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Sao Paulo Grand Prix: Post Sprint press conference


Track Interviews - Conducted by Naomi Schiff.

Checo, congratulations on third place for you today. We saw some really nice battles between you and George. How was the race from your perspective?
Sergio Perez: Yeah, it was not an easy one. I had a terrible start, ended-up losing a place to George and then another place to Lewis into Turn 4, and from then on, I was fighting. I had to use all of my tyres and then I think I paid the price towards the end. Overall, it's been a good day, good points there - but unfortunately, I think without the start, we could have been a lot further up.

We heard a lot of interaction on the radio between Max and GP about tyre deg and maintaining the tyres. Were you dealing with that a lot in the car as well? And, as you said, those battles didn't allow you really to not push as much as you would need to.
SP: Yeah, the problem I had is that I couldn't manage. I had to push and we know that this place is very sensitive for that. So, I ended up pushing a lot and unfortunately in the end it ended-up costing us.

Well, you scored six points there, Lewis only scored two. That gives you four points more in the buffer between the two of you. How important is that for you?
SP: Obviously it's important - but it's more important to keep the momentum going now. We had a very good day overall and yeah, hopefully tomorrow, which is the main race, we can consolidate on a strong result.

Lando, unfortunately not the win you would have wanted to have today, but it's still a second place. What happened off the line? Seemed like reaction times initially were pretty decent and then at the end Max just seemed to have more power.
Lando Norris: No, he doesn't have more power. I think I have more power, but, I don't know. I have to review it. It's something to look back on to. Like you said, my initial start was good but the second phase of the launch... maybe I was just a bit conservative. I don't think I had any wheelspin. I was just a little bit on the safe side. Things to improve for tomorrow but nevertheless, caught sleeping a little bit with George on Lap One but the pace was strong after. I tried to go after Max, but just didn't have enough. But it was good fun.

You say the pace was strong but it seemed that Max was managing quite a lot initially when you were in striking distance, and then at the end he pulled quite a bit gap. Does that make you a little bit more concerned for tomorrow? You've got to fight back from Seventh I believe it is...
LN: Sixth!

Does that concern you for tomorrow? Or what did you feel about your race pace compared to those around you?
LN: There was no-one around me, apart from Max, and he's in a Red Bull, so no, I'm not concerned. If anything, encouraged a lot with how good our pace was today. We're not fighting necessarily Max. I think we're talking about competing against one of the best drivers in one of the best cars that's ever been in Formula 1. We're not going to be suddenly fighting a Red Bull in a track which we almost didn't expect to be as good as it has been again. So, many good surprises and a lot of positives for us. Of course, tomorrow I'll try again but I'll have to do a bit more overtaking.

Tomorrow's another day. Maybe we'll see another Mexico drive from sixth place.
LN: I'll try.

Max, congratulations, that's another victory this season for a Sprint race. How was it out there for you?
Max Verstappen: yeah, I think it was, of course, important to try to get ahead at the start. I think the initial launch wasn't, let's say, amazing but the second part of the start was very good. So, we got alongside and yeah, then it was all about management. You know here, this track, there's a lot of deg. The tyres are wearing a lot. So, 24 laps on one tyre set is very long, so just trying to maintain a constant lap-time, and I think we managed the race quite well out there today.

Where you surprised to see though, how much deg there was. Because there was quite a bit of conversation between you and your engineer. We were surprised to see the whole grid, the majority of the whole grid was on Softs, and then for you all, or most of you to be managing, was that a bit of a surprise or expected?
MV: No, I mean, last year was very difficult for us around here, so today was much better but yeah, it's still, for everyone out there, you know, you can't push flat-out. It's all about just keeping the tyres under control - and I think we did that well today.

Well, tomorrow's another day. Are you encouraged by your pace today for a potential victory tomorrow in front of a crowd that you like to visit quite a lot.
MV: Yeah, it's a great start. I think we learned a lot during that race and hopefully we can do something similar tomorrow.

Press Conference

Max, many congratulations. In terms of the win, you did the damage at the start. Just talk us through those opening moments of the race, first of all.
MV: Yeah, I think the initial getaway wasn't that fantastic. I think my release wasn't very good, but then the second bit was very strong, and I could get alongside. So that definitely helped, of course in the beginning of the race. We know 24 laps around here, it's all about tyre management. Yeah, just incredibly difficult around here. A lot of deg. I mean, last year we were struggling a lot with that already in the Sprint race and that's why I was a bit careful. And yeah, luckily it worked out. I mean, the whole race, the tyres, they don't feel particularly great around here. But yeah, with the management that we did, I think it worked out and we won the race.

At what point in the race did you start managing the tyres?
MV: The out lap!

Are you serious? You were managing from the start?
MV: There is not one lap where I pushed flat-out. You can't. It's impossible.

OK, so you take Lando at the start, and thereafter, it looked like you were controlling the pace, keeping Lando where you wanted him. Is that the case?
MV: Yeah. It's like handing a cookie! I'm joking. I think, like I said, it's all about management. At one point in the race it looked like, you know, Lando was catching a bit, and then I had a better feeling with the car again and I could look after the tyres a bit better and I could pull away again at the end, so yeah, it was close. And I think tomorrow also we have pit stops in the race, so you never know what can happen.

Let's just talk a little bit more about tomorrow. You're going to be starting on the other side of the grid. I guess Lando cleaned your grid spot for you today.
MV: Put some rubber down! Yeah, we'll see. Tomorrow again is also a bit of a different start on full fuel loads, so I think it requires again, a bit of a different launch but we'll find out tomorrow.

Max very well done today. Lando, talk us through those opening moments of the race from your point of view. Just how good was your initial launch and then the run into Turn 1?
LN: Talk you through it... I was first and then second... I don't know, I think I have to re-watch it. I'm not sure what happened. My reaction and initial drop was good but then the second phase, not so good. But that's all I know for now. So yeah, tough opening lap I would say. Obviously not what I wanted and then always difficult to manage the tyres as much as you want, when you're in second. But still a good race, it was still good fun. I was caught sleeping a little bit with George. He was pushing a lot on the opening couple laps and I feel like maybe he paid the price quite heavily on lap three and four and five and six and seven and eight, all the way to the end. But I tried then to get into the DRS of Max. I thought if I had an opportunity, I would try and get it early on, so I could kind of control the race a little bit more from out front and in some cleaner air. But I never quite got close enough and I struggled just a little bit too much, especially in the last five laps of the race, to look after the tyres as much as Max was able to do. But nevertheless a strong race and good points.

Tell us a little bit about your tyre wear? Were you managing from the out lap as well, like Max?
LN: I was managing in qualifying already. These are the tyres from quali, right? So yeah, it's a tough circuit. You don't feel like you can push anywhere. It's kind of always a little bit like this, but it feels, I don't know, similar to COTA in a way, like you do two laps then after that you've got no grip and you're managing and you have one little wheel spin and it costs you two or three tenths straightaway. So again, a management-based race. Positives, because this definitely wasn't a circuit where we were expecting to be at all close to the Red Bull. If you look at the data from last year and where we're good and bad this definitely wasn't up there with one of the good ones. And we weren't expecting it to be, necessarily, a very good one and sometimes we're good in quali and then quite poor in the race. But today we were good compared to everyone, except Max. So yeah, tough, but a good day for us.

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