Saturday 29 August 2015

Part Two: The A to Z of Formula 1

- F - 

Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile was founded on 20 June 1904 to represent the interests of motoring organizations and motor car users. The FIA draws up the technical and racing regulations for a number of motorsports including Formula 1 and are based in Geneva. The current president is Jean Todt.

Scuderia Ferrari is a racing team under the umbrella of the Ferrari automobile organization. The team races primarily in Formula One but has competed in other series in motorsport since its formation in 1929, including sportscar racing (Endurance racing etc.). The team was founded by Enzo Ferrari, at first to race cars produced by Alfa Romeo, but by 1947 Ferrari had begun building its own cars. Ferrari is the oldest surviving and the most successful team in the history of Formula One, having competed in every world championship since 1950, the only team to do so. 

Noteworthy Important achievements outside Formula One are the World Sportscar Championship, 24 Hours of LeMans, 24 Hours of Daytona, 24 Hours of Sebring, races for GT cars and racing on road courses of the Targa Florio, the Mille Miglia and the Carrera Panamericana.

As a constructor, Ferrari has a record of 16 Constructors’ Championships, the last of which was won in 2007. Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Mike Hawthorn, Phil Hill, John Surtees, Niki Lauda, Jody Scheckter, Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen have won a record 15 Drivers’ Championships for the Scuderia [Team]. Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel are the current drivers’ at Scuderia Ferrari. 

Fire Extinguisher
Formula 1 cars are required to have a fire extinguisher that spreads foam around the chassis and engine area. It must be operable both by the driver and from outside the car.

Flag signals are used to communicate messages to the drivers on the track. Now-a-days, the system is supported by a display on the steering wheel, known as the GPS marshalling system, which lights up with the relevant flag colour as the driver passes the affected sector of the circuit. 

Flat Spot
A flat spot is the area of a tyre that is worn heavily on one spot after a moment of extreme braking (lock-up) or in the course of a spin. This ruins its handling, often causing bad vibration, and may result in a driver to pit for a new set of tyres.

The contact area between the tyre and the track surface also known as a contact patch. 

Formation Lap
The lap before the start of the race when the cars are driven round from the grid to form up on the grid again for the start of the race. Sometimes referred to as the warm-up lap or parade lap.

Formula 1
The term 'Formula 1' was not introduced until after the Second World War. Formula One is the highest class of a single seater racing series that is sanctioned by the FIA. The first Formula 1 World Championship took place in 1950 under the direction of the FIA. The first race in the World Championship was the British Grand Prix on 13 May 1950, although other F1 races were regularly held until 1983. 

Formula 1 Commission
This commission consists of representatives from the teams, race organisers, engine manufacturers, sponsors, tyre manufacturers and of course the FIA. The commission decides whether changes to the regulations suggested by the FIA’s technical committee should be implemented.

Formula One Group
The Formula One Group is a group of companies responsible for the promotion of the FIA Formula One World Championship and consists of Formula One Management (FOM), Formula One Administration (FOA) and Formula One Licensing BV, which are subsidiaries of the Formula One Holdings (FOH) holding company headed by Bernie Ecclestone and investment company CVC Capital Partners. 

Formula One Teams Association (FOTA)
FOTA is a group of Formula One teams formed at a meeting in Maranello on 29 July 2008. The organisation was formed to give the teams a united voice in negotiations with the FIA and the Formula One Group regarding the future of Formula One. All current teams are members and was formed with the objective of presenting a united voice in their ongoing discussions with the FIA and the Formula One Group regarding the future of Formula 1. 

A proposed budget cap for the 2010 season led to the FIA-FOTA dispute, which saw a number of Formula One teams rejecting the new regulations and threatening to establish a new racing series. The dispute was resolved with the signing of a revised Concorde Agreement. McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, replaced Montezemolo in December 2009, and the group was involved in discussions with the FIA for future Formula One regulations. Four teams pulled out of FOTA at the end of 2011, and the association lost its purpose as the teams came to individual agreements ahead of a new Concorde Agreement in 2013. FOTA was formally dissolved in 2014.

