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Hungary GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
04/08/2019

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

Track Interviews - Conducted by Paul Di Resta

Q: Lewis, I can see how much that one means to you. From a driving point of view that was exactly what you had to do to go out there and win it. You fought all the way the very end to get that one done. How do you feel?
Lewis Hamilton: Tired, which is how it should be, but I feel really grateful for the day and for the team for continuing to believe in me and continuing to push to the limits and to take a risk and a chance on me. We've been together for seven years and it never gets old, it always feels brand new. It feels like a new win for us. If it wasn't for these boys here and all the guys back at the factory this wouldn't be even possible and I'm just grateful to be a part of it. Yeah, for a race to be able to push like that, I'm telling you now it was on the limit all the way.

Q: The gap was there to take that chance, to roll the dice and try something on strategy, but you had a bit of management in there with brakes, because you had nearly got Max before. Was it always going to be on edge to get that pass done?
LH: Honestly, we've had brake problems all weekend, having like separation of the front temperatures and glazing, and I was a bit worried. We made some changes and it still didn't make a difference and naturally we get into the race and we have this problem, so I was doing a lot of lift and coast and not even touching the brake for half the lap. Now of course in the big stops you had to lose it. I was just trying to save as much as I could for that time when I do get a chance. It was very, very difficult to get by, defence was great, they were quite quick on the straights. But honestly I didn't know if I could catch that 19-second gap because there is a big... my tyres were going to drop off and all these different things are going through your mind, but like the team said, you just keep your head down, so I did and kept pushing and pushing and the gap closed and closed and closed. The laps were like qualifying laps every lap. So my hat off to the team and I think if Niki was here today he'd take his hat off.

Q: I think everybody would. That's seven wins in Hungary and a nice way to sign off for the summer break. Enjoy your rest. Max, I know you're not going to be very happy with what happened but they had the chance to do what they did. You were not fortunately in that position (sic) but I guess you've got to be satisfied and Driver of the Day to say that.
Max Verstappen: Yeah, we were just not fast enough. I tried everything I could on that hard tyre to stay alive but unfortunately it was just not enough. But still, second and fastest lap, I think a good weekend overall for us. Of course congrats to Lewis for the win. He was pushing me very hard, so I like that. Today we didn't win but again, like I said, it was a good day, a good weekend for us.

Q: What was missing today? That's four very good races but the one we all thought you would get the job done, these guys came out very strong.
MV: Just lacking a bit of grip I guess. We tried the one stop, of course they had the opportunity to do a two and today that worked out well.

Q: Sebastian, right at the very end of the grand prix. I know these guys had a lonely race at the front but always satisfying to pass your team-mate, you did something different on strategy, and to sign off what is going to be a difficult break for you guys to bounce back?
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, I mean obviously I was sitting in P4 and had nothing to lose so we stayed out very long in the first stint and then just hoped that the soft would last until the end, and it did. I think it was the fastest tyre at the end so we were able to close the gap. We had one opportunity, which I took, so happy to get some champagne now and to cool down. Yeah, we couldn't go the pace with these two; that was quite clear the whole weekend, so lots of work ahead of us. I think it's good now for everyone to get a break, the guys have been working very, very hard. We need maybe to charge our batteries and then the battle continues. There will be tracks that we will be better for us but still, overall we need to get stronger.

Q: With Spa and Monza coming up after the summer break you guys have got to be favourites for that with your straight-line speed.
SV: Yeah, I don't know what other people will do in terms of updates on power unit and the engine side, so we'll see. Obviously on paper they look better of for us. But yeah, still we know we have margin with the car. As you said it will be a busy break for us. I don't think anyone's mind can rest in the two weeks, so maybe we come up with some good ideas for the second half.

Press Conference

Q: Max coming to you, great performance by you all weekend and so much rested on that strategic call. Were you tempted to pit as well?
MV: It wouldn't have made sense because I would have been behind then so then you know the race is lost anyway. So the only option was for me to continue and that's what we did. Of course at one point I started to run out of tyres, I think trying to keep up with Lewis' pace on those medium tyres, trying to keep it within a second was almost impossible. And of course you can see it coming, so for me it was not a big disappointment once he passed me, it was just a normal thing to happen. Anyway, we have to be realistic and he was just clearly faster today. Always I was struggling a little bit more for grip than him. He could keep the pressure on. Of course when you are in second you can gamble to do a two-stop. For me it was always about trying to cover him or stay ahead. With the two-stop, worst case scenario is you stay second and best case you overtake me and that's what they did today. Yeah, then we pitted at the end as well. Of course happy to then do that fastest lap. It's still one point and hopefully at the end of the year it will matter. Let's see.

Q: And when you were on the same tyres compound how much did you relish that battle with Lewis?
MV: So, I think on the first tyre he never really had a shot. We were still competitive in the last sector and then when we got on the hard tyre… also with the traffic, because of that he had a few goes at me because I couldn't do my normal lines in the last few corners and he caught up with that. And then with the defending, I tried to do it as good as I could. Luckily I could stay ahead and then he had to manage his brakes and engine a bit but you could see clearly once that was sorted he closed the gap again. If he had stayed on that one stop I think I could have kept him behind. But once he was on the medium you know it's going to be really hard.

Q: Sebastian, strategy played a significant part in your race as well. How tough was it to get the distance on that first set of medium tyres?
SV: Very tough. I think they were in very poor condition at the end. I was happy we tried. Obviously we tried to hang in there. I think we stayed out another 10 or 15 laps after Charles pitted, just to try to do something different, maybe hope for a safety car, but to be honest by then obviously the top two were sort of gone anyways. It was really for the sake of trying something different, which looked very distant to ideal when we had the stop and I came out but then I just tried everything I had and got one chance in the end. In the end it's not a big deal, third or fourth for the team, it's still the same. The big picture for today is that we were not quick enough and not able to follow them right from two laps into the race.

Questions From The Floor

Q: (Christian Menath - motorsport-magazin.com) Max, usually Red Bull is quite good on race pace and not so good on qualifying pace. Do you have an explanation why it was the other way round this weekend? Was it becauswe of the Friday, which was a little bit weird?
MV: No, I think then you can see how much margin they have when they really need to push. I think Lewis today was on fire as well, but then you see, once he really has to go for it you can see that that car is still the dominant car, it's as simple as that. Whereas in some races it's not as necessary. Of course they had their issues in Austria with overheating so you can't push. Of course in Hockenheim it was tricky conditions as well so you can't really drive to the limit of the car. But here today I think he had to go for it flat out, because I was also pushing flat out and then you can see what they are capable of as a team.

Q: (Flavio Vanetti - Corriera della Sera) Sebastian, given the hotter temperature did you expect from your car. Is it now a step back in the performances?
SV: No, I think the temperatures were fine. It was quite warm, the track was near 50 degrees as well so I don't think so. I think we saw our limits yesterday. We got a confirmation today, so I don't think it's a step back, we had some bits, it was a small step forward but what it shows is that it's not enough. It's important that the mood inside the team remains positive, which is the case. I think everybody knows what we are lacking. Obviously we are very competitive on the straights - yesterday 6 or 7kph faster at the end of the straight compared to Red Bull and also Mercedes - but obviously we are losing quite a lot in the corners. There were some tracks where efficiency is more important, this is a track where inefficiency pays off, so whatever you have in terms of downforce is positive. That's where we are lacking performance and in the race I think it shows even more because you are sliding and then I think we are going through the tyres faster. So not to our advantage. We have seen that as well in recent weeks, so in a way not a surprise but as I said we need to keep our head down and do the work.

Check out our Sunday gallery from the Hungaroring, here.

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