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Sao Paulo GP: Post Sprint press conference


Parc Ferme Interviews - Conducted by Naomi Schiff

Massive congratulations, George, your first win, a Sprint win. How was that?
George Russell: Yeah, it was incredible. I wasn't expecting to have that much pace but I think, you know, it goes to show all the hard work everybody's putting in and the progress we, as a team, have made in these last three races since Austin. The car has been feeling really great. Obviously, you know, difficult to know how Max would have gone on had he been on the soft tyres. But nevertheless, you know, standing here is a great feeling.

Well, there was plenty of action on track during the race. We had a great time watching it. Third time lucky on Max, you made it round, and then it seemed smooth sailing for you from there.
GR: Yeah, I think it's a little bit difficult, because obviously, this is a Sprint race. And you've got to manage that risk, reward. So, even though I was dying to get that victory, I didn't want to risk it too much and end up with no points and starting at the back. But you know, we made it stick third time lucky.

Well, it's going to be a front-row start for Mercedes tomorrow, because Carlos has got a penalty. What do you guys think you can do for the team here in Brazil?
GR: I mean, it's crazy to think we're both starting on the front row and Lewis did a great job coming from P8, so it's going to be exciting. And I'm sure Max is going to be flying tomorrow, coming through the pack. But we're in a luxury position that we can maybe split the strategy and go for the win.

Carlos, second place today, unfortunately, you have a penalty for tomorrow's race. How was that race for you? It seemed in the beginning that you didn't quite get the tyres where you wanted them. Were you saving them for the end of the race?
Carlos Sainz: Yeah, we normally have a bit more deg than the Mercs and I could see them pushing quite hard. And yeah, I managed to make all the positions at the start or the first couple of laps, getting in the fight with Max and George. I had to be aggressive because obviously tomorrow I'm taking the penalty and in the end I think P2 was the maximum today. I was happy with the race. Happy with the pace. It's just that the Mercs look like they picked up the pace a lot recently and they are very quick in the race.

There seemed to be a little bit of contact between you and Max. He had front wing damage after the overtake. What was your take on that?
CS: It was on the limit, for sure. They are so difficult to pass and I had to really go tight into Turn 1 in order to pass him. With a Red Bull, you're either aggressive under braking or you don't pass them because they're so quick on the straight that you really need to go for it under braking. I'm sorry if I had a bit of contact but that's racing and sometimes you need to go for it if you want to make it stick.

OK, well, does team Ferrari have something in the bag for tomorrow?
CS: I mean, we have decent pace this weekend. It's just that the Mercs maybe have a little bit more pace. It will be interesting to see tomorrow what happens when we all try the Medium like we're Veratappen today. See how that Medium behaves. And obviously we would need to pass them on track tomorrow, because I'm starting P7, I think Charles is starting P4 or P5, so we're going to need a good race if we want to beat them.

Okay, well, I wish you the best of luck. Lewis coming on to you. Fantastic race today to come through the field. You're going to have a front-row start here on what's now your second home race.
Lewis Hamilton: Boa tarde, Brasil! I'm working on my Portuguese. Obrigado. I'm so, so happy to be here. It's been an incredible week. Difficult day yesterday, but what a crowd we've had today. Starting from eighth, making my way through slowly. Congratulations to George. This just goes to everyone back at the factory, everyone here working on the ground. They've just been working so hard this year. This is an amazing result. For us to be on the front row tomorrow is incredible. So from there, we should be able to work as a team and hold off, hopefully, the guys behind.

You were both unable to really show the full potential of the car in yesterday's qualifying, so can we take this result as evidence of what might happen tomorrow?
LH: We're going to try as hard as we can, yeah. If we can have some good degradation tomorrow, hopefully some good weather, we can have a good fight in our hands.

So you want to give this crowd a win tomorrow, right?
LH: For sure. A win here for Brazil would be incredible.

Press Conference

George, what a fantastic race. You took the chequered flag for the first time in Formula 1, how sweet is this moment for you?
GR: Yeah, I think it's a pretty big milestone for the whole team. When we look back at where we were at the very first Sprint of the year, I think I finished eighth, I want to say, And where were you [Lewis}? I think you were maybe ninth or something behind us. And here we are going to be lining up one-two tomorrow. I think it's really exciting. And, you know, so proud of the whole team, to keep on delivering with the car. But it's going to be interesting tomorrow. Obviously Max is the main man at the moment and those Medium tyres just didn't seem to work.

