Friday 31 May 2019

David Coulthard talks Red Bull City Circuit, Formula 1 and family.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool.
Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard has arrived in South Africa for this weekend's Red Bull City Circuit event, where he will light up the streets of Cape Town on Sunday in an Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB7 car.

Upon arrival, Coulthard whisked into KFM 94.5 studios for a live interview with Radio DJ and personality Ryan O'Connor. They talked all things: Red Bull City Circuit to Formula One and more...

What can people/fans expect at the Red Bull Street Circuit event (on Sunday)?

David Coulthard: "They are going to get the opportunity to see a Grand Prix car up close and personal. We've got some of the race team guys that have come down to prepare the cars. The thing that I like about these sort of events - it's so much more then a Formula 1 team coming to town. Red Bull has had to negotiate with your fine council and dignitaries to get permission, and thankfully we have been given those and that gives an opportunity for young and old. Those who are fans of Formula 1 or never even seen it before. To really experience the raw energy and power of Grand Prix racing."

Ryan O'Connor: Formula 1 is a family and its one that's not only felt with the drivers and teams. Some that you never get to see - some you see for five seconds as they change a tyre on the car. I think we don't respect it as spectators, just how much of a team effort it is. When you see the likes of Lewis Hamilton going week in and week out taking pole position or winning a race. Mercedes have had a great run this year. It's a lot of hard work. We look at it and say: 'oh no... not again..... not another one.' But, it's not just Lewis. To get that right on a Formula 1 weekend - the dynamic within that team is an entire team effort.  

DC: "I know you were mentioning the figures, and you were saying five seconds in a pitstop. It's actually two seconds... INCREDIBLE! You'd be pretty impressed if you went to your local tyre dealer and they gave you a pitstop in two seconds. You'd be lucky to get it in two hours!"

"Formula 1 is a fantastic family of highly motivated, highly skilled people and it doesn't matter. When I say high skills, I am not talking about the engineers and designers. I am talking about the mechanics and the people that build the garages. They all have to be on their A-game and I think the wonderful thing of this truly global championship is that its a truly international make-up of people that came together. Men and women from all around the world work for Formula 1 teams, and it's just a joy to be part of, which is why it is so addictive. Although I am no longer racing I am still part of the circus traveling the world because you just know that you are around high achievers." 

"I have been doing this world tour. I retired 10 years ago and I've still been going to all corners of the globe for the last 10 years and on top of that - events like this which are too good of an opportunity not to be part of and I was in Vietnam earlier as well with Red Bull ahead of their first Grand Prix next year. Maybe, we'll have a Grand Prix back in South Africa. Iain [Banner - CEO of the Laureus World Sports Awards] will have a word with some of his friends and see if that could happen."

Next generation of Coulthard's in Formula 1?

DC: "Our... I should say - I only played a small part in it, but our son is ten-years-old. A couple of years ago, he came to me and said: 'Daddy when am I going to start karting?' I haven't encouraged him at all. And, I was like: 'why do you want to do karting?' And he said: 'How do I practice to be a Grand Prix driver?' So, it started a journey. His actually testing today... We live in the South of France and its holidays there at the moment. And, we are racing up in Scotland in two weeks, the weekend after the Montreal [Canadian Grand Prix] we will be back in the UK. So, who knows if he's good enough, motivated enough and has got the work ethic, but we will find out over time. I think sport is a great way to educate young boys and girls - that anything you really want, you've got to work for." 

"No, she [wife allowing her son to race] is not happy at all, but my mom kept her fingers crossed until I was 38-years-old. I was 37 when I retired from Formula 1 then she could release her fingers. So, I think it's going to be like that for any parent." 

Transcribed, Edited and Written by - Junaid Samodien

Thursday 30 May 2019

David Coulthard to unleash championship winning RB7 at Red Bull Street Circuit

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool.
All eyes turn to the Mother City as David Coulthard unleashes the power of Formula One on the Grand Parade. 

On Sunday 2 June from 12h00 until 17h00 the streets of Cape Town will rumble to the exhilarating noise of the Red Bull Cape Town Circuit.

The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team brings the 2011 Formula 1 championship-winning V8 powered RB7 to Cape Town’s city centre to serve up doughnuts to fans of all ages.

This exciting day out for the whole family promises to be truly unforgettable. The main attraction will be supported by thrilling demos from Lithuanian motorcycle stunt rider Arunas ‘Aras’ Gibieza, the Cape Town Drift Squad and local legend trials motorbike rider Brian Capper.

For more information and tickets, please visit

The Red Bull Cape Town Circuit Map.

"It’s time to start pushing" - Timmy Hansen.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Team Hansen MJP has hit the ground running in 2019, leading with a win for Kevin Hansen in Abu Dhabi and a clean sweep for Timmy Hansen in Barcelona. 

A bold strategy dictated the Swedish outfits weekend in Spa-Francorchamps, in where they opted to use wet tyres on day one, while rivals gambled on the dry tyres, putting the Hansen brothers firmly on the back foot - and a fightback was necessary. Timmy progressed to the final and finished fourth, two seconds off third place.

Team Hansen MJP had high expectations heading into Silverstone but despite a strong start and Timmy Hansen claiming the top qualifiers spot on the opening day of competition. Rival Andreas Bakkerud came out swinging to claim wins in both qualifying heats on Sunday and was the driver to beat... 

Could the Hansen's win in Silverstone? Yes, with a clever early joker strategy they were able to leapfrog Andreas Bakkerud after he took an early lead. 

The FIA World Rallycross Championship is much more competitive than before... Team Hansen MJP has shown early pace, while Gronholm RX was nipping at their hills. After set-up work, Monster Energy RX Cartel have joined the fray. 

Championship leader Timmy Hansen is aware that this season is not going to be easy, with their rivals pushing Team Hansen MJP to the checkered flag in South Africa.

"We had to put everything together to be here and I do think we have to start to work now," said Hansen. "I think at the beginning of the season everything was about being here, and just making sure that we were fast, then we were and everything worked."

"Now I think this weekend [Silverstone] we missed a bit of traction, we need a bit more grip on the gravel and Ohlins are a great partner of ours and we’ll sit down together and see what we can do for Norway because it’s time to start pushing between the events as well.”

TEXT - Junaid Samodien

Bakkerud finishing second 'sucks'.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media.
Andreas Bakkerud was left dejected after finishing in second at the World RX of Great Britain.

The Norweigan found pace overnight to claim wins in both qualifying heats, and his pace continued as he booked a slot on the front row of the final. With a good start, he leapfrogged Timmy Hansen into turn one and held the lead, but with an early joker lap strategy, Hansen made the overtake when Andreas opted to take his joker lap with two laps remaining. The final ended with the top two split by only a car-length.

