Track Interviews - Conducted by Giedo van der Garde
Pierre Gasly, P3. Man, I think that must be satisfying, no? What a result for you and the team, the first podium for you together with Alpine.
Pierre Gasly: All I want to say is, let's go! Yes! I'm feeling so stoked, honestly. What a race, coming back from the summer break and, you know, it hasn't been the easiest start of the year, just trying to improve race by race and it was good to get some time off, come back and straight into it. We had a third place in Spa in the Sprint, it wasn't exactly like a normal podium and I'm super pleased for all the guys to get that P3.
When you heard Pérez had a five seconds penalty, I guess you were pushing flat out in the last few laps?
PG: Yeah, I was pretty upset that I got a five second penalty earlier in the race and I was like 'OK, now it's 1-1', and then, yeah, obviously I tried to push as hard as I could to stay within five seconds, and managed to do it. It was a very long race. Very challenging from start to finish and it was greatly executed from all the guys.
Perfect, enjoy it, man. Fernando, P2. Why is it always you love those tricky conditions, on the beginning, at the end, it looks like in the rain, half wet, this is really your thing?
Fernando Alonso: Yeah, it was a very intense race, obviously at the beginning with wet conditions we were very, very fast. And we stopped maybe one lap too late, but the same as the leaders. And yeah, the car was flying today - very competitive, very easy to drive. In these conditions, you need a car that you can trust and I did try the car a lot today. So, I did enjoy, thanks to all the fans. The energy that we live here in Zandvoort is very unique. It was two years ago when this race came, I thought I will never experience maybe the Zandvoort podium because I was not in a position to think about that. And today it's going to be very special to share the podium with Max and Pierre now.
That's nice to hear. Was it hard for you, because there's like a party going on and you have this wait with the red flag and you have to jump back in the car you have to concentrate, but the crowd was going mad. I guess it must be hard to get back in the zone?
FA: Yeah, it is one of those races that is difficult, as you said, to concentrate, to stay focused for such a long period of time but yeah, as I said, I think this is a very special race track, with all the fans and the energy going on, so you feel always very focused. Happy for Max, congratulations to everyone. I did think about trying a move in the last restart but then I thought maybe I cannot exit the circuit so I stayed calm in second.
Enjoy, man. Max Verstappen, for the third time in a row the winner of the Heineken Dutch Grand Prix. This must feel amazing?
Max Verstappen: Incredible and also today they didn't make it easy for us I think with the weather to make all the time the right calls. But yeah, incredibly proud. I mean, I already had goosebumps when they were playing the national anthem before the start. And you know, even with all the bad weather, the rain, the fans were still going at it, so an incredible atmosphere.
You also now equalled Sebastian Vettel with nine wins in a row. I think that's mega spectacular. Are you up for the 10th one next week?
MV: I'll think about it next week. I'm first going to enjoy this weekend. You know it's always tough. The pressure is on to perform and very happy of course to win here.
Max, what an extraordinary race. So much action, so much tension. How satisfying was it to deliver the win?
MV: Yeah, it's fantastic. Look at this [shows bags of sweets]. I got this now. It's the highlight of the day for me. Well, yeah, I mean, the race itself was very hectic, of course. I mean, lining up and seeing the rain coming down, yeah, it was tough to make the right calls. I mean, I thought together with the team, you know, they told me, like, the rain is coming, but maybe not enough to switch to an Inter or maybe survive for a few laps, you know, so we decided together to stay out for one more lap, but that at the end of day was then the wrong call. But it made the race definitely more fun, because from there onwards I had to pass a few cars, I had to close the gap up front. But luckily I think within a few laps I closed down like 10 seconds of the gap. So that was very important for the rest of my race. And when we went on to the slick tyres as well, I think that the tyres were holding on quite well on the car for my stint and it was very enjoyable to drive. But then you think you're going to have, let's say, an easy ride home, and then they tell me 10, 15 laps before the end, there's some rain coming again. And this time it was not just some rain, it was quite a lot. So we pit for Inters and within a lap it almost becomes undriveable on an Inter and we opted to go to an extreme. But the problem we have at the moment is that the Intermediate is basically too good compared to the extreme. So even when there's a downpour like that you still actually want to be on an Inter because it's faster, but at one point there were so many rivers on the track it just becomes incredibly dangerous. So at the time, I was a bit, well, not upset, but disappointed with the red flag. But I guess in hindsight, with so many people on Intermediates it was probably the right thing to do.
