Formula 1 News

Italian GP after race press conference

The three podium members: Lewis Hamilton (1st), Sergio Pérez (2nd) and Fernando Alonso (3rd) responds to questions about the race. Read the transcript.
Sunday, September 9, 2012

As published by the FIA. 

Drivers: 1 - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), 2 - Sergio Perez (Sauber), 3 - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

PODIUM INTERVIEWS - Conducted by Niki Lauda

Q: How is it to win the Italian Grand Prix in front of all these fans here?
Lewis Hamilton:
It’s been fantastic to win here; you’ve got the best crowd. I’m just so happy for my team; it was really a fantastic day.

Q: Now you’re catching up on Fernando. You're 37 points behind. It’s got to be a pleasure?
LH:
Fernando is a two-time world champion, he’s incredible. I’m very, very happy for him.

Q: Thank you. So, I take my hat off (to you), Sergio. You did an incredible job. I think you even surprised Fernando here. How did you work this fantastic race for yourself?
Sergio Perez:
It was a great race for me, for my team. It’s unbelievable to get a podium in Monza, with all these people. It’s really, really special.

Q: What was the strategy? What tyres did you use?
SP:
I went for prime and then I stopped very late in my first stint and then I had fresh tyres at the end. It’s unbelievable, thank you very much.

Q: So, Fernando, it was a difficult race for you, from where came from, please explain.
Fernando Alonso:
It was a difficult race starting from tenth. But we knew that we had maybe the quickest car maybe this weekend. We missed pole position yesterday but todaywe had the pace to recover positions, so it was good.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Lewis, isn’t that just the best podium in the world, with all those people, what do you think? And you got out your best Italian as well.
LH:
I tried - but you couldn’t hear anything!

Q: That looked a fantastic win, virtually lights-to-flag, apart from during the pit stop. Trouble-free?
LH:
It was pretty trouble-free - I don’t think I had any problems throughout the race and the guys did a great job through the pitstop. And I got a good start for once, so very, very happy with that.

Q: Any issues with tyres at all? Was it fairly straightforward?
LH:
Yes.

Q: And no problems mechanically or anything like that? Obviously your team-mate had a problem.
LH:
Very, very unfortunate for Jenson, we were running 1-2 at the time and it would have been fantastic for the team to have won here and have first and second. I don’t really know what went on with his car but it was very unfortunate.

Q: Were you told to do anything to your car?
LH:
No.

Q: Sergio, how much did you enjoy that? It must have been amazing to be on those softer tyres and just be overtaking, overtaking?
SP:
Yeah! It was really enjoyable. One of those races where you have the pace and you are the one attacking. It was very crucial moments during the race, especially during my first stint, to go that long and to be able to keep the pace was not easy at all. I did quite a lot of laps on those tyres. Then in the second stint we managed to go maximum attack and I was able to have good fighting with some drivers. It was just a great race.

Q: Kimi put a bit of resistance, didn’t he?
SP:
Yeah, but I mean Kimi’s a very fair driver. He left enough room, not more than needed, and it was alright with all the drivers that I had the fight, they were all leaving good room, and it was a very enjoyable fight with all of them.

Q: How much do you worry that the tyres are suddenly going to drop off? Or are you confident all the way through?
SP:
With the first stint I was a bit worried, especially with the data we had from Friday. I was a bit worried I was feeling some degradation from the tyres, so I was a bit worried that it was going to drop, that the tyre was going to drop but once I got until lap 20 it was looking really good. Before that I was in contact with the team every lap, trying to say that everything was fine. Every lap I asked them to stay in contact every lap, just in case we were in need to change the strategy.

Q: Fernando, after qualifying tenth, I guess third place is good. Still a bit frustrated or not?
FA:
No, no. Absolutely perfect Sunday for us. Obviously the win was out of reach after the problem yesterday. Starting tenth is not easy to think about victory, so if you cannot win, podium is next target. In all the simulations and all the predictions we had, it was never a podium finish, so basically it’s much better than expected. Jenson was out of the race and the two Red Bulls… so perfect Sunday maybe.

Q: And you picked up a couple of places at the start…
FA:
Yeah, the start was good. Obvious we didn’t have maybe the best start but it was enough to overtake two or three cars, good first corner and then those two first laps were, I think, making the difference of our race. We overtook di Resta, Kimi, Michael very quickly. And that gave us the opportunity to follow Sebastian and the quick cars that were there in the first five positions. So, when you find yourself sixth after two or three laps, the race improves a lot.

Q: Then you had a bit of a moment with Sebastian, where you found yourself on the grass through the Curva Grande. What happened there?
FA:
Nothing really to say.