“This sucks. Obviously, I had a great pace today, it felt very very good," he said. "In the semi-final, we suffered from some issues with the handbrake, so every time I pulled the handbrake the car stalled, and then obviously I was driving without the handbrake in both the semi and the final.”

Despite the handbrake issues, Bakkerud admits to trying everything in the handbook to try an hang onto the race lead.

“I tried to do everything I could, I tried to use every trick I had in the book to be able to go fast, and I think the guys could see that I had some issues, especially in turn seven and going into the joker here is so tight, so you need a handbrake here to make a rotation," said Bakkerud. "Obviously, I didn't have that. Today, it feels like a big bummer because we were very close in Belgium, but Belgium was okay because I didn’t have the speed for Timur [Timerzyanov], this weekend I really do feel we had the speed to win.”

"I felt I had it almost in my pocket today, and then when I saw 'the Timmy' [Hansen] coming around the outside after I exited the joker, I was like argghh..... if you see my onboard, I was actually shaking my head into turn two because he was driving so defensively, I was like ‘oh come on!' This is boring not racing, no rallycross, no push-to-pass." 

The Monster Energy RX Cartel driver finds some positives after missing out on the race win in Silverstone. 

"Great starts. KYB doing a great job with dampers. RX Cartel once again on the podium, four in a row which is really, really cool both cars in the final, so from a team principal perspective once again very happy," he said.

While he showed strong pace, Bakkerud is hoping to continue the run at his home event in Hell, Norway next month.

"That's going to be one hell of a race, that is for sure," he said. "We go to Norway with high expectations as always do and as long as my name is on the entry list I’m there to win and hopefully, we can give the guys a run for their money.”

"The championship is really, really great this year. Obviously, coming from the back from Abu Dhabi, it has been some great events. We have been on the podium. It just sucks to stink like champagne and not be happy. So, I just want more in Norway and we keep on pushing and hopefully, the win is nearby."

TEXT - Junaid Samodien

Wednesday 29 May 2019

A seventeen car entry list revealed for World RX of Norway.

The official seventeen car entry list for the World RX of Norway has been revealed. 

Kevin Abbring who has been responsible for the performance and development of the ESmotorsport-Labas Gas Skoda Fabia will make his debut at round five of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Hell, Norway. 

While, former ESmotorsport-Labas Gas driver Rokas Baciuska will join the GCK Academy going forward, starting at Norway in a third Renault Megane R.S. RX. 

Jani Paasonen will also compete in the event in the second Team STARD Ford Fiesta, alongside regular driver Janis Baumanis.

World RX of Norway - Entry List

"Big, big relief" as Marklund claims podium finish for GC Kompetition.

Anton Marklund is relieved after claiming a podium finish for GC Kompetition in the 2019 World Rallycross Championship in Silverstone.

The Swede started on the second row of the grid and made it through turn one unscattered slotting into fourth. Opting for an early joker lap strategy, he would emerge in fifth place, but his strategy would pay off after gaining time on his rivals who opted for a later joker lap strategy. 

On the penultimate lap, Marklund merged just ahead of Timo Scheider and crossed the line in third to claim a spot on the podium.

"I would say it’s a big, big relief for everybody in the team because I think since Abu Dhabi we’ve been showing great pace," said Marklund. "Spa especially we were running the top lap time in the rain and we were really top three in the dry as well but we have always been struggling a bit with the starts and running in traffic."

“It was just really nice to actually get the starts working perfectly fine in the semi-final and finals, take early jokers so we had clear air in front of us, and then just trying to hunt these guys [Hansen and Bakkerud] down but obviously they were just a bit too far ahead.”

“I’m very satisfied with a P3, and very happy for the team and happy for Bilstein because all of these guys have been working very hard.”

Marklund thinks that with improved starts the GCK squad could be a race-winning contender. 

“I think if we keep doing the starts like we did in the semi-finals and finals we should be very, very quick," he said.

The Swede feels that his long-wheelbase GC Kompetition Megane R.S.RX Supercar should suit the Hell track in Norway.

"I actually told Andreas [Bakkerud] that I’ve been dreaming about Norway for the last couple of rounds because I feel the with hairpins that we had in Spa and what we have here (at Silverstone) obviously is not an advantage to have a long wheelbase, we come to Norway with the fast sweeping corners and hard braking (zones), for sure the car will suit perfectly fine.”

“But it’s not all about the wheelbase, which suits fine, you also need a good setup, you need to have a good driver," he adds. "I’m coming there with a lot of self-confidence and hopefully we can do a great event there as well.”

TEXT - Junaid Samodien

Timmy Hansen "I definitely had to work hard" to win in Silverstone.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Timmy Hansen won the World RX of Great Britain to become the first repeat winner of the 2019 season.

The Swede started on pole position for the final, with rival Andreas Bakkerud alongside. Bakkerud had a better start and squeezed into the lead. Timmy's race nearly at the first turn when the Norwegian squeezed him into the inside tyre barrier. He made it through turn one with minor damage to his car and dropped to second place.

"It was definitely hard today; Bakkerud found some good pace and won Q3 and Q4, as well as his Semi-Final, so for sure it was tough to line up next to him," said Timmy Hansen. "He squeezed me into the tyres at the first corner, so I was happy to be able to continue."

Hansen was determined to close the gap to Bakkerud in an attempt to win the final. 

Kenneth Hansen, Team Principal and Timmy's spotter opted for a clever strategy instructing his son to take the joker lap earlier.
Bakkerud squeezes Hansen into tyre barrier at Turn One
PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool.

“We had a big fight in the Final with a big push to try to overtake Bakkerud with a joker gamble, which we managed to do. This time the joker decision was very late," said Kenneth Hansen. "Timmy normally can feel when he wants to take the joker but won’t know what it looks like behind him."

"It’s my decision as I am the spotter for Timmy and I didn’t have time to see the time gap, but suddenly there was a big gap," he adds. "In turn seven, before the split with the joker, I just had a feeling that we needed to call it and Timmy took the joker. We knew that Bakkerud had some hot tyres and was losing performance and it went very well for us.”

In his pursuit to overturn Bakkerud's lead, Timmy set the fastest lap of the weekend and would gain 0.472 milliseconds on Bakkerud between their respective joker laps in the Final, which put Timmy in first place on the final lap.

"When I took my joker I did a great lap, so once he took his I emerged in the lead. I definitely had to work hard to get it, but it tastes even sweeter when that happens," said Timmy. 

With victory in Silverstone, Hansen claimed the World RX drivers’ championship lead from his younger brother Kevin who is only four points behind in the standings.

