French GP: Publish-qualifying press convention


DRIVERS: Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes), Valtteri BOTTAS (Mercedes), Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari).


(Carried out by Jean Alesi and Franck Montagny)

Jean ALESI: Lewis, your 75th pole place as we speak. It was a superb one?

Lewis HAMILTON: Yeah, it wasn’t too dangerous. Impeccable.

JA: And the climate? 

LH: The climate has been OK. It was a lot better clearly earlier within the week, however qualifying is all the time robust. Q3 has not been spectacular. Q1 and Q2 had been good however then Q3 was so-so.

Franck MONTAGNY: How does it really feel to get the primary pole place right here in France? 

LH: It feels nice to be again in France, such a gorgeous place. We’ve received a terrific response from the group right here and actually excited to return to the primary grand prix right here at Paul Ricard for a protracted, very long time and to be on the entrance is a superb exhibiting of the laborious work from all the blokes at my group.

JA: So Valtteri, the way it was for you, the final lap?

Valtteri BOTTAS: It was not a nasty lap, however not excellent both. I’ve been struggling to get excellent laps this weekend and missed just about all of FP2 and we didn’t do any operating in FP3, so I used to be sort of catching up run by run, however yeah, a one-two for us is ideal.

FM: Valtteri it appears to be like such as you had an enormous benefit right here in qualifying, particularly with the brand new engine. Is that proper?

VB: It feels good, the brand new engine. It feels very recent and highly effective, and the group has performed a tremendous job on that, and hopefully tomorrow we will additionally show that’s good.

JA: Sebastian, it was a tough lap, very sophisticated. We’ve seen the automobile, sliding so much.

Sebastian VETTEL: Yeah, it’s a troublesome one to get the precise stability. I attempted to push all the things within the final try, however wanting again I pushed too laborious. You attempt to a bit bit an excessive amount of right here and there and then you definately lose the tyre, the automobile after which it slides, you lose the road and you find yourself dropping time slightly than gaining. After the primary try I noticed that we’re possibly there, so with a extremely superb lap I possibly have an opportunity however tit didn’t come. Ultimately I’m blissful, as a result of the automobile ought to be good within the race, however yeah, it was a superb session although.

FM: What’s the feeling right here to have the Ferrari automobile, you are going to begin on the second row, with all of the French folks right here, it’s the primary time we get again in France?

SV: Yeah, it’s loopy. I feel I raced within the final French Grand Prix. It’s superb to see so many individuals, the joy, clearly the climate as we speak was a bit comme ci, comme ça, nevertheless it’s superb – a lot assist, so many followers for Ferrari as nicely and I feel for all of us it’s good to be right here. Usually right here this place is a bit gray however now there may be plenty of color, lots of people and it actually comes alive and for tomorrow I feel we’ve got a superb likelihood.


Q: Lewis, your third pole place of the season in what appeared like a tough session, simply discuss us by way of your closing lap?

LH: It was a superb qualifying session. I feel the group have performed a terrific job all through the weekend. I feel we’ve got all pulled collectively and performed a terrific job in placing the automobile the place we want it, for each Valtteri and I. The session was fairly easy, it was a extremely easy session to be sincere. I feel Q1 and Q2 had been significantly good after which Q3 was OK. It might all the time be higher. However actually, actually blissful to have the pole. It’s one thing we’ve got been engaged on for thus lengthy. And the strain is, as you recognize, you’ll be able to see how shut it’s between us all. It’s actually, actually nice to have this end result, and a one-two. Our bosses are right here watching us, so I feel it’s a superb exhibiting for Mercedes and the group.

Q: Congratulations. Valtteri, the ultimate lap you pulled out had you on pole place, a minimum of for just a few seconds earlier than Lewis crossed the road. Did you suppose you had performed sufficient with that lap to take pole?

