Today's post-race press conference with Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.
Track Interviews - Conducted by Martin Brundle
So, Lewis congratulations. We have to congratulate all three drivers on the podium that was a sensational race, a brutal race as well. Obviously I've immediately got to talk about the incident between you and Sebastian at the exit of Turn 4 there.
Lewis Hamilton: Well, firstly I just want to say a big thank you to my team, because I wouldn't be standing here today without the incredible effort from everyone. We had a problem this morning with the engine, with my crash on Friday. If they hadn't been so diligent I wouldn't have been able to race today as I have. So a big thank you to them. Naturally, it's absolutely not the way I wanted to win. I was pushing to the end to try to get past, but obviously I forced him into an error, he went a bit wide, but then I obviously had a run on that corner and we nearly collided. It was unfortunate but this is motor racing.
Sebastian has gone straight to the stewards' office to talk to them about it; he's not here at the moment. Obviously he feels he was just busy collecting the car up and trying not to crash and he had no other option coming off the grass.
LH: That's to his opinion of course, you know for me I took the corner normally. When you come back on the track you're not supposed to go straight back to the racing line, you're supposed to come on safely and I assume that's why they...
As you say, you had a tricky day, you know, with the car. Even when you were on the grid they were working like made on your brakes.
LH: Yeah, absolutely. It was just so hot here, you know. The Canadian weather is just so hardcore for us here. Very hard on the brakes. Physically, I'm just destroyed just trying to hold onto Seb. The Ferraris were just so quick this weekend, so I'm really grateful that I was able to be there within the race. Nonetheless, this is good points still for the team.
And finally, do you think you could have overtaken if you had to in those final few laps?
LH: Not towards the end I don't think. I think we were all struggling with brake temperature towards the end. My tyres were good at that point where he made the mistake, I was as close as I was ever going to be. But then obviously I got that blocking and the gap opened up again. It was just very, very hard all the way through. It's very, very hard to follow here. This is such a great track. And if it wasn't for these fans it probably wouldn't be as great as it is. So a big thank you to everyone that's come today.
Congratulations. Charles, you nearly took second place on the last lap.
Charles Leclerc: Yeah, it was close. I'm pretty happy about the performance, my own performance today. I think we were very quick. It's a bit of a shame that yesterday I did some mistakes in qualifying. I need to work on my qualifying to get better on them. The race pace was very, very strong, so it's a good sign for the future. I'm disappointed obviously for the team, we have all worked extremely hard to be there. I don't know what happened for Seb, but the team definitely deserved a victory today so it's a shame but we will come back stronger and we will keep pushing as we did in the first few races and hopefully the victory will come soon.
Relentless pace from you but the team stopped you quite late and you just feel off the leading two.
CL: Yes, there was definitely a reason behind that. Obviously it was quite difficult to challenge the two in front at the beginning so we just tried to go long, hoping for a safety car that never came but yeah we will see.
Sebastian, we missed you in parc fermé. Nine times you two have won a world championship. You are two of the finest drivers that ever graced a Formula 1 circuit but clearly you feel you've had a great victory stolen away from you today.
Sebastian Vettel: Well, I think first of all I really enjoyed the race, I really enjoyed the crowd to be honest, every lap seeing them cheering me on, especially around the hairpin. It was very intense, I think Lewis was a bit quicker throughout the race but we were able to stay ahead. For the rest I think I've said enough. You should ask the people what they think. I think we had a great show. Lewis showed some good respect. Yeah, ask the people.
Lewis, you've had a race taken away from you in similar circumstances, in Spa, so you know the pain. Does this leave a bad feeling between you two great champions?
LH: Well, all I can say is I didn't make the decision, firstly, so I don't know what they're booing at. Maybe it's the decision.
SV: The people shouldn't boo at Lewis, because I think he saw what was going on and I don't think there was any intention to be in his, harm's way. I had trouble in staying on track. But the people shouldn't boo at Lewis. If anything, they should boo at these funny decisions.
