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Azerbaijan GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
25/06/2017

Podium Interviews - Conducted by David Coulthard

Did anyone predict this podium - I don't think so! Congratulations. Can you believe you've won the grand prix from 10thplace?
Daniel Ricciardo: Not really. It was a crazy race. We knew the podium was a chance after the re-start but then we heard the problems with Lewis and Seb. It was just a crazy race. I made an unplanned pit stop at the beginning. After a few laps we had some debris I think in the brakes so we had to stop and clean it, so we dropped back to I think 17th place. Did I think then that I would the race today? Absolutely not. I would have put all of my money on it that it was very unlikely. Crazy race. This is the race we expected last year, with all the safety cars and all the chaos and we got it this year.

Well, it was a fantastic comeback from a difficult quali. You kept your chin up when we spoke to you after putting it in the wall there, so it just goes to show you never give up.
DR: Yeah, obviously yesterday I was disappointed with the mistake but hey, I guess you have to make these to try and find that last little bit. I knew today would be a different outcome and yeah, I said it yesterday, we had to stay out of trouble and it certainly paid off today. Big thanks to the team, Red Bull Racing, it was nice to get one car home and on the top step, so thanks guys and thanks everyone that came out.

Valtteri, right on the line. You were a lap down in last place and you come through and deliver a result for the team, you must be mighty relieved?
Valtteri Bottas: It's what Daniel also said: just a crazy race with so much happening. I was one lap down in the beginning and during the safety car I had to overtake everyone and catch them again. But this just shows you should never give up, you never know what is going to happen in the race. Just kept the head down, kept pushing, and team also during the red glad managed to fix the car a little bit so they did a really good job during that. I really enjoyed it and just had fun. But shame, in the end, that Daniel was just too far away but you know, taking the circumstances at the beginning it's a good result for us.

Well, tell us about that, you seem to be magnetically drawn to your countryman. You and Kimi came together? What's your view from the cockpit?
VB: Yeah, going into Turn 2 I was on the inside and he was on the outside and there was no space for me to go apart from over the kerb and when you go over the kerb the car obviously jumps and I couldn't keep the line, so I think another racing incident to be honest but it's just unlucky that it's me and Kimi again.

Kimi took full responsibility.
VB: OK...

No, he didn't, but it was great to see you believe that for a moment. Right, the man who is going to feel that he won this grand prix. One of the youngest ever podium finishers - Lance Stroll. Fantastic feel free to full express all the emotions. Your father is down there. It's all come good in the past two races.
Lance Stroll: Yeah, I'm just lost for words right. I don't even know what to say. I can't quite realise what just happened. It was a hectic race... people crashing. We just stayed out of trouble. I just kept my head cool and took it to the end. I just lost out to Valtteri there in the end. I think that was probably one of the closest finishes of all time. But what race! I couldn't believe coming into the weekend that I would be standing on the podium. It's amazing.

Well I know your father has broad shoulders but I can see a tear in his eye from up here, so I think you're going to get a monster bear hug when you come down from here?
LS: Just the whole team, it's amazing.

You were voted by the fans of Formula One as the driver of the day as well, so you've really punched through and connected with the public.
LS: I was chatting to Daniel and saying motor sport is a love/hate relationship. We've had a couple of hard race but the last two races have been amazing and I'm just over the moon right now.

Fantastic, very well deserved. Daniel, another line from you? You'll take the wins when they come. You seem... you could see the smile almost through your helmet when you were in the cockpit, but now you seem a bit calmer than I was expecting. You've just won your fifth grand prix!
DR: Honestly, I'm speechless. After the race on the cool down lap I was kind of just giggling; giggling like a little schoolboy.

[Coulthard unties Ricciardo's bootlaces]

DR: You want some?

I think your podium colleagues need a little celebration.
DR: Well it's Stroll's first podium, so he certainly deserves one. Is he old enough to drink?

LS: You realise this is going to scar me for life! Oh, my God, I'm too young for this. It's like there's some dirt in there as well.

[Both drink from Ricciardo's race boot]

Press Conference

Daniel you said this is taking a while to sink in, but how does this victory, the fifth of your career, compare to the ones before, particularly that first one in Montreal, where you took the lead with three laps to go?
DR: I don't know. I think I have been pretty fortunate. I've only had a few victories but I think pretty much all of them have come under pretty crazy circumstances or the races have been far from dull. Obviously all of them are special. Today was just crazy. We haven't been necessarily the quickest car on track or all weekend. I said it yesterday after my crash in qualifying, I said ‘be there and capitalise on opportunities' and I certainly capitalized on all the re-starts where I was able to gain at least one position if not more. Then we had some fortune, with Lewis, I think he had a loose headrest or something and he had to box and then Seb has his penalty behind the safety car. It was crazy, there was so much going on, but it was fun. It was fun to be in the battle for the most part and towards the end, obviously once I got the lead it was just trying to keep the laps I could. As I said, we knew we weren't setting probably the quickest times on track but I knew if I kept that rhythm it was enough to win. Now it's sunk in a bit more, I'm obviously very happy.

