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Hungary GP: Post Qualifying press conference

NEWS STORY
18/07/2020

Today's post-qualifying press conference with Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll.

Track Interviews - Conducted by Paul Di Resta

Lewis you had a pretty dominant pole position last weekend in Austria and you've come here and, it's just flashed up on the screen, you've scored your 90th pole position in F1. What does that mean?
Lewis Hamilton: Crazy. I have to pinch myself. It just doesn't register. It's quite humbling to be honest. I gess to work with an incredible group of people, without whom I wouldn't be able to have the opportunity to do so. So massively thankful to the everyone back home and the guys here who do such an amazing job. And Valtteri doesn't make it easy for me at all. It requires absolute perfection when it comes to doing laps and qualifying like that is one of the things I enjoy doing most.

Watching onboard the car looks on rails. You're connected with aren't you?
LH: I'm definitely connected with it. She's definitely not on rails. I'm sure it looks like that compared to some other people but it was nicely hooked up today and not far off the rails.

You're going for your eighth win at a single event to match Michael Schumacher. You must be pretty confident you can achieve that given where you're starting?
LH: Oh man, it's a long run down to Turn 1 so nothing is a given here. We've just got to do the work this evening and ultimately I've got to deliver on the start tomorrow. It is quite a long race and we don't know what this weather is going to do fort us tomorrow but for sure I'll have my head down and I'll be focusing as hard as I can to bring home a 1-2 for the team.

Valtteri, all the way to the end there, you just out missed by a tenth but I guess you must be pretty happy to qualify on the front row?
Valtteri Bottas: Yeah, of course, I knew, I saw in FP3 that it was going to be a close battle with Lewis at least and I think as a team we were again on a really strong level and pretty far from other teams, which is good for us. My laps were OK. At the end the Q3 lap was actually really good but I just couldn't go faster and Lewis did a great job today to get the pole, as always. It's going to be a bit of a drag race between us into Turn 1 so I look forward to that.

You're still the championship leader and you're alongside him and the run to Turn 1 is important. Is that your best tactic tomorrow, to get a clean run to Turn 1?
VB: Yeah, of course, if you look at the points it's a good situation but what I need is to win races to maintain that. That's going to be the only goal tomorrow and I'm sure the first lap will be interesting.

Lance, congratulations. The car has looked very good this weekend. I guess you must be pretty delighted with where you are. You've showed signs this year of being up the front, it's not worked out, but you got the job done today?
Lance Stroll: Yeah, thank you. Very happy at the moment. That car was really strong all the way through qualifying throughout the whole weekend really. We've had the pace and it was just about piecing it together during that qualifying session. So, really great job by all the guys. I'm really pleased with the session and now sights set on tomorrow and I'm going to try to grab some big points.

I got a bit nervous in Q2 when you went back out on a set of mediums. You must have as well as the times were pretty closed.
LS: For sure, it was a gamble, no doubt. It was a gamble but that's going to put us in a good position tomorrow, so I'm really happy that I got through on the mediums and my lap at the end really felt like it was spot on, so it always feels great when you put it together at the end qualifying.

Press Conference

Lewis, congratulations. What a Q3 session for you. 1.1 seconds faster than last year's pole. How did that final lap feel?
LH: It felt great. In general, qualifying altogether felt really solid. The team have done an incredible job. Valtteri and I, we owe it really to this great group of people back at the factory and here who are just constantly pushing the bar higher. I'm really proud to work with them and to get to drive a car like this around the track is really awesome. Turn 11 was really flat for us today, which is quite insane, the speeds we go through there. It's quite impressive to see how far the technology has advanced. Valtteri did a great job today, applying a lot of pressure, but Hungary has always been a good hunting ground for me. But I'm aware that qualifying isn't everything here and it's a long race and a long run down to Turn 1. I want to say a big congrats to Lance as well, it's awesome to have the three Mercedes up here.

Lewis, where are the gains from last year, where does the lap feel differently particularly?
LH: The high speed particularly is quite a lot different, so Turn 4, Turn 8 and particularly Turn 11. But it's a little bit everywhere I would say. The efficiency of the car through the low and medium-speed corners is definitely better than last year but the high speed particularly, as I was saying, you can nearly take it flat, whereas before it was a little lift.

Valtteri, great lap and so close to Lewis at the end. Little bit of frustration from you, how do you feel?
VB: Yeah, for sure. I saw in practice that it was going to be a close battle between us in qualifying and practice three didn't feel too bad. To be honest in the beginning of the qualifying until the end of Q3 I was struggling in the first sector mainly, so Turn 1 braking, I wasn't so comfortable there, so I lost a little bit of time. Turn 2 also, I struggled a little bit with snappiness from the rear end of the car. I think when the track improved the car was starting to come together and at the end I have to say the lap was pretty good actually, so I thought I might have a chance with that lap really, but Lewis was just a tenth or under quicker so ultimately he did a better job in qualifying and that's why he's on pole.

How's the long run pace of the car?
VB: I think it's pretty strong from the small amount of data we managed to gather in practice one. Of course we missed a lot of the running practice two so a lot of question marks there but I think overall the package we have should be good in the race as well.

Lance, a fantastic qualifying session for you and the team. Can we start talking about your expectations coming into the session. What were you expecting?
LS: I gotta say well done to the whole team for bringing this package to Hungary. I think we have been very competitive from FP1, right from the first lap. The car has come such a long way from where we were this time last year. We has a 17.5 in qualifying last year. Of course there are some track differences this year and all, but we improved more than three seconds from our qualifying time last year, which is really good. So hats off to them. They've been working extremely hard at developing this car and brining this package to the first race. So really happy. My qualifying overall was really good. My expectations? I didn't really have too many expectations coming into qualifying. I knew there were a few things I had to work on going into qualifying. I wasn't really piecing it together during free practice and throughout qualifying I was improving a few corners and then at the end on the last lap I pieced it all together and it was really a good lap. I'm really pleased. Qualifying is always fun when you nail it at the end and that's what happened today.

Video Conference

(Andrew Benson - BBC) Lewis, is this the best car you've ever driven, and can you give some insight into how the team do it. How do they keep producing these incredible cars, year after year, moving forward in this way?
LH: I don't really remember driving the last car [to Valtteri] Do you remember driving the last car? Ultimately, it is an evolution of last year's car so, without doubt it is a better can than last year. We go through a whole season and during the season Valtteri and I work closely together to point out the issues and the limitations with these cars and we work closely with our engineers to advance it and, with the designers, we have quite a lot of meetings back at the factory together to make sure we leave no stone unturned. There's no big-headedness or ignorance between any of the engineers and between us. There's just a real transparent discussion and no idea is too big or bold. We just continuous push at that. I think we continue to inspire each other and then the guys back at the factory are hungry. They want to break down... continue to raise the bar, and they are the best at what they do. It's impressive to see each year. There's an incredible amount of confidence that I have in them, naturally from these years, and I think we go from strength to strength as our relationship grows, as our understanding of each other, as how we work, continues to improve.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Budapest, here.

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