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Mexico GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
24/10/2019

Today's press conference with Antonio Giovinazzi, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez and Alexander Albon.

Q: Sergio, home race coming up. How has the build up been? I think you've been busy running marathons, a taxi service, all sorts of things?
Sergio Perez: A little one - 8km. Yeah, it's been a busy one. Basically I've been doing everything, every single stuff out there. It's a pretty special weekend for me. I think it's the best grand prix on the calendar, but very special for me. Yeah, I'm just looking forward to it. If there's a weekend I want to be perfect and do very well, it's this weekend.

Q: Well if you do very well, you might record the 100th points finish of your career this weekend. What would it mean for you to do that in front of your home crowd?
SP: It would be very special. More than that I look forward to giving them a great race. I think last year we were doing a very good race but then we ran out of brakes, so I think in the past we've been a bit unlucky in a couple of races - one in 2015 with the safety car that came at the wrong moment - so I hope this weekend... we are in a good run, so hopefully we can do a good one this weekend.

Q: Thanks very much and good luck Checo. Alex, Suzuka two weeks ago was a tremendous weekend for you, culminating in fourth place, the best result of your Formula 1 career to date. Did you change anything going into the Japanese Grand Prix or was it more of a reflection of the general progress you've been making?
Alexander Albon: I think it was more of a reflection. I don't think anything special went on before Japan. Just getting more comfortable every time. Japan was just a really good track; I love it. I just enjoyed it and it suited me a bit better. It was a good weekend.

Q: You say you're getting comfortable all the time. How different is the Red Bull to drive compared to the Toro Rosso you did the first half of the season in?
AA: Yeah, I'd say they have their differences, obviously. But it's like every car. I think you've got to learn its little tricks and everything like that. Spending that time with Toro Rosso you kind of develop a bit of a driving style towards it and changing teams you've got to almost start blank again and work again, so it does take time but it's very normal for every time you change to a new car.

Q: Your team-mate has won this grand prix for the last couple of years. How confident are you coming into the weekend that you can get your first podium?
AA: We'll see. Maybe we're not as favorites as we were in previous years. We do have our success here but the Ferraris are looking very strong as always, so we'll see. On my side, just focus on myself. A podium would be nice, obviously, but not too focused on that at the minute. We'll see.

Q: Thank you Alex, good luck this weekend. Antonio, you're enjoying a good run at the moment, you've outqualified Kimi Raikkonen for the last three races. A question that's quite similar to the one I asked Alex: have you changed anything in your approach to qualifying in particular?
Antonio Giovinazzi: No, I don't think so. I think already in the first part of the season I was really close to Kimi, always really there. Second part, yeah, the confidence was coming better and better. But I don't think it's something we need to talk about - I was in front of Kimi three times. I'm just really happy that my confidence is coming better and better. The speed is better. I think we are struggling a little bit on race pace now. I hope we can find the right way this weekend and come back [into the] points, so we miss from two races already, so we need to get back there.

Q: How confident are you of finding the right way, because both Alfas were in Q3 here last year and raced well, so do you think you are going to have a better weekend than you have had at the last couple?
AG: I hope so. We had an intensive week last weekend and we tried to find something in the car, because I think the car is fast, because in qualifying we are there, almost close to Q3, but in the race we are struggling a lot, so I think we need to find just the last detail and then try to be back in the points soon.

Q: You're doing a great job at the minute, what have the team told you about next year?
AG: Nothing yet. I think I just need to focus on my job and try to continue like that and then we'll see for next year.

Q: Are you confident?
AG: Yes, I need to be confident. I think the second part of the season was quite strong from my side. I need to just keep pushing like that and then we'll see.

Q: Good luck, thank you Antonio. Sebastian, tremendous pole position by you in Japan a couple of weeks ago. How much did you enjoy that moment and how much did you need that moment for your own peace of mind?
Sebastian Vettel: Not so much. Obviously we had both quali and the race on Sunday, so there was not so much time to enjoy. I think there was nothing wrong before. Obviously, qualifying, maybe some events before that didn't really go my way but yeah, I enjoyed Suzuka more than that particularly qualifying session. Obviously it was a good day, a near perfect day, the race should have been a little bit better but yeah...

