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Hungarian GP: Post Qualifying press conference


Track Interviews - Conducted by Danica Patrick

Q: Lando, excellent job out there, P3. You guys were a little sceptical coming into this race that maybe this new update wasn't going to be as effective in these mid-speed corners because you guys were so fast at Silverstone. Tell me about how that's translated here. Are you surprised?
Lando Norris: A little bit. I'm disappointed, I guess. If you're doing within a tenth of pole, it feels like you should be on pole if you put the lap together, you know? So, I guess as an overall picture, the team did a good job: P3 and P4 for both of us. So, a good weekend so far but, as a driver, I'm not the happiest. I feel like I made too many mistakes and that cost me today.

Q: OK, well you made it and you said you were disappointed. What was it that you felt like could have been different? Was there a corner? Was there something that could have been different for you to get that last tenth?
LN: There's always little things. Just putting the lap together. It wasn't the cleanest. I guess there's always an element of risk involved in trying to push it a little bit more - but nothing major. I don't know how much it was between me and P1 but if it's a tenth, there's definitely a tenth in it. So, frustrating but I'm happy. P3 is still a good position for tomorrow. So, still a good day.

Q: You guys have been on a roll. What are your thoughts moving into the race, and this is going to require a lot of you, but of the car and the tyres. Do you feel like the car is up for the long runs? Obviously, it's pretty fast.
LN: I'm good, I'm excited. I think the race pace yesterday, on Friday was pretty strong. Just as strong as we were in Silverstone, so I'm excited. Just a difficult track to overtake - which is probably why I'm a bit more frustrated that I normally would be - but I'm up there with the good guys. We've got two cars up there, so hopefully we can use them and get some good points tomorrow.

Q: Well, there was a moment with George Russell in Q1 where it was just about there being so much traffic all around. How do you get through that tomorrow and having lapped traffic and things on track? It's clearly an issue here.
LN: Well, that's an issue for tomorrow. We did a good job today, that's all I care about. Tonight we focus for tomorrow.

Q: Max, good job. You went back out there and didn't go any quicker. Can you tell us what happened on that last time out?
Max Verstappen: Not much happened. I've been struggling that whole weekend to find a good balance. Every session has been up and down. Today also in Qualifying, really difficult, Q1, Q2, to just feel confident to really attack corners. I thought my first run in Q3 was quite good, then second run, again, no feeling. You try to push a little bit more, you lose the rear, lose the front, so I think... I mean it was still second, but I think we should be ahead with the car we have normally but so far this weekend, I think we haven't been on it.

Q: So, what is it that you think that you need more than one end? Do you need the front more, do you need the back more for tomorrow's race?
MV: Depends a bit on the temperature. I mean, it's going to be quite hot, so normally rear tyres are always going to be quite difficult. I think for the race everything settles down a bit more - but I would have just hoped to have a little bit more of a fun balance in Qualifying to really attack it.

Q: You guys came with the new update. Do you feel it's effective, or maybe not?
MV: I think the update works but I think we just didn't put everything together set-up-wise. Because I think today it's just been all over the shop, and not exactly where we want it to be.

Q: Lewis, I don't even need to say anything, they went ten times this mad when you took the pole. You sounded out of breath. Was that out of breath or just super-excited?
Lewis Hamilton: I think both. It's been a crazy year and a half. I've lost my voice from shouting so much in the car. It's amazing that feeling. I feel so grateful to be up here because the team have worked so hard. We've been pushing so hard over this time, to finally get a pole, it feels like the first time. And a big, big thanks to the crowd here, we have such an amazing crowd, every year here in Budapest. Wow! I didn't expect coming here today that we'd be fighting for pole, so when I went into that last run, I gave it absolutely everything. I was... there was nothing left in it.

