Today's post-race press conference with Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Lando Norris.
Track Interviews - Conducted by Marc Gene
Max, you won the race, what a dominant weekend. You got everything. You got the Grand Slam: pole position; all the points you could score. Did you expect to be that dominant here in Imola?
Max Verstappen: It's always tough to achieve something like that but already yesterday and the day before we were we were on it and I think it was looking like a strong weekend. Today, yeah, you never know with the weather how competitive you're going to be but I think as a team we did everything well and I think this one-two is very deserved.
Of course those are very important points the championship. The championship is very, very long. Was there any moment today that you thought the win was not secure or you could see it was going to be, I wouldn't say a walk in the park, but was any moment difficult for you? The start I guess was probably the most critical moment?
MV: Yeah, the start of course was very important but also afterwards, you know, judging the conditions and went to swap to the slick tyres and on the out lap with the slick tyres not to make mistakes because in the lead it's, you know, you have to always dictate the pace and it's always a bit more difficult initially, but yeah, everything was well managed.
Well annoying in front of the crowd I know, they were expecting Ferrari, but still they enjoyed a good race. Well done Max. Checo, well done. You have been very strong all year long and you were very strong today and you had a very, very close fight with Charles. How did it go? It was close first for some moments.
Sergio Perez: Yeah, it was really intense the fight, I think pretty much since halfway through the race. We were fighting, then it was all under control, but then they start chasing us with the stop and then it was again a fight, trying to warm up the tyres. I think the most important thing of today was not making mistakes, you know, because with these conditions it was so tricky out there that to get a one-two under these conditions, I think it's a great result for the team. You know, we've been so unlucky at the start of the season, it has been so difficult for us, so I'm very pleased to see everyone on my team is smiling today.
You seem to be very fast with this car in all conditions. Would you say this this car suits your driving style and of course I guess even wins are going to be very possible very soon? You were very close a couple of times this year.
SP: Yeah, definitely that's the target, you know. But today it's a great day for the team and we just have to keep working. I think there's still a few bits we have to make better to get closer to the win but I'm very happy that Max got it today.
Lando, I think you were, I don't know if you were the MVP of the day, but what a surprise podium. Was it a surprise for you today to be on the podium?
Lando Norris: Yeah, of course. Yeah, an amazing race and amazing weekend and to be honest. To beat one Red Bull and one Ferrari is much better than we were expecting always (sic) so I'm happy. The team deserve it, you know, from nowhere in race one to now scoring a podium I think they all deserve it. So top job to the team.
This comeback this year is incredible. You know the problems you had in Bahrain and how competitive you were today. Why? Where did it where did this form from the car come from?
LN: I mean the boring answer is just hard work. You know, just a lot of time and effort everyone's putting in back in the factory, and everyone here, you know. A mixture with these tricky conditions this weekend. So we've been able to capitalise on that as well. I love these conditions. So I always do quite well, the same last year pretty much, so a mixture, you know, just hard work and a great weekend and it all pays off.
Max congratulations, your second win of the season so far and after the disappointment of Melbourne last time out, how important was it?
MV: Yeah, well, I mean, of course, Melbourne wasn't great for us. And the start of the season in general wasn't amazing. So we needed a good weekend. I didn't expect it to be like this, but of course, when you have a weekend, at the end of the day, like this, that's incredible. I mean, a one-two for the team, but also maximum points scored. And also, the way I think we handled the race. You know, we didn't really make any mistakes, I think we made the right calls with switching from the inters to the slicks, and from there onwards we just controlled the race. And of course, it seemed probably easy on the TV, but you still have to be focused, especially also with backmarkers. It's easy when you're off-line to lock up or go through a wet patch and go off track. So yeah, just manage that. But the car was handling really well. Of course, we saw that yesterday already in Sprint Qualifying that we had good pace in the car. And we could look after our tyres probably quite nicely. So, yeah, a very positive weekend.
As you say, the car has good pace. Do you think Red Bull now has the fastest car in Formula 1?
MV: It's always difficult to tell. Every track is different. If you looked at Melbourne, definitely not. But it's all about... At the end it's details, you know, you have to always make sure that you have a good balance in the car, and you can have the fastest car, but if you have a bad balance, it's not working. So or you have to look after your tyres, you know, and these kind of things are very crucial with these new cars. And Miami, again, will be a big question mark, and it will probably be a bit hit or miss for some people. Hopefully of course, we will do well, but you don't know at the moment.
