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United States GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
22/10/2015

Lewis, three times a US Grand Prix winner, twice at the Circuit of the Americas. You, Nico [Rosberg] and Sebastian [Vettel] have finished one, two, three, in that order, on four occasions this season. If it happens again on Sunday, you are the world champion. What are your thoughts?
Lewis Hamilton: Well, first of all, just happy to be here, excited; I always enjoy myself out here in the States. The track is fantastic; the race has been great here since 2012. Just excited for another weekend. I missed driving the car for the last two weeks.

You spend a lot of time in this country, as we can see from your regular social media output? Why do you like the US so much?
LH: Well, I like travelling everywhere in the world, so it's not just the US, but I have a lot of friends out here. There's a lot to do. America has a lot to offer, in such a big space. I do a lot of my music out here, so this is kind of the central hub for music, so that's probably why I spend more time here than usual.

Thank you for that. Moving on to Daniel: a podium here last year, of course, at the Circuit of the Americas, but pointless in three of the last five races, although your best result of the season came during that run, the second place in Singapore. This recent run now means you're behind your team-mate Daniil Kvyat in the championship. How important to you is it to finish ahead of him at the end of this season?
Daniel Ricciardo: I don't know to be honest. Because we're not really fighting for the title it's sort of irrelevant. I think I have missed out a fair few bags of points at various occasions this year. But, yeah, I'm not too worried. Obviously you want to finish in front, I'm not going to lie, but when you're seventh or eighth in the championship it's sort of irrelevant. Yeah, the little Russian's jumped in front of me, but we'll see. I'm confident I'll end up with more points, but as I said, I'm not too fussed about it.

So, we're reaching the end of October now, how confident are you about being on the grid next season and what assurances have Red Bull given you about how this whole thing is unfolding?
DR: Not much has changed to be honest. Yeah, we're still not really confirmed with anything yet. From my side I'm still confident I'll be racing. Confident we'll be there, hopefully competitive. I think that's more the concern. I have confidence we'll be on the grid it's just the concern is can we be competitive? I want to make sure we can be. This year, obviously we have got a couple of podiums, which is nice, but certainly not enough to keep us extremely happy. So, yeah, we want to be competitive again and I think that's just as important as being on the grid.

Alexander, coming to you, the only American driver in the field and the first American to race in the US Grand Prix in eight years. How proud do you feel about being in the series today and what's the reaction been like here in the States in the build-up to the race?
Alexander Rossi: I think, first of all, that the reaction has been very positive, which is what we wanted to see, Of course there is pride that goes along with it, but that started in Singapore and Japan as well. Obviously to be here at home means a big deal, but at the same time we have a job to do and very clear objectives to meet. I'm looking forward to it; there are a lot of friends and family that will be coming this weekend. But I think once you get in the car and on track you appreciate the fact that there is a bigger picture.

Obviously you jumped into the car quite late in the season. Two race outings so far and you beat your team-mate on both occasions. What goals have you set for yourself for the remaining events this season and how confident are you of securing a full-time ride for 2016?
AR: With the current situation with the performance difference in the cars I think it's very clear that the objective just needs to be continuing what we've done in the first two, as you said. Both of those weekends there was quite a disrupted Friday for the whole team, so I think if we have a strong Friday the Sunday result can be even more positive. In terms of next year, I'm obviously quite keen to be in a full-time seat next year, which is apparent. The position that I'm in with the team at the moment is good and we're looking to put that all together for next year.

Kimi, coming to you, you said in Sochi that the collision with Valtteri Bottas was a racing incident, you've watched it again by now I'm sure, so how do you feel about it now and how have you left it with Valtteri?
Kimi Raikkonen: Well it hasn't changed. Obviously there were some discussions and penalties given to me, but I would still do it tomorrow again, that doesn't change the story. Unfortunately, we came together in the end and we both lost a bit, but that's life, that's racing. I don't feel bad about it and if somebody feels that, it's up to them. It's OK for me. Like I said, I would still do the same thing next time and maybe it goes better.

There was another good battle with your team-mate Sebastian Vettel in Sochi. Is the objective for 2016 to beat him or finish in front of him on a more regular basis?
KR: Well, obviously this year hasn't exactly been what we hoped but it's been much better than the previous year and I'm sure we are doing the right things but we don't get the results sometimes. That's fine, we are going in the right direction all the time and I'm sure when we get things running smoother and all the time better so we can definitely fight with him every week. Like I always said: I wouldn't be here if I wouldn't feel like that.

Valtteri, coming to you, obviously in that incident in Sochi you lost what would have been only your second podium finish of the year. After some considered thought what's your attitude to it now?
Valtteri Bottas: For me it's the same really. It was a good weekend until the last lap, so of course disappointing to lose the points but my opinion hasn't changed. I wouldn't do anything different and it's now history, so I'm 100 per cent ready to move on.

The result means there are only two points now between you and your team-mate Felipe Massa, so similar question to the one I asked Daniel I guess, how essential is it for you to finish ahead of him in the final standings?
VB: Of course it is, yes. As a driver you always want to beat your team-mate but as Daniel said, when it's not for either the top three or winning the title it's not that important. The main thing is to get the maximum points for the team with the two drivers. But personally I would prefer to keep in front and that's one of the goals for the rest of the year.

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