Grid Interviews - Conducted by Davide Valsecchi
Lewis your lap was wonderful, 1.1 seconds in front of this guy. You were amazing.
Lewis Hamilton: Thank you man, grazie. I appreciate your excitement. I'm just as excited.
We'll give him the chance to take the helmet off, and in this time, wonderful, first row. I'm sorry for you, you will not start from the front row but your lap was amazing and your performance in Q3 was just a step over.
Max Verstappen: Yeah, it was a tricky qualifying, but I think also in the beginning of Q3 also sliding around a lot. But then I tried to cool down the tyres and in my final run everything worked pretty well, so happy with second.
Very well done. Ricciardo, tell me how was your lap. You were struggling on this circuit but today, from the outside, it was just amazing looking at you champions driving so well.
Daniel Ricciardo: It was fun. Q1 and Q2 were quite terrible actually. I was struggling a lot and then Q3 we just seemed to get a bit better rhythm, the tyre had more grip. At the end we were pushing a lot but it was close. I'm glad we could do qualifying for all the fans. It was important we did this today.
Thank you so much, very well done. Lewis, just half an hour ago you were playing your Playstation and now you broke the record and made the history of this sport?
LH: Yeah, firstly, Italy I love you. I'm so happy to be here. Even though we're in Ferrari's homeland we have such great support here, even for Mercedes, so I really appreciate all the love. To do this here at such a historic circuit, such a beautiful country... I'm going to have some pasta tonight to celebrate.
Please, tell me about tomorrow, how will it be, the race? One of your contenders is not there with you and so tell me, front row, first corner, not easy to manage, so how will it be, your race tomorrow?
LH: Obviously it depends on the weather. I heard it's going to be dry tomorrow, so hopefully it's a normal Italian beautiful day. It's going to be tough potentially with the temperatures. It's great to see that Red Bull are up there, they obviously did a fantastic job. I have not seen the list of where everyone is, but honestly, I came across the line and I didn't know if I had it, but it felt like a good lap. But, I can't believe it - 69. I can't believe it; I'm so grateful. God bless you guys.
Lewis Hamilton, record breaking 69th Formula One pole position and less spoken about but also significant, all-time record polesitter here at the Italian Grand Prix? Congratulations Lewis, you punched the air as you crossed the line after a qualifying lap, so I guess it's significant, it clearly means a lot to you for a lot of reasons. And I guess every record up to now is something where you have been chasing and from now on it's up to the others to catch you.
LH: Yeah, it's very hard to find the word to explain how I feel, I'm trying to figure it all out right this second. These guys definitely made me work for it today, which I'm grateful for. The weather has been incredibly tricky for us all. Yeah, I can't believe that so much time has passed, so many great experiences, a lot of difficult times. But what a day. To come here in this beautiful country and with this usually English weather and to be massively challenged. It was very difficult to see out there; it was very difficult to see the lines and very easy to make mistakes, as always in the rain. The second to last lap was OK at the beginning and then I backed out of it, hoping I'd get one more lap and there's a lot of pressure for that last lap. There could have been a red flag, a yellow flag or something like that, so a lot to risk, but I gave it everything. It probably won't sink in for a long time. I've got to say a big thank you to my team for making it all possible, the guys back at the factory for continuing to support me and for Mercedes, we've got a lot of the sponsors here from Petronas and from Mercedes Benz, who have been sponsoring me for a long, long time and supporting me and being right behind. So I'm grateful for that. And to my family, hi! Thank you so much for all the support. I can't believe it's been 10 years but I'm really grateful for all the support. And also for the fans. I enjoyed chatting with them just before qualifying, or during the break, and I'm grateful to FOM for allowing us to do that because it's usually not allowed. But yeah, an epic day and truly blessed.
Very well done. Max, great performance today, you had provisional pole right up until the last car crossed the line - Lewis. Your feelings on how you went today and where do you believe you'll start the grand prix tomorrow and what do you think you can do from there?
MV: Yeah, I think start 15th. That's what they told me, we'll see tomorrow. It was quite a good qualifying I think. Everything was working well. Just in Q3 I was maybe not as happy as I was in Q1 and Q2, just sliding around a bit more and just couldn't get the grip, especially in the last sector. But my final lap was pretty OK and I head I was on pole and my engineer was telling me all the sector times and I said "stop, stop, just tell me what Lewis is doing" because he was the one to beat. He said "he's going purple" and I was like, well, to be second here with the car, the whole package we have I think we did a very good job and it was nice again to drive in the wet.
Daniel, it was intermediates in Q1 and Q2 but the order really changed about in Q3 moving onto the wet tyres. Ferrari fell away at that point. Can you put into words for us what was different about Q3 from Q1 and Q2 and thoughts about your own performance?