Q: Do you think he didn’t see you? Or what?
FA: [no audible answer]

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Adrian Huber - Agencia EFE) Fernando, yesterday you said it wasn’t a good day but it would be OK in the worst case if both McLarens win. The day was even better because only one of them are front of you. Sergio was there. What can you say? You build up your lead in the Championship.
FA:
Yeah, definitely. Yesterday was a disappointment day for us and especially for our fans. I think they were supporting us massively this weekend and we really had the opportunity to be on pole or in the first row and we missed it. So, we were sad for us and most of all for the fans. So, yeah, looking at the Championship, we say we need to concentrate who will be second. It was Vettel yesterday and we were happy for the McLarens to be strong this weekend. And yeah, the race went like a movie for us, like a dream.

Q: (Carlos Jalife - Fast mag) Sergio, you were sick the whole weekend, and how much did that cost you during qualifying and if you had started here up in front maybe you could have challenged Lewis for the win.
SP:
It’s always difficult for sure, I don’t think we had the pace in qualifying, on a single lap, to be even close to gaining the front row or close to the top five. We were not quick at all, we were lacking too much speed on the straights and that was our problem. Yes, I’ve been sick all weekend. It’s been difficult but it did not affect me at all, yesterday in qualifying I did not have the good lap. I was too close to Bruno Senna so I lost a lot of downforce - it was the reason why we qualified just out of the top ten. But more than that… maybe top ten was reachable but more than that, not. It helped us, in a way, to change the strategy. We risk, I don’t know if we were the only one, or one of a few, to go for prime and it worked quite well. We were a bit worried about the warm up in the beginning but it worked quite OK.

Q: (Flavio Vanetti - Corriere della Sera) To Lewis, it’s the third victory in a row for McLaren. Is it a clear message for Ferrari, looking at the Championship?
LH:
I don’t think so. I think Ferrari were as quick as us this weekend. At least as quick as us this weekend. I think if Fernando had better qualifying, I’m sure he would have been up there with me and made the race perhaps a little bit harder than it was. No, I think Ferrari seem like they’re very, very quick and we need to stay on it to try to continue to compete with them.

Q: (Vincent Marre - Sport Zeitung) Question to Lewis, after hearing that Button was out, you have obviously drove a bit slower the last laps of the race. My question: have you paid attention to the engine range?
LH:
No, you just try to… I was cruising. The last 20 laps I had a 14 second gap. At the time Felipe was behind and he, even though I was cruising, he was going slower than me and then I heard that Fernando had overtook, and it was Fernando who began to catch so then I pulled out a little bit more time and matched his time just to keep it relaxed and then this guy here [Pérez] started catching me at a second a lap. So probably the last four laps I started to push a little bit more, just to maintain a little bit more of the gap.

Q: (Fabrizio Corgnati - 422 race.com) To Sergio, do you think your overtaking on Fernando will hurt your chances to be in Ferrari next year?
SP:
Ask him. I don’t know. I’m sure… I’m not at all… I’m fighting for my team and will always fight for the team that I’m in. I will always give my maximum I can. And I will fight any driver, no matter if it’s Fernando or Lewis, I will fight for my team to get the result - and I think every driver will do the same.

Q: (Frederic Ferret - L'Equipe) Lewis, you put an Italian flag on your helmet, you wanted this win, what does this mean now that you have it?
LH:
Yeah, it's an incredible experience for me to come to Italy, a place that I love a lot. I've come here for many many years, since I was 13, met lots of great people here, really do genuinely love the people here and the culture and the food and the country itself. I put the flag on my helmet just as a sign of respect. This is a very historic circuit and when I was driving, I was thinking that all of the greats have won here so to finally get a win here is just the icing on the cake, and I hope that this is the start of something good in the future, coming here. I've not had the best results in the past, and hopefully in the future we will have a little bit more support here.

Q: (Leonid Novozhilov - F1Live) Lewis, what does it mean for you to win in Monza?
LH:
I just answered that. It's very very special, very very special.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Sergio, is this your best race so far in Formula One, and how important has been to do it in Monza in front of the Ferrari guys as a Ferrari academy driver?
SP:
I think it definitely is a very nice podium to be on here in Italy, because it's very special to see. It's a very special race which you don't feel anywhere else. So to have my first European podium in Formula One is very great and it's a very special place to have it. I think it was a fantastic race and I'm very pleased with the result.

Q: (Luigi Perna - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Fernando, were you surprised by Vettel's action; you seemed to be forced off to the left side of the corner at that moment? Were you scared that your race could be compromised at that point?
FA:
I think it was compromised. I lost ten laps behind him so I lost whatever seconds there were at that moment after the incident, also the laps behind him. I'm sure the car is damaged because at 330kph you are jumping over the gravel. I don't think that the floor and everything - all the details that you take care of because the race - will be completely fine after those jumps.