Free Practice
During these practice sessions before a Grand Prix, the lap times are recorded, but they have no influence on the starting order or the race result. The teams use them as an opportunity to test upgrades as well as set their cars up for the respective track and completing a qualifying and race simulations on the tyres supplied by Pirelli [Tyres supplier].

Friday Practice Drivers
Teams may run up to four drivers (but still only two cars) in either Friday session.

Front Wing
Creates downward pressure (downforce) on the front area of the Formula 1 car and is an important part of the aerodynamics. Details of the front wing sometimes change for every new race – according to how much downforce is required for the respective circuits. Apart from that, the drivers make adjustments to the front wing during set up, mainly modifying the angle of the second flap. From 2014 the front wing width was reduced from 1800mm to 1650mm – less 75mm each side. 

Super unleaded fuel is used in Formula 1. Its composition must meet FIA regulations. It conforms to the strictest EU exhaust standards. Random tests at each race ensure conformity with the rules. Each team can choose its supplier freely, but it must submit a sample of the fuel used to the FIA before the season for test purposes. Fuel is limited to 100kg per race, and a maximum flow rate of 100kg/hour. Previously fuel was unlimited in both respects, but cars typically carried about 160kg per race.

- G - 

Formula One cars use semi-automatic sequential gearboxes, with regulations stating that 8 forward gears (increased from 7 since the 2014 season) and 1 reverse gear must be used, with rear-wheel drive. The gearbox is constructed of carbon titanium, as heat dissipation is important and is bolted onto the back of the engine. Full automatic gearboxes and systems such as launch control and traction control, are illegal, to keep driver skill important in controlling the car. The driver initiates gear changes using paddles mounted on the back of the steering wheel and electro-hydraulics perform the actual change as well as throttle control. Clutch control is also performed electro-hydraulically, except to and from a standstill, when the driver operates the clutch using a lever mounted on the back of the steering wheel. 

Shift times for Formula One cars are in the region of 0.05 seconds. In order to keep costs low in Formula One, gearboxes must last five consecutive events and since year (2015), gearbox ratios will be fixed for full season (for 2014 they could be changed only once). Changing a gearbox before the allowed time will cause a penalty of five places drop on the grid for the first event that the new gearbox is used.

Gear Ratios
Ratios are the numbers of teeth on mating gears. Tuning the gear ratios to the track is very important. A "short gear" will result in higher torque but a lower top speed whilst a "long gear" does the opposite. If revs are not reaching the maximum at the end of the main straight the gears can be shortened. On the otherhand, setting the intermediate gears aims to give the maximum torque out of the various corners on the track. 

A physical force equivalent to one unit of gravity that is multiplied during rapid changes of direction or velocity. Drivers experience severe G-forces as they corner, accelerate and brake. Formula One drivers can experience loads of up to 5G.

Like the racing overalls, the gloves are also made of Nomex®, a fire resistant material. The closefitting gloves with suede leather palms provide the necessary sensitivity for steering. Drivers’ like the seams of the gloves on the outside to prevent irritation while racing. 

Graining is a specific type of wear on a tyre. It starts when very high side forces are exerted on the tyre, leading to high sliding. In this case small rolls of rubber move over the surface of the tyre on both the front and rear tyres. A typical outcome of graining is understeer in the front tyres. When a car slides, it can cause little bits or rubber (grains) to break away from the tyre's grooves.These then stick to the tread of the tyre, effectively separating the tyre from the track surface very slightly. Careful driving can clear the graining within a few laps, but will obviously have an effect on the driver's pace. Driving style, track conditions, car set-up, fuel load and the tyre itself all play a role in graining. In essence, the more the tyre moves about on the track surface (ie slides), the more likely graining is.

Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA)
The GPDA was founded in May 1961 and following an election by members, its inaugural Chairman was Stirling Moss. The GPDA represents the interests of Formula 1 drivers. The organisation was disbanded during the 1982 Formula One season due to the sport's changing commercial arrangements and the conflict between the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) and FIA. It was replaced by the Professional Racing Drivers Association. 

