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Hungary GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
01/08/2021

Today's post-race press conference with Esteban Ocon, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.

Track Interviews - Conducted by Johnny Herbert

Q: Sebastian, second. That was mighty close. Did you think you were ever going to get past Esteban there?
Sebastian Vettel: I don't know what you said, but obviously I am a little bit disappointed because I felt I was a little bit faster for the majority of the race but Esteban didn't do a single mistake and I didn't really get close enough. It's not an easy track to overtake so I really pushed very, very hard but he stayed on track and well deserved for him to celebrate his first victory. Obviously it is a great result for us but when it is that close you are always looking at the win rather than the second.

Q: Give us a little understanding of what it was like for you going down to Turn 1 when all that mayhem went off?
SV: Well, I had a very, very bad start but it turned out to be the best place to be. Obviously there was a lot of stuff going on ahead of me but I took it easy and took the inside line that was clean and found myself basically at the front of the pack, so that definitely made our race today.

Q: It's your 123rd podium. That's got to be a good thing for you as well, because actually that was a good performance. You didn't win but the performance was still good.
SV: Yeah, I think we are very close with Esteban in terms of pace and I pushed so hard. I tried to push him into a mistake and it's so difficult in the middle sector, the final part of it to stay close enough. Otherwise I think I could have tried something but like I said he did well to defend like he did and not run into a mistake.

Q: Lewis Hamilton, what a race. Frustrating day?
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, well, first of all I've got to say a huge congratulations to the Alpine team and to Ocon. He's been a shining star for some time now so it's been a long time coming and I'm really, really happy for him. It's great to Aston Martin up there. Their best result so far and I know there is more to come. Otherwise, generally we have had an amazing crowd this weekend so thank you for all being here. Today was definitely tough and we always make it difficult for ourselves. Crazy to think we were the only ones on the grid at the start but these things happen and we learn from them. I gave it everything and I had nothing left at the end.

Q: Tell us about, not the initial start, because you probably didn't see much, but the second start when you were the only man to take that start. What went wrong there?
LH: I was telling the team how the track was through the lap but they said the rain was coming when we got in the car and I thought they had other information. I saw everyone diving in, but anyways...

Q: Well, you've taken the championship lead, you've got to be happy with that?
LH: Yeah, I mean, we cam here this weekend and we definitely didn't know how it was going to go and considering the circumstances today I'll take it.

Q: Lewis, well done. And your winner - Esteban Ocon, 24 years old, the 11th winner of a grand prix. What does it feel like?
Esteban Ocon: What a moment, what a moment! It feels so good. It's the first victory since the Renault Group came back into Formula 1. We had some difficult moments this season, which we overcame with the tea. We cam back to a fantastic pace in Silverstone and you know, victory today! What can I say? It's fantastic, so congrats to Fernando as well because I think the win is also thanks to him, all the fights that he did, his teamwork all that. It's been a fantastic day.

Q: You were under an immense amount of pressure from Sebastian there. You dealt with that beautifully. This win, the way the team have worked so hard for you, the support you've got. What few words have you got for them?
EO: Well, just a big thank you, for the trust that everybody is putting in me. In difficult moments when you are out of Q1, when you are P17, you don't know where you are exactly and the team kept a big trust in me and we are back where we belong so that's fantastic. But Sebastian was mega quick the whole race, put me a big pressure, but we managed tyo hold him off, so that was a great effort.

Q: And it was lovely to see Fernando waiting here for you to come back. He gave you a big hug as well.
EO: It's been awesome to work with Fernando, since the beginning of the year. We are forming a real shock duo I would say. We are working together we are pushing the team to try to improve and get close to the pack in front. Everybody told me a lot of things about Fernando before I came but everything is wrong and I can tell you he is a fantastic guy inside working and I am really enjoying the collaboration we have together.

Q: So tonight? It's going to be a big night for you. And mum and dad as well. They put a lot of effort into your career?
EO: I wish everyone was here at this moment. I am flying early tomorrow morning and we are going to have a great Monday, I tell you. I wish everyone was here but it is difficult travel restriction-wise but hopefully that will change soon.

Press Conference

Q: Esteban, without wanting to be rude, I know Sebastian Vettel is on a very tight schedule. We've got lots of questions for you but I might start with Sebastian?
EO: No problem. A pleasure. I have loads of time.

Q: Thank you. Sebastian, you said immediately after the race you were frustrated but it was a great race by you. What, in the end, made the difference in your battles with Esteban?
SV: I think Esteban made the difference. He drove fantastic. He had a fantastic race and he didn't do a mistake. Frustration is maybe a big word. Obviously emotions run high after the line and I was a bit down because I thought we really have a chance for a big surprise today but the surprise was on Esteban's side and he deserves it, so not much point to look for excuses. The guy won his first grand prix and the moment... It's his day and his moment. I tried everything to push him into a mistake. He had some minor lock-ups, but nothing big. It's obviously not easy to pass here but it's also not easy to stay controlled and smooth like he did under pressure. So well done Esteban.

Q: You did also lose one second in your pit stop compared to him. Was that also the difference today?
SV: Probably. I need to have a look. I pushed really hard on the way in and probably a bit too hard and locked the rears and triggered the anti-stall. Then I pushed like crazy on the out-lap. It was close but... yeah. I tried, you know. I n the end I have no regrets. I really tried to make a difference. I knew we were coming from a long way back. Like I said, it's not our race lost, it's his race won.

Q: It's been a couple of years since you last won a race, just how much did you enjoy a race-long fight at the front?
SV: For sure it's more exciting. In the end it's what I'm driving for. I've been in that position for so many years. I knew that today we got lucky but it was a great feeling to fight for something meaningful, for the podium and for the win for the entire race, so I did enjoy that. Really enjoyed the chase but I was looking for that climax that didn't come. But yeah, nevertheless, I think it was fun today.

Q: You say you got lucky, can you just talk us through the first 500 metres of this grand prix?
SV: Yeah, with the first start, I had a really bad start and it turned out to be the right place to be, so I did lucky get lucky in the end. I took a bit of margin and people in front... In these conditions it's so easy to make a mistake and as we saw it can be quite costly. I really planned to be on the inside and it turned out to be the place to be. Other people were taking each other out and I had a clear track. Esteban obviously reacted at the last second and was on a similar trajectory then and we were in a good place. With the restart it was clear probably for both of us to go slick. I was surprised to see Lewis staying out and that made our race.

Q: Esteban, the floor is now yours. First of all, can you try to put into words what this means to you?
EO: Yeah, I mean what a fantastic moment. I don't have much words, to be fair. It's crazy. We were just talking about it with the team not too long ago, that the next step to get for us would be the top step, as we did P2 last year. We were not expecting that to be today, for sure. I can be thankful for the trust the team put in me, you know? We come from a moment where three difficult races, the team gave me trust on that. We overcame the difficult situation and found our pace back in Silverstone and this weekend, I think it has been a great quali and a fantastic race, you know? Of course there has been a lot of incidents in that race but you know, as we are in the position, we are chasing opportunities the whole time. Today we got it, so what a moment. I will remember that forever.

Check out our Sunday gallery from the Hungaroring, here.

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