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Spanish GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
12/05/2019

Today's post-race press conference with Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.

Track Interviews - Conducted by David Coulthard.

Lewis Hamilton, you're the winner. It didn't look so good yesterday; it looked amazing today.
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, firstly I just have to put it down to this incredible team. This is history in the making to have five one-twos, so I'm very, very proud to be a part of that and very proud of everyone's hard work here at the track and back at the factory. It's definitely been a bit of a hard first four races. Naturally this is a great car but we don't always get along. So I'm grateful that in the race we managed to settle our differences and get away well. Long, long run down to Turn 1 and I'm grateful for it, really happy for the whole.

Put us in the cockpit. We heard you in Baku say maybe you gave a little bit more space than you would normally do for a competitor out of respect for Valtteri. You really went for it there. He was the meat in a sandwich at one point. He had Vettel on the other side and you really managed to force yourself to take the lead.
LH: Yeah, it was obviously an interesting start. It was obviously very, very close. I saw the red car go round the back of both of us and so I had no idea whether they were further ahead - I assumed they might be. And I knew that Valtteri would be braking super deep, but it wasn't a replay of Baku at least.

Just finally, you get that extra point for fastest lap. Your re-start after the Safety Car, it was a quali lap. You were almost two seconds quicker than anyone. That was in your mind to set the fastest lap at that point or was it just to break the DRS?
LH: Yeah, it was. We had obviously just done the pit stop, so I was just trying to keep the tyres warm and I knew those first couple of laps on these new tyres or fresher tyres would be the moment that we had the chance to get that, and I've not had a fastest lap all season, so it was about time.

Congratulations, great victory. Valtteri, it got oh, so close into the first corner and we saw you have a little correction on your steering to avoid contact with Lewis, to avoid contact with Sebastian. They really squeezed you into that first turn?
Valtteri Bottas: Yeah, it was pretty tight, but I lost it at the start. There was some strange behaviour on the clutch. It was biting, releasing, biting, releasing, which I never felt before, so I lost it there.

Obviously you're not in the happy place you were yesterday after that stunning pole position, but you're still in the hunt for the championship, you're going to some tracks that you enjoy, what do you take away from this weekend apart from that second-place result?
VB: Well, as a team it's incredible. A fifth one-two in a run is really good. I got some good points. Every single point is going to count this year so that's good for sure but I'm just keen to find out why the start was so bad and why the issue happened.

Max, admiring the competition. You were given Driver of the Day, you're up to third place in the championship. Pretty good. You're a bit of a fly in the ointment to the Ferrari team though.
Max Verstappen: Yeah, it was a hectic first corner, so I just backed out of it, and actually it gave me a good position out of the first three corners and then from there on, of course the Mercedes cars were too quick today but I could do my pace and we were competitive, so happy to be on the podium.

Just tell us what you were looking at here? What can you learn when you look at your competition this close.
MV: I don't know, just looking around to see what's different to mine.

Press Conference

Congratulations Lewis, another wonderful race from you. Job done at the start. You didn't seem to suffer from being on the dirty side of the race track.
LH: No, I had looked at the support races and it appeared that both sides were quite equal. So when the lights went out, the initial start was good and then after that we were quite close all the way down to Turn 1 and the Ferrari might have even been alongside us again. It was a great battle and naturally a decisive moment. This is such a great circuit but it's very, very hard to follow once you get through Turn 1. I'm not really sure if they'll ever make amendments to make it a race where we would be closer. But nonetheless once we got around Turn 1 I just had to get my head down and focus on just trying to deliver each lap. But just an incredible day for the team. We brought an upgrade here obviously and everyone worked so hard to make sure they brought a decent upgrade, something that delivered on every aspect and very, very proud of everyone back at the factory for their hard work. And the guys here at the track? They're just always faultless. But still a huge thank you to them for their continued efforts. Also, we've got Dr Zetsche here. It's 'Zetsche' not 'Zeetsche', as they said on the podium, twice. He's been a massive supporter of mine since I was 13. Ultimately, he was there in the decision-making process of whether they would take me on as a kid. When I went to McLaren he was part of the decision-making process of whether I got the Formula 1 driver in 2007, and joining this team again. And every year on from then when we had to re-sign. This is his last race with us and I just want to say a big thank you to him.