And Max the car seemed competitive in all conditions.
MV: Yeah, it was quick on the Intermediates and quick on the Soft tyres as well.
Now, what were the most stressful moments in that race? And how worried were you by Fernando, just ahead of that mini-Sprint at the end?
MV: Yeah, I think the first laps on the slicks were quite stressful. You don't want to immediately go off the track. And also knowing how much grip there is still out there on the tyres, with the amount of water coming down, was not easy. And of course the final restart, you know, with seven laps ago, six laps to go or whatever, I knew that my first lap the whole weekend already has not been the best with warm-up, so I knew that I had to survive that first lap. And yeah, Fernando was pushing very hard behind and I could see him close in my mirrors. But once I had the temperature in my tyres it was all well balanced again.
And you've equalled Sebastian Vettel's record of nine in a row and the team's unbeaten run this season continues. Can we get your thoughts on that?
MV: Yeah, it was probably one of the more difficult races to win again. But yeah, nine in a row was something I never even thought about. So yeah, very happy with that. But I think I'm in general very happy to win here in front of my own crowd.
Max, very well done to you. Thank you. I'm sure there'll be some more questions in a minute. Fernando, coming to you now. What a race, your seventh podium of the season. You seem to have incredible pace in all conditions as well?
FA: Yes, today the car was really working really well. And yeah, I felt confident driving. I had trust in the car, which obviously in these conditions you need that level of trust in how much you push. And yeah, the car was fast in dry, it was fast on Inters and probably our most competitive part was at the beginning of the race when it was just a few drops of rain but we still were on the slick Tire. And yeah, quickly we switched to the Inters, so we could not capitalise on that. But we still made some moves - in Turn 3 at the start, on Alex and George, and also on Lando on lap two. So yeah, I was quite happy with the race and it was one of those Sundays where you feel connected with the car, you feel in sync with the car, and everything you do, the car is just answering perfectly.
You were running some upgrades here. Do you think you've got back to where you were earlier in the season? Or is it too early to say after a race like that?
FA: I think it's too early to say. I think that the car is better than the previous events that's for sure. I felt the car was, as I said, easier to drive. We were more competitive. We've been in the top five in every session this weekend. It was not only in the race where we were fast. I think we felt competitive since Friday. But Monza next week is a completely different layout, minimum downforce there and drag. And let's see if we can still be competitive.
You said on the radio, 'we will win one soon', maybe there. One final one from me, Fernando, just give us your thoughts going into that mini-Sprint at the end? Were you thinking about winning or were you thinking of just defending second?
FA: I was thinking about trying. So I was not conservative, let's say! I thought about what to do, a lot, in the red flag period. So I thought, what were the possibilities, obviously, the move into Turn 2 was something that was in my head, also into Turn 1. I discussed it with the team as well. That was my feeling, that I wanted to try today. But obviously, I don't want to compromise any big points for the team, because second was very important as well. But they were happy with me to try. I think they have the trust in me as well and in whatever I decide. So yeah, at the restart, I tried in Turn 4 launching the lap, trying to be flat in the banking with the cold tyres, which is a little bit risky, and tried to be side-by-side at least into Turn 1 but I was not that close. So after that I tried some different lines - inside, outside - the opposite of Max for the first lap, in case one of the lines was very grippy or much grippier than he is. And yeah, it was close, but not enough.
Check out our Sunday gallery from Zandvoort here.