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British GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
14/07/2019

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

Track Interviews - Conducted by Jenson Button

Q: Lewis, congratulations, there must be so much emotion in there?
Lewis Hamilton: Honestly... I'm a bit out of breath! I cannot tell you how proud I am to be here today in front of my home crowd. I've got my whole family here, my team. So many British flags out there; I could see them lap after lap. Every year I've been coming and I've seen it and noticed it and appreciated it. You would think you would get used to something like that but I'll tell you, it feels like the first time. And I'm just forever grateful for everyone who has come out and spent their whole weekend here. I really hope that you enjoyed the day and God bless you.

Q: I think everyone did. It was an epic race. One of the best British Grands Prix I've seen. Today you also made history - six-time winner of the British Grand Prix.
LH: Jeez. I couldn't have done it without these guys. I couldn't have done it without my team. They're all around here. And the guys back at the factory. Everyone back of the factory and their wives and their kids who are supportive through the whole year of their time away and how dedicated they are to their jobs, so when I tell people thank you to the team there are nearly 2,000 in my team that make this possible. I'm just a chink in that chain. I value them massively and I'm super proud to be a part of this.

Q: Congratulations Lewis, good job. Valtteri, it's a tough one right? After such a good start, such a good fight with Lewis - he put a good move on you, but to get him back into Copse was a great move. It looked like you had it under control but you were hurt by the safety car.
Valtteri Bottas: Yeah, I don't really know what to say. Congrats to Lewis, massive support for him over here. I stopped first and I was controlling the pit stop gap, so I was still effectively leading the race until there was a safety car and Lewis got a free stop there and he got me there. I also went to the mediums so it meant I had to stop at the end again, so that was pretty much it. So not really my day, but at least the pace was good and it felt good out there.

Q: Yeah, I think there are still a lot of positives to take from today. To take get that pole position around here at Silverstone, a place that is obviously very special to Lewis. And that fight back for me was great to see. Do you take a lot of positives from here moving on?
VB: For sure there are positives. Yesterday I was the quickest on track and that was good and I think the race pace was good today and we had a good fight. I'll keep fighting, it's not over yet, so...

Q: Well done. Charles, congratulations, you were the driver the day and I think everyone agrees you were the driver of the day. That was a fantastic race. It was great to see the battle between Max Verstappen and yourself, and it's the new generation of Formula One. How was the race for you today?
Charles Leclerc: It's probably the race I enjoyed the most in my Formula One career. Great to finish third, but today was a very difficult day. The first two stints we weren't where we wanted to be. I think on the hards we were very strong. But unfortunately with the safety car we lost a little bit of positions, which was not great for us. But yeah, very happy to finish third and extremely happy for the battle we have had on track.

Q: Yeah, as you said, you went for a different strategy it seemed, starting on the soft tyre. It didn't really work for in the first stint. But as you said, with the safety car, your fight back and your move on Pierre Gasly was also epic - you must take a lot of positives from today's race, gaining confidence all the time?
CL: yeah, definitely. I think the last race was a bit of an eye-opener for me, really showing how far we could go. I think it's great for Formula One to just fight on the limit that way and really happy that this race has gone like this.

Press Conference

Q: Lewis, many congratulations, sensational pace from you all afternoon, culminating in that fastest lap on the final lap of the race. You were undoubtedly helped by the safety car but you had great pace today.
LH: This is one of the best days I can remember having. I was just thinking downstairs, I remember my first win herein 2008 and the feeling that I had coming out of Brooklands and going down the straight towards, at the time, the start-finish line and seeing the crowd, it felt so reminiscent of that today and just the excitement and happiness and joy that I felt was exactly the same as then. The reason I say that is that I've done so many races, you know, you think you would get used to it, or that the feeling would numb down, but it felt just as amazing as the first win that I had. So I'm really, really grateful to all those people that have helped me achieve this today. I've got this incredible team, There are almost 2,000 people, I always mention, in our team and we got to see them yesterday at a family fin fair kind of event that they do and they will never truly know just how grateful I am but it's really amazing to be part of this team and to be breaking down walls and records and pushing the limits and boundaries every weekend. You never know if you are really going to be able to deliver a day like today but me and Valtteri had such a good fight. I got him at Turn 7 and then he was on the inside but when we pulled out of the corner I couldn't really see where he was, he was in my blind spot. He wasn't in my mirror but I couldn't see him next to me either, so I couldn't close the door, just in case he was there and he happens to be there obviously. He drove sensationally well there. So I was, 'OK, I've got to back off, wait until he stops and then nail it after that'. I was going to do a few more laps and hopefully do like an undercut and catch him up etc but the safety car came out and it was perfect timing.