You seemed much happier with your car today than you were yesterday?
LH: Yeah, the balance yesterday was a bit of a nightmare. But race pace has generally been quite good for me, I've been really happy and comfortable generally in the races. When we went out to do the laps to grid I wasn't very happy with the balance still, so I had to make some changes. I had a to alter my driving style a little bit. But it worked well in the race scenario. Going to look into detail why it doesn't work well on a single lap. That may take some time. Normally with tyres I'm pretty good but I think that's the weak area. It's not that I can't do it, I just need to discover it and that's what I'll put some effort towards.

OK, well good luck with that. Well done, Lewis. Valtteri, it was won and lost at the start. You've spoken already about some problems with the clutch, was there any warning or any problem on the formation lap?
VB: No, absolutely, no. It was the first time I've felt anything like that, like a vibration in the clutch and that's why the initial getaway was very poor. It was kind of biting and releasing in a very quick frequency. So it's really annoying. All the hard work this weekend for me went down the depths but obviously I'm not blaming any individual in the team, and as we are a strong team, we are going to investigate how it happened and how we can avoid it ever happening again in the future. That's the strength of the team. But obviously for me as a person, it is annoying to have it this way but that's how it goes. But I also want to say, there could be worse days in the office and as a team we are performing at an incredible level, and also from my side hats off to every single member at the both factories and here at the race team to be performing like we are now, and also congrats to Lewis for the win here, he had good race pace and a good result for us.

It wasn't your day today but the slow-corner performance of the W10 has been so impressive here in Barcelona, does that give you a lot of confidence going to Monaco in a couple of weeks' time?
VB: It is nice to see the strength we have, especially with the new bits in the car we had for this weekend. But Monaco is such a unique track. A big part of it is getting the tyres to work and it's extremely difficult. There are a lot of new parts with completely new asphalt and it's a difficult track to put a lot of energy through the tyres. It's a special track in terms of mechanical set-up - there are a lot of bumps and warps and off-cambers in the track, so for me it's completely unknown how we are going to perform there but obviously I hope very well because I myself have been living there for five years now. I live just next to the start-finish line, so it would be nice to have a good car there.

Well done Valtteri. Max, second podium on the year. How confident were you of finishing on the podium today?
MV: Well, you're never sure, but I knew that we could take the fight to Ferrari. In qualifying we were already very close. I think my race was also decided in lap one, to overtake Seb around the outside in Turn 3. Yeah, that was good and from there onwards I could just do my own pace. Well, I was trying to follow the Mercedes cars but they were clearly a bit too quick. Very happy to be on the podium and also back in third in the championship, so that's pretty positive.

As you say we've seen some tremendous pace from Mercedes this weekend. What can you tell us about the progress being made by Red Bull?
MV: Well, it's good, but not as good as Mercedes did. We clearly still need to work harder and bring better things to the car. But it's good to see that I think we closed the gap to Ferrari and I'm happy about that.

Questions From The Floor

(Scott Mitchell - Autosport) Max, the performance here and also in Baku as well, I think both you and Pierre had very good race pace there. Two things for you: do you think Ferrari is now vulnerable to you guys on most tracks, and going to Monaco, where Red Bull is usual strong, do you think you're going to be quick enough thee to catch these guys?
MV: Yeah, race pace in Baku I think was pretty strong, but of course here people come here with upgrades and clearly we lost out a bit to Mercedes, but it seems that we did catch up to Ferrari. For Monaco, I think at the moment, looking at the low-speed performance in the last sector, we are clearly not the favourite and I also don't expect it to be like last year when we were super strong in Monaco.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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