And after you made that unscheduled pitstop near the start of the race to remove some debris, was the car behaving as you wanted it to?
DR: Yeah, it got better after that. We pitted very early on, I can't remember what lap but I assume it was within the first handful of laps. I think it dropped me back to 17th on one of the restarts or something. How we're here a few hours later, I don't know - but it was cool. It was a lot of fun. Thanks to the team, thanks for... yeah, making it happen today. It's cool. Nice feeling.

Coming to you Valtteri, can you explain how your goals today fluctuated. Second on the grid, what did you think was possible? A lap down at the end on lap one and then, of course, you've ended up in second place. Just talk us through that race.
VB: Yeah, like Daniel said, it was a completely crazy race and especially for me. Had a puncture in lap one with the contact with the Ferrari in Turn Two. I was one lap down, had to overtake everyone, under the Safety Car. Catch them. There was another Safety Car, which really helped me out and just, y'know, step-by-step started to go forwards. For me, obviously, the goal going to the race today was to fight for the win, and after lap one, what happened, you can't really set a goal. For me, I just tried to keep my head down, keep pushing and take maximum out of every single corner, every single situation and, yeah, ended up really good for us in the end. We managed to get some more points against Ferrari and some good points for me personally as well. But yeah, just... don't really know what else to say! Crazy race. Well done to Daniel and especially to Lance. His first podium. I know the feeling, it's a good one. Enjoy it mate!

Let's come onto Lance. Lance, you got your first points in Formula One two weeks ago at your home grand prix in Canada. Now your first podium in your eighth grand prix. Just describe your emotions.
LS: That's tricky right now. I'm a bit lost for words. It was such an intense race. A crazy race. So much happened. The red flag... hopping out of the car then having to get back into the car and having to reset and everything... it just all happened so quickly but I think today what we did well was just stay out of trouble. We let some of the other drivers make mistakes and took it to the end. Just lost out to Valtteri in the end. He came pretty quick towards the last couple of laps. Still extremely happy with the result today. I can't really describe how I feel, it's beyond amazing. Yesterday was such a great day already and starting to get back to grips with the car. I had a couple of races where Saturdays didn't go too well, and then we got back into Q3 since China yesterday and that was really a breakthrough for me. Today to come away with a podium is absolutely amazing. And the shooey at the end, that killed it. Still sitting in my gums... Kidding aside, I'm so happy for myself, for the team, for everyone. A day to remember.

Questions From The Floor

(Jerome Pugmire - AP) Question for Lance. You faced a lot of criticism earlier in the season, you were really up against it and you had to defend yourself from waves of possibly unfair criticism as well. Do you feel that you've proved a point today - and how pleasing is that for you?
LS: I don't think I proved a point. I don't listen to that stuff. It's just noise, y'know. It was there last year when I had a perfect year so this year when I had some tough times, it's probably still going to be there. It's just people talking. I'm just happy for myself, happy for my team, my friends, family. Everyone who's in it with me. That's all that matters. The rest is all just noise in the background and I don't really care for it.

(Livio Oricchio - GloboEsporte) To Lance. What happened? In Canada you had self-confidence, we could see that in the track and also here. You feel more comfortable in the car that you can take more risk and go to the limit? And from the outside we saw, maybe, a different driver?
LS: Yeah. I think it just takes a bit of time. And there will still be hard weekends moving forwards. Sometimes I'm perfect but no one, I think, understands that sometimes a jump from F3 to F1 is quite big and it took me a bit of time to understand what I wanted from the car. This weekend we took a very different direction with the setup. We kinda shifted away from that setup after Bahrain. We started in Barcelona taking a different direction with the car and we came back to it this weekend. I'm much more competitive, similar to the beginning of the season, China, Bahrain, when I was in Q3, P11 in qualifying, much more competitive. And this weekend we came back to that set-up and it gave me a lot more confidence with the car. I feel like I'm able to really drive the car now and push the car, and it gives me a lot of confidence and comfort and I think that's a big reason why I'm much more competitive this weekend. But also, there's so many other things in the background. I've really improved my driving style, adapting to Formula One and I need to keep working on little things moving forward. It's not finished yet - I still can improve a lot. It just takes a bit of time. I think sometimes people don't realise that. This year is a very different formula for me and I just need to experiment it and try different things and come back and figure this and that out. I think that's a big part of the reason why sometimes it's tricky. This weekend it was good. It's just about improving myself, the car, what I want from the car. Yeah, it's a process. You just have to hang in there and keep driving.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Baku, here.

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