Q: This weekend, are Ferrari favourites coming into this Mexican Grand Prix?
SV: I don't know. So-so. Obviously people look at the track and they look at the straight line but I think that, yeah, we have obviously been strong on the straight lines in recent races but there are a couple of corners plus here it's not one of the tracks where efficiency matters so much. We do have quite an efficient car but maybe we can't use that to our advantage, so we'll see how we manage around the 'cornery' sections, because some of these type of corners have been our weakness, so we'll see.

Q: OK, good luck with that. Lewis, we talked about Checo's busy build-up to this weekend and I see that you have been in the boxing ring with Julio Chávez. Tell us about it?
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, I was with Puma yesterday at an event. We had a great turnout. It's crazy; I started boxing when I was eight. Obviously I was much younger and I wouldn't say In was particular ever great at it, but it was really quite an honour to be in the ring with such a legend.

Q: Did he teach you anything?
LH: Yeah, yeah, he gave me a few pointers. He said I had a heavy hand, so I don't know...

SP: Ready for the fight!

Q: Let's talk about the fight this weekend then. It's been six races since you last had a pole position. How confident are you of breaking that run this weekend?
LH: Oh, I don't think a lot has changed. We're going to go into this weekend knowing that Ferrari are massively quick usually on the straights and obviously straights are a powerful element of this circuit, so I don't know when we'll be getting another pole - unless it rains, which can change everything. But as you've seen in previous races it's not necessarily all about qualifying nowadays. It's about making sure you've got the car ready for the race, so we'll still give it everything. This is a race that bodes well for the Red Bulls and the Ferraris in the past, but we've made a lot of improvements in our understanding of the car and how we use it, so maybe this weekend maybe we'll a better chance than we have in the past.

Q: Looking ahead to Sunday's race, you will clinch the world championship if you beat Valtteri Bottas by 14 points. What would it mean to you to win it here in Mexico for the third consecutive season?
LH: Well, I don't remember if in a season I've finished 14 points ahead of Valtteri at any point, and if it has it may have been one race maybe. So I anticipate that it will be a difficult weekend. Valtteri has been strong all year and obviously won the last race so I expect him to be strong this weekend too. It doesn't matter where it's done, as long as you get it done, and that's what I'm trying to do. But I'm fully aware that there are still plenty of points on the table and I've got to deliver over these next four races.

Questions From The Floor

Q: (Scott Mitchell - Autosport) For Lewis: you've never been afraid to use your profile on social media to raise issues you have outside F1, what you think about the world etc, so you made people take notice in between Japan and here with your comments about the state of the planet and what people can do. I think that led to a few people questioning whether it's valid to raise concerns about the planet if you're part of the F1 circus, with all the travelling and stuff. I think even Fernando Alonso was quoted as saying it's not something you can comment on really, because it's not fair. I just wondered how you balance using your personal profile to raise stuff like that with the role you have in F1? A second part: Jean-Eric Vergne, the Formula E champion, said Formula E would be a natural move for you, given your eco-friendly status and what the championship is trying to do. Are you interested in doing Formula E after Formula 1?
LH: I have no interest whatsoever to do Formula E, so that's not something I currently plan to do beyond. And then, lots of people have had opinions about how I utilise my social media, but ultimately it's my platform and we all have a voice, everyone here and around the world, and it's how you choose to... how you want to use it. Personally, it's not the easiest, because yes, we are travelling around the world, we are racing Formula 1 cars and our carbon footprint for sure is higher than the average homeowner who lives in the same city, but that doesn't mean that you should be afraid to speak out about things that can be a positive change and I'm always looking at things, and how I can improve the effect that I'm having on the world. I guess it's something that over time I have become more and more aware of and it takes a while. It's not a quick-fix thing. It takes time to understand the implications and I think it's just about education and I'm just trying to highlight areas. Whether people choose to look into those, that's up to them, but I'd feel like I wasn't doing anything positive if I didn't mention it.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Mexico City, here.

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