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Hungary GP: Post Race press conference


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

Track Interviews - Conducted by Martin Brundle

Lewis, your 86thgrand prix victory, just five behind Michael Schumacher's seemingly unassailable record. You just had it covered. Brilliant drive.
Lewis Hamilton: Thank you. Believe it or not, still pushing out there, particularly for the fastest lap at the end, but the management... what I want to say is a huge congratulations to everyone back at home at the factory, even more on the engine department at HPP. Those guys have done such a fantastic job of improving this year as well. Honestly, it was one of my favourite races to have race and whilst I was on my own for the race it was just a different kind of challenge. Of course we had great pace but it couldn't have been without these great guys that are working, that did great pit stops, great strategy, and right at the end there, because I was managing those mediums for a long, long time, so right at the end there it was great to get on the fresh tyre and get the extra point.

Your eighth victory here and you're back in the lead of the world championship. Bit of a misfire in round one but you're right back in it now.
LH: I think round one was multiple different punches that I wasn't perhaps ready for, but I re-focused, which I try to do between every race, and the last two have been fantastic and I think this weekend on point throughout the weekend so I need to keep this up.

Congratulations Max. You went from the barriers on the formation lap (sic) to splitting the mighty Mercedes-Benz and the fans' driver of the day. What an afternoon you've had?
Max Verstappen: Yeah, it was not how I wanted it in the beginning of course, ending up in the barriers with the laps to the grid, but the mechanics did an amazing job to fix the car. I don't know how they did it but yeah, incredible. So to pay them back with second place I'm very pleased with that. I think the first lap was very crucial. And from there on I think we had the right calls and we had good pace so we just kept doing our own thing and of course to be able to split the two Mercedes cars is good for us.

And how did the car feel? Your mechanics finished it with literally seconds to spare to get your wheels on to make sure you didn't get a grid penalty. Was it handling OK?
MV: Yeah, it was good - like new! So it was just on time but everything was working as normal.

At what point did you decide Valtteri was not coming past you?
MV: You never know. I was just trying to do my own pace and I could see he was catching like a second a lap. Of course following here is quite tricky so as soon as he was within 1.5 seconds it was more difficult for him. But then of course on the last lap we also had traffic which didn't make it easier for me on those old tyres but we managed to hang on and very happy with second.

Does that feel like a sort of victory to you?
MV: I thought I was not going to race so to be second is like a victory today.

Valtteri, P3, quite an interesting race, quite a challenge.
Valtteri Bottas: Yeah, it was a pretty bad for race for me to be honest. Starting second, obviously you aim to win the race, but yeah, I lost it at the start. I reacted to a light on my dash that went off. I don't know what it was something changed on my dash and I reacted to that instead of the start light and I had anti-stall, so then I had to do the start again, so I lost it there.

The stewards were obviously happy that you were still in your start box and not moving when the actual lights went out, so no problem there?
VB: Yeah, no problem, but obviously I lost many places and it made the race very difficult for me. I was fighting until the end and it was pretty close to me but still good points.

You needed one more lap and it was worth the gamble to put those tyres on at the end?
VB: I think it was worth the gamble, yes. I think it really gave me the difference in the tyre life but it didn't quite pay off today.

Onwards and upwards, two rounds at Silverstone, super high speeds and your car should be mighty around there?
VB: I think the car will hopefully good there. Yeah, I look forward to Silverstone but plenty to learn from this weekend to be stronger at Silverstone.

Press Conference

[Question and answer cut off]
LH: We've got as close as we've ever got before and I think that's what's you're seeing today. It's a great team performance.

Lewis, how hard were you pushing for the bulk of that race? And how hard was it to get the medium tyre to last the distance?
LH: The medium tyre definitely wasn't, I would say, a great tyre, I think. For sure it was a better tyre than the soft for the stints. I would probably say the hard tyre definitely had more legs on it. But, obviously, to start on that tyre was... what we had done in qualifying was strong. Once I got in the lead I got that gap and I was able to manage those tyres and match Max's times, which was positive. Then he had a couple of drops in time at some stage and I was able to maintain that while still managing those tyres. I'm constantly trying to improve how I'm managing those tyres through that stint. We don't know when they're going to go off. But they actually lasted really long and even to the end of that stint on the medium they were still performing quite well, they still had some rubber left. But they pitted me after Max after had done his stop and after that again it was just trying to manage that gap. It did happen to be growing during the time. Being that is it quite cool today, you can't really back off a lot because you lose temperature in the tyres so it was still important that I stayed on top of it, otherwise when tyre temperatures drop and that's when they degrade more.

Max, it hasn't been a straightforward weekend for you or the team here in Hungary. It's a painful memory, but could you just talk us through the incident on the way to the grid?
MV: Yeah, so I basically locked up and I came off the brakes, tried to brake again, locked again, and I just went straight on. I was already struggling the whole lap for grip and then basically just locked up and I couldn't get out of it so I just went straight into the wall. I thought the race was over but I managed to reverse the car out of the wall. And yeah, it's like a 'never give up' mentality, still. Bring the car to the grid and see what happens, right? I could have jumped out there and say it's over but clearly you could see that after the mechanics, they did an amazing job to repair that car and I was just very happy to start the race. The first lap was really good and from the onwards we made the right calls with strategy, when to box and what tyre to put on, and to be able to split the two Mercedes cars in the race after such a difficult weekend for us is a great result and something we definitely didn't expect.

Valtteri, how worried were you after the start that you might get a penalty?
VB: I didn't really think about it because it doesn't really change anything if your start to worry about it. It's done and the start was ruined anyway. I was just really focused on the race and the situation and trying to get back to the front as quickly as possible and maximise every situation. Then, for a while, when you don't hear anything, yeah, you think 'OK, it should be fine' and I guess you're still within the limits. Obviously a pretty odd situation and quite disappointing because it really compromised my race.

Video Conference

(Alan Baldwin - Reuters) Max, amazing drive. Some words about what you were thinking for those minutes when your mechanics were working on the car. You went off for the anthem and everything else. You seemed very calm, but I guess it was the opposite. Can you let us know what you were thinking at that moment?
MV: No, I was very calm. I was like 'let's see if they are going to make it' and if not then that's it, that's the race done, and the whole disappointing weekend would have been completed, you know. But they did an amazing job, so I was really fired up to get back in the car and show them that the effort was not for nothing, let's say it like that. Yeah, crazy. It was a crazy 10 to 12 minutes.

Check out our Race Day gallery from Budapest, here.


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