As you say, it's harder than it looks on the TV, but what were the nervous moments, if there were any today? Track conditions, reliability concerns?
MV: Passing back markers. Some of them stayed on the dry line, and I had to pass them on the wet patches. That wasn't amazing, but it is what it is. I mean, just have to deal with it. But again, it's easy to then go off the track.
Checo, coming to you now. Great job by you, your second consecutive second place, giving Red Bull their first one-two finish since Malaysia 2016. Just talk us through your race and what was a great day for you and the team?
SP: Yeah, it started really well with the start. I think we both had a really good start. And it was just about making sure those inters lasted, because I could feel the deg coming. I tried to manage the tyre a little bit. But it didn't make any difference. It still died towards the end. And really my race started there. And Charles was just pushing quite hard towards the end of all the stints, so we were racing always on to the stop. The race felt under control, pretty much towards the end of the race, but then he boxed and tried the undercut on us, so we did box again, and yeah, managing to make sure we didn't have any mistakes. It was pretty challenging out there. You know, it was so easy today to make a mistake. So to come away with a one-two today, it's great, a great team result.
You were exchanging blows with Charles for so much of the race. It must have given you a good insight into the strengths of the two cars, both yours and Ferrari. What did you learn?
SP: They were extremely quick through the chicane. I think that their low speed was quite good. And yeah, I mean, you saw with Charles he had the mistake there, so he was certainly pushing extremely hard through there and he was just taking quite a bit of time out of me at each lap you know. But overall a good weekend for the team.
Lando coming to you a bit of a lonely afternoon here at Imola, but what a result - another podium.
LN: Yes. Surprised I guess to be here, but feels amazing. So, from where we were, what, three weeks ago, four weeks ago, a month, in Bahrain to be on a podium, I genuinely didn't think we would be on the podium all year after Bahrain. So it's quite a shock. Maybe not surprising after the kind of progress we've made over the last month but yeah definitely not a podium you know, with how much quicker the Red Bulls and the Ferraris are. It's hard to ever imagine yourself on the podium and a great result today would have been P5. But a few good things throughout this race, you know, an amazing start to be ahead of the Ferraris, to stay out of the chaos which happened behind, just I guess a lonely but a great race. You know, just managing the gap to George, looking after the tyres for the whole stint, everything just went well all weekend to be honest. Not just the race today, but qualifying P3 already was a pretty good achievement for us. So great weekend. Nice to see the improvements we've been bringing and to reward everyone with a podium is even better.
Do you think you had the third fastest car, here at Imola?
LN: Hmmm... I mean, if I want to be like George, I'll say I had like the seventh fastest car!
MV: You should say it's all the driver, mate! All the driver!
LN: It is!
MV: You had the worst car!
LN: Yeah, we're ninth or tenth - but my driving this weekend has been pretty amazing!
MV: I agree!
LN: He agrees!
MV: This will be a nice headline.
LN: I don't know. It's too difficult to say. It changes every weekend. The Mercedes wasn't so bad this weekend. I think we were a little quicker than them, probably throughout. The Alfa Romeo was maybe quicker. He was off at the start, I think: quicker yesterday, maybe quicker today - just couldn't get past George. Doesn't really matter, we beat two cars who are probably a second a lap quicker than us: one ended up in the wall and one ended up in the gravel, so doesn't necessarily mean, if you have the third or fourth or fifth best car. I think we just executed a great race from our side. The car was good, and I had good confidence and that's all I needed.
What were the stressful moments in that race for you?
LN: Just every lap really! The start already is always a bit more stressful. I had such a good one, I kind of got behind Sergio I think, and got a bit squeezed by Charles onto the kerb, so I had a bit of a moment there. But just kind of choosing when to go onto the Mediums, you know, you put one wheel slightly wide or tight or whatever and you lock-up, you're in a gravel, you're out. So, every lap in these conditions, it's hard to describe, I guess, to the viewer but inside, you have to push so much, you have to manage the tyres but then your line has to be perfect and if you put yourself a little bit wide or you hit a kerb wrong - like you probably saw, you're spinning and you're in the wall or something. So it's just stressful, every lap like this. It feels like such a long race as well - makes it even more rewarding when you cross the line at the end.
Check out our Sunday gallery from Imola, here.