Track Interviews - Conducted by Nico Rosberg
Max Verstappen, what an incredible performance once again from you today. Is this the most enjoyable time ever for you in your Formula 1 career?
Max Verstappen: I mean, it's a big pleasure, you know, to drive with a car like this. And I think yeah, it showed again today. I mean, we had quite a lot of different types of strategies out there. I think for most of the race, we were on the right one. But yeah, again, a win here it's incredible.
Max, behind us we just saw that great battle with Carlos Sainz into Turn 1. Take us through that. Was that really on the edge?
MV: I had the harder compound, of course, and I knew the start was maybe going to be a bit tricky. And yeah, going around the outside into Turn 1 is always quite difficult but luckily, nothing happened.
Are you happy to distance your main title rival in Perez?
MV: I mean, we had another strong weekend and that's what I like to see for myself from the team. And hopefully, you know, we can just keep that up throughout the year.
Lewis, the crowd is really cheering for you there. That's nice to see here in Spain. That seemed to be an awesome performance from you, right? Did it feel good?
Lewis Hamilton: Man, what an awesome crowd we have here, like every year. Gracias to everyone here in Barcelona. What a result for our team! We definitely didn't expect to have the result we had today. So I just really wanted to take my hat off to my team. A big, big thank you to everyone back at the factory for continuing to push and for bringing us a little bit closer to the Bulls. They're still a bit ahead, but we will keep chasing them down. But this is an amazing result. George did a great job today as well.
It's so cool to see the positivity, also on the radio there on the in-lap and everything. How far can you still go then? I mean, huge jump there from one race to the next. Now, suddenly, do you think you can still give them a run for their money perhaps a bit later on?
LH: They are a little bit too quick at the moment. But we're working at it. So just one step at a time. And if we can get close by the end of the year, that'd be awesome. But if not, next year.
And you're still flat out motivated, right?
LH: Flat out. No lifting.
George, P3 for you after quite a difficult day yesterday. Are you surprised in a way?
George Russell: A little bit surprised for sure, I think. Kudos to the team for giving me a really great car today. I mean, that was a fun race for us, starting from P12 and coming all the way to P3. A sign of things to come hopefully.
Does it actually also feel better to drive? Is it the best feeling you've had so far this year in the car?
GR: Yeah, it definitely feels better. You know, you're just putting in those lap times and you compare it with the guys around you - with the Astons and the Ferraris - and we were just quicker and quicker. So we know we brought some more downforce to the car. We know things are in a better window. So yeah, really pleased to be on the podium.
Very well done Max, a beautifully controlled race. How comfortable were you out front?
MV: I think it was important to try to keep the lead in Turn 1. I know it's quite tight. But actually, we had a very good start. And then from there onwards I just tried to manage the pace on the Medium. I knew everyone behind me mainly was on a Soft, and I think especially in those last eight laps of that stint I could really create a big gap. And then, of course, we went onto the Hard tyre. And I actually expected them to be a little bit better. But somehow, they just didn't have a lot of grip and I was actually sliding around quite a bit. The pace was still OK, but I couldn't really create much more of a gap, not how I would have liked. But then of course, we just did the amount of laps we had to do on that tyre and then we pitted again for the Soft and that actually felt a lot nicer to drive.
Talk us through the decision to start on the Medium tyre, because you won this race last year starting on the Soft?
MV: Yeah, for me it was just very close between a Medium or Soft. The life of a Medium is probably a little bit better than the Soft tyre. That's why I decided to start on the Medium.
And was there more pace in the car this afternoon had you needed it?
MV: I guess so. If you had to try and catch up, let's say, probably yes. But it's not necessary. It's all about managing your tyres trying to reach the stint length.
Now, quite a lot was made on TV of you getting the black and white flag for track limits? I think it was Turns 5 and 10. Can you just talk us through what was going on there?
MV: Yeah, I went over the white line three times. It happens sometimes. Some tracks it's a bit easier to do and I was struggling a little bit with the harder tyres to keep it within the white lines. But once I had that last warning then I had to keep it within the white lines. But it's not an issue really.