Q: Congratulations. Valtteri, tough day for you, second at Silverstone for you for the thirds time now. The safety car came out at just the wrong time. Was the plan always to make two stops?
VB: Yeah, it was maybe not my luckiest day, but that's life. Obviously Lewis drove well, he's got massive support here, so congrats for the win. But obviously we had good racing at the beginning and I really enjoyed it, that's why we are here, to race hard and fair. I'm sure Toto didn't maybe enjoy it as much as we did but it doesn't matter. After my first stop I felt like it was under control. I was following the gap closely, the pit stop gap I had to Lewis, and I was just waiting for him to stop and obviously the safety car got him ahead of me at that point. I was stuck into a two-stop at that stage, because we stopped for the medium again from medium tyres so it meant anyways I had to stop in the end, which was a mistake from our side. Two stop we thought would be by far the fastest but actually one stop was possible as well. Not quite ideal but one of these days... At least it felt like the pace was good today and yesterday so there are positives to take. Also, really, really happy for us as a team, getting maximum points and it's pretty impressive the gap to the teams behind now. So it makes me very, very proud of us. In any case, I'm still super-hungry for the win so looking forward to doing it again in two weeks.

Q: Well done Valtteri, thanks. A great dice between you and Lewis. And another many who was involved in great dices today was Charles. That battle between you and Max in particular, reminiscent of your karting days. Was it clean, were you happy with the way you fought?
CL: Very happy. That was definitely the most fun I've ever had in my Formula One career. Well, it's a short career, only one year and a half, but it was definitely very, very fun from inside the car. I think that Austria was quite an eye-opener for me to understand how far we could go and what was accepted and I'm very happy at the end to race like this. I think every driver wants to race hard and that's what we did during most of the race. It was very, very fun, always borderline, but I think always in the rules and very, very enjoyable from the car.

Questions From The Floor

Q: (Phil Duncan - PA) Congratulations, Lewis, on your victory. I know you aren't one for records but obviously this quite a big one - you've won the British Grand Prix six times, more than any other driver in the history of the sport. It's your home race, a race that's been on the calendar for 70 years and now you hold that record. How special and amazing does that feel for you?
LH: Yeah, it feels incredible. I've not ever been one to look at statistics. I really take it one race at a time and I like the approach with that. I came here this weekend and I heard people talking about the amount of qualifying poles I've had here but I don't really take any notice of it, I'm just trying to do the best I can and seeing if I can achieve it, but it's great to be able to have the opportunity to shoot for it. Unless I stop and think about how many wins I have, I didn't know if it was four or five or whatever it was here. To then hear that I have six and to be up there with the greats. I remember growing up watching this sport and watching a lot of the greats and meeting a lot of the greats and even working with one of the greats and to be up there with them is one of the coolest things.

Q: (Giles Richards - The Guardian) Lewis, yesterday you faced questions about the nature of your Britishness and today after the win you immediately picked up the Union flag and took it one the podium. You're obviously very proud. Did it mean much more to you to do that at this race?
LH: To win here at this race?

Q: To wave the flag at this race.
LH: Yeah, this is the greatest single moment of any athlete in the world - to raise their flag as the number one or with the gold or whatever it may be in their home country. It's one of the single most incredible feelings and special moments an athlete can have. I come here and I've got this incredible support. They always talk about how much does it lift you up and it's a huge amount of energy but a lot of weight comes with that, a lot of responsibility. People save up so much money to come to this grand prix. Everybody is buying merchandise and flags and you just want to deliver for them so much. Not only for yourself and your own ability, you know you can do it, but for your team. I've got like 40 family members here - from my mum's side, from my dad's side, a bunch of them from the Caribbean. So I just really, really wanted to deliver. And when you achieve something like today and you see all those British flags, I was looking the whole time for a flag, 'someone give me a flag', because one day I'm going to be able to look back and I'll have that picture of me in the car with that flag and I'll always be able to smile until my dying day.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Silverstone, here.

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