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Mexican GP: Thursday Press Conference Part 1

NEWS STORY
27/10/2017

Sergio, if we can start with you, you're the home town hero this weekend, just tell us how it feels to be racing in Mexico again?

Sergio Perez: It feels great. It's a race that I'm waiting the whole season for. It comes really late in the calendar, but it comes at the right time. Just the atmosphere, the energy I get from the fans is something that is extremely amazing. So much support; from the moment I arrive to the moment I leave it's flat out and yeah, so much looking forward to give the very best to all my fans in the track and off the track, to give the very best to them.

Looking back to Austin last weekend, it was another strong race from Force India. You weren't allowed to overtake your team-mate there but we hear that you will be free to race here in Mexico. Is that true and what can we expect from you guys this weekend?
SP: Yeah, well in Austin and in Japan, for example, we knew that the priority was to secure fourth place in the Constructors', which we are very close to doing so. So that's the main priority. Then I think we have to gain the trust back; to show the bosses that we can race without any trouble. That's the main priority. I think here we should be quite strong actually. We have a couple of upgrades on the car and I think the track should suit the car quite well, so definitely looking forward and to finish our season, which has been good, on a high.

And free to race?
SP: That I haven't heard. You've heard it first. But probably yes, we should be able to race here.

Pascal, there's a lot of talk about 2018 in the F1 paddock at the moment. You've become one of the key players in that game of musical chairs. How close are you to signing a deal?
Pascal Wehrlein: No news yet on this side but I hope... there are some discussions going on for next year and I hope we can fix something soon.

Do you have a deadline when you expect to hear something?
PW: I have no deadline, no. The last two years it was always quite late. I just hope we can find something and sign a contract for next year and I would be happy.

Your name has been linked to Williams, but are you hedging your bets, are you looking outside Formula One as well as inside?
PW: I'm not looking outside yet.

Well, good luck in that. Max, obviously you are here to discuss events in Austin last weekend. Having had a few days to reflect on what happened, what are your thoughts now?
Max Verstappen: The thoughts are pretty similar, but I think in general it was a great race. I really enjoyed that. The pace of the car was great again. That's now three times in a row we were really competitive and I just hope to continue that way here in Mexico.

It got pretty heated after the race. Do you regret any of the comments that you made or any of the language you used?
MV: Well, I think after a race the emotions run high, especially you have been taken off a podium, which I think I deserved, because I think the punishment was not correct, because everybody was running off the track in Turn 19, 8 and 9. Even in Turn 6 when you were behind someone you were cutting the inside, a lot of cars were doing it. And then also the fans, I think they loved it. It was a great move and then they tell you that you are gaining an advantage while overtaking someone. Well, if I was really gaining an advantage I would do it every single lap, which you are not, so I don't think it's gaining an advantage. Like I said, a lot of other people did it as well, they were cutting the inside of the corners, and then I'm the only getting penalised, is of course, I think, not correct. And then I think it's quite normal that I get angry. Of course I could have used a few different words but at the end of the day I still think the decision is not correct.

So the sentiment four days on is still the same?
MV: Absolutely.

Questions From The Floor

(Livio Oricchio - GloboEsporte.com) Max, you said there is the same marshal that penalised you, I think it was here in marshal. Who is this marshal please... Sorry he's a steward?
MV: I don't want to name any names.

(Helmut Uhl - Bild) Max, how did you digest the disappointment? What did you do the last days?
MV: I had an event on Monday and then I just stayed around Houston, because that's where I had to be and played FIFA. I mean, at the end of the day I still had a great day. Of course I was not happy that they take away my podium, but you also have to look at the positives and that was that it was a great race, for sure. I'm still a happy person, because the speed was good.

(Rik Spekenbrink - Algemeen Dagblad) Max, besides you drove a perfect race, there was also some criticism in the Netherlands, maybe for the first time. What do you make of that? What do you think of that?
MV: As I said, I could have different words, for sure. But, like I also said, I was angry at the time, because I think it was not correct and I already said all the reasons why I think it was not correct. So you also have to understand a bit my point of it, but of course the words were not correct. But I can't change that right now. It was not meant for anyone. I was not trying to offend anyone. Otherwise I would have named them by name if I was trying to offend someone.

(Manuel Franco - Diario As) My question is about Fernando Alonso. He will be competing in the 24 Hours of Daytona next year. What's your opinion about that and would you compete in a similar race outside Formula One?
SP: I think it's good experience. Obviously, Fernando is wanting to experience that route a lot, with Indy, the 24 Hours and probably he might think of Le Mans. I think it's a great, you know. I think it's a great experience. It's one of those races that you would like to do at some point. I went there actually last year to see my brother. He did the race the 24 Hours in Daytona, and it's an amazing race and an amazing venue. It's one race that I definitely want to do at some point in my career.

PW: I've never followed it so far, but I have only heard positive things about it so probably I will follow it next year.

MV: Of course the first priority is to stay as long as possible in F1, but if I like it then maybe I will do it, but I only want to do it with my dad. I think after F1 to get the same sensation is really hard, so I try to do that as long as possible.

(Livio Oricchio - GloboEsporte.com) Max, sorry to come back to the subject but looking at the video your first reaction, looks like to avoid an impact with Kimi, then you look for the run-off area. Is that correct?
MV: Yeah, of course. I think at one point he realised that I was trying to overtake him, so he tried to close the door, so you have avoid it. Then, of course, the Austin track gives a lot of possibility to run on the inside, like you could see the whole weekend. So, yeah, first was to try to avoid an accident and then to try and overtake him.

(Ysef Harding - Xiro Xone News) Sergio, it's great to be home obviously. We know that you've helped put together a lot of money to help repair what's been going on here in Mexico City following the tragedy of the earthquakes. I was wondering what you would have to say to some of your fans and your people who are watching this weekend who are looking to come to race and out behind what has happened recently?
SP: Yeah, it has been a very tough couple of months for my country in general, not just Mexico City, but other cities. What happened was horrible. But it was amazing to see, so united Mexico, but not only Mexico, the whole world, how everyone supported Mexico was pretty special. I think that's one of the reasons that this race is going to very special for the fans. I really hope that the fans that come here will have an amazing time and the ones watching at home, hopefully I give them an amazing race and a lot of happiness that they really deserve to have.

(Carlos Jalife - Fast Mag) Max, I was wondering, the pass was deemed illegal, although everybody liked it in Austin, but what can be done, what deterrent can be used so that this doesn't happen again - for all the drivers. Obviously, there should be some self-discipline, but as this was lacking from everyone, should they use bananas, like they do in the first chicane in Monza? What would be your ideas about using a deterrent to avoid drivers using the extra metres?
MV: It's not self-discipline, I think we know quite well what to do and what not to do. But they never told us anything. Already from lap one in practice one, everyone was running wide. It was all fine. Then, of course, if it's not mentioned, they never tell us anything, then of course we try to go as quick as we can. I think there is a very simple solution. Let's put grass on the inside, or gravel or whatever, that you cannot cut over the kerbs. For example, in Suzuka I don't think we have those issues, do we? So it's quite clear.

SP: I totally agree with Max. Nothing was being said before we didn't have any guidance on that. That incident was very particular. Yeah, it's definitely something that we need to definitely have a guidance on what is allowed and not allowed.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Mexico, here.

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