Q: (Fulvio Solms - Corriere dello Sport) Fernando, do you think that the guy alongside you is going to be your main competitor in the championship?
FA:
We'll see, we will see in the next couple of races and how the teams develop the parts. At the moment McLaren has won the last three Grands Prix and they are in top form. I think from Jerez they won in winter testing, who was the driver that I respect more and that was Lewis and we're still here, 11 or 12 races afterwards we are first and second in the championship. It will be tough until the end.

Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo) To Lewis and Fernando, Fernando, several times you have said that you love the Singapore circuit, it's perfect for your style and Lewis also loves to drive on street circuits. What do you project for the next race, now you're both fighting for the championship?
FA:
Well, we'll see. I think it's a very nice race, very nice atmosphere in Singapore and not only for the race on Sunday. I think from the day you arrive, Wednesday or Thursday, it's a special weekend, you feel it. All the times and everything is out of the normal routine and I think you enjoy the change a little bit more and I think the circuit is quite interesting, very challenging. I think you enjoy driving there. Fans are always very close to us in that circuit as well and I think there will be a nice atmosphere, a nice fight. Personally I hope it will be a good test for us because there are a lot of new things that we will bring to Singapore, so let's hope we can fight for the win.
LH: I second what Fernando said. He's just given us the information, that Ferrari are going to be bringing lots of parts to the next race, so I will go back to my team and push them to...
FA: It's not only Singapore.
LH: But I really do enjoy racing with Fernando and I hope that we get to have lots more close battles.

Q: (Sylvia Arias - Parabrisas Argentina) Sergio, in Singapore, it looks good for you now because this race didn't look good for you and you did very well, whereas Singapore is a different track. What do you expect?
SP:
I definitely expect to be better than here but here was a big surprise for us. I think the strategy made a very big difference for us, because we had the pace to be where we finished today. I think Singapore will definitely be a better one - I don't think the best for us but if we come here and look better, I think we can be competitive if you consider we lose half a second on the straights here so I think we can be quite competitive in Singapore.

Q: (Sylvia Arias - Parabrisas Argentina) Fernando, you said you were really lucky here, but how much does the car need to improve, because sometimes you cannot depend on being lucky?
FA:
Yes, obviously I don't consider that we've been lucky. We've just been unlucky, even yesterday, compared with many of the others, and today someone broke some parts that is probably something that is not right, as we broke some parts yesterday that we need to investigate and it's our mistake. In Spa we've been unlucky because we didn't break any parts so we didn't make any mistakes, it was just a car landing on us, so I don't think that we are particularly lucky but it's true that we need to improve the car, to improve the performance a little bit, not this weekend because to be honest we had the fastest car with McLaren, so we were very happy to fight all the free practice, qualifying and now in the race for the top positions, and hopefully we can continue this in another track, because we know that Monza is a very unique layout, so if we continue like this we will be happy, and that's our aim.

Q: (Carlos Miguel - La Gaceta) Fernando, in your opinion what was the difference mbetween the movement of Vettel today and the movement you made in the same place last season? Was it more aggressive? What's your opinion?
FA:
I think we need to see it on TV. Last year it was not penalised, this year it has been. I think there is a big difference for the people who understand this movement.

Q: (Adrian Huber - Agencia EFE) Checo/Sergio, this is your third podium after Malaysia and Canada; when and where do you think your first victory will come?
SP:
I hope sooner rather than later. I want to win. I already have a second and a third, as you say. I want my first victory to come and I hope it can come before the end of the season.

Q: (Vincent Marre - Sport Zeitung) Fernando, when you were fighting against Vettel and you were on the grass, what were you thinking at that moment?
FA:
Nothing. I tried to get off the grass and continue the race. I wanted to finish the race and not have another DNF because of an accident, just taking some margin, the same as when Sergio arrived a second quicker than us in the last part of the race: what can we do? We tried to defend the position a little bit but we cannot be crazy and try to do things that are impossible to do.

Q: (Peter Windsor - Clarksport Ltd) Fernando, very tight first corner here. From tenth on the grid what was your approach for the start and how did that first corner go for you?
FA:
Actually I have a very open mind in terms of strategy for the first corner. I just wanted to see how the car started and how the first 200 meters went and after that decide. The start was good in the first 200 meters so after that the approach was aggressive. After you make a good start, you need to continue, and you cannot lose what you gain in the first 200 meters. We risked but it was close. As you said, very tight first corner here so it's very easy to lose your front nose or whatever. It was tight but it was good.

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