TEXT - Junaid Samodien

Kevin Hansen looses championship lead to older brother Timmy.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Team Hansen MJP's Kevin Hansen lost the FIA World Rallycross championship lead on Sunday, after making a costly error in Semi-Final 1, which meant he could not progress to the final in Silverstone.

Kevin and his older brother Timmy lead the way on Saturday, with Timmy and Kevin going fastest and second fastest respectively in Qualifying 1. There was another formation finish in Qualifying 2, where both Timmy and Kevin were in the same heat once again, Timmy claimed the Q2 victory and the Kevin going third fastest in the overall standings overnight.

“Saturday was really good, I think I had a really good pace," he said. "The starts were amazing, I really felt at home and that I have upped my level quite a lot on Saturdays."

The rain had fallen at Silverstone overnight, and the Hansen brothers would start in the first race of qualifying 3, which would put them at a disadvantage due to an improving track. Timmy lead home a 1-2 finish ahead of Kevin. Kevin switched things around in Q4 leading home another 1-2 finish, which put both on the front row for Semi-Final 1.

"Then on Sunday I was having good pace in qualifying but was struggling a bit with the reverse grid, it didn’t feel in our favour as in the end I was P3," said Kevin Hansen. 

All appeared well in the Semi-Final, with the Hansen brothers in 1-2 yet again. Timmy lead the way from Kevin and both took their jokers on the last lap but a small mistake from the young Swede when entering the hairpin put him into the tyre barrier and cost him 10 seconds. A second place had become sixth at the penultimate corner of the race.

"The Semi-Final was going really well and I had good speed behind Timmy, he was on fresh rubber and I wasn’t. I think it was a good Semi but just a small mistake, in the end, cost me a lot," the Swede said. 

The 21-year-old lost the championship lead to older brother Timmy who is four points ahead in the standings heading to Hell, Norway.

"It’s been a long time since I led a championship so it was nice to have it for four races, but now I want to take it back!" said Hansen. "Now I have led once, I know how it works so let’s take that lead back and keep it.” 

TEXT - Junaid Samodien

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Piquet Jr. makes rallycross return with TitansRX

Former Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr. will make a return to rallycross with the TitansRX this year.

The Brazilian will compete in four rounds, sharing his car with Alexander Wurz.

Piquet Jr. previously competed in the Global Rallycross series, where he was twice a championship contender and took an overall event win at the 2015 Washington DC round.

Outside of rallycross, Piquet has a varied CV. After battling Lewis Hamilton for the 2006 GP2 crown, he raced in Formula 1 for Renault in 2008 and 2009.

Since then he has raced in NASCAR – where he is a multiple race winner; sports cars, and Stock Car Brasil. He has also raced in Formula E, where he was the all-electric series’ maiden champion in 2014/15.

“I’m very happy to be joining TitansRX," said Piquet Jr. "I love all forms of motorsport and I really enjoyed competing in rallycross in America a few years ago, so it will be great to get back behind the wheel of a rallycross car. We’re going to have a lot of fun!”

The TitansRX series will feature some of the biggest names in motorsport: Toomas ”Topi” Heikkinen, Timmy and Kevin Hansen, Stephane Sarrazin, Craig Breen, and Hayden Paddon.

The six-race TitansRX series calendar:
 Round 1 & 2 ─ Essay, JUN 29 - 30
 Round 3 & 4 ─ Lydden Hill, JUL 27 - 28
 Round 5 & 6 ─ Montalegre, AUG 10 – 11
 Round 7 & 8 ─ MJP Arena, SEP 7 - 8
 Round 9 & 10 ─ Nyirad, OCT 5 - 6

 Grand Final ─ Estering, OCT 19 - 20

TitansRX driver line-up:
Timmy Hansen
Kevin Hansen 
Toomas Heikkinnen 
Reinhold Sampl 
Hayden Paddon 
Stephane Sarrazin 
Lukacs ”CsuCsu” Kornel
Andrew Jordan
Craig Breen 
Tamara Molinaro
Ronny Wechselberger 

Wildcards entries:
Alex Wurz 
Nelson Piquet Jr.
Andreas Steffen

Monday 27 May 2019

GRX Taneco take Silverstone performance 'on the chin'

Gronholm RX Taneco had a difficult outing at the World RX of Great Britain this weekend. Joni Wiman finishing 8th and Timur Timerzyanov 11th at the purpose-built Silverstone World RX track.

After a dominant outing at Spa-Francorchamps, with a win and a third-place finish. The Finnish squad did not have the weekend that they had expected in Silverstone.

“Rallycross weekends are always full of emotions. Sometimes it’s joy, sometimes it’s disappointment," said GRX Taneco Team Manager Jussi Pinomäki. This is one weekend where we experienced both. We know we are in a position to fight for the lead, but this weekend we were not able to fully capitalize on that." 

Joni Wiman struggled with the setup on the first day but found pace on Sunday. Timur Timerzyanov also had some mixed results in the qualifying heats getting tangled in several close on-track battles.

Wiman received a late call-up to replace Niclas Gronholm who is still recovering from an appendicitis operation. “It was a late call for me to step in for Niclas and I tried to do my best but struggled with rhythm and set-up for this track," he said.

"Eventually, I must say that the front row for the Semi-final was a satisfying result.”  

The Finn had a reasonably good start in the semi-final but got pushed to the outside on the run to turn two, where Baumanis and Doran where fighting for position. Baumanis lead into the corner after the jump but pushed Doran wide. Wiman tried to slip on the inside of the RX Cartel driver, but he shut the door and Wiman hit the tyre barrier causing him to roll the i20 Supercar bringing out the red flag and damaging the front right suspension. 

“In the Semi-final it all got very messy, very fast. Baumanis and Doran were fighting hard for the position and after the big jump, I saw an opportunity and went for it. Unfortunately got squeezed on to the tyre barrier and rolled the car,” he concluded.

After the superb performance at Spa-Francorchamps, Timur Timerzyanov expected to have another strong performance in Silverstone but he was caught up in racing battles that cost him valuable time. 

“I was concentrating on my own race, but this weekend my result was not entirely decided by me," said Timerzyanov. 

"Next-up is race in Hell, Norway, and that is one of my favorite tracks in the championship so we need to focus on that now."

TEXT - Junaid Samodien

Permanent entrant ESmotorsport could face hefty fine should they fail to compete in Norway

ESmotorsport-Labas GAS could face a 50,000 euro fine should they fail to participate at the World RX of Norway, after the team failed to compete at round four of the championship in Silverstone, UK.

The FIA Stewards received communication from the ESmotorsport-Labas GAS team manager Robertas Maneikis explaining that the team would not be present at R4 Silverstone. 

