Site logo

Mexican GP: FIA Drivers Press Conference


Group 1: Nico Hulkenberg, Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon, Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda.

Nico, let's start with you. It's not your first rodeo, 200 races. It's a hell of a milestone. Just talk us through it.
Nico Hulkenberg: Yeah! Yeah, it's been good. It's been fun. Obviously, nice achievement 200 races in the bank. This time last year, I was obviously not in a position where I saw that coming but that's how things are, how quickly things can change in F1. So, end of next year, I'm going to be close to 230s. And, you know, nice, makes me happy. I do what I like, what I'm passionate about and... happy.

Many celebrations this weekend? I know you've got a special helmet.
NH: Yeah, but it's not the time to celebrate. It's a time to work. You know, we're still in the Championship. And, you know, none of the competition will give anything, so the usual grind really.

Can you just reflect for a minute? Let's talk about maybe your best race in the last 199?
NH: Tough one. I felt that drove really well last Sunday, but it was like a P12-13, so, you know! It didn't really surface and show much. There's been a lot of fun ones, good ones also. Likewise obviously some bad ones and some where I don't like to remember so much back to them, but all-in-all, you know, it's a great industry, F1, really cool environment, fun to be part of it again, especially now the second stint since the comeback this year. I've been really enjoying myself, enjoyed more, enjoyed a lot and happy to continue.

Well, how much did you enjoy your car? Last weekend? You were running the much-anticipated upgrades? What were you feeling?
NH: Yeah, so obviously, Sprint weekend, so not an easy one for us. And then obviously, we decided to do some big set-up changes and opted for the pit-lane start which obviously, made life a bit harder for the race. But in hindsight, it was the right decision. We were more competitive on Sunday. And I think that was the first time and the first day where some positive signs and steps were seen. I think, in terms of tyre management, this was one of the best races in a while for us. So, still exploring, still finding out and learning more about the package. And I hope there's more to come as we go. But it was it was positive, let's say.

What does it mean for this weekend in Mexico?
NH: What does it mean? Hopefully a better performance. I mean, it's obviously a quite different circuit here, different circumstances, you know, the usual Mexico challenges here with cooling, for car, for brakes, the thin air. It's always challenging, every year. But it's just about, you know, maximising our package and putting the best car possible on the track.

Pierre, let's come to you, then. A really strong weekend for you in Austin, last time out. You were seventh in the Sprint, sixth in the Grand Prix on Sunday. What aspects of the whole weekend, pleased you the most?
Pierre Gasly: Well, I will say probably the whole weekend. As a whole. I think we've been executing, and getting the best out of that car every single session. So, whether it was the Qualifying on Friday, whether it was the Sprint on Saturday, or even the race, I feel like we we've left nothing on the table. And that's definitely a satisfying feeling, when you come out of a weekend where you know, you've given everything and that's pretty much the maximum you could get out of it. So, I think that's going to be the target until the end of the year. Obviously we're not fighting for anything in the Championship this season so I think it's going to be the main focus will be to just execute weekend after weekend the highest level, whether it's on the execution or getting everything out of our car.

Pierre, it wasn't just Austin, your form has skyrocketed since the Summer Break. I think it's 36 points in the six races since the break, whereas it was only 22 points in the 13 races prior to that. What do you put this turnaround down to?
PG: I will say the first part of the season, I quite rarely got that feeling, which we just had in Austin for example, where it felt everything was optimised and we definitely didn't leave anything on the table. I think there was a bit more unknown and getting to know each other with a team, and understanding what sort of car feedback, kind of building the relationship with the team, and everything seems to click a bit better since we got back from the Summer Break. So, I'm really happy with the progress we're making, in terms of execution, the attitude, the self-reflection on what we do every single weekend, on all areas. And I think overall, we're just making a step forward as a team, which is what we need to aim for before next season.

And in terms of performance, what can we expect from you and Alpine this weekend?
PG: Well, I think pretty much the same we have seen last weekend. We seem to be not quite there with the guys ahead, the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull. We are not too far from Aston and we can be right in front of them if they don't get it quite right, like they did in Austin, so I think that's going to be our main competition. If we can get in a fight with Fernando a couple of times until the end of the year, I think that will definitely be a good performance and, as I said, just maximise the opportunities. There might be a couple of good opportunities until Abu Dhabi and just need to make sure we're there to grab them.