Niki Lauda and Gerhard Berger re-established the GPDA over the 1994 Monaco Grand Prix race weekend, following the events of the preceding San Marino Grand Prix, which culminated with the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, during the Sunday race and Saturday qualifying respectively. In 1996, the association was incorporated in the UK as a company limited by guarantee ("Grand Prix Drivers Association Ltd"). For the first time, the association had a formal constitution, and permanent offices in Monaco. 

Gravel Trap
A bed of gravel on the outside of corners with an aim of bringing cars to a safe stop.

Green Flag
The driver/s has passed the potential danger point and is all clear to continue. 

The formation of the cars at the start of the race as determined during the qualifying sessions. Each staggered row of two cars is separated by 16 metres. 

Grid Penalty
Demotion a given number of places down the starting grid. In the 2014/2015 F1 season, each driver will be allowed to use 4 power units (engines) and 4 components for each power unit. If the driver goes over the limit they will receive a 10 place grid penalty and a 5 place grid penalty for additional power unit components used during the season.  

It describes how well the car sticks to the ground/circuit and how this affects cornering speeds. High grip means high cornering speeds. Main factors of grip are the aerodynamics (downforce) which is created by the car and the tyres’ properties. Without grip, a car will begin to slide or skid. The amount of traction a car has at any given point, affecting how easy it is for the driver to keep control through corners.

Romain Grosjean is a French driver who was born on 17 April 1986 in Geneva, Switzerland. He dominated the 2005 French Formula Renault championship on his first attempt and joined the Renault young driver program. He was the 2007 Formula 3 Euro Series drivers' champion. In 2008 he became the inaugural GP2 Asia Series champion and came 4th in his first year in the GP2 championship. In 2009 he made his F1 debut for Renault at the European Grand Prix and came 4th again in GP2 despite missing the final 8 races. After being dropped by Renault he returned to junior formula winning the 2010 AutoGP championship on his first attempt and winning the 2011 GP2 Asia Series and GP2 Series becoming the first – and as of December 2014, only – two-time GP2 Asia champion and the only driver to hold both the GP2 Asia series and main GP2 series titles simultaneously.  

In 2012, Grosjean returned to Formula One with the Lotus F1 Team, alongside Kimi Räikkönen. He took his first podium in Formula One at the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix and took his first fastest lap in the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix. He became the first driver since 1994 to receive a race ban after causing a multi-car pileup at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix. In 2013 he remained with Lotus, taking 6 podiums. He drove for Lotus again alongside Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado in the 2014 season. This line up was continued for 2015. For the 2015 F1 season, drivers’ were required to select a permanent racing number. Romain Grosjean chose number 8. Romain Grosjean: “My wife was born the 8th of December, we started dating in 2008 and besides, to my eyes my son is the 8th wonder of the world. That’s why I picked up number 8.” 

Ground Clearance
The distance between the floor and the circuit or track.

Ground Effect
The contact force generated by an aerodynamically shaped floor. In the seventies, sills were attached to the sides of the cars to create a vacuum underneath the car that helped the car stick to the circuit. The enormous grip allowed for extremely high cornering speeds. The pure ground effect cars developed in the seventies were banned by the FIA for safety reasons and now the main source of ground force is limited to the Diffuser.

An L-shaped flap on the trailing edge of a car’s wing. Pioneered by Dan Gurney in the 1970's they increase downforce with only a relatively small increase in drag coefficient when compared to increasing the angle of the wing.

- H - 

A tight, 180-degree bend. The most famous are the Grand Hotel hairpin in Monaco, and "La Source" at Spa-Franchorchamps 

Half Black, Half White Flag
Accompanied by a car number, it warns of unsporting behaviour. May be followed by a black flag if the driver does not heed the warning.

Head and Neck Support (HANS)
Since the 2003 season, the drivers’ have been given additional head and neck protection in the form of the Head and Neck Support system (HANS). HANS consists of a carbon shoulder piece that is connected to two safety belts and the driver's helmet. In an accident, HANS is intended to prevent stretching of the vertebrae as well as preventing the driver's head from hitting the steering wheel. Short for Head and Neck Support Device, a mandatory safety device that fits over the driver's shoulders and connects to the back of the helmet to prevent excessive head and neck movement in the event of an accident.

