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Mexico City GP: FIA Drivers Press Conference


Group 1: Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, Mick Schumacher, Zhou Guanyu and Fernando Alonso.

Q: I think we have to start with the local hero. Sergio, great to see you racing at home. Can we start with what happened early on this week in Guadalajara, where you lit up the city with a show car run. Just tell us about it?
Sergio Perez: Yeah, it was a super special moment for me, to be able to drive your own car in your own streets, you know, at home. It was a super day and we did it before I started in F1 but this was very special for the people. Everyone was so emotional about it, so it was a massive day for me.

Q: How many people turned up to watch?
SP: It was like 140,000, which for Mexico is not that much! But still, it was a very emotional day.

Q: And they've added more grandstands here at the track. Just how energising do you find the fans?
SP: They are super. They give it all on the grandstands. It's rare to see it, you know, because all around the world, in other places, of course, I see a few Mexican flags all around the world but what I get to experience in Austin and here, it's something super, super special for me.

Q: And for a few more years as well. Can we just get your reaction to the news that Formula 1 will continue racing here in Mexico City until 2025.
SP: This is something great for our country, because this country, we get to show how good that Mexicans are, our Mexican people, our country. So I think Formula 1 gives you that exposure worldwide, so I'm super proud of my country, that we are able to secure another contract with Formula 1. So yeah, super happy for that.

Q: And a quick word on the race. You were on the podium here last year. Have you dared to dream about taking the win on Sunday?
SP: Yeah, I've dreamt a few times already about it. And it will be massive for me. Obviously, that's the target for Sunday. It will not be easy. We need to be perfect throughout the weekend. So yeah, I think all the focus will be now on the racing stuff, to try to maximise a weekend. And yeah, at the end of the day, it's another weekend with the same amount of points - but it's the most special one for me.

Q: Charles, Sunday's race is going to be your 100th Grand Prix. How would you sum up your journey in Formula 1 so far?
Charles Leclerc: Well, it went by very, very quickly. Yeah, it's obviously a special milestone and I hope we can achieve a special result for that. I remember like yesterday when I first arrived in F1, in Australia with Alfa Romeo. And it was a very special moment, a dream come true. And then obviously, already from the second year, I was lucky enough to be chosen as a Ferrari driver. And again, that was another dream come true. I still have many dreams, which obviously one of them is to become a World Champion and I hope this will become reality as soon as possible. We are all working towards that goal. But yeah, I'm just enjoying it. And I'm really, really lucky to be in that position.

Q: What about Sunday, then? What can you do here?
CL: Difficult to know for now. I still believe that Red Bull will be the team to beat on Sunday. They always seem to find something from the Saturday to the Sunday that we didn't quite find it yet. But we are getting there. I don't know whether this track will be better or worse. But anyway, I believe it will be close on Sunday.

Q: And of course, it's close between you and the man on your right, Checo Perez in the Drivers' Championship. Now drivers often say that the only finishing position that counts is first. There's two points between you two. What would it mean for you to finish second?
CL: Well, obviously, of course we are, I mean with Ferrari, we are working to win the World Championship, but now we know winning the World Championship is not possible any more, we'll try to use these last three races in order to be a better team for next year, to challenge for the World Championship again. Having said that ,second is better than third and we'll give everything to beat Checo.

Q: Mick, we'll come to you now. In a way you were a victim of the crash between Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso on Sunday. How much was your race compromised by accident damage?
Mick Schumacher: Yeah, it was unfortunately quite damaged, the car, it affected quite a few different areas on the car, which obviously didn't quite play into our hands, because I think otherwise we were on for a good position in around, I think, P6 or P7 even, so would have been great points for the team having a double points finish. But nonetheless, we know the speed is there. And so hopefully we'll be able to have a bit more luck this weekend.

Q: You know the speed is there. Let's talk about car performance. What are its strengths? What are its weaknesses? And do you think it'll work well at this altitude?
MS: Yeah, I mean, I don't see a reason why not. I think that our car has been performing well, under the high downforce circumstances that we had across the other tracks up to now, obviously, the high downforce here will perform like a low downforce set-up so it'll be interesting to see and feel how the car behaves. Nonetheless, you know, we're in a tight battle with AlphaTauri. Obviously, we know that Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo aren't too far away. So, it's just a matter of trying to finish as high as possible and finish with as many points as possible each weekend. So that's really the target right now.

Q: Just a final one for me on the second Haas seat for next year. There's so much speculation about it. Just how hard is it for you to keep out all the noise and just concentrate on the job in hand?
MS: Well, it's not difficult. I'm here to do my job. And I'm here to do it well. So that's what my main focus is on. And that's everything that I'm in control of. So, I'm just trying to do my best and yeah, that's what I'm here for.

Q: Zhou, you were disappointed not to finish in the points in Austin. But what positives can you take out of that weekend? How was the car performing with the upgrades?
Zhou Guanyu: Yeah, I mean, it was quite a lot of positive to take. Obviously the end wasn't something we wanted as a team, but let's say the qualifying performance. Now finally, we were actually able to reach both cars in Q3, but my lap obviously got deleted. And then with the engine penalties, we have to start a bit further down. Always knew it would be a difficult race and somehow I finished P11 after finishing 13th. So yes, somehow I finished P11 after finishing 13th or 14th on track, so I think everything is possible. But for that race, I think we have to maybe work a little bit more on the race pace. But what was quite clear is that one-lap performance. We made a huge step up compared to the last few races, so clearly the upgrade package is working.

Q: What about this battle in the Constructors' Championship between yourselves and Aston Martin? Who do you think's got the better race car?
ZG: In general, I think we always had a little bit better Quali, and they have a bit more advantage on the race - but still was very difficult to predict every team, how they do - but it's quite true that the last three races from Singapore onwards, they've being very competitive, and they've been scoring a massive amount points which put us in a position that you know, one point away. So, that's definitely the key or the target which I do aim for: try to finish the Constructors' ahead of them. I feel like, with the car we've got now, we can do that. It's just a matter of both drivers putting everything together and fighting for that.

Q: This is your first time racing here in Mexico City. Just how excited are you to get on with it?
ZG: Yeah, for sure. Looking at the last few years how slippery the track is, so exciting to be driving out there for sure. Another new circuit for me. And yeah, I think it'll be a cool experience. Looking at the crowds on Sundays it's going to be quite particular, and from my side, tomorrow is a day of learning, a day of learning the track, learning braking points and all that. So far, I think we have to just get ready for that Saturday, when it's important. Make sure we don't have the same as mistake we did in Quali on my Q2 lap, so we get the position we want on Sunday's starting grid, and then we can move forward on that.

Q: Fernando, thank you for waiting. Can we start by just throwing it back to last weekend? First of all, I hope there are no ill effects from the crash. How are you feeling?
Fernando Alonso: Good. Thank you.

Q: And have you had a chance to talk to Lance Stroll about what happened? What's your verdict on the cause of the accident?
FA: Yeah, yeah, we talked already after the race in his garage, and then in the stewards' room, because we had to go there and yeah, my view is was the same after the race and the same in the stewards' room, and the same now. I think it was an unlucky moment of the race. We move simultaneously, more or less, to the left. We were very close. I took the slipstream until the last moment. There was no DRS on the first laps after the Safety Car goes in, so I have to take the slipstream very aggressively until the very last moment. I moved to the left, he moved to the left in the same moment more or less protecting and we touched. So I think it was a very unlucky moment. In a way, I think his penalty is very harsh. But it's the way it is.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Mexico City here.


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