However, failing to compete is a Breach of Article 8.4 of the FIA Sporting Regulations World Rallycross: "A permanent individual Competitor is a body or person entering a car for the whole Championship. A permanent individual Competitor is permitted to change its car (make and model) during the season. The permanent individual Competitor has a responsibility vis-à-vis the FIA to ensure that the car entered takes to the grid for each Competition of the Championship. Any failure to participate will result in a penalty, except in cases of Force Majeure." - FIA Sporting Regulation World Rallycross.

It remains unclear if ESmotorsport-Labas GAS will be on the grid for round five of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Norway on 15-16 June 2019. However, the team took to social media with the following statement pictured below:
TEXT - Junaid Samodien

Baciuska signs long-term deal with GC Kompetition

Former Super1600 European Rallycross champion Rokas Baciuska has signed a long-term contract with GC Kompetition.

Baciuska parted ways with ESmotorsport after the World RX of Barcelona due to contractual disagreements. 

The 19-year-old will join the GCK squad from the World RX of Norway (June 15-16) onwards and will drive the third GCK Renault Megane R.S.RX Supercar.

“I’m really excited that I’m able to continue my progression in World Rallycross and that I’ve found such an incredible team to be part of," said Baciuska. "I’ve been spending a lot of time with the guys at GCK and I’m super impressed with the way they work, the performance and promise of the car and I cannot wait to race alongside the GC Kompetition and GCK Academy drivers in Norway.”

The Lithuanian has not set any targets for his first outing with GC Kompetition, but has said: "I hope to be doing my best." 

GCK entered the 2019 season with two GCK Megane R.S. RX Supercars driven by Anton Marklund and Guerlain Chicherit as well as the newly launched GCK Academy, featuring two GCK Renault Clio R.S. RX Supercars driven by Guillaume de Ridder and Cyril Raymond.

Rokas Baciuska started his racing career in karting, having won the 2011 Lithuanian Karting Championship, the 2014 Baltic Karting Championship and several rounds of the 2017 European Karting Championship before entering the 2018 FIA European Super1600 Rallycross Championship, which he dominated throughout the season ultimately being crowned Champion. 

Baciuska is still finishing his last year of school and will sit his final exams just ahead of making his GCK debut in Hell, Norway, on June 15th.

“We’re super happy to have such a talented young driver join our GCK squad," said team owner Guerlain Chicherit. "Rokas has already shown big promise, dedication and results behind the wheel and I can’t wait for him to line up on the grid in our 3rd GCK Megane R.S. RX.”

TEXT - Junaid Samodien

REPORT: Timmy Hansen takes championship lead with Silverstone win.

Team Hansen MJP's Timmy Hansen claimed victory at the World RX of Great Britain to become the first repeat winner of the 2019 season.

The Peugeot driver dominated the first day of qualifying, but on Sunday, Andreas Bakkerud turned things around and claimed wins in both qualifying heats. Locked on two qualifying wins apiece, Timmy and Bakkerud would claim victory in their respective semi-finals

Bakkerud would start the final with two new front tyres. The Norwegian got the better start in the final and held the advantage, but Hansen opted for an early joker lap which proved to be the deciding moment in the final.

Having taken the early joker, with clean air Hansen began to hunt down the Norwegian. The Swede set the fastest lap of the day - 38.503s. Bakkerud eventually took the joker lap and the pair would be meters away at the joker merge. Hansen and Bakkerud would be split by a car-length at the checkered flag.

“Today Andreas (Bakkerud) found some more pace and he was able to win both qualifying sessions,” Hansen said. “In the final, he had about a half a car better launch than me, it was tight going into the first corner. Coming out second I knew I had to stay super close. I was absolutely on his bumper just before my joker lap which was a perfect lap."

“I kept on pushing, he went into the joker a lap later, and when we merged I saw that I had a bit more speed and seeing him behind as we hit the finish line was a great feeling. I definitely had to work very hard today to get this result.”

Timmy Hansen claimed the championship lead from his younger brother Kevin who made contact with a tyre barrier on the last lap of his semi-final. He heads to Norway with a four-point lead in the championship standings.

From a family perspective, Timmy admitted he had mixed emotions after Kevin's exit in the semi-final. “The semi-final was good for me but going over the line in the semi I was checking for Kevin and I saw that he was gone and then I heard on the radio that he was stuck in the joker section," he said.

“So it was a shame for him as I had a perfect run in the semi and for him to miss out was tough. It was also difficult to keep my head down between the semi and the final because I had to keep focused on my own race while feeling for him.”

Bakkerud, who proved to be the class of the field on Sunday came up short in his quest to claim his first win of the season in Silverstone.

The Norweigan revealed that all was not well with the Audi S1. “We had some issues with the handbrake. Every time I pulled it the car stalled so I ended up driving without the handbrake in the semi and the final,” he said.

“Belgium was OK because I didn’t feel I had the speed to win but this weekend I definitely felt I could. I tried to use every trick I had in the book so the final result does not feel good."

Despite four podium finishes for the Monster Energy RX Cartel, the race win still illudes the Norweigan. “This is four podiums in a row for the RX Cartel, we had both cars in the final here but just didn’t get the job done. It hurts a bit to sip champagne and not be happy. I almost had it in my pocket today."

"All I can do is keep on pushing and hopefully, the win is nearby,” he adds.

Anton Marklund was another driver who opted for an early joker lap, and it proved to be vital in the final, as he was able to jump Timo Scheider and claim third place. 

“Since Abu Dhabi we have shown good pace and in Spa where we ran top three pace. It was nice to get the starts working in the semi-final and final today and to get some clear air,” he said. “I am very satisfied with a P3 and very happy for the team.”

Timo Scheider would finish in fourth place, just ahead of Krisztian Szabo and Liam Doran in sixth.

World RX of Great Britain - FINAL RESULTS
Briton Oliver Bennett made his first ever World RX semi-final, but after setting the pace, his Mini Cooper caught fire and his race ended prematurely. Silverstone’s jump was the culprit, the Mini bottoming out on the landing and a broken oil seal sparked the blaze.

The second semi-final was red flagged after Joni Wiman [stand in for recovering Gronholm] made contact with the tyre barrier after the jump and his i20 Supercar would roll on its side. As a result, the Finn would go no further due to suspension damage on the front right-hand corner.

“Front row for the semi-final was a satisfying result," said Wiman. "In the semi-final, it all got very messy, very fast. (Janis) Baumanis and (Liam) Doran were fighting hard for the position and after the big jump, I saw an opportunity and went for it. Unfortunately, I got squeezed on to the tyre barrier and rolled the car.”