Removable padding on the inside of the cockpit around the driver’s head and designed to absorb any potential impact. The two side pads must be at least 95 mm thick, and a thickness of between 75 and 90 mm is stipulated for the rear pad. 

Heat Cycle
A tyre that has been heated up through use and then cooled down has experienced one heat cycle. This often results in a slight hardening of the tyre compound, which can make the tyre perform at a high level for a longer period of time.

The helmet is made of carbon, polyethylene and Kevlar and weighs approximately 1.3 kilogrammes. Like the cars, it is designed in a wind tunnel to reduce drag as much as possible. Helmets are subjected to extreme deformation and fragmentation tests. Only helmets tested and authorised by the FIA may be used in races.

- I - 

Installation Lap
A lap in where drivers head out of the pits, drive around the circuit and take up their respective grid slots. 

A tyre with features somewhere between those of dry and wet weather tyres. The intermediate has more tread than dry weather tyres and less tread than wet weather models. It is used for mixed weather or light rain.

International Court of Appeal
The FIA’s Court of Appeal is composed of professional judges, and its 15 members are appointed for a three year term. In order for the court to make a legally binding decision, the presence of at least three judges is required, none of which may be of the same nationality as the parties involved. A Formula 1 team that is unwilling to accept a decision by the racing commissioners can appeal to the FIA’s International Court of Appeal. In this case, a declaration of intent must be submitted within an hour of the decision. The FIA, too, can send a decision by the commissioners to the Court of Appeal.

International Sporting Code
The International Sporting Code (ISC) is a set of rules which are valid for all motorsport events that are governed by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The ISC consists of 17 chapters and several appendices. It contains definitions, general principles, and regulations, as well as rules for race organizers, contenders, racers, and official referees. As the sport of motor racing is very hierarchic, the ISC also determines the rules of national racing federations.

- J - 

The J-Damper better known as the “Jounce-Damper” although technically it should be called a Jounce-Inerter, the term J-Damper was then came into effect to keep the technology secret for as long as possible. The purpose of the J-Damper is to reduce the effect of the spring and Damper oscillations and thus help the car to retain a better grip on the road.

Jump Start
A jump start occurs when a driver moves off his grid position before the five red lights have been switched off to signal the start of a race. Sensors on the grid slots detect premature movement and a jump start earns the driver a penalty which would be decided by the FIA Stewarts. 

Monday 24 August 2015

'Deflated Vettel' - By Jake Davis

This fantastic weekly F1 Toon was designed and created by Jake Davis Creative. Prints are available in sizes A4, A3 and A2. Commissions are also available. If you would like to order a PRINT of this fantastic F1 Toon feel free to contact him via:
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Sunday 23 August 2015



1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

2 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

3 – Romain GROSJEAN (Lotus)


(Conducted by David Coulthard)

Lewis, your 39th grand prix victory, your 80th time on the podium – equalling your great hero Ayrton Senna – a pretty good day at the office?

Lewis HAMILTON: Wow. How you guys doing, you good? We’ve had such a great crowd here this weekend. It’s been incredible, the whole circuit just packed out with all you fans, so thank you all for coming. And for me, just an amazing weekend again. Incredible job done by the team throughout the pit stops, throughout the whole weekend, the guys back at the factory… You know, today was a dream. The whole weekend the car was fantastic, so thank you guys.

It seemed to me that the only real concern you had after the start was after the Virtual Safety Car and Nico was able to get that gap down to just a few seconds. Any other concerns during the race?

LH: No. Nico had obviously good pace but I was able to answer most of the time, so I was fairly relaxed at the front. The car was feeling great and it was really about looking after the tyres, particularly at the end when I saw that one of the tyres had blown on another cars I was being very cautious, so in the last two laps Nico was allowed to close the gap. No, I felt in control all the way and as I said a lot of good assistance from the team, so I felt like 100 per cent all weekend.

OK, Lewis, congratulations, your summer holiday obviously treated you well. Just come to our second-placed finisher here.

Nico, congratulations. It seemed it all went away from you at the start. You were able to come back at Lewis later in the race, but just talk us through what went wrong there?