DR: Yeah, Q1 and Q2 were nowhere. If you heard, I don't know, but on my radio I wasn't too impressed, just with the level of grip. We were struggling with everything and we were just slow. It just felt like the tyres were... as if we didn't have blankets on them or something. So it was just cold and slippery. We got into Q3 so we weren't nowhere, but for normally our competitiveness in the wet, certainly struggling and then Q3 we went out on the extremes and to be honest already on the out lap I had a lot more grip than I had in Q1 or in Q2. I think there's something there, whether we learnt it, or we'll have a look, but it was a different car in Q3 so... I think we topped it early on in that session, in Q3, and then obviously Max came through Lewis and we had a charge at the end. It was close - not Lewis' lap at the end, I mean not Lewis' lap at the end, but close with Max behind, and I think with Lance behind, all within a few tenths. It was alright in the end, good recovery, nice to be up here on a Saturday. We'll obviously fall away back a bit tomorrow. I think 18th is where I'll start. If I didn't put in a good Q3, I probably would start 19th, so we're good, we're alright. Yeah, Q3 was a saviour!
(Ysef Harding - Xiro Xone News) Lewis, many, many congratulations on a historic pole position. They say it's not the destination it's the journey: what has this journey been like as you continue to light the stat-book up with all the milestones that you have had this year.
LH: Well, firstly, I just actually wanted to recognise and acknowledge these two here who've done a fantastic job today which really shows their ability and while they perhaps don't have the right package currently, hopefully in the future they do, because we need to see these guys up here with us more, battling. They should be in the fight with us. With Ferrari and Mercedes. So, fingers crossed. They've clearly shown today the capabilities.
I've read that some people say it's not about the journey or where you begin, it's about the finish. I tend to think it's tends to be more important about the beginning and the middle and not necessarily where you're going, so yeah, about the journey. I think there's been so much learnt over these years. So much growing, as there will continue to be growing to do. Today was a real challenge with the break. You're in the zone for a second and then you get out of the car, you have 15 minutes to chill, then you get ready, get in the car, then you have to get back out, it was a real challenge to try to continuously try to keep your mind, not drained of energy while being in the zone but trying to step out of it and step back into. After playing the Playstation I was kind of a bit nervous whether or not I still was in the zone! But I was grateful when I got back out. Racing in the rain is... being in the wet in these cars is as great as its been in the other cars that we've had - but it's such a challenge and this is such an epic circuit because unlike the new circuits the grip is often off-line - which is a normal characteristic of an older circuit, and so you get to utilise that. So, going out, finding where the grip is, as opposed to a new surface - like the straight for example - which a lot of the new tracks have, makes it a lot more fun. So, I really, really enjoyed it.
(Peter Farkas - Auto Motor) Gentleman, at some phases it seemed quite difficult to choose which tyre to be on. Could you explain what was the difference in behaviour and were you satisfied with the Intermediate and the Wet tyre - and which parts of the track were particularly critical?
MV: I think the whole year already, the Inter, compared to the years before when I was driving, I think it's really difficult. Really hard to switch on. Last year, for example, all the time when we went to an Inter, you felt quite comfortable. The tyre was working, it was quite a soft tyre. And now it just feels very hard. Locking a lot, so you just can't create any temperature in the tyres because you're sliding around everywhere and that's why it was very tricky. It was actually, for my feeling, dry enough for an Intermediate but still the Wets were faster: they were a bit softer, creating a bit better temperature so you can attack the brakes better. That was very difficult in Q1. Then in Q2 at one point the Inters became a bit better because it was quite dry. Then in Q3 it started raining again quite a bit, so straight away we said, let's go back to the extremes, and that was definitely the right choice.
And Lewis, which were the trickiest parts of the circuit, in these conditions today? And also, the pit straight was a bit dicey at the very beginning.
LH: Yeah, the pit straight was always, being that it's a new surface, the water really stays on it. It doesn't disappear. So, the first part, definitely, picking up the braking zone into Turn One. And then probably out of Turn Two, traction's terrible there. And then you get to the mid-section which is fun and it's not too bad. I would say Ascari was challenging, particularly the exit. Definitely... probably the most challenging part.
DR: It should have been Inters, I felt, with the level of water. I don't know if it was Q1 or Q2 - it's a long day - but the point where we went off extremes to Inters, I was sure the Inter would just be a lot more grip, but it just felt like it never really switched on. Just a very cold feeling and really low grip. I think the problem is then, because you can't get into the tyre, because you're sliding around and can't really attack it, then it's not really gaining temperature - so, unless it was drying a lot it was hard to get the Inter to work. At least that's what we found today. It was a surprise, for sure, I thought the Inter would have been stronger in those conditions.
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