Timur Timerzyanov went from the high of a maiden World RX win in Spa-Francorchamps to the low of missing the final at Silverstone. “I was concentrating on my own race, but this weekend my result was not entirely decided by me. Next-up is race in Hell, Norway, and that is one of my favourite tacks in the championship so we need to focus on that now,” he said.

Janis Baumanis was the only driver to have reached all three World RX finals prior to Silverstone. However, that sequence was broken when he finished fourth in semi-final two, after being caught up in the Wiman incident.

Mixed fortunes for the GCK teams, Guerlain Chicherit finished fourth in semi-final one while Cyril Raymond narrowly missed out – ending 13th overall despite a win in Q4.

Guillaume De Ridder's luckless streak continues, he was the victim of contact from Doran who got out of shape over the jump in Q3. The Briton collided with De Ridder on landing forcing him to retire with suspension damage.

The team worked speedily to get him out for Q4 but missed pre-grid by seconds, ending any hopes of advancing to the semi-finals. It was a bitter end after he had taken a race win in Q1 on Saturday.
World RX Drivers' Championship standings.

Sunday 26 May 2019

FIA Post-Race Press Conference - 2019 Monaco GP.

1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
2 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)
3 – Valtteri BOTTAS (Mercedes 


(Conducted by David Coulthard)

Q: So, Lewis Hamilton, your 77th victory, your third around the streets of Monte Carlo, and as you put the tribute hat to Niki Lauda on, I take mine off to you out of respect for that great victory. You had to work incredibly hard today.

Lewis HAMILTON: That was definitely probably the hardest race I’ve had. I really was fighting with the spirit of Niki. Niki has been such an influential person in our team, helping us get to where we are, so I know he will be looking down and I know he would take his hat off today. I was just trying to stay focused and trying to make him proud. That’s kind of been the goal all week and we’re going to try to continue that all year. We truly miss him. Oh God, that was… I’ve not driven on empty tyres since I think Shanghai 2007, when McLaren left me out for a ridiculous amount of time. Really fantastic. I’m glad the weather was good. Great crowd here, as always, and I hope it wasn’t too boring.

Q: Now, you had us worried there. We heard the radio transmission to your engineers. You were questioning the tyre choice. We were really with you in the cockpit and whether you would make it go the distance. How close were you to over-ruling the team and coming into the pits. The emotional rollercoaster must have been intense?

LH: It was. I was never going to come in. A few years ago I was in the lead and I came in for a pit stop, so I learned the hard way. I lost the race here. So, I wasn’t going to come in. I was either going to crash or finish. Honestly I was driving around on nothing. You could see how much understeer I had; the car wasn’t turning. If you look at my back wheel we touched at the chicane. I didn’t see him until quite late so… But dude, nonetheless, this team has done an incredible job. What we have achieved in these six races is incredible and I’m so proud to be a part of it. I’m so proud to be able to shine the silver star and I hope that I can continue to do so.

Q: You alluded to that contact at the chicane, just a quick word on that: it was close!

LH: Yeah, it was close. It was a bit of a late dive. Luckily I saw him last minute. I think his front wing was alongside my rear wheel, so he was not fully past. It was a light touch and move on.

Q: It didn’t scare you.

LH: No. I was scared that if he had no tyres left.

Q: Congratulations, great victory. Sebastian Vettel, congratulations, second place. It’s been a difficult weekend for you, but you have to be happy with that result in the end as you try to find some way to beat these Mercedes guys.

Sebastian VETTEL: Yeah, it was obviously a tough race to manage. You know in Monaco something can always happen and today something happened. I thought we had a good stop but Max had an incredible stop. I saw them touching in the pit lane. I thought there was a good chance for me, obviously we could capitalise on Valtteri’s puncture, which was a shame for him, but from there we tried to stay there, we tried to put the pressure on. Obviously with Max’s penalty after that we tried to always stay in range. I struggled a little bit towards the end of the race. I wanted to put a bit of pressure on myself but I struggled with my rear tyres. I don’t think I had any graining. I think Lewis and Max were in a worse position managing the tyres, but mine were just not getting hot. I don’t know. It was obviously a great result for us and great for the team. But we know we have a lot of work to do, we know that we are not yet quick enough compared to these guys, so plenty of work. Finally, today is obviously about the winner, so congrats to Lewis, but even more so about Niki. He would be happy today. He will always be around. We will definitely miss him. I think he has been an icon in the past and he will be in the future. My thoughts are with his family and with him.

Q: Beautifully said, congratulations on that result. Valtteri, you pushed Lewis to a point in qualifying that he said he has never dug that deep. We’re seeing an amazing performance from you this season, but you just didn’t get the luck this day, this weekend, and then you had that contact with Max in the pit lane. And when you spoke to the team you seemed typically Finnish and calm. I think my heart rate would have been through the roof there. Tell us about the emotions of that pit stop and about the grand prix as a whole?

Valtteri BOTTAS: Yeah, obviously disappointing weekend for me, because I think the speed was really there, I was feeling good in the car. Small margins yesterday and that made today difficult. So we had to stop same time as Lewis and I lost a bit of time with the pit stop, so Max got me in the pit lane. He left me no room. I got a puncture from that and then I was stuck behind the cars, so a bit of a Sunday drive in the end.


Q: Lewis, your 77th grand prix victory, but just how tense was this one inside the cockpit today?

LH: It was definitely… I think it was the hardest race I’ve had. Obviously I’ve had a lot of races in my entire career, even beyond Formula One. Yeah, I think just globally, just in the car, with the tyres, with the strategy, with the circumstances with Max behind, yeah it was the biggest challenge I think I’ve had. But I’m really, really grateful that I was able to pull it off. But of course there were multiple things coming into my thought process. I’ve got 38 laps to go and I’ve got no tyres left and I’m thinking that ‘there is no way that with the feeling that I have and with the pace that I have to do at the moment that I’m going to make it’. It’s a horrible feeling to have that, as the though of having to doing another stop obviously means we’re not going to win the race. I’ve been there before. A few years ago I was leading this race by 20 seconds, the safety car came out, pitted, came out third, and your heart just sinks, so I was like: ‘I’m not coming in, whatever the case. I’m just going to drive around with no tyres until they blow up.’ With sheer will I just kept pushing. I really, really tried my best to stay focused and not crack under pressure, because Max was doing a great job behind on a much better tyre. And yeah, but ultimately, also this week has been such a hard week, emotionally, for us as a team and me personally, I just really, really wanted to do the job. I really wanted to deliver on the word of Niki, and imagining him taking the hat off in support. When I was driving I was like, ‘what would Niki do?’ so I just kept going. Ultimately I’m really grateful for the opportunity the team gave us this weekend to have the car we had and the team continues to evolve and improve and we’re growing constantly as a team, even through our faults. We win and lose as a team, and I also wanted to pull it through for the team, because so many guys aback at the factory deserve it. So a proud one for us today.