Last question from me. Can we throw it back to last weekend and, off track, Rory McIlroy was one of the guests of the team. You've obviously got a big golf match coming up in just a couple of weeks now...
PG: ... we were just talking about it and how stressed we are about it!

...what advice did Rory give you. I'm sure you talked about it.
PG: I did manage to get a free golf lesson from Rory. We did a putt challenge and somehow managed to beat him. Okay, I had a hole which was pretty much double the size that he had. And yeah, that was the bet on the line: I told him okay, if I beat you, I want to free golf class from Rory and that's going to happen. I'm not sure we'll be able to do it before Vegas. But yeah, we got these big tournament coming up with Alex. I think we are in the in the worst seats at the minute compared to Lando and Carlos. So, we might get some practice together next week. We'll see. But yeah, that's definitely going to be a pretty cool experience to be on the golf course with these pro golfers. And just having Rory and Joshua last weekend in America was definitely an honour for us and great to have these guys' support.

Alex, unfair advantage, Rory McIlroy giving him a lesson. Who have you got teaching you?
PG: Girlfriend!

Alex Albon: Pretty much! I think I have a full-time coach, which is my girlfriend, but I don't listen to her... because she's my girlfriend. So, it's going to be tricky, I think. We're trying to find some time. I don't know how Pierre's doing but obviously a triple-header. And then we've got a week off - but that week off is normally spent travelling and doing simulator work. I'm going to struggle to get the practice in. We're going to embarrass ourselves quite badly on international television. So, it's a lot of pressure. I think it's becoming on my mind more than the races is coming up. Which is a problem.

Can we talk about one of the races that's just happened? After three point-less races for the team, you get a ninth and 10th in Austin. Just how welcome was that boost for everybody?
AA: Yeah, well, we score points in Qatar in the Sprint race, so we've been on, for us, what we call a bit of a run - two races in a row - the cars been feeling okay. Obviously we haven't had many upgrades for a while now. But, as Pierre touched on, a lot of it, in the midfield, because it's so tight, it's more about execution than anything else. And we seem to have a decent car and obviously, a couple of low ride-heights seemed to help us.

Now it was a big moment for Logan, of course, getting his first World Championship point. How vividly do you remember scoring your first points, in Bahrain 2019. And what difference did it make behind the wheel and the confidence that it gave you?
AA: It does make a big difference. I think when you can start off a season - I was quite lucky where I started off the season with points early on - it just settles the nerves. So, it's always that thing, where your first goal is to score points, then it would be to score a podium, and then win races, and then win championships - but you want to get the points first. That's kind-of your first checklist tick that you want to do. I'm sure it happened in a way which is not that normal, on the plane, on the way back, that you get the results given to you, but I'm sure Logan is enjoying it and can use that for some momentum for the rest of the year.

Final one for me, just this weekend in Mexico, what can we expect from you and from Williams?
AA: Let's see, let's see. Should be an interesting weekend. Last year wasn't that good for us: low speed corners don't tend to too well for us, and this is predominantly third gear king of style, so let's see how it goes. We've seen our car can be unexpected at times and I wouldn't want to say that we can score points this weekend but I think we can be close, and hopefully rely on some drivers and teams not optimising their packages, and then we can take over. So, all to play for.

Esteban, coming to you now. It was another frustrating one for you last time out in Austin. I think, officially, it's your sixth DNF of the season but if we include races like Australia, I think you can almost make that number eight. It's been a difficult run. How frustrated are you feeling right now?
Esteban Ocon: Well, I think if you let the frustration get to you, you are not looking ahead, and obviously, that's what I'm looking at, trying to get things back running like they were at the time in the year. And obviously, yes, we had quite a few DNF that cost us this this year. But, you know, it's sometimes like this in motor sport. It happens. And, yeah, we're going to be focusing on the right things this weekend, and hopefully get a good weekend under our belt.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Mexico City here.


more news >



galleries >

  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images


or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment



No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page


Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms