Today's post-race press conference with Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.
Track Interviews - Conducted by David Coulthard
Max you could have come so close to winning this grand prix, as it turns out, with hindsight, if you hadn't come in for that pit stop for new tyres. But you must be still very satisfied with second place?
Max Verstappen: Yeah, it's lucky and unlucky. I think anyway Mercedes in the race were too quick. The tyres at one point didn't look great, with 10 laps to go, so I was already on the radio saying "guys, you know, the right front doesn't look very pretty". Then of course Valtteri got a puncture so I came on the radio and said I was going to back it out and then they boxed me to go for the fastest lap and then unfortunately Lewis got a puncture himself. But I'm very happy with second, it's a very good result for us again.
Otherwise, it was a fairly lonely race. We didn't see much of you when you're not racing wheel-to-wheel. Any other notable points from the race?
MV: No, I told my engineer to drink. Stay hydrated, it's very important around here. It was pretty lonely, I was just trying to manage my pace and trying to look after the tyres.
Charles, that's as good as you could hope for today. The racing gods shone on you. You didn't have the tyre issues your main rivals of course Mercedes had. Both had delaminations at the end there.
Charles Leclerc: Yeah, as soon as I heard that Valtteri had a tyre problem then I slowed down quite a lot but then I think Carlos had it a lap later and the Lewis a lap later. So on that we have been lucky but apart from that looking at us I think we have the done the best we could have done today. I'm very happy the way I managed the tyres from the beginning to the end, very happy with the balance of the car. Yes, the performance of the car is not where we want it to be, but today we took every opportunity and I'm very happy with today.
We spoke before about next week's tyre choices, which are softer again. Do you think that will be under review given what has happened today?
CL: I don't know what are the causes, whether there was debris on the track or whatsoever, but I think Lewis cut the corner at another place on the track than Valtteri, so yeah it's probably to review. But I can't say. The Pirelli guys will investigate that.
Finally, the winning machine that is Lewis Hamilton. I've heard rumour that they are going to rename Silverstone to Hamitonstone. Man, you made it difficult there for yourself. Our hearts were in our mouths when we first Valtteri have that delamination and then yourself. Talk us through that last lap?
Lewis Hamilton: Up until that last lap everything was relatively smooth sailing. They tyres felt great. Valtteri was really pushing incredibly hard. I was doing some management of that tyre; he looked like he wasn't doing any. When I heard that his tyre went I was just looking at mine and everything seemed fine and the car was turning no problem, so I was thinking "maybe it's OK". Anyways, those last few laps I started to back off and then just down the straight it just deflated. I just noticed the shape just shift a little bit. And that was definitely a heart-in-the-mouth kind of feeling because I wasn't quite sure if it had gone down until I hit the brakes and you could see that the tyre was falling off the rim. And then just driving it, trying to keep the speed up, because sometimes it will come off and brake the wing and all these different things and oh, my God, I was just praying to try to get it round and not be too slow. I nearly didn't get it round the last two corners. But thank God we did. I owe it to the team. I think ultimately maybe we should have stopped towards the end when we saw the delaminations.
I guess it was Red Bull keeping you honest. There wasn't a big enough of a gap there for you to make that decision. But you prayed and the racing gods listened you. Talk us through any communication you had on that final lap you had with your engineers, trying to understand where Max was?
LH: You'd be really surprised, well you may or not be surprised, but I was really chilled for some reason at the end. Bonno was giving me the information about the gap, I think it was 30 seconds at one stage, and it was coming down quite quickly, and in my mind I was thinking "how far is it to the end of the lap". But the car seemed to turn OK through Maggotts and Becketts thankfully. I got to 15 and that's where it really was a bit of a struggle and I could hear the gap coming down from 19 to 10 and I remember giving it full gas from 15 to 16 and the thing wasn't stopping, so I got to the corner with a lot of understeer and then I heard him go, nine, eight, seven and I was like "just get back on the power and try to get the thing to turn". I've definitely never experience anything like that on a last lap and my heart definitely probably nearly stopped. I think that's probably how cool it was because my heart nearly stopped.
