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Italian GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
01/09/2016

Kevin, obviously a horrible accident in Spa. How are you and what did you have to do to get ready for this race?
Kevin Magnussen: I have just relaxed. Nothing was broken, I wasn't injured so just a bit sore in my body and I didn't need to do anything special. No special treatments or anything. Yeah, just took a couple of days at home and ready for the next race.

And what happened?
KM: I spin at the top of Eau Rouge. I hit a bump and lost the rear. I thought I was going to go left into a spin, but then the car caught grip again and I went right and into the wall. Yeah, that's what happened.

Thanks for that. Kimi, coming to you: some strong feelings after the Spa weekend, especially with regard to Max Verstappen. What would you like to happen now with regard to the rules of engagement between drivers out on the track when it comes to attacking and defending?
Kimi Raikkonen: I think it's quite clear what they are and obviously sometimes you feel it's not correct what happens on circuit but obviously I think the biggest problem is it's not always the same. I think as drivers we always discussed it and it's a bit up and down and I think that could be improved. Personally I have nothing against Max. He is doing a good job and he's fast. It's not a personal thing but certain things, at least in my feeling, were not correct if you have to slow down or brake under full speed but those things are never ending discussions but let's see what happens.

You've also now had a chance to study video of the collision at the start with Sebastian. Have you discussed it together during the week and what conclusions did you come to?
KR: Obviously it was an unfortunate thing. Not really an awful lot to discuss except probably he said sorry and I said OK and you know we go forward. It wasn't ideal for us or any of the three to be involved, but that's how it goes sometimes. So next time we try to give a bit more room but it's done now.

Thank you for that. And your side of that, Seb? Kimi's said you apologised to him. You've had a good chance to review it, to think it through again, what are you feelings now in the cold light of day?
Sebastian Vettel: Not so much to talk about,. It's clear what happened. Obviously I thought there was Kimi on the inside but as it turned out there was three cars. The room that I gave was for Kimi, it was not for three cars because I think Max had a bad start and was out of that fight, but decided not to, so in the end we had three cars with not enough room. From my side, it's clear. Obviously if I know that - I can't see much in the mirrors, I could see that Kimi was there and I was slightly ahead - if I had to do it again, knowing that, I would give a little bit more room, at least I make I don't know about the cars on the inside then, but I think it was a pity for all three to be involved and not to come out of the corner being able to race for the podium after that.

OK, moving forward, Italian Grand Prix this weekend, special atmosphere here as always. You had a great experience here 12 months ago, on the podium, all that warmth from the tifosi. Is it fair to say, though, that this race comes at a slightly difficult moment for the team - you haven't had a podium for a few races and Red Bull have moved ahead of you in the championship?
SV: No, I think it comes at the right time, I think we need a bit of a boost and support, so very much looking forward to this weekend. Last weekend was very positive for us. Obviously the race didn't unfold the way we expected or we hoped for but it was very positive in terms of pace. I think we had a couple of races before the summer break where we were struggling a bit and we seemed to reconnect to the group ahead again, so I'm pretty confident the car should be fine here. Obviously it's a different track and unique in many ways, but like I said, I think it comes at the right time, with people supporting us. Already now the couple of hours this day has had it was very positive with a lot of fans and it's one of the biggest pleasures for us to race in front of the home crowd.

OK, thank you very much for that. Coming to you Esteban, you've finished just outside the points four times this season, do you feel that breakthrough points-scoring finish for Haas is just around the corner?
Esteban Gutierrez: Yes, it is and it's very important to have found the consistency and the rhythm we have in the last three months, because by being consistent and being persistent we will go an break through the top 10, which for us is obviously the target in every race from now to the end of the season. It hasn't been an easy task, especially with how my season started, but we have been making very good progress inside the team in many ways and we can look into the positive sides and keep pushing and keep doing our best to get there.

Haas obviously has a technical partnership with the home team here this weekend, Ferrari, a special weekend I'm sure, but how do you see the collaboration evolving?
EG: I think it's an important part for the team of course. It is something that gives a lot of confidence right from the beginning to have the support and obviously the relationship is important for the whole team. So I think that's going to keep going and it's going to keep going forward in the way that it has to be done, properly considering the regulations that have to be well respected but the relationship is there and it's going to continue forward in the next years.

Thank you very much for that. Carlos, coming to you, 22 years old today, happy birthday. A little bit of a frustrating race for you last weekend going out with a puncture and presumably it's not a great moment as well for the championship for you, as it seems that the lack of updates now on the power unit is beginning to cost in terms of performance. What are your feelings about the rest of the races this season?
Carlos Sainz: Yeah, we are not going through our best moments at the moments. Yeah, since Hockenheim and the last race in Spa it looks like it's taking us a lot more effort to get close to the top ten. Spa was kind of expected; Hockenheim not so much, but we are definitely not where we want to be. In theory we think were prepared for the performance drop-off of the engine in the second half of the season but it has been maybe a bit more than expected, so now there is a lot work going on in Toro Rosso, a lot of analysis, a lot of testing coming up in free practice to try to turn around this bit of a bump we are going through. I still have full confidence. Spa - it would have been nice to see what we could have achieved after being P7 at the start, but it's how it is sometimes.

