Austrian Grand Prix: Top three press conference
Full transcript from the post race interviews after the Austrian Grand Prix, Round 8 of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship, at Red Bull Ring. Featuring race winner Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), second placed Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and third place Felipe Massa (Williams)
(Podium interviews conducted by Gerhard Berger)
Nico congratulations. My first question is: Nico why you don’t drive every race like this?
Nico Rosberg: I will try from now on, I promise!
I have to say you did a brilliant start, that’s where you really made it until the first corner, and then I saw you coming into the pits and I say ‘shit, that’s really on the limit’. You blocked all four wheels; you went sideways on the line, just. I say ‘well, that’s close to a penalty’ but you did it well. You were pushing from the first [corner] until the end. Tell us how did you feel it and how do you feel today?
NR: It’s an awesome feeling, of course, to win again here. Very, very happy. The start made the race. It was a great start and I managed to defend in the first couple of corners and then I really just tried to push flat out this time. I was really happy with the car and happy to see the gap open up to Lewis, so it really worked out perfectly today.
Well done, Lewis…
NR: Nico, but it’s easy to confuse us!
Ah, Nico. Well done, let’s go to Lewis, you are one of the quickest guys I’ve ever seen in Formula One. You are really great. You have a quick car. But you must say, well, that you have a headache in the team. Whenever, you think you are just going away, winning the championship, he’s coming back again and he’s fighting back and again and keep you honest. I think it’s great to watch you both…
Lewis Hamilton. It’s great to see your enthusiasm man. It’s really great to see your enthusiasm. Nico did a fantastic job today. At the end of the day, he was quicker during the race. I had a really bad start, which obviously lost me ground and after that I was just really pushing as hard as I could. I think in the second stint it was really just about making the distance and that’s what I was trying to do.
We are watching you and you guys are really giving everything – you can see lap-by-lap, it’s qualifying every lap. I think it’s really great to see you both fighting since the karting time up to the Formula One.
LH: It’s been a long time.
Well done, Lewis, keep pushing.
LH: Thank you.
Felipe – old men! When I saw Sebastian catching you, I said, ‘well, Felipe is very, very experienced, has a Mercedes engine in the back, he’s going to be very difficult to overtake’. So Sebastian is waiting always for a mistake or a problem on the Mercedes side and Felipe is always just in the back of Sebastian on the Ferrari, see how he can put himself into next position. He did a fantastic job. But you are every year going extremely well here in Austria. What is it motivating you here? Is it the dirndls of the girls on the starting grid?
Felipe Massa: Yeah, maybe, I don’t know. For sure it’s great people here supporting. It’s always fantastic to be here. I think it was a fantastic race today. So we managed to get Sebastian, with his problem that he had in his pit stop, which I didn’t see, I don’t know what’s happened, but I managed to pass him there. I understood that maybe at the end of the race he would be behind me, because they were maybe one or two tenths quicker every lap. At the end he got there and I juts managed to keep the line and not making any mistake, just using a little bit of experience and I’m so happy. It was an amazing race and it was a fantastic result for the whole team, so happy.
I think, Felipe, there was a lot of experience involved, because I saw you fighting the tyres, you were a little bit off-line already in some corners but you kept in front. Well done.
FM: Thank you.
Nico, many congratulations, a fantastic start from you, set you up for that win. You did sound a little worried on the radio towards the end. That chequered flag couldn’t come soon enough I guess?
NR: It was just a vibration picking up on the right front. So, just telling them to keep an eye on it – but it was fine in the end. It sort-of stabilised so it was not a problem. It just came from the tyre wear and just feels a bit uncomfortable when that happens – but, no, it was all fine.
You’ve got a one hundred per cent record around this track that a lot of people describe as ‘difficult’. Why is it you’re so good around here?
NR: I don’t know if there’s a trend on this track or anything. It’s just today was just a great day. Good start and then good pace also in the race – and that’s what I’m most happy about. The car felt good, I was able to push from the first lap onwards all the way, so that’s cool. I think this year I found what I needed to find last year in terms of race, y’know, and just doing a little bit better in the races and that’s really working out for me this year.
Lewis, a tough start for you, not the start you would have wanted. Just talk us through how your race unfolded from there.