Nico ROSBERG: Yeah, I just completely messed up the start, so that was very annoying. I fought my way through. I gave it absolutely everything, I mean we were both on the edge all the way through. The car has been amazing, so I’m really thankful to the team again for giving us such a car. It’s awesome to drive it. And Lewis did a great job, so deserved to win. I tried to give it everything but not enough. 

Well, you certainly kept him honest. We know that you have a big event coming up in the coming few days, so you’ll not be wanting to spend too much time on the interviews. Your lovely wife is expecting your first child, so you’re rushing off after this?

NR: Yeah, I’m rushing off very, very quickly yes, because we’re expecting our first child any moment, so a very exciting time, looking forward to that, probably next week, let’s see.

We'll, good luck and congratulations for that. Now, Romain, welcome back, your 10th podium. This circuit saw one of the low points in your career I guess when you got a one-race ban, but focusing on this high today: fantastic and very timely for the Lotus team.

Romain GROSJEAN: Hello, everyone. It has been an incredible weekend for us. A great qualifying yesterday, unfortunately we had the grid penalty, and a good race. I still can’t believe that we are on the podium. Those guys have been working hard to give us that car to be able to be here today. Of course going into turn one, every time I take a start in Spa, I will remember 2012 but I think it made me stronger and indeed allowed me to be 10 times on the podium. Being here today is kind of special I think, it has the feel of a race win.

Well congratulations, fantastic to see you back up here and you’ve never stopped smiling through the difficult times? Lewis, as you recognise the fans down there, just a closing question from us. As you look into the second half of the season, it's still very close with your team-mate, but do you start to feel now that you’re getting your hands closer to another world title?

LH: It definitely way too early for that. But as I said coming into this weekend, you want to get those pole positions and translate them into wins and hopefully today is the beginning of that, so I’m looking forward to the next races, I hope to see many of these fans at some of the other races coming up.


Q: Lewis, Mercedes’ seventh one-two finish of the season, 2015, you just said on the podium there you were under control. Obviously a great start but obviously Nico was closing at various phases before the virtual safety car. I just wonder if the virtual safety car, also the cloud cover coming over, just helped you to bed in those medium tyres because after that initial spurt from Nico in the first lap or two after the virtual safety car, you were able to just stretch away from him. Maybe you could just tell us about that phase of the grand prix and his challenge at that point?

LH: It was really just about utilising the tyres, not having to push. I didn’t really push very hard on the out-laps, took it quite easy for the first three or four laps in which there was areas where Nico would be closing. And then I started to push after that – but I was really never in a position where I was nervous or anything. I had great pace in the car, the balance felt fantastic. It actually was getting better throughout the race. There was no real need to push any more than I was already. I had a comfortable gap and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if it’s won by a tenth or won by ten seconds. So, at the end I saw that there was a blow-up so I was being very cautious with my tyres. I’d done pretty well up until then so I was just going to make sure I bought it home.

Q: You said on Thursday this wasn’t one of your favourites. Is it moving into becoming one of them again now?

LH: I didn’t mean that it wasn’t one of my favourites. Monaco of course is definitely a favourite but this is a great circuit. It’s incredibly challenging. The weather’s been great this weekend so for sure when the weather’s as good as it is today it really does make it a great weekend. Incredible turnout from all the fans, which is really good to see. A lot of British flags, which I really appreciate but the track is really fun to drive. It’s a historic circuit. Eau Rouge. You can never get tired of driving through Eau Rouge. So it’ll always be a special circuit, for sure.

Q: Coming to you Nico. Obviously a terrific recovery after a poor getaway. Some good strategy as well that got you up into second place around the first pitstops – but tell us, from your perspective, about the way that gap seemed to come down and then just rose again.

NR: Yeah, the start was really bad so I need to practice that a bit more I think, and then after that I just benefited from the fact they weren’t racing me, in front of me. They were just racing all the people behind, so they just pitted, I suppose, because I wasn’t their opponent. They assumed I was too quick anyway – rightly so – and then, yeah, I had a clear path in front, chased down Lewis. I was always coming closer except for this one phase in the second stint, towards the end where Lewis pulled away. So that definitely cost me a bit. Then on the Option felt great again. I was qualifying lap every lap trying to hunt Lewis down but he did a great job and it wasn’t enough.

