Today's post-race press conference with Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez.
Parc Ferme Interviews - Conducted by Marc Gene
Q: Hello everybody. Hola todos. Max Verstappen, you are unstoppable. Tell me, first, on the race, which was the key point, because everybody spoke about the start. And you did great. You know, do you think that was a very important key to win that race?
Max Verstappen: Yeah, of course, that helped me out a lot for the rest of the race, to stay in the lead after Turn 1. Of course, we were also on a different strategy to the cars around us. But yeah, again, an incredible result. The pace of the car was, again, really nice. We had to look after our tyres, because it was a very long stint on the medium, but we made it work.
Q: You've been to many, many podiums, but have you ever seen something like that with such a big crowd?
MV: It's amazing. It's an incredible atmosphere and we love to come here.
Q: And finally, Max. I don't know how much you look into numbers or how much you are into history. World Champion and now you are the first driver ever to win 14 grands prix in one season. How do you feel about that?
MV: Yeah, it's been an incredible year so far. So yeah, we are definitely enjoying it and we'll try to go for more.
Q: Well done. Enjoy. Lewis Hamilton, second place. You were pushing all the way. You were pushing Max at the beginning of the race. Did you think at some point that you could win the race?
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, well first this has been an amazing crowd and definitely a bit awkward this time rounds, boos all day, but nonetheless I have so much love for Mexico and for the people here and what a great race and event they have put on this weekend. I was so close, I think, in that first stint, but I think the Red Bull was just clearly too fast today and ultimately maybe they had the better tyre strategy.
Q: About the tyres and the strategy: you tried the Hard compound, we could hear you on the radio that it was difficult. What was the problem? Do you think the Hard was not the right tyre at that moment of the race?
LH: Yeah, not sure it was the right tyre the end. I thought we should have started on the Soft but obviously we had the opposite tyre. It was OK in the first stint but that Hard was just offset, so congratulations to Max and it's great to be up here and separate the two.
Q: Still well done, you kept the pressure on Checo, so well done for that second place. And now Checo. Welld one. What do you feel? What are your emotions? What are your emotions to be in front of 70,000 Mexicans here in the Foro Sol?
Sergio Perez: Yeah, I mean I gave my best you know today at the start. I really, really pushed hard. Unfortunately, we had a little bit of a bad stop, which prevented us to undercut Lewis. Overtaking is so difficult. As soon as I got behind him it was really difficult to follow so I had to stay in third.
Q: But still, I think a key point was the start, when you overtook Russell to be on the podium. Do you think that was very important in Turn 4?
SP: Yeah, definitely. You know, given how difficult overtaking was today I think that it was key, you know. I thought we were going to be a little closer but unfortunately it didn't work out for us today, but still it's good a good podium in front of this crowd. I really wanted more today but third place, it's still a good.
Q: Well done, Max, that was a brilliantly controlled race, and one that sees you take the record of 14 wins in a season. Another incredible milestone in an extraordinary season.
MV: Yeah, I mean, another great race, I think. We knew that the first stint was going to be the crucial one for us, to keep that Soft tyre alive long enough, which seemed to work. I mean, I did struggle a bit towards the end but luckily the gap was big enough to extend a few laps. And yeah, once we put on the Medium tyres, everything was working quite well. And I think quite early on we figured that we could make it to the end. So yeah, another great race, but also it's just an incredible season for us as a team. Never thought I would be able to win 14 races in a year. But yeah, of course, I'm incredibly proud.
Q: Can I throw another stat at you? With 416 points, you've also broken the record for the number of points scored in a single season. How high can you go?
MV: I mean, we have a sprint race in Brazil and (laughs)... Hopefully we can score a few more, but I mean, it's not about that. At the end of the day, it's all about trying to win a championship and it doesn't matter with how many points you do it, but it does show that we are having an incredible year.
Q: Can we talk a little bit more about strategy? Did you consider the Hard tyre at that pit stop?
MV: No. I tried it in FP1 and it just didn't really feel great. So I think that's why we never really wanted to use it.
Q: You seemed to be managing a fair bit during the race, not just looking after the tyres. We heard you talking about bouncing. We also heard you comment on the gearshifts. Just how many issues were there?
MV: No, no real issues. It's just that the kerbs here are quite aggressive and I was trying a few different lines and some worked and some didn't. And with the gears, I think it was just after the pit stop, I think the clutch was a bit warm. And after that it was OK.
