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Dutch GP: Post Race press conference


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

Track Interviews - Conducted by Robert Doornbos

Max Verstappen you have just won the Dutch Grand Prix in front of the royal family and this amazing crowd. What does this mean to you?
Max Verstappen: As you can hear already it is just incredible, because the expectations were very high going into the weekend and it's never easy to fulfil that but I am of course so happy to win here, to take the lead as well in the championship, it's just an amazing day with just the whole crowd here, it's incredible.

You had an amazing start, you didn't put a foot wrong. The team also did a great job, countering Mercedes. Could anything have gone better for you or is this the perfect day of your career?
MV: It's definitely a very good day. The start was very important and I think we did that well. Then, of course, Mercedes tried to make it very difficult for us but we countered them all the time really well and yeah, we can be really pleased with the whole team performance today.

Well done, congratulations, you are leading the world championship again. Lewis, how was it here? Hard work out there? Sweaty?
Lewis Hamilton: What a race. What a crowd. Honestly, it has been an amazing weekend. Max did a great job, congratulations to him. I gave it absolutely everything today, flat out, I pushed as hard as I could, but they were just too quick for us. I've had an amazing time here in Holland thanks to the crowd, so thank you so much for having us.

Congratulations with P2. You have been so close, 1.5 seconds or 2 seconds behind Max, always looking. It looked like rush hour out there, take us through the traffic?
LH: Yeah, I'm going to call him Noah (sic, Moses) from now on. Every time he got traffic they just moved out of the way and it was very hard to navigate through all the traffic. They just had that upper edge and it's very hard to follow here.

On the last lap you came in for that extra set of tyres to get the point for fastest lap. Well done. Was it like a mini-qualifying session for you?
LH: Yeah, the last lap was one of the best parts of the race for me. This track is just incredible on a single lap, low fuel. This is now one of my favourite tracks, so I'm looking forward to coming back next year.

Another podium finish for Valtteri Bottas. Valtteri, congratulations. You have been here on the podium here before, you won the F3 Masters here many years ago. Take us through your race. You're happy with P3?
Valtteri Bottas: Yeah, unfortunately for me it was pretty uneventful. Obviously kept pushing but we we tried a one-stop, so I went for a long first stint and tried to survive with the tyres until the end but at the end we had quite a big gap behind me, so we just made a stop for safety basically. We tried but we just didn't quite have the pace today.

Did you enjoy, as your team-mate, the new tyre run near the end to get the point for fastest lap?
VB: I didn't go for the fastest lap, Lewis got it. I think as a team we got solid points.

Well, congratulations. Enjoy the crowd here, they are also here for you.
VB: It's cool. They've been really supportive, so thank you.

Press Conference

Max, the perfect end to an incredible weekend for you. How do you begin to sum up everything that has happened at Zandvoort?
MV: Well, I mean, I know the fans of course they have high expectations when you come here. They of course want you to win but it's never that straightforward, before you get here, because I think you have seen this whole year already Mercedes and us have been really close to each other and yeah, to deliver on the day, I mean, or course I am very satisfied. Yesterday of course with pole but also to win the race. What was crucial today was first of all the start and then throughout the race just managing that gap that they couldn't undercut us and yeah, incredible feeling of course to win in front of the fans but also the king was watching with the family so just an amazing day.

With all the fans, with the royal family here, has it been difficult to stay focused amid all the madness?
MV: I've been always very focused. I mean I know I have to focus on the driving and that has been quite straightforward but of course naturally there are more distractions, especially when you are on the grid or drive out and there's more of a crowd but I think we are professional enough to just focus on our job once we are in the car.

On track you seemed to have the answer to Mercedes at every turn - the start, on strategy?
MV: Yeah, the whole race it was quite close between myself and Lewis, he was really putting the pressure on. He was putting some great laps together and I think also after the final stop, at one point on that medium tyres, and I was on the hard tyre, but luckily it was enough at the end. Seventy-two laps around here, pushing, yeah, it was satisfying. It was cool.

And how was the car on the hard tyre?
MV: It was good. I didn't really feel a big difference to the medium. It felt all OK.

We go to Monza next, a very different race track. What can we expect there?
MV: Well, of course it hasn't been our best track of the calendar the last few years but of course I know that this year we are competitive in general everywhere but nevertheless, again, we just need to nail the details and then I'm sure we can be competitive.

Lewis, you gave it your best shot. Is there anything you could have done differently today to beat Max?
LH: I think ultimately, congratulations to Max. He just did a better job all around. They were definitely faster today, there wasn't really a lot that I could do to answer to the lap-times he was putting in from stint one already. It was very, very hard to keep up. And I think Max was just managing from then, whereas I was flat-out, just trying to stay as close as possible. I think today we probably needed everything to be perfect to even have the slightest chance of getting past him through strategy, for example. Pit stops needs to be on point, strategy needed to be on point and traffic also - but none of those three were ideal today, and so... but nonetheless, as a team we got a second and third, got some really good points on them in the Constructors'. That's a super important one, and we'll come back next week fighting. I think they've taken a bit of a step ahead. But otherwise, what a weekend! The crowd has been insane all weekend. I don't think I've seen... the British crowd is naturally my favourite but these guys, the energy here has been crazy. And I think, where this track is probably better than Silverstone is that the Silverstone circuit, the grandstands are so far away. You need binoculars to see where we are, going around right? Whereas here, they're right on the track. Like the olden days. We need that, to then maybe fill the crowd in, in other places too.

Lewis, the start: Max seemed to get away very well. How was yours?
LH: It was OK. It felt pretty good but he was a rocket off the start. He was gone. Literally nothing we could do to answer that. They've made a big, big step forward this year with their engine. You saw it last year, they weren't the greatest with starts and I think they obviously have improved their power, just the whole power unit's massively better this year on all aspects for them - and naturally their driveability and their starts... they're the quickest starters this year overall. So, we've got some work to do in lots of different areas - but yeah, on to the next one.

On to the next one - Monza. It's a very different kind of track, just your thoughts on that one please.
LH: I really don't know how it's going to go. As I said, I think they've definitely improved their car with some sort of upgrade in the last race which we didn't obviously get to see the true pace of it - but we will be on lower downforce, and maybe we can be closer there, maybe. But... yeah, it's going to be tough.

Valtteri, your 63rd podium in Formula 1. Just talk us through the pace of your car over the 72 laps today.
VB: I think, like Lewis said, I think Red Bull and Max, they had an upper hand today on the pure pace. For me, quite early on I committed to one stop, so it meant that, you know, I couldn't push the tyre too much, and managing especially in the high-speed corners. We tried to play the long game but it was quite a bit slower today, to try to do one-stop. Even at the very end, I stopped, just for safety, so it was like a hybrid one-stop, not ideal. But yeah, we tried, and for me being in that position was the right thing to try, something different, I guess. Yeah, I really hope that we will have better pace overall in Monza. It's a very different track - but definitely Red Bull showed all the strengths that they have today, this weekend.

You said earlier it was a pretty uneventful race for you - but you did have a near-miss with Sebastian Vettel in the middle of the race at Turn 3. Talk us through that.
VB: Yeah, he was battling with another car in Turn 3 and then, I don't know if they touched but Seb suddenly spun, and he was like going up the banking and then down, so I had to choose if I go left or right. I decided to go right when I saw that he was starting to come down. And luckily that was the right choice. Yeah - one of the big highlights of my race!

Check out our Sunday gallery from Zandvoort, here.


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