LH: It was pretty straightforward there. Just keeping up with Nico in the first stint, and then in the second stint Nico generally had better pace so he did a fantastic job today, so congratulations to him and otherwise it was just bringing the car home.
What happened at the start?
LH: I had a problem with the wait revs. I took my foot off the gas and it was still on – like the throttle was still on – and then I dumped the clutch and just lots and lots of wheelspin. So, it’s, y’know, not the best way to start the race – but something we will work on to improve on my side of the garage.
Felipe, a thousand career points now, your son even predicted you’d finish third today – but talk us through those final laps as well as your race when you knew that Sebastian was bearing down on you.
FM: Yeah, I think it was a great result today. So we managed to get the opportunities, which it was a mistake of another team or Sebastian, I don’t know what’s happened so I cannot say, but enough, and we managed to keep the pace, which was good – but maybe a little bit slower compared to him. I expect him to be close to me at the end of the race and he was but I managed to keep him behind which was the most important thing, so I’m so happy for our results today, working for the team and everything. My son said I was going to finish third so he’s right and, yeah, just hope we can celebrate after this interview.
A third and a fifth for the team today though, that’s some important points over Ferrari as well, isn’t it?
FM: Yeah, I think it was very good for the team. It was important points against Ferrari, also, looking what’s happened to Kimi today. So, we are not giving up, we will fight until the end. We understand that maybe they have a little bit of a quicker car compared to us but we are working very hard to improve and to be there and really trying to get back the points that they are in front, which is not easy but it is what we’re trying.
Questions from media
Lewis, could you please explain what exactly happened at the pit exit? Were you just too much in a hurry or looking at the dash?
LH: I have no idea, to be honest. I don’t think I went over anything, so…
Felipe, did you believe that Vettel could overtake you; did you defend yourself hard at any moment?
FM: Well, I think he got very close with maybe ten laps to go. I thought it could have been possible. We know that Ferrari manage the tyres very well, especially at the end of the race. We did maybe 40 laps, maybe more with these tyres so I expected him to be strong at the end of the race and he was. But you never know, I had to defend myself so I think when you are defending, you don’t know what’s going to happen so you just need to try and do your best and not make any mistakes. I think that was the only point that I had in mind, so I tried not to make any mistakes and if he was going overtake me because he managed to get the right line or pass me, you don’t know, but I was trying and we managed to make this happen.
To all three of you; I’m sure you haven’t seen the footage yet but there was an accident on the first lap between Kimi and Fernando where Fernando’s car was lifted up and was only centimetres away from Kimi. If you see something like that, do you wish to have a closed cockpit in Formula One or is it still a risk you can live with?
NR: Well, I haven’t seen it of course but it’s an ongoing process you know? We know that that’s an area of concern still, this open cockpit and the risks that there are in that sense so of course it’s an ongoing investigation to try and improve the safety, step by step and we need to see what we can do about it in the near future.
LH: I must say that, to be honest, I don’t really have an opinion about it.
FM: Yeah, I agree with Nico. Definitely we always need to look where we can improve so if you see that after what happened to me in my accident, they improved the helmets, they improved the visors and I think we definitely always need to look where to look. I don’t know if completely closing the cockpit… We have some improvements to do – we need to do it.
Felipe, could you please tell me something about the new updates on your car and about your chances in the next races?
FM: Everything we brought here we are using on the car, so for sure there is still some work we need to do to make the pieces that we brought even better. It’s definitely positive, so everything we saw in the wind tunnel we can see here at the track, but there is still some more working, some details that we need to improve but I’m sure we’re going to do that. Yeah, I think maybe next race we can be competitive. We cannot forget that Ferrari have a strong car so even today they were a little bit quicker than me, so we need to push hard and we need to try to make this car maybe a little bit quicker, then we can fight at a good level, maybe being quicker than them in the next races, so that’s what we want.
Nico, in the middle of the first stint you seemed to increase the gap to Lewis a bit and then towards the end he seemed to come back to you again. Did you maybe have some problems with the tyres, your right front seemed to be graining a bit, and how confident were you of staying ahead after the pit stops?
NR: Yeah, it was the graining on the right front and it’s very difficult to predict how it comes, when it comes and I suppose that I just got more than Lewis at the time. But yeah, I was confident that I could stay ahead because the guy who stops first then has the new tyres and I could push and definitely open up the gap again, so that was all fine.