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Eifel GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
11/10/2020

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

Track Interviews - Conducted by David Coulthard

Q: Max, second place but crucially that fastest lap right at the end there. It was tight with you and Lewis, the Safety Car played a part, but they were just too quick today?
Max Verstappen: Yeah, I think overall it was a good race. I was just trying to follow Lewis, once Valtteri of course dropped out. I think the pace was good. We were just trying to do our own race a little bit. They were just a little bit too fast. But last lap, I thought "I'm just going to give it a go" and see what happens and we just managed to get that fastest lap but also that one extra point. So yeah, I was pretty about that.

Q: Now we did hear you quite vocal on the radio behind that last Safety Car. You really struggled with the launch at that re-start, running wide in the last corner. Just talk us through that?
MV: Yeah, the track is very cold and the tyres are already cold when you leave from the box. I just didn't understand why the Safety Car was out for so long. The car was cleared. I understand they want to bunch up the field, but it's pretty dangerous with these cars when the tyres are so cold. We'll look into that but anyway we finished second, where I think we belong today, and that's the most important thing.

Q: Daniel Ricciardo, welcome back, 2018 was your last podium. You had to work for that one?
Daniel Ricciardo: Yeah, it's been a while. To be honest it feels like the first podium all over again. It's been two and a half years or something. The feeling is really nice. It's fresh, so, wow! So happy and obviously to see everyone as well - we have all waited a long time for this, so I think everyone is going to soak it up.

Q: Yeah, over my shoulder we had the entire Renault team celebrating and I see your team-mate Ocon just to the left as well. This is a big moment for the team as they build towards to the future. Also a big moment for Cyril. We've got to talk about the tattoo. Apparently there is this agreement where if you get a podium he has to get a tattoo. Is that real and what are you going for?
DR: Yeah, so it's real. It's going to happen. We'll have to do some thinking now. Probably something to do with me but I think with a German flavour. This is obviously the place we did it so a little tip of the hat to something traditional in Germany as well.

Q: Excellent, go and enjoy that moment Daniel and welcome back. Lewis, congratulations. Before we get into what a record equalling victory this has been, let's talk about the race itself. You didn't make it easy for yourself did you, down at Turn 1. You didn't expect Valtteri to come back at your as hard? Can you talk about the start?
Lewis Hamilton: I had a good start and got up alongside Valtteri and we both like understeered into the corner. So I tried to give as much room as possible and then he was in my blind spot so I didn't know where he was after that. I moved as wide to the outside but he came back and he did an amazing job and I remember coming out of that corner thinking: "Good on you, man. I'm impressed. That was good." After that I just had to make sure... I tried to hang on to him as far as that was possible. I managed to look after my tyres really well, and I could see he was graining his front tyres and I knew those next couple of laps were the time for me to push and then he had his lock-up. But it was not an easy race at all. The Red Bulls are so fast. Max drove extremely well. I think the one place and chance he had was at the re-start but I managed to pull away and pull a nice gap. But you can say their pace at the end. We've got a serious fight on our hands.

Q: You wouldn't want it any other way though, would you?
LH: No, absolutely. I'm telling you, I'm knackered.

Q: Well, Lewis, we have to recognise that this is your 91st victory, you equal Michael Schumacher in that achievement and we have something that will be fitting to recognise this special moment. If you look to your left, Mick Schumacher, Michael's son is going to present you with one of Michael's helmets?
Mick Schumacher: Congratulations and this is for you from all of us. It's a great achievement really.

LH: I'm honoured man.

MS: It's a race helmet from 2012.

LH: Thank you. It's such an honour. I totally appreciate that, thank you.

Q: That's one of Michael's Mercedes race helmets. What does that make you feel Lewis?
LH: I don't know even what to say. You know, when you grow up watching someone and you idolise them, not just in terms of the quality of driver they are but that they are able to continuously do [it] year on year, race on race, week on week, with their team. I remember playing [as] Michael on a game called Grand Prix 2 I think it was. I think there was a time I was playing you at one stage too. Just seeing his dominance for so long I don't think anyone, and especially me, could imagine that I'd be anywhere near Michael in terms of records. It's going to take me some time to get used to it. Honestly as I came into the pit lane it was only then that I realised that I had equalled it. I hadn't even computed it. I mean I couldn't have done it without this incredible team, everyone continuing to push behind me and giving it their everything. So a big, big thank you and huge respect to Michael.

Press Conference

Q: Lewis, many congratulations. That was a tight fight with Max but in the end an emphatic victory, drawing you level on 91 wins with Michael Schumacher. You've had a few minutes for it to sink it. Can you describe your emotions please?
LH: It's definitely not sunk in, that's for sure. I don't know how it is for other drivers when they have these wins but it takes some time for you to analyse it and for it to sink in, to realise what it actually means. But like all of us, I grew up watching Michael win all of those grands prix and I couldn't have fathomed equalling him. I think getting to Formula 1 was the first step of the dream and obviously emulating Ayrton. But Michael was just so far ahead. It's beyond my wildest dreams to think that I'm here today having equalled him and I just feel really humbled by the moment and the opportunity I was given when I was 13 by Mercedes to join this team and I feel really proud to continue to represent them and to have brought this record to Mercedes. Hopefully we have got more records to break and to make. Hopefully they know it was a good investment!

Q: You've been given one of Michael's race helmets from 2012. Can you give us some thoughts on him as a driver and on his place in the sport?
LH: Naturally everyone knows that he is a legend and an icon of the sport. I think what he achieved in so many areas but your know pushing the limit in terms of the physicality side, he really was a pioneer in being the fittest driver at the time, and what he did at both the teams he was at, particularly Ferrari, was just remarkable. I think for me, that number is so big it's hard for people to, when it's so far away, it's hard for people to perhaps fully understand how hard it was for him to have got those 91 wins, to deliver weekend in weekend out, year on year on year, and stay so physically in shape and so precise. I understand that now more than ever. I can only tell you that it doesn't get easier. From you first win to your 91st I'm telling you it's been a long hard run. I've got great drivers around me who I'm enjoying racing. I'm hope that it's closer between us moving... Daniel did a great job, but Max drove exceptionally well also today and applied so much pressure. But Michael is and always will be a legend of the sport and I feel very humbled to have one of his helmets and honoured.

Q: Thank you Lewis. Max, your fifth second place of the season, just how pleased are you with the performance today?
MV: Yeah, it was good. I tried to follow Lewis around the whole race. I think he was a bit faster the whole race but from our side overall it was a positive weekend, so very pleased with that. You just keep on working to try to close the gap further.

Q: Do you feel Red Bull are closer to Mercedes now?
MV: It felt... yeah we brought new parts to the car so the car definitely improved. So yeah, we'll try and keep learning more about it because, of course, the weekend was a bit shorter than expected and we'll try to improve further and, of course, the next race we can try it all over again.

Check out our Sunday gallery from the Nurburgring, here.

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