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Italian GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
11/09/2022

Today's post-race press conference with Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and George Russell.

Track Interviews - Conducted by Martin Brundle

Max, congratulations, your fifth consecutive victory, your 31st in Formula 1. You are unstoppable at the moment.
Max Verstappen: Yeah, we had a great race. On every compound, we were quickest. And the deg was very good, so we had a really good race car. I was just controlling the gap at the end, but of course then the Safety Car came out. Unfortunately, we didn't get a restart. But overall, we had again a really good day.

Take us through the early laps, you made six places overall in the race and some of them quite quickly.
MV: Yes, the start was very good. I had a clean chicane. And then I could quickly, you know, get back into my rhythm and get into second. And yeah, we just... It was really good on the tyres and was really enjoyable to drive today, even though it was quite tough out there. But yeah, a great day for us.

Well, remarkably it's going to be your first time up on this glorious podium!
MV: Yeah, took a bit of time to be on a great podium like this but finally we won it.

Charles, second place, a bit frustrating for you? And particularly at the end, and you were keen to clearly, as many people, to go racing again.
Charles Leclerc: Yeah, I mean, the end was frustrating. I wish we could have ended up racing, but unfortunately then we were second at that place, no, because of what happened before. So, it's a shame. Overall, I gave it all today. I wish I could have won in front of the amazing tifosi we have here, but I just couldn't today.

You made the early stop under the Virtual Safety Car. Was that just to do something different to Red Bull to cover off their pace?
CL: To be honest, we didn't know what they were going to do behind, so we took that choice.

And you were happy with that?
CL: Well, obviously we finished P2, so I'm not extremely happy with the race but we'll work on that.

And where can you go from here? Where can you find the extra speed needed for the rest of the season?
CL: I don't know. I think the pace was quite strong today. We'll have to look into it but I think we were quite strong but, yeah, it just wasn't enough.

George. Congratulations, yet another podium for you and a really solid drive. You must be really satisfied with that?
George Russell: Yeah, thank you. I think I said on the radio to the team, it doesn't matter if we're fast or slow, we keep getting these podiums. Unfortunately, this weekend we definitely weren't where we wanted to be as a team but nevertheless we can look back on these three races - two podiums and a P4. We've got to be satisfied with that.

You put the Hard tyres on and somehow you made them work. They weren't ideal today.
GR: I mean, we had to do something different if we wanted to fight with Max and Charles, but unfortunately they were just too quick for us today. I'm pleased that we tried something, that's what we have to do in the position we are at the moment.

You're proudly wearing the Union flag of course. It's been a time of great sadness and reflection back in the UK and all around the world indeed after the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
GR: Absolutely. It's an incredibly sad time around the world and for the British people, but what a life and a life that should be celebrated.

Press Conference

Another storming drive from you Max, many congratulations and finally you got to experience the podium here at Monza. How was it up there?
MV: Umm, yeah, we had a great view. It's a... It's a nice area, you know, to stand on.

Great atmosphere? There were a lot of flares...
MV: Well, the atmosphere for me, it was not amazing. But it is what it is.

Okay. Well, talk us through your race. You said yesterday that your wing level would help you more in the race than it would in qualifying. Was that the case?
MV: I think so, yeah. I mean, today was very hot and we could really look after our tyres. Of course, it helped a lot that I had a great first lap, and I could clear most of the cars before they got into, let's say, a DRS train. And, yeah, from there onwards, basically, both tyres sets felt great and I could extend the first one a bit. And even on the Mediums, everything worked out really well.

Were you surprised by how quickly you hit the front?
MV: Well, I mean, you never know what is going to happen before Turn 1, right. But yeah, it worked out really well for me.

Anything else you could have done differently today? Were you tempted to pit during the VSC period like Charles?
MV: Yeah, they told me opposite Charles, so it could have gone either way, I guess.

Now, Max, you've won five races in a row. Just tell us what is it like to ride this wave of success?
MV: Yeah, I mean, of course, it's amazing what we are experiencing within the team. I think, you know, we are having an amazing year. And it's important to enjoy it as well. I think we've had a lot of different challenges on different kinds of tracks and now the car really seems to work at every track. And yeah, we are extremely pleased.

Have you experienced anything like this before in your career, and I include karting in that?
MV: Yeah, my final year in karting. But it's very different in terms of feelings. At the time, your goal is Formula 1, so of course you're enjoying what you're achieving but you also think there's such a long way still left before you get to Formula 1. So it's a bit of a different wave of excitement and what you feel. But that final year in go-karting was nice, too.

Charles, we'll come to you next. You didn't win but you got a wonderful reception from the tifosi on the podium. Just how emotional was it up there?
CL: It's always incredible. Then, as you said, starting from pole, I wanted to get that win. And we didn't. So it's a bit... yeah... not the best day, but the podium makes it a lot better.

Was there anything you could have done differently to stop Max?
CL: Honestly, I think the first choice was to stop under the Virtual Safety Car. I think we all had the doubt. I think if I wouldn't have done it, Max would have done it. It was a bit unfortunate, because in the middle of the pit lane, we had the Virtual Safety Car ending, so we didn't get all the benefits of stopping at that moment. And from that moment onward, we were a little bit on the back foot - but yeah, it's like this.

There was a radio discussion at one point in the race in which you were asked not to short shift. Can you explain why that was the case?
CL: No, I had a bit of a strange behaviour out of Turn 5 on the bump there and so we were just trying to figure it out and try to not get this small problem. It wasn't costing a lot of time but it wasn't so great to drive.

Charles, just looking at the bigger picture. You were closer to Red Bull here than you were at Spa. Do you take some encouragement from this race weekend in terms of the pace of the car?
CL: Yes, exactly. After Spa, I think we were quite worried. We were very, very far in qualifying but also in race pace, compared to Red Bull. I think this weekend we've been working massively, especially FP1, FP2, trying to test different directions for this car and it was better. Yesterday we were fighting for pole, which was a surprise Today the pace was also much, much better. We cannot forget either that our car is maybe not the best for this type of track - but I think it was a positive weekend overall.

George, coming to you now, your seventh podium of the season. What were your expectations coming into the race?
GR: I think how Max and Red Bull performed were kind-of in-line with our expectations, especially ahead of the weekend. But I think Ferrari, and Charles especially, surprised us a bit with how strong they performed. I thought we maybe had half a chance to battle with Charles today, but he showed some really strong pace. And it was just quite a long and lonely race to be honest. Our car certainly wasn't performing at its best around this circuit. I think we have a good idea why that is, and sort-of happy that these low downforce, high-speed circuits are behind us now.

You talk about battling Charles. You were side by side going into Turn 1. It got pretty tight...
GR: Yeah! Got pretty tight! What was that quote, was it Montoya said in Imola, 2004? "If you couldn't see me there on the outside..."

CL: I don't know - but in the last race it was pretty tight with you too!

GR: Yeah, it was all good.

MV: You didn't see him, right?

CL: I didn't see him, with these new cars it's difficult!

MV: Of course!

GR: Charles had the inside line, and he had the right to push me a bit wide. So, that was the most exciting part of my race, to be honest.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Monza here.

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