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United States GP: FIA Drivers Press Conference


Group 1: Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz, Lance Stroll, Logan Sargeant and Lando Norris.

Q: Welcome, Logan, we can't really call you a local boy because it's not Miami, but it is your second home race of the season. Logan, just how much are you looking forward to this one?
Logan Sargeant: Yeah, a lot for sure. It's a very good track for me with Williams; obviously joined the Driver Academy here in 2021, did my first FP1 here last year. And it's the first car track in America that I've ever driven so it's nice to be back and nice to be back in an F1 car.

Q: Well, you mentioned that FP1 last year, you did 23 laps. How crucial is that, given that we're going into a sprint weekend?
LSa: Yeah, I think it's definitely going to help, considering the sprint. It's quite a tricky track to get to grips with for sure, sector one in particular, but I think having that knowledge from last year is going to help and I think one FP - we just did it in Qatar, I didn't know that track and it was okay so all should be good.

Q: What about the car here? The Williams hasn't been updated much recently. What are your expectations?
LSa: Yeah, it's definitely been difficult. Obviously, other teams are bringing more and more upgrades. We're sticking with what we have and focusing on next year, but as Alex showed in Qatar there's always opportunity, just being in the right place, keep it clean and that's what we need to try and do. You never know until you put the car on the ground, but I'm sure it's going to be a difficult weekend as always, always fighting to try and push ourselves up the grid, but it's not easy with where we're at the moment.

Q: Well, what would it mean to get your first points in Formula 1 on home ground?
LSa: Yeah, it would be awesome. I mean, that's the goal. We're going to do everything to put ourselves in that position, obviously, two qualifyings in two races to do well and I believe we can do so.

Q: And the weather is beautiful here in Austin; it's going to be 30 degrees plus every day. Do you expect this to be as hard physically as the last race in Qatar?
LSa: I don't think that's possible. No, I think it'll be okay. I'm from America, I've never felt heat like I felt in Qatar. So yeah, I think it should be fun.

Q: Logan, how long did it take you to recover from Qatar because I remember you telling us in the press conference earlier in the year that you don't use a drinks bottle. Has there been a change of plan?
LSa: I have been using the drinks bottle from Singapore onwards. To be honest, in that heat, it wasn't really helping much. It was burning hot water. The seat was boiling or blistering hot. It was just a tricky one. But yeah, it wasn't ideal.

Q: Lance, while we're reflecting on the heat of Qatar, how did you find it? How long did it take you to get over it after the race?
Lance Stroll: Yeah, it was hot, for sure. I think we all felt it. It took me a good few days after the race to feel 100% again.

Q: Do you suffer from the same heat issues that Fernando does in the car underneath the seat?
LSt: Yeah, my ass was on fire. I think all of all of ours were!

Q: Now it was a frustrating race as well as the heat. It was a frustrating race for you because you actually finished in a points-paying position, but then because of track limits violations you dropped out of the points. Do you expect track limits to be an issue here in Austin?
LSt: For sure, there's a few corners here you've got to watch out for. I think it's something to think about at a lot of tracks now with the track limits being a challenge.

Q: And what about car performance this weekend? What can we expect?
LSt: We have a few bits coming into the car this weekend. So I hope we can be competitive.

Q: And McLaren are just 11 points behind Aston Martin now. Are you feeling to continue the heat theme? Are you feeling the heat from McLaren?
LSt: Yeah, they're quick so not ideal. We'll see what we can do from now until the end of the year.

Q: Carlos, let's come to you now. I'm enjoying the look by the way.
Carlos Sainz: Yeah, I just wear whatever they tell me to wear but if you guys like, I like it.

Q: Tell us a little bit about what you've been up to this week. I think you came via New York, there was a Ferrari gala. How was that?
CS: Yeah, I've been also trying to recover from Qatar but not so much physically because I didn't race but mentally from not being able to take part in that race, which, in hindsight, actually, there was a race to miss probably Qatar, looking back and looks like a good one to maybe skip. But yeah, it's been a couple of days in New York with an event and getting to see the city for the first time. I had never been, believe it or not. It's been nine years on the road, travelling the world in F1 but I had never stopped in New York before so I got a couple of days there. Big, quite a bit of traffic, love the restaurants, loved Central Park but now in Austin ready to focus on what matters, at least trying to get hopefully back in the podium this weekend.

Q: You talked about not racing in Qatar. Just tell us what you did during the race. Did you get involved in strategy? Or were you just an interested observer?
CS: I was an interested observer but obviously looking at strategy and looking at... I was constantly looking where I would have been? Like the brain is always going to this race trace and saying I would have been here with my strategy, I would have tried to do this, this and then you just realise that it's not worth it because you get even more frustrated and you start thinking what if, what if, what if? Yeah, it was frustrating from a driver's perspective to watch the race from the barriers but it's how it goes. And yeah, hopefully looks like we will get a bit of a heat experience also here in Austin. Yeah, I love this track, I love how this place becomes on Saturday, Sunday with the fans and how cool it is to drive it. So yeah, I'll hopefully forget Qatar soon.

Q: Well, after the DNS, the did not start in Qatar do you have any reliability concerns coming into this weekend?
CS: No, we've changed a lot of parts in the car to try and obviously correct the issue that affected us in Qatar. We are trying also to find solutions in the long term, not only in the short term because it's definitely something that we are not happy with and we've also had issues in the past so yeah, a bit of a headache that is giving us this fuel tank now and then but yeah, we will try and put it back together this weekend and hopefully shouldn't be any issues anytime soon.

Q: Carlos, Lance has already spoken about the pace of McLaren at the moment. They're only 79 points behind Ferrari in the Constructors' championship. Lando actually said last time out that he thinks that gap can be closed. What are your thoughts?
CS: I think if we don't have any other DNS or DNFs, I think we should be able to keep them behind. Doesn't mean that they're not going to beat us. I think they're going to beat us in most of the races from here to the end of the season, if all things are aligned because they do have a very quick car nowadays and they look to be the only ones that can at certain times bother Red Bull and as we are in a track like Singapore, where maybe it's more us. But yeah, I don't know. I was playing golf yesterday with Lando and we were discussing whether they will be ahead this weekend, we will be ahead. Maybe qualifying, maybe race but basically we don't know. So let's see tomorrow.

Q: Who was ahead in the golf?
CS: We didn't compete in the end. But it was fun. We played 12 holes in Sunset so it was good fun.

Q: Valtteri coming to you now, love the Stetson although I think some people watching might have expected to see you wearing budgie smugglers. Is that right?
Valtteri Bottas: I could wear both.

Q: Are you wearing both?
VB: Who knows? I'll leave your imagination to decide.

Q: Now Valtteri, you've actually already been racing in the US; you were in Kansas, weren't you, I think, over the weekend? Was it the Belgian Waffle Ride? How did you get on?
VB: Correct, yeah. It's another gravel race I did with my girlfriend Tiffany and it was good. It's always seems to be the weekend before Austin so with the time difference it makes sense to come early and enjoy the event and yeah, it went well.

Q: And something else that went well was Qatar, of course, last time out: both you and Zhou finishing in the points. It had been a while. How much was that result needed by the team?
VB: Much needed. It really felt refreshing for everyone in the team because once you're doing so many races and without any points for sure, it starts to eat everybody's confidence a little bit, like you start to wonder, can you do it and now again, we proved for everyone in the team, yes, we can do it. If we get everything right, we can score. So definitely, yeah, a bit better vibe overall now and I hope that can carry for a bit better end of the season.


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