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Hungary GP Post Qualifying press conference

NEWS STORY
28/07/2018

Today's post-qualifying press conference with Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.

Lewis, the emotion of getting that pole position today. Wet conditions after a difficult practice session, how does that feel?
Lewis Hamilton: It's great for the team to have a one-two. Jeez, we couldn't have expected this. Honestly, the Ferraris have been quickest all weekend and we were just trying to do our best to be as close to them as possible. But then the heavens opened and it was fair game.

We could hear in the cockpit how excited you were, Toto, you will get to see the replay of how emotional he was, the engineers. What were the conditions like though, was it as difficult as it looked for us standing on the sidelines?
LH: It's so tricky out there. At the beginning it was dry for part of the lap and then at the end it was getting more and more wet. So it's really difficult to arrive in a corner and know how much grip you are going to have. So that's massively challenging. And then when it got extreme, you're just looking for a clean line and really tip-toeing around all the corners. It's a bit like doing ballet... oh, not that I've done ballet, but you know what I mean, you're tip-toeing and feeling the movement of the car. It's all about give and take each time as you go round, each corner. I was up and I was down, I was up and I was down. It was and emotional rollercoaster.

Well, you're certainly the master at the moment, on the back of Hockenheim and then to replicate that tomorrow. I guess it's head down and go?
LH: Yeah, we've got a great position, so we're going to do our best to work as a team and keep the red guys behind us.

Good luck. On to Valtteri. What a battle that was. You were provisionally on pole there at the end. I thought you'd almost done it.
Valtteri Bottas: Me too. Yeah, crossing the line being on the pole and then obviously Lewis had a little bit better lap in the end. It was really crucial, we only had one go with the new set of tyres and yeah, he was quicker on that lap. Obviously he was later as well, so the track is all the time drying up. As a team for us it's a one-two. But it could have been worse today here.

It's a front-row lock-out for the Silver Arrows and clean run down to Turn 1, so I'm sure you'll be up for the fight tomorrow?
VB: For sure. We are free to fight, so I'm looking forward to it.

All the best. We head on to find Kimi Raikkonen. Kimi, third position, the best for Ferrari, but after the starts you've been making lately you must be optimistic for the race?
Kimi Raikkonen: Obviously it's not ideal, but I think what is the most important and nice thing is that the car was driveable and enjoyable in the wet today. I think I was unlucky with the last... we changed to new tyres and there was a lot of grip but we got behind a Haas and in the spray, as you know, it's impossible to see and improve, but there was a chance in these conditions today to be quite comfortably on pole but it didn't happen. So tomorrow is another day and we'll keep trying.

Press Conference

Congratulations Lewis. Your race engineer came on the radio at the end of that session and described it as "hectic". Just how intense was it behind the wheel?
LH: Well, I could hear it in Bono's voice. I guess he was on the edge and nervous, as everyone was. It was such a tricky session, as you could see. We started out with the a large part of the track dry and making the right calls, getting the timing perfect and spot on in these conditions is everything. Maybe you're a minute too early and you're on a worse track, or you're a minute too late and it's raining more on the track or something like that, so it's very difficult out there. When they came across the radio and said "you've got one lap to make the difference" I was four tenths I think behind Kimi at the time and I guess Valtteri was just ahead of me. He went pole I assume and just to keep it together... everyone is just so passionate, Bono and my engineers and my mechanics, everyone on our team is so passionate about it, so to get a one-two particularly when we know that we were not going to be getting pole here in the dry conditions, the Ferraris were just too fast, but we were just focused on trying to do the best job we could and maybe lock out the second row. So for the heavens to open and for us to be in this position is such a blessing for all of us and we don't take the opportunity for granted. We're going to work hard together as a team to try to keep the red behind us.

Well done. Valtteri coming on to you. Your first front row here in Hungary. Just talk us through the session and your emotions immediately after Q3 when you realised Lewis had got the pole?
VB: Yeah, I think Lewis already said pretty much everything. It was a pretty hectic session and from the team it really required a lot of precision and perfect timing and being very reactive to the conditions. So I think on that, how the team was reacting all through the session, every qualifying, we got that one-two. They did a really good job. Obviously we had to do something as well with Lewis. It was not an easy session. Very easy to make mistakes and in the end it came down to one lap. From my side I felt the lap was pretty good. I was up on the lap time but those last two corners felt very low-grip, sliding a bit, crossing the line knowing I was on pole at that point and just waiting for the answer and they told me that Lewis just pipped me and of course at that point I was disappointed and still am, but I'm really glad as well that we can be here in Budapest one-two on the grid because track position here means a lot in the race so we have a really good chance tomorrow to get the perfect result.

