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Turkish GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
10/10/2021

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

Track Interviews - Conducted by David Coulthard

Q: Valtteri Bottas, our race winner! Welcome back, we've been expecting you.
Valtteri Bottas: Thank you. It's been a while. It feels good. It's nice.

Q: Over a year since your last win. Now, it wasn't dominant in terms of the distance to your competitors but it was dominant in the way you appeared to run that race. I saw one little moment on the exit of Turn 1 where you go sideways and we know that can be a difficult corner but otherwise it was textbook.
VB: Yeah, from my side, I have to say, it was probably one of the best races I've had, ever. Apart from that one little slide everything was under control but like I said before the race the car has been really good in every condition and I had really good confidence with it and I could really control it. It's not easy to choose the strategy here with these conditions, when to stop, to which tyres, everything. But I'm glad everything went smooth for once for me. Yeah, it's nice.

Q: It seemed very much under control, but put us in the cockpit. How difficult are those sorts of conditions for a race driver?
VB: Yeah, when there is only one drying line it doesn't need much for you to go off so I definitely need to focus all through the race. A difficult one and a well-earned victory.

Q: Now we have our championship leader, Max Verstappen. The crowd appreciates you, even in second place. I know you want to win the race, like all the drivers, but a good damage limitation grand prix for you?
Max Verstappen: To stay awake!? No, it was all just about managing the tyres, so you were never pushing, to make it to a certain amount of laps and then you box for another set, but yeah, happy to be on the podium.

Q: Well, it may have been a procedural race for you but from my point of view in the comm box it was a really exciting grand prix, watching the different strategies play out. That six-point swing on the championship, are you looking at that race by race or do you now just focus on Austin, Texas?
MV: Yeah, I think it's been close the whole year, and I'm pretty sure again in Austin it will be a good battle with Mercedes so we just have to keep on pushing, trying to improve and then we will see where we end up at the end, but of course so far this season has been really good.

Q: Finally, a driver this track has been very good to, he had a podium here last year. Checo, great race, congratulations. One of your controlled races again. At the beginning it seemed like you were dropping back, but when it really counted you had the tyres and you had the car to pull off some big passes.
Sergio Perez: Yeah, it was quite an intense race that I had in the first stint with Lewis and fighting with Charles. The start was pretty good. It was just one of those races of having to be patient, push at the right times, manage the tyres as well, because I didn't really know what was going on with the tyres - they were coming back, they were going off. It was pretty hard to manage the tyres out there today.

Q: Well, just behind us on the screen once again, another great pass, you positioned the car on the dry line. That feels good for a race driver doesn't it?
SP: Yeah, it's always nice to get a good move. Obviously Charles is a very good driver, so it is nice to fight with him.

Press Conference

Q: Valtteri, huge congratulations to you, you've won again. It's been a while so just how sweet does this one feel?
VB: Very sweet, actually. Overall, I think it was one of my best races in terms of how it went from beginning to the end. To some people it could have looked easy but it's far from that in these conditions. You can't do any mistakes and it's quite easy to do mistakes in the conditions and when it's drying, when there is only one dry line. Just everything went smoothly which I'm very glad [about]. The car has been good in any conditions this weekend and that makes things easier but I could really control; it and I would say the key thing today was the tyre management and not to kill the tyres at the beginning of the stint and trying to play the long game.

Q: How much pressure did you feel from Max today?
VB: I would say in the beginning of the race, the first few laps, he was definitely trying to keep up and put pressure but then I think he also realised that he needed to manage the tyres but if I'm honest, at the end of the race, in the second stint, I was surprised by the pace difference, so I could really focus on my own thing and in any case always I was just looking ahead and focusing on my thing and trying to avoid mistakes.

Q: You've said already that it's not easy out there in these conditions. Just how tricky were the track conditions today and how difficult was it to make the right strategy calls?
VB: The track, luckily, is quite grippy, even with the wet conditions, the inter conditions, so it makes it a bit better, well, a lot better than last year. It was like night and day to last year. And in terms of my race I had probably the worst race of my career here last year and now one of the best, so a lot better. But yeah, it's still easy to make mistakes. When you wear down the inter tyres, it's almost like a slick tyre and it doesn't behave that well in the wet patches, so you try to avoid the critical bits. Sorry, what was the other question?

Q: Strategy calls.
VB: Yeah, I think it worked well. Obviously Max stopping triggered us stopping but I think it was the right time. If I look at the whole race, I think that was the right point. It was not clear at any point if it's going to be dry [tyres] or not at some point, so we needed to go pretty long in the first stint and it was good.

Q: And how much confidence does this win give you going forward for the remainder of the season?
VB: Well, I've had the confidence always really, but it's nice to have a win and the reminder that you can win races. It's been a while, like I said. But, to be honest, after Monza I've been feeling very relaxed in any case and been able to just focus only on driving and for sure that helps.

Q: Final one from me. How quick to you think the car will be at COTA? The next race.
VB: I don't have a crystal ball but I think on paper I think it should be one of the good ones, hopefully. That's what we hope - but we'll work hard in the next two weeks to make sure we're in a position to fight for the win again.

Q: Max, coming to you, quite a lonely race for you out there, but a great one nonetheless. How happy are you with how things went?
MV: Yeah, considering our whole weekend being a bit off the pace compared to Mercedes I think we had quite a decent race. I mean in the beginning I just tried to follow Valtteri but of course we had to manage the tyres so I just dropped back a bit and at one point we started to pick-up the pace a little bit, also because the track was drying a bit but yeah, there was no point where I would attack Valtteri and he was just managing his race of course also very well and looking after his tyres and of course I had Charles quite close behind me in the first stint. He had very good pace as well. At one point I said the tyres are pretty good, like they were completely worn to slicks, so it was very tricky out there of course, when the track is like it was, so we decided to box, and then after the stop, with like 20 laps to go, I think, just decided to bring it home. I anyway didn't have the pace to fight Valtteri, so there was also no need to try to be within two, three tenths, to try and just follow him. Just save the tyres to the end, basically.

Q: And Max, what about the start? You were a bit nervous about being in P2 yesterday.
MV: yeah, I still think the inside is not as grippy as the outside but at least I didn't lose a position. I think in a way it was better that it was a wet start than a dry start.

Q: And we did hear a few issues being reported over the radio by you. I think we heard about a gearshift at one point and then an issue with the steering wheel perhaps. Did any of that hold you back?
MV: No. It was not the gear shift. There was a word next to the number where I can see the gears which was not disappearing, so I had to change one rotary and it was fine. So it was not performance limited. The steering was a bit left-hand-down, but also of course the tyres are wearing so you get a bit of an uneven platform but I could feel this already from the start. But, again, this is not performance limiting - but it's better to say it than say nothing.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Istanbul, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Simon in Adelaide, 11/10/2021 2:56

"Was it just me or did the lack of DRS make the racing and race-craft more interesting to watch?

With the damp conditions and the cars travelling 6 seconds per lap slower and coupled with the degrading inters they were able to get to within 0.5 seconds of each other.

In that Lewis was not able to charge through the field and was at times held up by good defensive driving forcing him to plan an overtaking manoeuvre (outside of Turn 3 seemed favourite) made the race more enjoyable to watch.

If this a portents of things to come next year then bring it on."

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