Parc Ferme Interviews - Conducted by Felipe Massa
Q: Carlos, you had a great race, especially at the end, really good pace to get the possibility to be on the podium.
Carlos Sainz: Yeah, I think overall it was a good race. We did have some problems there at the start, with the brakes on fire. We had to stop early, which meant we had to commit to a three-stop that maybe today wasn't the fastest given the degradation. But from there I pushed flat out to try and catch back up to Checo. We had a good run on Checo at the end. Good podium after starting P7. Yeah, I think we can be happy with that. It's a shame that Merc were so quick, but congratulations to George.
Q: OK. And the fight for the second position in the Constructors'? How do you think for the last race? How is it going to be?
CS: We're clearly on a bit of a defence mode, because Merc were untouchable today. They were just simply the quickest car, quicker than the Red Bull, quicker than us. I think it's been a few weekends like this, like that. So in Abu Dhabi, we need to expect them to win. And we need to either do damage limitation or go for the win ourselves also.
Q: Lewis, are you feel a little bit Brazilian now? Amazing race, driver of the day, so congratulations for your really, really good job. You had a little bit of trouble at the beginning? So how do you think it was that contact with Max and also, afterwards, an amazing race you did.
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, well, firstly, I've got to say huge congratulations to George. What an amazing drive he did today. He did amazing qualifying yesterday. So he truly deserves it. To my team, so proud of everyone back at the factory and here. This is an incredible result. We've worked so hard through this year to get a win and so this is hugely deserved for everybody, so a big, big thank you. What can I say, you know how it is with Max, so...
Q: I think you should say something for everyone [here. Every overtake you are doing the whole grandstands were supporting you massively so...
LH: Muito Obrigado. A big, big thank you to everyone in here in Brazil. I've really had one of the best weeks of my life here, just with how everyone's accepted me here and the warm welcome I've had, so excited to come back here again and hopefully some holidays in the future.
Q: George, unbelievable! I mean, I can't imagine you're feeling, you are even crying. I understand how is the feeling of the first victory. Really congratulations. Yesterday I told you it was the first of many and today you did an amazing job. So just now how you feel? And the pace of your car, the perfect job you did in the race, so really, really congratulations.
George Russell: What an amazing feeling. Just a huge thank you to the whole team for making this possible. It's been an emotional roller coaster this season. This race was a really tough race. I felt in control. Lewis was super fast and then when I saw the Safety Car, I thought, Jesus, this is going to be a really difficult end. He put me under so much pressure but so happy to come away with the victory.
Q: And how is the feeling? Remember all your career, everything you passed through, you know, starting from the karting, all of the championships that you fight and you arrive here in an amazing season you are doing, really an amazing season, with a team that didn't start so well. And now you guys show the pace to win. And I think that's really important and especially that the first victory is yours.
GR: I'm speechless, you know, on the in-lap all of these memories sort of come flooding back, you know, starting off with my mum and dad in go-karting and going through and, you know, all the support I've had from the rest of my family, my girlfriend, my trainer, my manager. I mean obviously, you know the likes of Gwen [Lagrue, Mercedes Driver Development Advisor] who gave me the opportunity to get on the programme with Mercedes, and James Vowles and Toto, you know, the list is endless. I can't thank them enough and, yeah, super proud.
Q: As you can see, our winner is not yet with us. So we're going to start with our second and third place finishers. Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz, a very warm welcome to you guys. Lewis, let's start with you. What a day for Mercedes, a one-two for the team, and a fabulous comeback drive by you as well. Just sum it up for us.
LH: It was an incredible day, an incredible weekend, and week actually, just overall. So many amazing experiences, from Monday onwards. And this is really a dream for all the team. I think everyone truly deserves this amazing result. Everyone has worked so hard through the year. And we've been through such a difficult kind of phase. But we never gave up hope that we could get back to winning ways. And so, I'm really proud to be a part of this team and to get a one-two, despite the challenges through the year, and despite the challenges today.
Q: Lewis, you talk about the challenges, and you've been involved in many one-twos in your career, but because of everything that's happened already this year, does that make this all the sweeter?
LH: Definitely, definitely. I think every one-two is an amazing feeling. I definitely have, in the past, experienced us having a one-two and I think because at stages it was more regular it almost loses that specialness, you know, so to have had this drought and this period of time and to finally get back there, I think it's a wonderful achievement for everybody.
Q: Your competitors all think that Mercedes had the fastest car here in what areas was it especially strong?
LH: I really don't know, if I'm honest. It's a strange feeling, because we definitely have taken steps forwards. But it's almost like the others kind of fell off a little bit this weekend, maybe? I don't know. But the car had been really great to drive all weekend - very consistent, very smooth, no major issues. And, yeah, we didn't bring any upgrades to the last race or this one. So I think we're just slowly starting to understand the car more and more and get it working in a sweeter spot.
Q: Your race was compromised, I think we can say, by the collision with Max Verstappen after the first restart. How do you see what happened?
LH: I don't really have much of an opinion about it, to be honest. For me, all I thought in that moment was that I thought the car would have to retire. Because I felt something, the rear wasn't feeling the same after that. And for me, it was like, I was going to lose the team the one-two. And so like, all I could think of. So I was driving over across the grass, back onto the track and all I could think of was how can I get back to giving the team that incredible result. So just for me, it's kind of, again, not how you fall, it's how you get back up. And I'm proud of the job we've all done and huge congratulations to George.
Q: How important is it for the team to be hitting this run of form as we head into the winter break?
LH: It is the most important thing for us to have this result. This is a massive boost to the whole team's morale. Going into the winter, the team knows that we're on the right track. And we are still the best team. We will get back to having this more consistent I think next year and I'm excited for that battle.
Q: Very well done. Thank you, Lewis. And our race winner, George Russell, is joining us now. George, huge congratulations. You've no doubt dreamt of this moment. Tell us about the reality.
GR: Yeah, just so many emotions, I think I've dreamt of this moment, for sure, many, many times. And you never really know how it's going to pan out and I think the race was well managed, everything was under control. I knew how quick Lewis was and when that Safety Car came out, I thought 'God this is going to be very, very tricky now'. But I put together a really strong string of laps. Very little mistakes and you know the pressure Lewis put me under was immense. But I'm so proud of the whole team. The progress we've made since the start of the year is just unbelievable. And what a boost it's going to give us going into next season.
Q: Now, after your performance in the Sprint yesterday, just tell us how you were feeling coming into this race? Were you calm? Were you nervous? Did this one somehow feel different?
GR: I was pretty relaxed, to be honest. I think it's sort of, like, a mentality. And if you have the mentality that if you just do everything right, you know, make a clean start, do your thing, get into the groove, then you can win this race. And I knew having Lewis alongside me and Max in my mirrors, it was not going to be a straightforward race. But we believed and we were having a lot of conversations this morning, as a team, strategically, how we were going to try and tackle getting this victory for the team. And to come away with a one-two is just unreal.
Q: You nailed the big moments, the start and the restarts. Just how tricky was it to get them right?
GR: Yeah, definitely tricky, for sure. But you just have to go through the process and treat it as if it's any other. There was a sort of a moment in the race where I was looking a lot at my mirrors, you know, seeing Lewis there, but I sort of realised I just need to look forward now. And the only way I'm going to win this race, is by looking ahead, driving as fast as I can, making no mistakes. And you know, my engineer was on the radio, giving me the gaps, probably four times a lap. And it was always between 1.1 and 1.3, 1.1, 1.4, 1.1. I just wanted that little extra half a second buffer. It was only when I came into Sector 3 on the last lap that I knew we'd got it.
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