Q: You mentioned the fight with Max towards the latter stages, just how nervy were you when he started looking for moves and especially with that contact, which the stewards have now cleared, with no further action?  

LH: Yeah, it wasn’t a case of feeling nervous. Obviously I could see him. He literally covered the whole of my mirrors. Obviously I was able to get out of the last corner and pull a bit of a gap. I was super slow through Turn 1 but Turn 3 my right-side tyres were OK and once you got downforce on they would work but then once I got to Turn 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, I had nothing. Moving the brake balance rearwards, engine braking, opening up diffs, trying to get this car turned. I could see him barrelling a lot of speed in. Obviously the harder tyre was a lot more resilient. I could see it opened up on his car and I was like, ‘OK, hopefully it’s going to run out of tyres at some stage, as I am, but it didn’t’. I kept thinking Turn 6 is probably where he’s going to try to dive up the inside, because I was just waiting to get the car turned. So I was just trying to cover that whole area, tip-toeing and positioning myself so I could get a good exit out of… it was really strategy-wise one of the most strategic drives that I think I have ever had to do in terms of finding that balance around the track to try and keep that gap. I’m sure we touched multiple times and I definitely touched the barrier a lot of time throughout the laps but luckily kept the car in one piece. 

Q: Well done. Sebastian, starting fourth in Monaco and finishing second, is that a satisfactory result today? 

SV: Yeah, certainly obviously we didn’t quite expect that, but the way the race went we were able to benefit from mistakes other people made. Obviously Valtteri got squeezed in the pit lane and then had a puncture and we were able to get that position and with the penalty Max had it was just about to stay in range. Two laps to go I had, I think, Antonio Giovinazzi, and I didn’t quite know if he would let me go, and I lost like two and a half seconds. So I was thinking, ‘I’m queuing here the whole race’, because I could see that Lewis was struggling, ‘and all of a sudden you lose three seconds’, and it was obviously the target to stay within these five seconds, but it wasn’t a problem until the end. Good result, but not a good weekend for us. Obviously to lose one car yesterday in Q1 and I’m not sure what happened today with Charles, but it’s always difficult when you start further back. So not the luckiest race for us as a team, but I think the lesson from here is that we are not yet where we want to be, the pace isn’t there. I think today we sort of tumbled into second place. So we did everything we could but certainly we didn’t have the pace to put the pressure on and go for a bit more. 

Q: I was going to ask you about that. You have at least ended the Mercedes run of one-two finishes but what are the key lessons that Ferrari takes away from this weekend and the first six races this season?

SV: Well, pretty similar with the last couple of races. We had one race where performance was standing out and we were quite strong. But I think where we are… I saw that Valtteri was faster but there was no way he was going to pass, as our straight line speed is really good. It’s just because overall we are lacking downforce, a weakness that we know. I don’t think the car is as bad as it looks. The results should be better here and there but it’s very difficult for us to get the car in the window where it is happy. Certainly when we get it in there we’re more competitive but still a way from where we want to be. That’s really the key lesson: we need to focus on trying to get the car short-term more in that window. Looking forward for the next three, four, five races, obviously make sure we improve the car, put more grip onto the car so that we can go faster, simple as that. But that guy seems to hide fairly well. I don’t know exactly where he is right now, so if you find him, or if you’ve got his number, that grip guy, but we’ve been looking for him for a while. I don’t think there are any secrets we will be able to unveil. As usual, attention to detail and a lot hard work is the only way to get us up.  

Q: Valtteri, moving on to you, obviously the key point in your race was the pit stops. Just talk us through what happened in the pit lane from your point of view.

VB: Yeah, key point! That was really the thing that made the race a bit more difficult. We stopped the same time as Lewis. We had a bit of a gap between us for the stop but I don’t know, for some reason my stop was a bit slow. Max got alongside me on the pit lane, even though he was behind before and in the pit lane he was slightly ahead but we were side-by-side. I kept my line, he kept drifting to the right. We touched, I also touched a wall because there was no space. I got a puncture for that, but honestly, I thought that when I got the puncture and had to stop again, that I was going to be at the back of the grid but luckily only lost a couple of places. So, unlucky but lucky at the same time. Could have been a lot worse. Still important points, obviously disappointing going backwards from where you start from – sometimes it goes like this. 

Q: We saw Max have a lunge at Lewis late on, and you were close to Seb for many of those laps. Was there ever a moment or position when you were trying to line-up a move?

VB: For sure, when there was a few things happening, like a bit more traffic or the last few laps, I was trying to be as close as I could to be involved if there would be an opportunity – but there wasn't really. Sebastian wasn’t doing any mistakes. I think our tyres, the harder compound, lasted better than Lewis’ and Max’s. I think the pace was there but no opportunities unfortunately. 

Q: Lewis, returning to you. You talked yesterday about your feelings after crossing the line and taking pole position in qualifying. What were the emotions like taking the chequered flag and securing the win today?

LH: Honestly a very, very mixed emotion day to be honest. On the one side, winning the Monaco Grand Prix is an incredible accomplishment and feeling. I don’t feel like I’ve won here many times and it’s always felt like the hardest race to crack and win. I’m trying to get my mind into – and I’m sure I will over the next couple of hours – get my mind into gear in terms of enjoying the moment. Because it is an achievement that I like to think I can be proud of. But I think it’s a… I don’t know if anyone can relate to when the pressure just builds up when you’re at work and you probably slap your keyboard, or whatever it is. It’s one of those heated days for me in the car and it was so easy to just burst out and I’m sure I did at some stages but ultimately able to release and able to continue to take it out on the tyres and on the car. Fundamental I really enjoyed… it was an enjoyable race. If it hadn’t been for the Safety Car, it would have been a much, much easier race for us. I think I would have got to lap 20-22, whatever it was and stuck on another set of tyres and probably cruised to the finish in a more relaxed environment – but… hopefully it wasn’t a boring race for you guys to watch but it definitely wasn’t a boring race for me in the car so I appreciate a tough race and ultimately, as an athlete, you always want the toughest battles and you never know when they’re going to come. I’m definitely going to enjoy my evening tonight. Can’t wait to give my Dad a call and see what he thought of it, and my Mum, and I’m sure I’ll get my chance to talk to Birgit as well after the race because I wanted to let her know how much I appreciated her and her support over these years with Niki as well, keeping us connected.


Q: (Luke Smith – Lewis, congratulations. It’s been a very emotional week for both you and the team, I wanted to know how you dealt with it, driving the car this weekend. Was it a case of putting everything that’s gone on out of your mind or the opposite to that? Was Niki very much on your mind when you were racing today? Was he with you racing?