Q: I feel like I can hear the emotion in your voice and I'm curious to hear you explain what that journey's been like, to get back to the top again.
LH: Oh, it's been massively challenging for every single person in the team. There's been ups and downs. It's a big, big rollercoaster ride but none of us have lost faith, we've all been united together. We're focussing on trying to steer the car into the direction... today we were losing so much in Turn Four and Turn... not so much but time in Four and 11 compared to the others, so I just sent it and hoped that I stayed on track, but it has been tough, and it's going to continue to be tough, moving on from here - but I think hopefully this shows we're on the right track and we can do it if we just keep pushing.

Q: Was there a big difference between the Hard, the Medium and the Soft in the car?
LH: Yeah, big difference in balance - but all the tyres generally felt quite good, and right at the end the Soft tyre felt extraordinary. It's just interesting how you have to prep the tyres, and for us finally having a relatively neutral, calm balance through the corners. Through-corner balance is very difficult to get right with these type of cars, and I think we did that today, so hats off to the team, we did a great job.

Q: Give us a little insight. You win the race tomorrow, what's the emotion going to be like then?
LH: Oh Jeez. I just have to try and see if I can sleep tonight. I think tomorrow, we'll study as hard as we can, we'll bring our A-game tomorrow as a team. It's going to be difficult to fight these two guys. Lando's been doing a mega-job. It's been great to see McLaren up there battling, and Max, you know Max, he's always up there, he's always doing his thing.

Q: Well, one final question. You criticised the limited amount of tyres and maybe this wasn't the right way to go for Qualifying - but you're on the pole. So, do you like this format?
LH: I wouldn't say that it was criticising, it was just giving a point of view. All these amazing people turn up on a Friday and want to see cars running around, and we have less tyres than normal. But the wet tyres, there's a lot of wet tyres they throw away on the weekend, and that's what we need to figure out how we can do better there, rather than reduce the entertainment for the fans - so I just meant on that day.

Press Conference

Q: Lewis, what an extraordinary performance. It's been a while since you were last on pole. What does this one mean to you?
LH: I forgot what it feels like to sit in this spot! You've been hogging it for a while! I don't think I breathed the whole lap. I think I held my breath, and I was just so out of breath at the end but it's an extraordinary feeling, after you've been here for such a long time and you've had the success before, even though it's 104, it feels like it's the first. It's hard to explain just how special it feels and I definitely don't think... we definitely weren't expecting to be fighting for pole today, though George got pole last year and was looking great, these guys were looking so strong, but of course I was hoping to be as high up as possible but then once we got to Q2, was looking quite decent all of a sudden, and obviously we were second, and once we got to Q3, we were only a tenth off Max and I knew I had more time I could find in the car. The majority of the time was being lost in Turn 2 and 4, and particularly 4 and 11. I don't know if this guy's lifting through there but the car was just not quite up to it on the previously laps but on the last one I just had to send it and hope that I stayed on track, and I think I got closer to them at least in those areas - but our last sector was particularly strong - but yeah, it was epic. I was so happy for everyone in the team. We've... it's been a really, really difficult year and a half on a personal level, but then as a team collectively, so many ideas and trying to find the right path to be on, and continue to keep the motivation in everyone, and keep everyone driven and that's been a challenge for all of us. So, this has been a team effort and the team deserves this today.

Q: You said the omens were good when you got to Q2 - but you weren't happy with the car after practice yesterday. What did you change overnight? What have you found?
LH: Oh yeah. We run the simulator, and the simulator sometimes feels good, sometimes feels terrible, and then we come to the track and you're just always hopeful that when you get in, you've got somewhat of a decent balance and the car doesn't feel bad - but nine times out of ten you get in the car and you're like, damnit, this really feels terrible, the balance is off, front to rear temperatures, there's always just an imbalance going through corners, and so we yesterday just wasn't great for us - but what we do best is we work hard through the night. The team work hard on the simulator, and we get new direction for Saturday. We made some really great changes to the car, naturally, last night, and it put us in a much better window. So, I was then able to just build on that. But as I said, these guys were rapid. It feels great to be up here fighting with these guys.

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1. Posted by Wokingchap, 23/07/2023 12:10

"Well it looks like if Max was happier with his car the others wouldn't stand a chance."

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