Q: A final word on the podium. We can hear the music in the background now just how special is it here in the Foro Sol?
MV: Yeah, I mean they put on a great show. I mean the atmosphere in general is incredible. The fans are super passionate about Formula 1 but of course about Checo. But it also helps a lot... You know you have that whole stadium and it makes it look incredible. It's a great atmosphere.
Q: Max, many thanks and many congratulations as well. Lewis, we're coming to you now. Great job. Your second, second place in as many weeks, although you didn't seem totally happy with your strategy after the race. What would you change if you ran the race again?
LH: Well, firstly I'm really happy to be up here and to be able to split the Red Bulls, I think, is a huge result for us. Brought an upgrade into the last race and to have kind-of close the gap a little bit - they still have the edge I think - but I don't know, I think it was amazing for us to be fighting in qualifying and have the second and third. I was speaking about in strategy about us taking a risk with one of the cars at least doing something different. I had a gut feeling that they will be on the Soft to start with and when everyone took their blankets off, everyone around us was on the Softs and we're on the Mediums. At that moment. I thought that we may be in trouble. But then again, it's a long, long race, so I thought maybe they'll be on a two-stop. But that Medium tyre just had no drop-off. So ultimately, I think they were on the right tyre strategy. But I am grateful I was able to just about keep up within that first stint. That's huge, to be able to keep up with a Red Bull.
Q: You said during the race, that you weren't happy with the Hard tyre. Did you consider going longer on the Medium and then going straight to Soft?
LH: I mean, I kept telling them the tyre was fine, but I'm assuming that they were coming into my window. Sergio had already stopped. So I'm assuming they... they were going much quicker than me perhaps. So, if we stayed out longer, I would have come out behind Sergio and it would have been all over. So, I think that's the reason. Unfortunately, at the beginning, obviously had a good battle through Turns 1 and 2 but obviously my team-mate got jumped by Sergio, so I was basically tag-teamed by the Red Bulls. It's very, very hard in strategy when you don't have both cars there. I think Sergio was able to come in and pull me in, which definitely hindered our strategy.
Q: We're talking a lot about strategy - but what positives do you take from this weekend? I mean, was this the most competitive the car has been this year?
LH: Yeah, it's so, so many positives, to take from this weekend. And, yeah, this is definitely the most competitive and the best the car has felt all year - and that is truly down to the amazing work from all the women and men back at the factory, who have just been doing such an amazing job. And not giving up. I think it's just been a real showing of resilience, and perseverance. And I'm so happy to be kind-of back in that fight. We saw in the last race, kind-of, almost having a chance to win. And I don't know what the car will be like in these next races. I'm hoping in Brazil, something special may come of it. But we'll see.
Q: Checo, coming to you now. Another third place for you at home. How sweet was the podium this time?
SP: It was always very sweet. Unfortunately, I think today, we could have been a bit higher, you know, we had a better stop. But at the end, I think second or third doesn't really matter. As long as I'm on the podium. It was great to have all these people. They have been amazing the whole weekend. And it was just nice to finish off the weekend with a podium.
Q: Let's go through the race in chronological order. Can you describe the opening few corners? How crucial was it for you to pass George Russell at that point?
SP: Yeah, it was quite important, to make some progress on lap one. So, I managed to get George early on and then just stay with Max and Lewis throughout that first stint. And we boxed relatively early for the Medium, which was going to be an undercut on Lewis, but unfortunately, we had a bad stop. And we just came behind the Ferraris, a bit too far, and that meant that we were just... we lost too much time going through them. So yeah, that was, I think, what really prevented us getting Lewis because I could see he was struggling in the early laps with the Hard tyre, and that was our opportunity. Once you get them going, he seemed to pull away a bit. And yeah, unfortunately, there was not much I could do because every time I was getting close to him, things were overheating: brakes; engine; tyres, so I have very few chances to attack him. I use a few times ERS but no more than that.
Q: And you've retaken second place in the Drivers' Championship, five points ahead of Charles Leclerc. Do you feel you've got the momentum in that battle now?
SP: It can change, race-to-race. For now, I just want to go into the next two and aim for the win. There's nothing more to lose, so we will try everything. It's been a very difficult weekend with far too many issues, so we need to put everything together and then I believe we can do the next step.
Check out our Sunday gallery from Mexico City here.