Q: Romain, welcome back. 31 races since we last had you here, Austin 2013 when you had that big Stetson on as I recall. Lots of great overtakes today, I want you to pick out a few of your favourites. I know you were building to a pass on Vettel at the end when he had the tyre go. Obviously he changed his strategy. What were your thoughts around that final period of the grand prix? What was going through your head?

RG: I was really closing the gap on Seb. It’s very unfortunate he had that puncture and it was a bit of a scary moment just being behind. I think we got everything we could get today, starting from P4 on the grid I’m sure we would have had a much easier race but it was really good fun. All the overtaking into Turn Five, I was really taking it as hard as I could on brake. Probably one of my best races ever. I remember Austin, a long time ago, but I still remember I was a bit drunk at the press conference! A little bit too much champagne on the podium with Seb. It has been up and down here for me. Of course Spa 2012 with Lewis was a bit of a tough time but on the other side it’s helped me because who I am today and being able to be on the podium with how we are during the weekend shows how strong our guys, and how strong we’re capable of building a car and be there. It was a great race, I enjoyed every minute and if we can do it again, let’s go.


Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speedsport magazines) Nico, talk us through that start. Was that a direct consequence of the new clutch rules?

NR: It was more a consequence of… well, yes, for sure but mostly also because we did another formation lap and that always puts more temperature in everything and then things change. But eventually it’s my job to do it well and I didn’t’ do a good job.

Q: (Frédéric Ferret – L’Equipe) Question for Romain Grosjean. Was it your call to pit during the virtual safety car and can you explain how do you gain the speed this weekend with your car?

RG: I unfortunately cannot explain the gain of speed – but the call on the safety car, I went through Eau Rouge on that lap and they just told me on the radio “safety car window is open” and I did finish the lap and ‘safety car’ came up on the steering wheel and we pitted as planned. We needed to fit the prime tyre for the end of the race. I think then I lost a positon to Seb, they stayed on the one-stop strategy which was quite aggressive and we didn’t think we’d be able to do it. I knew the safety car window was open, and if the safety car, the virtual safety car, was lasting long enough for me to rejoin the pit or get in the pit before it ended, it was the strategy for me to stop, yeah.

Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) To Romain, we know there are some issues in the team in this period. I would like to know how tough is it to deal with this situation and try to be focused only on the race.

RG: I think engineers, driver, mechanics, we are focusing more on the racing side and I’m probably not aware of everything going around but I didn’t want to neither, I think. I’m here to race as hard as I can, to give it 100 per cent all of the time. I think driving around Spa, every time you go through Eau Rouge and Pouhon, Turn 10-11, it’s a special feeling and I think you just enjoy it. I don’t really care about what’s going around. The only thing I want is to do my best to give the guys who are really working hard a good reward.

Q: (Angelique Belokopytov – Auto Digest) My question is for you Romain. Since a moment the future of Lotus was unknown and last days we’ve heard a lot about the potential comeback of Renault. So, did it give you motivation to step up on the podium?

RG: No. I think, as a racing driver in general, every time we start a race the idea is to try to win it. You know what you have in your hands and you know that sometimes it is not possible but as long as you do everything with 100 per cent of your performance you can fly home in the evening being proud of what you did. That’s what I want to achieve. Sometimes there’s been times in the past year where you score one point or two points and it has been an incredible performance, probably you can’t see it on TV because it’s hidden by the fact that the car is not as good – but every time I just in the car it’s to give my best. It’s cost me a little bit in the past but putting things in the right order makes it good today.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Lewis, Nico just mentioned that he might have been caught out by the second formation lap. I think you had a similar drama in Budapest. Did the experience from Budapest help you to overcome that?

LH: I don’t think so. I think, of course we were wary of it but going into the weekend we knew that that may be a scenario and we prepared for it. So, when it came to doing the start, I was very much prepared for it. The engineers prepared me for that potential restart, so, yeah, maybe it was a small benefit. I’m happy. My start was really good.