Lewis many congratulations. What a weekend! You've won at Silverstone many times but never before have you crossed the line on three wheels. Can you just sum it all up for us?
LH: Well, yeah, just as the minutes go by I feel worse and worse as I realise what just happened. I think in the heat of the moment you have the adrenalin going and I guess that fight for survival instinct comes out. I was able to stay calm and really measured and try to bring the car home but of course, I'm just sitting here thinking of all the things that could have happened, if the tyre gave up in a high-speed corner or something it would have been a much different picture. So I feel incredibly grateful that it didn't and we just managed, but I heard that Max was catching at crazy speed. I think I got onto Hangar Straight and I could hear I think "you're at 19 seconds" at that point and I was trying to pick up the speed down that straight but the wheel was obviously making a real mess and I was thinking "jeez, how am I going to get through these last few corners without losing too much time". But fortunately I got round 15 and then once I got to the last two corners that was really when it was a disaster. I could hear "seven, six, five..." and I just managed to keep it together. As I said, I'm just really grateful. My team did a fantastic job through the weekend but I think we have to look into
Why we had this tyre problem. I know a few people did but maybe it was debris or something like that or maybe the tyre was just worn out.
How much warning did you get?
LH: None. I was constantly looking at the tyre. It was quite smooth and was working really well through Turn 3, the thing was turning fine. So I was trying to gauge just how worn it was but I didn't have any feeling of wear, it being particularly worn. And then it was just down the straight the thing, you could feel the RPM as I was full speed. The RPM drops as you start getting extra friction from the tyre as it's not roiling at the same speed and you feel the balance shift to the left. So, it was a bit of panic for a second and I nearly didn't make it round Turn 7 but after that I managed to make it through all the corners.
Max, coming to you. I don't want to labour the point at all, but had you not pitted at the end, that win might have been yours. Can you talk us through how much discussion there was on the radio about whether or not to pit and go for fastest lap?
MV: Well, it's away easy to say afterwards but I think we were also lucky today that Valtteri had a puncture, so we gained a position, so I'm actually not disappointed at all, or anything. Once Valtteri had that puncture, OK, it's an easy P2. So we just pitted for new tyres to make sure because I was also not sure what was going on with my tyres because normally, when you see other cars having punctures and you have pitted on the same lap you are like, well, might happen to you as well. So, you don't want to have that problem, so we pitted just to be sure. We go out, of course with the Soft tyres and then Lewis has his puncture but also that's unlucky. It could have been lucky for me but unlucky for Lewis, so at the end it is what it is and I'm very happy with second.
And your race pace was closer to Mercedes today. Are you pleased wiwth the progress you've made?
MV: Yeah. It was a pretty boring race for me. At one point I didn't see a car in front or behind, so I reminded my engineer to hydrate - to drink - I had nothing else to do. So, yeah, we still need to improve but yeah. It is what it is. We try to find things to do while driving, just keep enjoying it.
Charles, coming to you. You finished third here last year. If you were to compare the two races: 2019, 2020, do you get more satisfaction from this third place?
CL: Yeah. It's definitely a lot more unexpected for this year. That's for sure. We know we've been lucky to get on the podium but apart from that I'm pretty satisfied with the way we've been working throughout the weekend. For sure we don't want to be fighting for fourth place for so long but at the moment that's what the car is capable of. I think we extracted absolutely everything out of the strategy and the car. Very happy and a very unexpected podium but probably more satisfied than last year for the third place, yes.
And in terms of your own performance, is this on a parallel with what you did in Austria?
CL: Yes, I'm very happy with it, especially with the tyre management. It was easy. We had a very aggressive downforce level coming here, so we had quite a lot of speed in the straights but very difficult around the corners. We were quite worried for the race pace, especially for the tyre degradation - but we managed to do quite a good job on that.
Check out our Race Day gallery from Silverstone, here.