Very well done. Kimi, Lewis has just told us that Ferrari have the fastest car here in the dry, what was it like in the wet?
KR: Obviously I think it was quite tricky. We did most of the time the right calls. In Q2 I wanted to go with the dry tyres to see if we had time to do one lap. Obviously it wasn't the case, so it was a bit tricky the one lap with the inters. It was a bit late when it started to rain. But it was enough to get through, that's the main thing. Last qualification, we had a very... yeah. It's disappointing not to be the first. I think we had the speed today. I was pleasantly surprised how nice the car was in the wet, because that definitely hasn't been our strongest point. That was great and I was able to drive it at least in the wet. I was a bit unlucky with the traffic once we changed to new tyres. There was more grip and for sure a lot more time, but we got behind Haas and you know I couldn't really slow down a lot more or else we wouldn't have time to start and then the spray there was nothing I could have done. It's shame because today for sure there was the speed. But tomorrow is another day.

Questions From The Floor

(Peter Farkas - Auto Motor) This is primarily for Lewis and Valtteri. Congratulations, the first part of the job is done but tomorrow it will probably be as dry and hot as it was tomorrow morning and yesterday afternoon when you weren't really comfortable, especially with overheating of the rears. So, how much of a concern is it for you, for tomorrow's race if it will be that hot? And what about the long stints from yesterday. How confident are you that you will be able to keep the Ferraris behind?
LH: Well, for a track that's usually been so good for me and worked so well for me, it's not been really the strongest for me the last couple of years, this year and last year. Even this weekend, if it was dry Valtteri had been quicker than me all weekend. Been struggling with the set-up and the feel with these tyres. The long run was so-so. The Ferrari's were quicker on the long run - but, as Valtteri mentioned, positioning is really very key here. It's a track where... this is the third hardest track in the calendar to overtake. So, I think this is really, as I said, it's quite a blessing. It will mean it's probably a close race between us all but getting through the stint is going to be key, not going over the temperature limits that we have been facing. Yeah. It's going to be close. I can't really tell you what's going to happen. Just got to get our heads down and keep trying to pull away.

Valtteri, anything to add about the Mercedes pace relative to the Ferrari?
VB: Yeah, I think from our numbers we were the third quickest team on the long runs - so I think tomorrow we really need to get everything perfect from the race start. It's going to be really hot, a really long race, so... yeah, overtaking is difficult but there's many opportunities for the cars behind to get us if they have more speed. So we really need to be on it.

(Scott Mitchell - Autosport) Question for all three drivers regarding the conditions at the end of qualifying. Lewis, given the way Q3 was going, just how big a lap from you was that to take pole. And Valtteri and Kimi, did you think your laps had been good enough for pole or did you feel that you'd left a bit on the table?
LH: I had no idea in qualifying that I would be shooting for the front row and pole position. As I went into that last lap I knew I had to put together each sector and really pull something special out, firstly to overtake the Ferraris but also I knew I had cars ahead and around me, so, I think the lap started out well. As I said down on the grid, there were some corners that were not as good as another lap - but it was all about making a compromise, and some to get better in another - but collectively I think it was a very, very good lap. Particularly, I would say, the last sector. I don't know how it is on the sector times but that felt, that's where I felt, I really made the difference. It was really about patience and also positioning on the track. Yeah, I couldn't be happier with it. As I said, this is quite a shock really. I was not expecting to be here so very grateful for today.

Valtteri?
VB: Yeah, it felt like a very good lap to me. Especially sector one, two, felt pretty nice. I think in these kinds of conditions, when you go out, when you have one lap to go, and you need to make it on that track condition, each lap is different to another. So, for sure, if you can do the lap again, you can find something. I must say I left something on the table and obviously Lewis was on pole with a similar car, so I'm looking forward to investigating from the data what I could have done better.

Kimi?
KR: I think on used tyres, when I did the lap it was pretty decent. For sure there were places to improve but, like I said earlier, when we swapped to the new tyres it had obviously dried up and for sure there you could feel straight away on the out lap there was more grip - and we never really got the chance to put the laps in because a bit unlucky with the position we were in.

Check out our Saturday gallery from the Hungaroring, here.

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