LH: I definitely feel like he was with my racing today. I mean, naturally I wore his helmet. I had a helmet made, last minute, a big thank you to the guys at Bell Racing getting that done for me. I don’t think I’ve ever worn anyone else’s helmet design. Of course I’ve but a bit of Senna’s Senna S mixed with mine, so it was kinda cool. I think Sebastian had one like it too. It was great that so many drivers, we all got to wear the caps – I don’t know where my cap’s gone…

SV: It’s in the pool!

LH: It’s in the pool, yeah. It’s just incredible to see how much support there’s been for Niki across the world. Messages from all over the world and just how much respect and appreciation there is for him. Ultimately, as a driver, my goal one day is to hopefully be as respected as he was. Y’know? He’s definitely someone who led by a great example, left a great example, and was a real hero to so many. In terms of getting in the car, you’re able to compartmentalise it and do your job. That’s what we have to do as athletes and drivers. So, in the car, I was able to focus solely on doing it – but outside of the bubble there’s that pressure of wanting to pull something special out and do something where it’s so hard to do. 

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Valtteri, you talked through the incident in the pitlane. It took a while for the decision to come but eventually Max was obviously given a five second time penalty that dropped him behind the two of you. Obviously he did his utmost to get ahead of Lewis to overturn that five seconds. Given the consequent it could have had on your race, did you think a five seconds time penalty is sufficient in that scenario?

VB: It’s a tricky one because there would be no way I could ever gain back the position so I lost, except I gained, at least, Max’s position with his penalty – but example the position I lost to Sebastian. There’s no way I ever gain it back, so I think he got his penalty and I think it’s OK. Not much to say more than that. 

Q: (Jerome Pugmire – AP) Question for Lewis. Toto was speaking on television after the race and he said he thinks only you can drive like that: a race from a World Champion for a World Champion who’s no longer with us. How highly does this performance rank amongst your wins, given the difficulties that you had. You had that pole position in Singapore last year which was probably your best pole position. In terms of a drive, how high does this rank amongst yours.

LH: I don’t know. How many races have I done? Have I hit 300 yet? 250 or 280 or whatever it is, I don’t remember every single one of them, I’m sure if I was to watch back whatever race it is, I think I can reminisce but often the wet races have always been some of the trickiest to have overcome but out of the 200+ there’s obviously going to be a good five to ten solid races that are up there. I do believe this has to be in the top five of the hardest races. I’ve got a poor memory but I think it’s the hardest race I’ve ever had. 

SV: How many races do you remember? If you have a poor memory?

LH: I have the worst memory man! I don’t really remember much past the last race!

SV: Every race is the greatest race then! If you don’t remember the other ones!

LH: Definitely! That’s the great thing. It’s the first time every time. I still can’t believe that I managed to finish where I finished, if I’m honest. I don't’ know how I did it today. There were just so many opportunities to make mistakes, so many opportunities to give up, so many opportunities to make an excuse. Ultimately the wrong tyre. It just seems to be one of those races where every time I come each year – which I love, like all of us do – something happens. Sometimes it goes OK, nine times out of ten it’s not, something’s thrown at me and it just doesn’t seem to work. It’s almost like I’m destined not to win here too often. I appreciate the couple that I’ve had – and today I was like: ‘I’m not letting go of this thing!’ I was holding on for dear life. 

Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Congratulations Lewis, we’ve already seen you jump in the swimming pool to celebrate – what are your plans for the remainder of the evening to toast this victory?

LH: I don’t have any plans. Honestly. Like I was saying earlier, there’s been a lot of races where I’ve literally just packed up, left, gone home, got home, switched the race on, watched the rerun of the race. I’ve tried to do that more often, so you get a better idea of what people have been seeing. A friend of mine texted me saying you don’t celebrate enough, or take enough time to appreciate these great moments, and you’re doing such a great job. So I’m trying to keep that in mind. It won’t be a crazy night. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow. I’d like to enjoy a whole full day and get workouts on – but I’m definitely going to try to enjoy a good meal tonight and maybe a glass of wine, for example – or a few…

SV: Just say ‘bottle’.

LH: An expensive bottle. 

Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) Question for Valtteri and Sebastian. Valtteri, you talked about what happened in the pitlane but it was also very, very tight with Max in the first corner. Can you talk us through that, and also if you were happy the start after two not-so-good starts. And Sebastian, you had a grandstand view of the incident in the pitlane, because you were right behind. Were you worried at any stage it might spill into you as well?

SV: If they block the road, yeah!

VB: For me, I think the start was OK. It felt like a normal start. Max had a really good one, he was in the inside then for Turn One – but I knew if I stay outside, carry the speed, should be OK. There was a small moment at mid-corner where I was kind of expecting him to hit me from the inside but he didn’t, so I was happy and I got a good exit and, job done. 

Sebastian were you worried about the road getting blocked or hoping that more would happen in front of you?

SV: I was surprised. Max must have an amazing pit stop first of all, because I think we were all just right behind each other and I came out just behind Valtteri but Max jumped him, so he had a better stop than both of us. But then there was nowhere to go. I was worried actually, because some of the guys further down the pit lane were, not panicking, but they did really well the mechanics of – I don’t know what it’s called now, it’s not Force India… Racing Point! Sorry! Clearing the hoses and giving way to two cars, yeah, not sure Max saw that Valtteri was really side-by-side but it was just getting closer and I could see it coming. 

LH: I’m sure he did!

SV: Yeah, but Valtteri had no place to go, but yeah, I thought maybe there’s something I can benefit, which turned out to be the case. Valtteri was lucky, I guess the lead pack had such a big margin to the cars behind that he had eventually another free pit stop – but it’s not ideal, obviously, it could have ended his race there. 

Q: (Giles Richards – The Guardian) Congratulations Lewis. This race is a bit of an outlaw in terms of form but we’re six races into the season now and this is usually the time when you begin getting stronger and stronger. Do you feel – as you are now, going into the mid-part of the season – that there is more to come from this car and you’re just going to be on an upward curve now? 

LH: I definitely feel that it’s been quite an average performance from myself, maybe above average but generally quite average for the first six races. I feel like I’ve got the best I could get. I’ve arrived prepared – the best prepared I could be – but in terms of extracting the true performance from the car, I feel like I’ve struggled a little bit in these six races. I guess that’s kind of similar to other seasons but without doubt it’s going to improve as the knowledge you gain over the season race by race, particularly with the tyres this year, where the window is even smaller and maximising… I do anticipate things will get better as it will be for all of us. I hope, at some stage, that I’m able to crack the issues that I’ve had and get back to the form that I have within me. Whether that’s the next race or ten races from now, I can’t really say but I am very, very focused on making sure I rectify any of those. 