Q: (Mike Doodson – GP Plus) A question for Romain. You’re a father. My question is – and try to be honest – does becoming a father have an effect on your performance and what advice would you like to offer to Nico and his wife?

RG: Sleep as much as you can while the baby’s not here! It’s going to get bad! I think it helps your life in general. You don’t do things for yourself anymore, you do them for them. They are everything for you. And it’s your blood that goes through their body. When you have a tough weekend – or a tough day – you call then, you Skype then in the evening, you see the face of your son, or your sons, and you just laugh. It probably helps to relax your mind in the evening, to think about something else and come fresh in the morning. Once the helmet is on, visor closed, going flat out through Eau Rouge. If you think about your family, you’re not going to stay flat out. We’re racing drivers, we love doing what we do. We know it’s dangerous – we had a good example recently. But, it certainly changes your life. And, to be fair, I’ve never been a world champion, never won a grand prix but the feeling and the emotion I had on the birth of my two sons, has been far better than everything else I’ve known in the world. I wish Nico the same thing. He’ll probably tell us in Monza how it is.

Q:  (Sarah Holt – CNN) Romain, you said that the big crash you had here in 2012 made you stronger. Can you explain in what ways: racecraft, mentally, other things?

RG: Well, I think it’s no secret that since that day I’ve been working with a psychologist specialising in sport and top athletes. There’s a lot of people in the sporting world, especially in the Olympic Games or in professional rugby or football teams, that are working with psychologists and they succeed in overcoming their problems, to understand. Being a father is not always easy either, so sometimes we can speak about fatherhood, about being an husband, being a racing driver, having problems at the start, what was the key, what was the problem? Was I focusing on the right way, the wrong way? All of that work, which has not always been nice and easy – you know, you can have a bad night after a good session – but help you to understand things and to be able to pull out some performances as we did today. 

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and Speedsport Magazines) Lewis, yesterday you said one of your concerns about starting first was that someone might get by you going up the hill and Perez actually got ahead of you; the timing screens showed that at the end of sector one. How did you get back in there and take the lead again?

LH: It was very similar to last year, actually. I think Sebastian had slipstreamed me and was pretty much past but by having the inside line and braking later, I was able to hold the position and that’s really what I did with Perez. He braked earlier than me and I outbraked him and managed to get back in the lead after he just took it for a second but he was very fair which was good of him.

Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) Lewis, you said that it’s too early to speak about clinching the World Championship trophy, but yesterday, with your pole position, you already secured the pole trophy. Does that mean anything to you?

LH: The pole trophy is not particularly exciting but getting poles is definitely a great thing. Naturally winning the World Championship is the goal. I would give up everything else, all the poles, the pole position trophy for the -  yeah, you can have it, no problem - for the World Championship so that’s really the goal but I’m really happy with how the qualifying has gone this year. It’s been a huge step for me and today the plan was to try and convert that pole position and the speed that I had in qualifying into the race. I feel like I did that and I’m sure that there will be areas to improve on  which I will continue to try and work on.

NR: I never got my trophy for last year, so don’t expect a trophy coming your way for that. Ask  whoever is responsible.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Romain, as Monza is similar to Spa, can you expect the same result in two weeks?

RG: I think Monza is a big difference in a way that there are special aero packages for Monza and it’s one race out of 19 where it’s always difficult to know exactly what’s going to be there. I’m sure in term of pole everything is going to be under control.  Hopefully is working as well as it is today but I think right now I’m just thinking about having a good drink tonight!

Q: (Giusto Ferronato – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Lewis, we remember that in the final part of the last year, I mean from Monza, you started to win a lot of races. Do you feel the same sensations as last year?

LH: At the moment, it’s a lot different to last year, obviously at this point. Last year I came away from here... it was a very difficult time but after that, no great pace and great results, so for sure that’s the  goal, to continue that from here so this has already been a much much better year than last year and the plan is to try and continue with that. I still feel there’s improvements to be made, particularly in the race so that’s what I will continue to do but I’ll definitely take today’s result.