Just looking at your record this year: when you've finished you've scored points in all but two of those races. So, from a personal point of view, comparing last season with this one, do you feel pleased with the progress you're making?
CS: I think I have to be very pleased, because last year I went through very difficult moments with the reliability and I kept telling the people 'wait, because the moment I stop having these issues I will be able to show what I am more capable of in Formula One'. And that first half of the season was also to prove myself and to prove also that when I don't have so many problems I can score some points. This consistency has allowed me to create a lot of points in the first half of the season... that will be probably be very difficult to keep for the second half!

Thank you. Coming to you Jenson, obviously the power unit upgrades in Spa seemed to work pretty well, and rival team engineers tell me your corner speeds were very impressive in Spa as well, so it seems that it's all starting to come together for McLaren?
Jenson Button: Well, yeah, I only did four corners, but I think they all look fantastic, so very happy with them! No, seriously, as a whole we probably did better in Spa than most people expected. I think we were probably running a little bit more downforce than other people as well. But if you look at Fernando, if you forget the first few laps, if you look at the actual pace of the car, Fernando was actually good in the race. It's promising coming here, you know these are two reasonably difficult circuits for us, but we've definitely made good progress. Honda have done a great job of bringing the upgrade to Spa and it's good to see progress pretty much every race we have with Honda and also with the car, so yeah, I think it's progressing well.

What about yourself? When do you expect to announce your plans, what you're going to do next?
JB: That's progressing well as well. So, progress is the name of the game? So it's good.

Before we move on to the floor, just a few moments ago Felipe Massa announced that he is retiring from Formula One. Just some thoughts from each of you maybe about him, his contribution as a driver and as a colleague. Kimi, you were a team-mate of his, so maybe you could start?
KR: Obviously it's a big shame, but this is his choice in the end. We had a good relationship when we were in the same team and obviously he has had some difficult moments in F1, with the accident, but he's been strong always and he's a very nice guy. So, life goes on, and I'm sure he made the right choice for himself, so hopefully he has a good end to his F1 career.

Kevin?
KM: He's had a long career. I don't think I've seen Formula One when he wasn't racing, so he's had a long career. He's had a good one. As Kimi said, if he feels it's the right time then good luck to him and not much more.

Sebastian?
SV: He's a really nice guy, really funny. It's a shame to see that he quits because he will be missed. Obviously I wish him all the best for whatever he decides to do in the future. I think apart from the talent and speed he has on the track, as I said, he's a great guy and very easy-going and he will be missed.

Esteban?
EG: Well I think it was quite a wise decision to make - which is probably not an easy one to make for everyone's career. I have great memories for when he accepted my call and invited me for dinner back in 2008, when I was racing Formula BMW. At that time, that meant a lot for me. Now, I wish him the best. He has made an incredible career and he has to be proud of that.

Jenson?
JB: I've raced with Felipe since he started in Formula One, I think it's about 15 years we've been racing together, so yeah, it's always a strange feeling when someone retires from the sport that's achieved so much, so many victories, and being so close as well to a world championship. But we all have our own reasons. I think it's a brave decision but he's chosen to retire so it's definitely the right one.

And finally, Carlos.
CS: From my personal side I remember meeting him for the first time in 2005. I think I was 10-11 years old. He was really kind to me and was my hero Formula One driver. He was very funny, very kind to me and since then I've had lots of respect for him. Five minutes before coming here I went to give him a hug, wish him all the best and I'm sure he'll have a good life from now on.

Questions From The Floor

(Peter Farkas - Auto Motor) This is for anyone who cares to comment on Max Verstappen's driving but especially to the Ferrari guys. Sebastian, you said last weekend you were not a fan of punishing drivers because of how they drive. Have you maybe talked to Max about it and what do you think is the way to go to make him understand that he's sometimes overstepping the limit. And Kimi, could you please clarify, when you overtook Max on lap 12, I think, when you both went off because he outbraked you after you left him on the straight. Who was it who asked you to let him pass again.
KR: Obviously I asked from the team if I have to give the position back or not and they asked the FIA or Charlie and the answer was that I have. I haven't seen where he went or if he stayed on the circuit or not and... kind of stayed on the circuit, much more than me, so obviously that was a pretty easy decision from my side.

Sebastian?
SV: Not sure I remember all of it but haven't spoken to him yet. I think the thing that we've spoken about before and has come up again in Spa was the bit that is the moving under braking which obviously, as the lead car, is the wrong thing to do. The following car can react but there are situations where you can't react any more and it will end up in a crash which has been something that we've talked about. I think he understood when we spoke about it so we obviously need to maybe have another chat. But as I said in Spa, I'm not a big fan of running to the stewards and complain there. I think it's much better if we do it face to face. Unfortunately we haven't done that yet but I'm sure we will.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Monza, here.

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