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Miami GP: FIA Drivers Press Conference


Group 1 - Esteban Ocon, Nyck de Vries, Logan Sargeant, Charles Leclerc and George Russell.

Q: Logan, your first home race in Formula 1, just how special is this moment for you?
Logan Sargeant: I thought I was going to get away from that, sitting in the middle, but I guess not. No, it's good. It was nice to get home after Baku. I was able to spend two days at home to really recharge, get out on the water which was nice. And yeah, I'm excited for this weekend. It's nice to be back in my well known climate, which is extremely hot but it's going to be a tough weekend, not knowing the track. It's a big hurdle to climb. But yeah, I'm excited.

Q: We'll come on to the track action in a minute but you're a Fort Lauderdale boy, just down the road from here. So did you come and watch the Dolphins when you were young or was it all Homestead for you?
LS: I've watched endless games in the stadium so to be able to race around it, to have the hospitalities set up inside the stadium is pretty cool. I was just here at Christmas watching a game. And yeah, now here we are, first home Grand Prix and yeah, it's pretty cool.

Q: And you're four races into your Formula 1 career, just tell the US media how you feel it's going. Best result of 12th in the Bahrain Grand Prix, just but sum it all up for us.
LS: Oh, ups and downs, good days, bad days, to be expected. I'm learning every weekend and I feel like it's coming more and more towards me. But yeah, I have to be more consistently at the top of my game, driving better each and every day. And yeah, definitely not satisfied. A lot of work to do, a lot to improve on but it's moving in the right direction. And that's all that matters.

Q: And Logan, what about this weekend? And what can the fans expect from you?
LS: Oh, from me? I don't know. Well, I think considering not knowing the track, it's going to be a tough weekend for me. But back to a normal format which is nice, to get three hours to build up to it. I think it's going to be a pretty tight midfield so we need to be comfortable going into qualifying and just deliver and get the job done.

Q: Nyck, let's come to you next. Miami, are you getting the Miami vibe?
Nyck de Vries: We do but before starting about Miami, we'd like to give our thoughts to Faenza. Not sure if many of us has seen what is happening but the village and the town has suffered from huge floods and obviously our team is based over there and we have friends and family over there that are having a tough time while we are here enjoying the heat. So we just wanted to quickly notify our thoughts with them and hope that things will get better soon.

Q: Yeah, and the whole Formula 1 family sends their condolences to families of people who have lost life in and around the Emilia Romagna region in Italy. But let's bring it onto this weekend Nyck. You're coming here on the back of a difficult weekend for you in Baku; just how difficult is it to park what happened there and move on to a fresh weekend?
NdV: I think it really helps to go back racing straightaway. I think there's still good positives to take away from the Baku weekend because the pace was really good and we made good progress as a team and we started the weekend very competitively on Friday. So yeah, these things happen. You just got to move on. We arrived here early so we started our preparation on Tuesday and it's a very exciting event, so happy to be here and looking forward to seeing what we can do this weekend.

Q: Nyck three of the opening four races this year have been on street tracks. This is another one of course. That's a pretty unforgiving calendar for a rookie. Does it make it hard, the fact that we've had so few permanent racetracks for you?
NdV: Ultimately it's the same for everybody. I don't really like to look for excuses. It is the way it is and we know that street tracks have little margin and when you put a small step wrong, then that has consequences.

Q: Esteban, you took a detour via Charlotte en route to Miami. How much did you enjoy driving that NASCAR?
Esteban Ocon: I did enjoy it, massively. It was awesome just to have an experience in a proper NASCAR, the new generation car as well. And it was not just a small run in a demo car or anything like that, it was like proper... new tyres and yeah, they properly throw the full experience on it. We did some drag racing as well so not only NASCAR we did, we had the full American racing experience. And yeah, that was very nice.

Q: And dinner with Jimmy Butler from Miami Heat as well. You're getting the full American sports.
EO: Yeah, yeah, it was just amazing, just to be able to chat with him about his career, how he has evolved as an athlete. And he's one of the top guys out there so just to be able to share some of that, it's been a great thing for me. And, yeah, I'm having the full experience. I'm enjoying Miami very much. I entered the track with Vin Diesel earlier so it's pretty crazy.

Q: Let's bring it on track. Alpine comes here after a difficult weekend in Baku. Just what is the vibe in the team as we get underway this weekend?
EO: Yeah, I think we obviously leave that weekend behind. We try and focus on the positives that we had, which is that the updates that we had were working. We didn't use it the proper way and the way it should have been. Doing only three laps in FP1 and just fixing the setup from there on has been very tricky for us. So we didn't use the car the proper way, we didn't optimise it and we couldn't really see the performance of the car. But we have three sessions here to turn things around, bounce back and that's what we're looking to do.

Q: Charles, if you can conquer America, Charles, the music world is your oyster.
Charles Leclerc: If they are ready to be into depressing music then I'm probably the one to go to. But yeah, my music is not that good. I am a racing driver and I did that out of fun. I released the first music before Azerbaijan. I'm releasing the second one after Miami. And yeah, it's something I enjoy, though.

Q: Two million listens I think.
EO: Everywhere you go you have a piano with you?

CL: No. I've checked actually, we spoke about this with Nyck because Nyck is also playing the piano. Starting.

NdV: We actually have the same teacher but Charles doesn't go anymore.

CL: Yeah, exactly. But no, no the pianos are too small, I mean too big to travel with. There are some small ones, but it's not good enough to travel with it.

Q: I can feel we've got a band on our hands here. The Formula 1 band. Logan, what have you got for us?
LS: I'm not singing. Nothing to do with music.

Q: Look Charles, let's bring it on track quickly. A much better weekend for you in Baku than the opening three races. Just how much of a shot in the arm was last weekend? And what can we expect from you here?
CL: Yeah, it was good. After the first three races it was really bad. We obviously were very unlucky in Bahrain, being in third and having that technical issue already a penalty for the second race. And then the DNF with the incident with Lance in Australia, so it couldn't be worse. But in Azerbaijan, it went really well. We had our first pole which is great. I think it confirms how strong a car we have, especially in qualifying but then in the race we confirmed a little bit our weaknesses that we still need to work on our race pace as the Red Bull is just too strong for now.

Q: Some upgrades this weekend; do you think that'll bring you closer to Red Bull?
CL: Should go in the right direction; I don't think it will be enough to fight with them but yeah, it will go in the right direction, I'm sure.

Q: George coming to you, how's Miami?
George Russell: Yeah, it's good. I think for all of us it's fun to come here. Like in the atmosphere, standing on South Beach and a nice run down the coast. And it's going to be a good weekend.

Q: How difficult is it to acclimatised to the heat and the humidity here?
GR: Definitely tricky, for sure. I think last year for all of us it was one of the toughest races of the season. But I think it's exciting when it's difficult. Nobody wants an easy ride and it gives you an opportunity to do something better than the rest but for sure when you're sat in that car for almost two hours you're sweating it out.

Q: Look, tell us about that car. Two races ago you qualified on the front row in Australia. Last weekend in Baku, you were out in Q2. Can you explain that to people who don't understand?
GR: I'm not too sure. It's fine margins I think. We missed out on Q3 by four milliseconds and that would have been a totally different story had we got into Q3, and probably we could have qualified inside the top six but clearly our car isn't quick enough. We need to continue to do a better job and we'll go again this weekend. Hopefully, there'll be a slightly smoother weekend and we can battle out with Aston and Ferrari.


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