expectations, but you still managed to increase your championship lead. Does that kind of thing make you feel that this might be your year?
Lewis Hamilton: Definitely not, definitely not. I think the team effort that goes in; seeing how hard my team is working, seeing the progress we're making I think encourages me to believe that it's going to be our year. You know you just have to keep your head down and you can't win them all.

Sebastian Vettel is just 42 behind you at this stage; 225 points maximum up for grabs. Any concerns there about the threat from him or does your qualifying superiority underpin confidence for the second half of the season in particular?
LH: Well naturally we're here to win and we're focused on making sure we stay up front but we're conscious… we're fully aware that other teams are pushing very hard and Ferrari are looking great. So we don't arrive at any race thinking that we are superior to anyone. We know that we have a fight on our hands and so we're doing to work at trying to make sure we work harder than them.

OK, thanks for that. Fernando, coming to you, amazingly you've never won at Spa in Formula One. You've won in plenty of other categories but not in Formula One. Looking back a remarkable Hungary; fifth place for you, both cars in the points. Does that represent real progress or does it just represent and opportunity taken?
Fernando Alonso: Well, I think half and half; a little bit of both. There was a better performance from us in Hungary. I think the circuit layout helped us a little bit in terms of the characteristics of our car and then secondly, I think we have been lucky with some of the retirements and some of the incidents that happened in Hungary, [they] helped us to get some places. I think 12 or 13 cars had some issues during the race in terms of penalties or in terms of mechanical failures, so I think that was definitely a help.

Now, you've experienced many different situations, technical situations and rules around grand prix starts during your long career, could you give us an insight into how much these new rules, starting this weekend in Spa, will change things for the drivers?
FA: I think not much. It will not be a significant change. I know that there is some talk about this but maybe for next year or the following years will be more different. What we will have here is just some restrictions in communications with the drivers and the team etc but I think… at least in our team we were not doing any specific communication or strategy during the formation laps etc so it will not change much.

Coming to you Will, on podium here I believe here in World Series, first time here racing in Formula One. What are your thoughts on racing at this historic venue, what it means to a driver in his first full season in F1 to race here. Is this one that, when you looked at the calendar on your kitchen wall you looked at and really thought 'I'm looking forward to racing at F1 car at Spa.'
Will Stevens: Yeah, I think Spa is always a special circuit. I think all the drivers always like coming here a lot. Every car you come in goes quicker and quicker and the track gets better so really excited to get out to see what an F1 car feels like 'round here. It's always been a good track for me and looking forward to getting out there.

Tell us about the match-up with your team-mate. It seems to have been in his favour a little bit in the last couple of races. What's the story behind that.
WS: I think our pace has been really strong throughout the year. Just the last few grands prix haven't really fallen my way to be honest but I know that I've got good pace in the car and I think coming back to a circuit like this it should really suit what I like. I'm confident to kick on for the rest of the season and finish strongly.

Coming to you Daniil. Obviously your best-ever Formula One result last time out in Hungary, second place, also, the best result for a Russian in Formula One. What was the reaction like back home?
Daniil Kvyat: It was a good race for me in Hungary. Hard to say what was the reaction - I didn't count any reactions or stuff like that but I think it was good for myself, good for the team generally to achieve that in this hard season. Now there's been the summer break and we are back to our basic work. We hope to keep working hard to achieve similar results - even though we know it's not going to be easy because also in Hungary we had to take some opportunities. Nevertheless, when they come, you have to take them.

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