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British GP: FIA Drivers Press Conference


Group 1: Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon, Alex Albon and Yuki Tsunoda.

Alex, please tell us, Silverstone? Why is this place so special to you?
Alex Albon: Well, I actually grew up around this area. I learned my ARKS test, which is how you get your racing licence, I did it here. So you could say this was the very start of my racing career. I learned how to drive. They asked you what does your right foot do? What does your left foot do? All that stuff.

What did you say?
AA: I don't know what I said. I'm sure I said it correctly. I said right foot is go and left foot is brake. They ask you about the flags as well. No track limits there though...

Look, you won the Formula 2 feature race here back in 2018. Just tell us a little bit about what you need to be quick around Silverstone?
AA: Well, firstly, obviously, high speed is where it stands out. It's also very windy here. I feel like around this kind of circuit, where it is quite open, and I'm sure these guys will agree with me, but wind is very difficult to master in tracks like here, where tailwind, headwinds, it's changing the balance so much, so to be on the limit throughout the whole corner, it's very easy to underdrive a part of the corner which has a bit of a headwind and you can use a little bit of that wind to push a little bit more into a corner. So, yeah, that's really it.

Alex, there was a lot of excitement around your seventh place finish in Canada. Austria proved a little bit more challenging. Just what can we expect from you and Williams here?
AA: To be honest with you, I think Austria was still a great weekend for us. I just think Canada was a super weekend. So we were still happy with Austria. The pace was great. I think, you know, during the whole weekend our worst result was 13th, which was the Sprint race. And even then we were running in seventh. So I have to say, as a team, we're confident. We feel like with this new package we're in a good place. There is no secret that the last couple of circuits have suited us a little bit more than the ones we're going to go to. Silverstone? Maybe not quite as good as Canada and the Red Bull Ring, but still good. So let's see.

Alright, best of luck this weekend. Thank you, Alex. Lewis, if we could come to you now. Home race. You have a fantastic record here at Silverstone. Can you just describe the connection that you have with this place?
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, good afternoon everyone. So happy to be back. This Grand Prix is the best. Well, I remember coming here the first time when I was a lot younger, racing cadets. I think it's around like the Brooklands area, they had, like, straw bales. I remember crashing. It wasn't a good race. But then, racing, coming here for my first time in Formula Renault. And coming and watching the race, I think, for the first time - I must have been like 13, or 14 or something - with McLaren, and just standing at the back of the garage, dreaming of one day being in the car, and then getting into formula one and having the first year and it's been phenomenal journey that I've had here. I remember the crowd the first time, in 2007, when I got the pole. I think that's probably the only time I've ever heard the crowd over the sound of the car. So that's pretty special.

You mention the crowd, just describe what a capacity crowd does to the work that you do in the car. Is it as Nigel Mansell always said worth half a second?
LH: I wish it was worth half a second, because we really need that right now! I mean, I hope so. I think it's hard to quantify. I think, overall, the crowd just lifts you and the whole team up. And there's this kind of feeling of floating when you come here on that positive energy that everyone brings, and just seeing so many flags, so many caps and people supporting us. It really just helps spur you along. And when you're in the car as well, when you see them, you can see them through so many of the corners on the outside of the circuit and it's really just really encouraging. And I always remember my first win here, just continuously being encouraged by the crowd on the outside of Abbey and so...

Lewis, Austria was a bruising weekend to quote your boss, Toto Wolff. You've got upgrades on the car here. What are you expecting from them?
LH: Yeah, so we have a new front wing. So it's just one step, hopefully, further in the right direction. It's not a huge, huge package or anything like that. But we're just [going] step by step, hopefully trying to close down the gap. Obviously, Austria was not a nice weekend for us all. But that's where we learn the most. That's when we pull together the most as a team. So, I was in the factory on Tuesday and Wednesday with the team. And everyone's back in, flat out, just focused on turning that negative into a positive here this weekend.

Alright, well, best of luck. Thank you. Charles, coming to you now. I saw pictures of a great chess match between you and your brother on the way to the UK. Who won?
Charles Leclerc: He did, unfortunately.

Is that a regular occurrence in the Leclerc household?
CL: Not really. But we try and play here and there, whenever we have time. And yesterday was one of those games. Normally I win, but yesterday I didn't.

Well, let's talk about the on-track bit now. Great to see you and Ferrari back on the podium in Austria. With those upgrades, just how much progress do you feel Ferrari has made?
CL: I think since Barcelona really, the feeling is going in the right direction. We couldn't really prove it at any other tracks since Barcelona, but in Austria, the feeling was good, and the pace was a bit better than what we had for the first part of the season. So that was good. I think it shows that there were some steps forward made. However, we shouldn't get carried away. I mean, Red Bull is still a lot in front. And I think this track this weekend will expose a bit more our weaknesses. So we might struggle a bit more than what we've seen in Austria. But it's clear that the feeling and the pace is a step better.

You said after the race on Sunday night that the tyre deg was better. Will the new constructions that are coming from Pirelli this weekend help or hinder you, do you think?
CL: I'm not sure yet. I'm not sure. I think, again, during the free practices it's going to be very important to assess that, to see how much of a difference it is in terms of tyre degradation, if we need to fine tune the car to these new constructions. And then we'll see. But we don't know yet whether it's going to be a benefit or a weakness.

Best of luck to you. Esteban, let's come to you next. Now. Your retirement here last time ended a bit of a run for you. Because you'd always finished in the points at Silverstone, until last year.
Esteban Ocon: Yeah, very true. Thanks for reminding me of that. But yes, it's usually a good weekend for us. It's usually a track that I really enjoy, that I've been driving well on. And it's been just a fun weekend as a whole. I think it's the home of motor sport, you know, when you come to the UK. I spend quite a lot of time here in general, working with the team around Oxford, and it's a bit of a home race for all of us. Yeah, we're going to see where we are exactly. I think Apex GP is bringing some upgrades this weekend. Sonny Hayes is in good shape. So we're going to see how that works.

How do you think your upgrades are going to play against his?
EO: Yeah, I think we've worked well on bringing, you know, parts for both cars. So yeah, we're having a front wing this weekend. That should be helping our performance in general. So we're going to test that this weekend.

Alright. Best of luck to you. Yuki, coming to you now. Austria wasn't a straightforward weekend for AlphaTauri. How hopeful are you to be able to turn things around here in the UK?
Yuki Tsunoda: Yes, probably one of the worst races of this year. But I just forget those. But I learned a lot of things from that race. So it's good. I think it just makes this race a [chance to] refocus again. I think we will also bring quite a good amount of upgrades. So looking forward to that. Hopefully that works well. And in that case, I will just try to maximise that opportunity and aim for the points.

Where is the car lacking at the moment? What do you need from these upgrades?
YT: In Austria it was a bit of everything. We are having too much drag. So currently, just really, straight line speed is really poor, but at the same time, because we don't have much downforce, we don't have much load. We want to put downforce, but if you put downforce, the drag is going to be worse. So we need less drag. At the same time more load, so a bit of everything. These kind of upgrades will bring us a little bit different approach, which, of course, in general, load as well, but a bit of difference. So yeah, I'm feeling optimistic, I think. Yeah, in the data and simulator, I feel quite good. So, yeah, I just have to try it on track and see how it works.


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