Well, George, let's talk about you. The car seemed to come alive from the beginning. How confident were you coming into the Sprint?
GR: I think we were confident that we could finish second, and we thought Max would probably have quite an easy run to be honest. We knew that if we weren't ahead of him at Turn 1, it was going to be very difficult to stay ahead of him. I started attacking in the early laps. And I thought once he gets some temperature in his tyres, he'll be away. And it was a little bit tricky. You had to balance the risk and reward, because obviously, you know, there's only one extra point... As much as I wanted to win this race today it's only one extra point and obviously you're setting yourself up for tomorrow. So you had to be a little bit careful. And you know, Max has got nothing to lose, really. So he was going to be driving aggressively. But you know, definitely, it was pleasing to get the move done in the end.

You said you were waiting for Max to get some temperature into those medium tyres. Was it a clear cut decision for you to start on the soft tyre?
GR: I think it definitely wasn't clear cut. I think we've all recognised that the soft was probably the best performing tyre this weekend in the race, which is quite odd. Obviously that means if you use the Soft today, you've got one less tomorrow. So even though Max and Red Bull didn't have a strong race, they're probably in a slightly better position than the three of us going into the race tomorrow as they've got that one extra set of new softs.

So George, pole position tomorrow. You were on pole in Hungary as well. Does this feel different?
GR: I don't really know, to be honest. Obviously, [there] we got pole position via a qualifying session. This is the first time we've crossed the finish line in first position in a race. It obviously is a little bit of a shame that this wasn't the race tomorrow. But nevertheless, as I said, it really goes to show the work we've done and I think we're definitely going to be very excited for tomorrow and obviously having Lewis and I one-two on the grid, is going to give us some options of the strategy. And I think we're going to have to work together to do something different for one of us to try and get the victory for the team tomorrow.

Alright, well, good luck tomorrow and very well done today. Thank you, George. Carlos, we'll come to you now. Very well done to you as well and after the issues Ferrari had as a team in Mexico last time out, how much better is the car here?
CS: Well, definitely better. We are more on the pace but I would say that still Merc... We don't know about Red Bull, no, because Max had the Medium and seemed to struggle. But after today Merc, it definitely seems they have the edge over us, especially in race pace again, and Lewis was putting a lot of pressure on me, George was pulling away little by little. So still some more to do in the race if we want to beat them, but at least today I managed to do a good race and get myself in the middle of them, split them. Unfortunately tomorrow I need to take the penalty, which is costly because it would be a lot better if we could start P2 tomorrow, you know, and try something but yeah, we will do our best tomorrow to make it back through the field.

Well what can you achieve? Because with that penalty you'll start the race from seventh. If the car is as good tomorrow as it was today, what is possible?
CS: I mean it was good but it was difficult I must say. We finished P2 but I spent 10 laps defending from Lewis. I made it past Max, which was quite difficult because of his top speed, but I feel like if tomorrow we will start P2 we would be vulnerable to the two Mercs because they seem to have a better deg, better race pace. But yeah, at least we will be in the mix. Unfortunately, I have to take a penalty, which is a bit the story of my season. Whenever I'm strong and whenever I'm on the pace, I have a setback that weekend, which is a bit the story of the whole season, as I said, but yeah, at least I feel confident. I feel comfortable. I feel like I did a perfect race today. So I'm up for the fight tomorrow.

Very well done today. Thank you, Carlos. Lewis coming to you now, what a race by you as well, eighth to third. You love racing at Interlagos don't you?
LH: I definitely do. It's a beautiful place, São Paulo, and the track is just awesome. It's so good for racing with that long straight. Definitely got to be one of the favourite circuits, I think for us, for us all. Congratulations to George, this is, as George was saying, such an incredible result for us as a team. We've all worked so hard through the year. Did we think that we would be at the front, you know, starting on the front row of the Brazilian Grand Prix at the end of the year - not at all. But that's what everyone's worked towards. So I'm just really incredibly proud of everybody and thankful to everybody back at the factory for their continued efforts and for not giving up. Same with all the women and men here who've worked so hard, on their feet, travelling, being away, you know. This is a good day. Tomorrow, we've got to work hard to try and keep them behind us.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Interlagos here.


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