Today's post-qualifying press conference with Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg.
Track Interviews - Conducted by Paul Di Resta
Valtteri, that was a pretty epic lap - right at the end. I was watching the sectors all the way through and you nipped it right in the last sector. What does that feel like?
Valtteri Bottas: Yeah, it feels good. I just love qualifyings and especially when it goes well it's a good feeling. Really nice to get everything out of myself and out of the car. I thin set-up-wise we made good steps from last weekend and that's why I think the qualifying performance from me was better today then last weekend. Really pleased with that and proud to drive this amazing car, it's so quick.
It's been a pretty good week - new contract from Mercedes to continue on from after the difficult race you had last week. How has that changes you mentally? Do you think you have come out of stronger because you've got that stability and the championship goes on?
VB: Well, of course mentally, when you're starting from the pole, you can only aim to win the race and obviously the starting point is good. I think the race pace is good. The first job is to get a good start off the line, as I had last weekend, and go from there. But the mentality is to try to win it.
Lewis, it was a pretty close battle with Valtteri. Obviously he just nipped it at the end. Your first lap was very good and your second just improved. What can you say about it?
Lewis Hamilton: I wasn't that great! Valtteri did a good job and deserved the pole I guess; for me it just wasn't a perfect last lap.
Obviously ahead tomorrow. It was difficult to do a one-stop last week, do you feel it's going to be harder tomorrow with the softer compounds or do you think because you've that experience you can manage it differently?
LH: I don't think many people will be managing with a softer... I was already managing last weekend and the tyre didn't make it to the end. It's highly unlikely I think many people will do a one-stop tomorrow.
Nico, it's been some kind of course in the last 10 days but quite a special feeling to be standing there. Only second grand prix in, only drafted in at the last minute - tell us?
Nico Hulkenberg: Yeah, crazy last week, or seven or eight days or whatever it is now. Obviously last week a big high to come back and then the low on Sunday, so very extreme. This weekend I felt much better in the car, much more prepared. Quali was still tricky. In Q2 I made life hard for myself a but and I was scared that I had damaged the car and then Q3, was just head down, full beans, whatever I had. I'm a bit surprised to be honest to stand here but obviously big smile on my face but obviously a lot of respect for the race tomorrow.
You've got a difficult day tomorrow. Obviously fitness is going to a key thing, because preparing for a race is always a hard thing. You didn't get a chance last week. What can you expect?
NH: Yeah, that's definitely going to hurt tomorrow, not having last week's experience, not having gone through motions there with the start and everything, because it's still new with this car. But we'll do what we can. I'll try to learn fast and to keep the car where it deserves to be.
And from a marketing point of view, that's put you back on the list to speak some teams for next year?
NH: Well, it's only Saturday. It's always Sunday that always matters the most, but it's one of those nice little highlights but you know it's no time to cheer yet, because tomorrow is the big day.
Valtteri, great lap at the end, just six one hundredths of a second faster than your team-mate. Where did you find the time on that final lap?
VB: Thanks. Very good feeling to be on pole. I love the qualifying and especially here in Silverstone. It's pretty good fun. The feeling was from the practice sessions that the medium could be even faster than the soft tyre so that's why in Q2, when we had both compounds, I knew that there would be still good opportunities to improve on the second run and yeah, the first run was OK, but I knew there was a bit missing and I could find more. There was no one key place, it was just about getting a nice clean lap and putting sectors together. It was a good lap, no doubt, so good feeling.
And looking ahead to tomorrow's race, can you give us any thoughts on strategy?
VB: To be honest I think one stop could be quite difficult here with the compounds we have here this weekend. So I think things are going to be a bit different than last weekend in terms of strategy. I'm sure the guys will be looking at all the options overnight and obviously myself the expectation tomorrow, there's nothing more than to win the race when you start from pole.
Lewis, coming to you, this is the 67th front-row lockout for Mercedes, but the roles are reversed from last weekend between you and Valtteri. How was your car at the end of the session?
LH: It was good. Valtteri did a fantastic job today; he was just too quick for me. The first lap in qualifying was fairly decent and the last one wasn't spectacular. Ultimately he did a better job, so I'm happy though for the team to have a 1-2 and to see another great result for Racing Point.
Let's move on to Racing Point. What a statement of intent from you, Nico. Tell us how good that lap was at the end and also how much more comfortable you feel in the team and in the car from last week.
NH: Yeah, much more. Obviously last weekend was really extreme - Formula 1 comeback within 10 hours, just getting back in the paddock without any preparation 10 minutes before a session was challenging to say the least. But good fun at the same time. But this week I had all these days to digest the feelings of the car and I felt much better prepared for this weekend and he lap in quali was good. In Q2 I made life a bit hard myself, going off in the first run. In Q3 I didn't think much. I was just giving it everything, trying to squeeze everything out of the car and the tyres and myself, which is also a challenge this weekend and yeah, quite happy to be here.
What were you expectations coming in?
NH: This weekend?
This session? Did you think P3 was on?
NH: No, I didn't. I think we always had good one-lap pace this weekend. I was pretty confident we could make it into the top 10. To be third, couldn't really expect that and didn't really expect that to be honest. Of course a bit of a surprise but for today a nice one to take.
(Christian Menath - motorsport-magazin.com) Question for Nico. First of all, congratulations. As you've mentioned, you're much better prepared this weekend but something that's still missing is a race simulation - a proper race simulation - because you didn't have it last weekend. How were your long runs yesterday? Do you still have to learn the tyres or do you already know them from last year? And also, the Racing Point didn't look like the best car on race pace the whole season so far - but could the softer tyre choice help you because you have to do two stops?
NH: The long runs yesterday were quite good. I felt comfortable in the car and, I think, better than last week. I think the team found some good things and made some improvements there in terms of race pace, so that should hopefully help. Tyres is the least of my worries because I think they're still pretty similar to the last few years and kind of know what to expect - but everything else is obviously going to be new and kind of the first time, so that side is obviously more exciting and a bit more difficult.
(Scott Mitchell - The Race) Question to the two Mercedes drivers. Last weekend when Red Bull were so far off the pace, they admitted they didn't have an answer to the way you were able to step it up through the weekend. Can you just talk a little bit about the progress you are able to make through qualifying. Do you have extra engine modes you can go to in Q2 and Q3 or is it just natural evolution in the track and yourselves?
VB: I think, of course from last weekend to this week we've been just really working on everything that we can improve with the car, and also for us, me and Lewis, driving-wise, we've been trying to find more. I think we've been able to in terms of set-up and - at least for me, driving-wise - find a bit more. The same process goes throughout the weekend. So I think we've been able to go in the right direction from the beginning of this weekend until the qualifying and in the qualifying session, obviously car set-up-wise there's not much you can do. There's obviously tyre temperatures that we are run-by-run learning more and then we tried to nail it in Q3 when it comes to out-laps and all that. And the same with the engine. We know that with the quick car we have, we don't necessarily have to use the highest engine modes in Q1 and, of course, if we can save the engine, we save it and yeah, obviously towards the end of the quali, we are going to be running the full power, so for sure there is a lap-time difference as well but I think also us drivers, we're learning throughout the session and the tyre and out-lap performance is pretty important and that improved a lot during the qualifying as well.
LH: I haven't got anything to add. I think Valtteri answered it pretty well.
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