What a difference 24 hours makes: complete euphoria of yesterday and the frustration of today. Can you just talk us through the incident at Turns Three and Four. What caused you to run wide on entry and is there anything you could have done differently when you were re-joining the track?
SV: Well, I lost the rear of the car, so obviously it wasn't voluntarily going sailing across the track, not knowing how and in which fashion and so on I will be rejoining. I think it is pretty clear I was on the limit. I was pushing very hard throughout the entire race and... yeah. Obviously I was going through the grass and I think it's quite commonly known that the grass isn't very grippy. So - you agree? - and then I was coming back on track and just trying to, y'know, make sure I have the car under control. Once I regained control, made sure it was sort-of alright, I looked in the mirrors, and saw Lewis right behind me. As you said, yesterday we had the euphoria and the enthusiasm of a great day. I feel, in a way, the same today. I think we had a great race, the team did fantastic and, yeah, obviously I'm not happy with the decision the stewards took. I think you can understand. It feels a bit weird to sit here, not having won the race even though you crossed the line first. And as I said, I don't think I have done anything wrong; I don't feel I could have done anything different. I don't know, actually, what the problem was. So... yeah. Not much more to say, I think, from my point of view. I think all the people out there, they probably agree with me.
Where you aware of where Lewis was as you were rejoining?
SV: No! How? I've got two hands and I had them on the steering wheel, trying to keep the car under my control. So, I don't know... I think we are pretty good at multi-tasking, driving these cars - but if it is required to drive... to catch the car once you come back from the grass or off the track, maybe one-handed, use the other hand to pull off a tear-off and maybe hit the radio button to talk to the team at the same time, I don't qualify, I can't do that. I had, as I said, my hands full, trying to keep the car somewhere in my control. Obviously I knew that Lewis was behind somewhere because he was, like, a second behind, but when I looked in the mirror he was right there. So I was obviously then racing him down to Turn Six.
And the race pace of your car. What positives can you take away?
SV: Yeah, I think overall it's been a positive weekend and I think a very positive result. Obviously we're both sitting up here. as I said, on my side, it feels a bit weird but I think the pace was good. I think it was clear to see that Mercedes probably was faster throughout the race but yeah, we managed to fight them off.
Charles, coming to you. You seem much happier with the car today than during qualifying yesterday?
CL: yeah, I was quite a lot happier today. I think race pace was quite strong, so, on that I was very happy. The start was quite tricky with Lewis but I decided to not take any risks. So then, yeah, it was quite a boring race from then-on, trying to manage the tyres in the first eight-nine laps and from then on I started to push. I could feel that we were quite good and, on the second stint, the car felt great. We were very quick. I could feel I was catching a little bit in front. The team asked me to pit to do the fastest lap, and I asked to continue because I could see that the gap was closing. I knew it will be quite difficult to catch them but if there was an opportunity I wanted to be there, so I didn't give up. At the end, it didn't pay off. We do third, it's a good result home, but the team definitely deserved more after such a great weekend. Also, Seb, disappointed for the team and Seb. I think the first position was in our hands and it's a shame it slipped away the way it did. So hopefully we'll have other good races in the future.
Questions From The Floor
(Christian Menath - motorsport-magazin.com) Sorry Seb to jump in that again, could you just talk us through when you realised you lost it. Did you think about... was it only that you wanted to catch the car or did you also think about to get back the fastest possible way - and did you lift or did you stay in the throttle?
SV: Look, I think it was clear what happened. I mean, what's the point of going through split-seconds for an hour now? With all the respect, there's nothing to add from what I said. You lose the car, I don't do that voluntarily because the outcome is unpredictable. Once I manage to catch the car, obviously I realise that I couldn't stay on track, couldn't keep the car on track, slowed down, had to slow down, go over the grass really cautiously, lost a lot of time. Managed to get back on track with dirty tyres, and once I regained, sort of, control, being somewhere on the track, I had to check my mirrors and Lewis was right behind me, just to see where he is, not to, I don't know, be in his way or whatever. So, that's what happened. I'm not the first guy in the world of racing that had a mistake on corner entry and had to catch the car going through the grass, gravel or whatever.
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