And Max, you're now 53 points ahead of your team-mate in the World Championship. You've led every lap of the last two Grands Prix. You were fastest in FP1, FP2, FP3 and qualifying here, just how sweet is this period for you?
MV: It's a good period. But you know, we have to keep on working and trying to find more performance. I'm happy in the car. And I think the last few race weekends have definitely been a lot more positive for me. But this is one weekend where I think it went really well. But we also know that maybe some other tracks it's not like this, you know, so a lot of races to come where we again have to perform really well to try and win the race.
Alright, very well done to you and thank you very much, Max. Lewis coming to you. Very well done as well. Your 11th podium here in Barcelona. How sweet was this podium?
LH: This one was very special. I think we got a great reception from the crowd here and to be able to share the podium with my team-mate I think it's really special, given just the journey that we've been on together to try to close the gap to the guys ahead. This is a really amazing day for us.
Now everyone's talking about the upgrades. How did the car feel to drive over a race distance?
LH: The car felt great today. Friday was a real struggle with the balance, it was way out of the window. It was very hard to drive, very unpredictable. And then we did some great work overnight. We've got a great team, with Mick back in the simulator on Friday night and he did some great work, which helped us get on the right track on Saturday. I think we did pretty decent work in trying to understand the different downforce levels. And in the race today the car felt great. But honestly I just couldn't match the times that Max was doing. And for George to come from 12th to third is just remarkable. So, really awesome result for us as a team.
Great result as a team - but the team was quick here, at this race last year as well. So, is it too early to draw too many conclusions?
LH: Yep! I mean, they normally say if you're quick in Barcelona then the car should generally be good everywhere, but I think we will be strong in the next races. There will be times when the Aston may be slightly ahead, or the Ferrari maybe is ahead but I think our race pace continues to be a strength of ours, as it was last year. And now I think this weekend particularly, we've understood the car even more. So, I think we can count on that being strong moving forward. We've just got to try to lift the overall performance of the car a little bit more to try to close the gap to these guys.
Final one from me. Lando, right at the start of the race. You two made contact. Can you just talk us through that incident from your point of view?
LH: I just felt a big hit from behind but obviously Max and Carlos went quite wide and deep into Turn 1 and then they were coming back across, and I basically got in the wake, so I had to be patient, and then I got a hit from behind. I think it was a shame for Lando because he did such an amazing job yesterday. It's great to see McLaren up there on the second row and I think today even if he was ahead of me going into the corner, we would have overtaken him because we had slightly more pace race trim-wise. And so yeah, not ended up being a great result for him but I think if he was just a little more patient today, he would have had probably a better result but we live and we learn.
George, coming to you now, great to see you back on the podium for the first time since Brazil last year. From 12th on the grid, what did you think would be possible coming into this race?
GR: I think after yesterday we knew it was going to be a challenge but woke up with a bit more positivity and I thought we could definitely move forward, probably fight for P5, P6. I thought P3 would be a little bit out of reach - but the car was really, really great today; the team did a great job with the strategy and it was a really satisfying race, making some good moves on the people around me. Huge thanks to the whole team for bringing these updates forward but equally, we're not going to get carried away just after this one race, because we know it might be slightly different in the future races, and I think generally Aston and Ferrari were a little bit more off the pace than normal.
At what point in this grand prix did the podium become real for you?
GR: I think quite early on, to be honest. Even after that first stint I believed it was possible when I saw the other cars peeling into the pits: my tyres were feeling good; the car was feeling good, so I think even after two laps I thought, 'you know what, we can do this today'.
Final one from me. Your thoughts on the performance of the car and how it felt to drive.
GR: Today it was feeling really strong but we know we've got more improvements to be made. A little bit cooler today, which maybe played into our favour. We know our race pace is good but certainly we need to make a big step forward to catch-up the Red Bulls and we're not solely satisfied with P2 and P3. Although it's a good step forward, we've got our sights set right at the very top.
Check out our Sunday gallery from Barcelona here.