Q: (George Bolton – The Sun) Lewis, what do you and the team need to do ahead of Canada? Did today feel a bit too close? 

LH: They were as close as they could be. We came here this weekend, the car was really great whilst we’ve done a great job in qualifying. It’s always a lot closer here. Our race performance generally was very very strong. Obviously we were on the wrong tyres, so strategically we could have done a better job, without doubt. We don’t always get that perfect and on today’s case, I think we’ll definitely learn from it and what doesn’t break you only makes you stronger so I think going into the next race, a lot of analysis will be made and particularly towards trying to understand the tyres better and deliver better in terms of our processes and on my side, trying to work even better with my engineers to try and extract more from my car. That means Bono and Marcus and a lot of the engineers trying to extract more information from ERS and positioning the information in the right way so I can deliver more from this car. And also I know the guys back at the factory are working on developments, so obviously at the next race I think we will probably have a new engine by the next race, so the car will continue to move forwards as we will. 

Q: (Daniel Horvath – Racing Line) Lewis and Sebastian: Max got a five second penalty for an unsafe release which is obviously not the driver’s mistake. Do you think there should be another type of penalty applied for scenarios like that or is it OK as it is now? 

SV: I don’t know. Obviously here is a tricky one to call because you have no space in the pit lane so… I’m not a fan of penalties in general but then you need to find some way of limiting some of the actions, obviously. It was close with some of the hoses if the pit lane is not designed to have two cars fighting each other. Yeah, I don’t know. I’m sure they looked at it again and again and again From behind, it looked like Max should have left more space but as I said, this small decision… I don’t know if Max was ahead, so I don’t know if it was necessary to squeeze Valtteri so much. I don’t know if there was something in front of him. I can’t see that much beyond his car but as I said, in general I’m not a fan of penalties but I’m sure they had to obviously look at it and that’s what they decided, so fair enough. 

LH: Well, ultimately it’s a team sport so you pay the price together, collectively. If we make a mistake on track, the team pays a price and if the team makes a mistake the driver pays the price, so it’s one of those scenarios. I’ve not seen it but I could imagine that the unsafe release is not a good thing but I think it’s a potential for shunts. I think someone coming in… we saw at places like Budapest years ago and also the mechanics who are sitting in the garage or in the pit lane, so it puts people in harm’s way so ultimately… but again, I’ve not seen it. But I do think it’s a team sport so we take the price together. 

Q: (John McEvoy – Daily Mail) Lewis, I think the funeral’s on Wednesday in Vienna. As it stands, are you going to that? 

LH: Of course. 

Q: (Mikko Hyytia – Iltalehti) Valtteri, there’s a hockey game again tonight. Is it a way for you to maybe get rid of this disappointment and if Lewis doesn’t have any plans for tonight, maybe he can join you watching? 

LH: I definitely won’t play hockey with him!

VB:… to join because I’ve eight Finnish friends at my apartment. They’ve probably been drinking for three days now. 

LH: I’ve heard that they can’t keep up with the Finnish. 

SV: I heard the fire brigade before we came in, they showed that your apartment…

LH: I probably wouldn’t make the next race if I go and drink with all the Finnish guys. 

VB: For sure it’s going to be a hockey night. Finland is playing for the gold against Canada and yeah, we’re going to be cheering, thank you, and they can save the day, so hopefully they get a win and then we have a bit of a celebration. 

SV: I hope Finland wins, because then maybe they don’t let you into Canada! 

VB: That’s nice! Maybe I will have less fans in Canada. We’ll see. 

Q: (Livio Oricchio – To Lewis, how do you think the race would have been for you if you also had hard tyres? And also, Valterri, at one moment, around lap 63/64 you let Sebastian open up a gap to four seconds from you in order to make fastest lap, then quickly you were already on his gearbox so it looks like you had much better pace than him. Could you have won the race? 

LH: Yeah, there’s all ifs and buts but if I had the other tyre I think it would have been a lot easier race for me. I think that the hard tyre we had… I hadn’t driven the hard tyre all weekend but we knew that it could do a whole race distance from our analysis so yeah, it would have been a much better gap behind me, that’s for sure, and it would have been much easier to have kept him at bay. But as I said, it made the race more challenging. I’m not going to say I’m ungrateful for it but it would have been nice to have a more chilled afternoon but I got by. I might have some grey hairs by now after that one but I’ll die it black! Have you (SV) got grey hairs? 

VB: Yeah, definitely there was a lot of pace left and I was kind of trying to see if I could get anywhere close to the fastest lap but a lot of pace. Honestly today the whole race felt like a Sunday drive around Monaco. It was a bit of a shame but that’s how it is sometimes. 

Q: (Jerome Pugmire – Associated Press) Sebastian, Mattia was saying that for you to win they need to give you a better car. Your last win was Belgium some 14 races (ago). 

SV: Who’s counting? 

Q: (Jerome Pugmire – Associated Press) He’s said ‘we need to give Sebastian a better car for him to perform to the best of his ability.’ Do you agree with that or do you think you should also perhaps be doing better? Where do you put the share of responsibility, so to speak? 

SV: Well, I’m part of the team so I don’t put myself above. I’ve had some difficult moments this year where I’m fighting the car, I’m not really entering yet to the level where I feel a lot more comfortable and I feel comfortable to squeeze out more performance from the car but I think it’s linked to the fact that we struggle to put our car in the right window. Once it is there, it is feeling better and you’re able to build up on that but it doesn’t happen very often but it’s a combination of things. I think first we are lacking overall performance and that overall performance would help us probably to put the tyres more often in the window they would like to be in. I think it’s not a secret, by now, after six races that these tyres this year seem a bit more critical to get exactly into that window…

LH: …phone call.

SV: Hang on. You’ve been giving the longest answers.

LH: I wasn’t saying you’re talkative. I just said we have a phone call. Do you remember that phone call we have to do. 

SV: I remember. I was finishing quickly. Umm. Where was I? Anyway, I think it’s not been the easiest and straightforward ride so far but I feel that there’s more potential in this car, there’s more potential in the team and as I said, I’m part of the team so I’m flattered by what he’s trying to say but I think we need to stick together, we need to work hard and even if it would be nice to flip a coin and turn things around, probably for everybody’s sake except those two guys, it’s not going to happen overnight. We need to work hard and pay a lot of attention to small things, to details in order to get closer and once we are matched I think we can put a lot more pressure on them. I will have a lot closer races but currently we are sitting too far away, behind Mercedes and probably a match on average with Red Bull is not where we want to be.