VB: I wasn’t fairly positive, you recognize. When you recognize Lewis has nonetheless to complete his lap you’ll be able to by no means ensure. Lewis did once more a terrific job within the qualifying and I feel for me lacking as little bit of observe time in FP2 and with restricted operating for everybody in FP3 it felt like throughout the qualifying I used to be catching up on a regular basis and I used to be discovering the positive factors run by run. Ultimately it was respectable, nonetheless not fairly excellent however sufficient to place us on the primary run. And like Lewis stated, it’s been a tremendous job what the group has been doing with the automobile, with single improve we placed on the automobile this weekend making the automobile higher, together with the engine in fact.

Q: Congratulations. Seb: third place as we speak. We noticed in your closing run a bit little bit of an error the place you ran broad. Did you suppose pole place was on supply? 

SV: I did not know. For us, qualifying began a bit gradual; clearly with the situations it was a bit bit tough. Beginning gradual that means it received higher all through the qualifying and yeah, I used to be assured I might enhance a bit bit for the ultimate try. However already initially I attempted to push laborious and possibly pushed a bit bit an excessive amount of so I misplaced a bit and yeah, then you definately’re enjoying catch-up. I simply did not get a terrific feeling closing the lap. It wasn’t as robust because the lap earlier than. It was additionally slower. I assumed that there was a tenth or possibly a tenth and a half, possibly sufficient to pip Valtteri, however clearly each of them improved. I feel we could be proud of third. For tomorrow I feel we’ve got a superb automobile. Yesterday appeared actually good, we’ve got a bit bit completely different technique on tyres, so let’s see.


Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) – A query for Lewis and Valtteri. Guys after the delayed introduction of the upgraded Mercedes engine in Canada, how a lot of a aid was to to have that engine right here and the way a lot distinction do you suppose it made as we speak?

LH: As I stated within the convention the opposite day, I didn’t really feel aid. I used to be getting a brand new engine both approach. The positive factors are… these days… what number of years have we had this V6? The positive factors, the upgrades you get now are normally so small, I didn’t actually… I’m very proud of the work that everybody has performed, however that’s not the entire, whole purpose we’re right here on the entrance row, so I don’t really feel any aid in any respect.

VB: I feel we positively wanted it. It’s going to be a detailed season forward, so I’m glad we might have it on this race. Clearly it will have helped us in Montreal, however we’re right here now and now we’re within the first row, so for positive that’s good.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Query to Lewis and Seb. What are your ideas on Charles’ qualification as we speak?

SV: He was eighth? So… I noticed solely on the display screen that Fréd Vasseur was fairly blissful, so I assumed certainly one of his drivers did nicely in Q2. I didn’t see in Q3 however clearly eighth is a formidable end result. I feel they’re nonetheless fairly a great distance behind with the automobile so I feel for him, he’s doing the job. It’s good for him and good for Sauber as nicely, to be up there. And hopefully for them they’ve some likelihood to attain factors tomorrow.

Lewis, you’ve praised Charles earlier than. Your impressions of eightth place?

LH: Yeah, I simply noticed earlier than I went out that he was… I feel he was within the prime ten going into Q3, I feel. So… which was very, very spectacular to see. Significantly with the all of the pressures you could possibly see. There’s plenty of strain for him, being right here within the South of France, so yeah, actually, actually good. Actually blissful for him – significantly in that automobile, which is… yeah, he’s doing a terrific job with what he has and possibly delivering extra, which is what you’ll hope from a superb driver.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Sebastian, final time you used this tyre, zero.4mm, you probably did one pitstop additional. For positive you’ve gotten extra in hand with the automobile after the take a look at of Barcelona. Identical query to Mercedes, can it assist the group within the race situation?

SV: Effectively, I feel for tomorrow, it’s not Barcelona, the observe’s not straightforward on tyres however we noticed yesterday that we had fairly good lengthy runs and no issues with the tyres, so yeah. Clearly we additionally begin on a special set, so I don’t want for an additional cease, in comparison with the others. The pitlane is sort of lengthy right here. However we’ll see. First we concentrate on the beginning after which we see the true tempo within the race nevertheless it ought to be good for us. Tyres… then we see, clearly in Barcelona Mercedes was very robust, so couldn’t go along with them – however for right here I hope it’s going to be completely different.

There’s a query there for the Mercedes drivers as nicely. Do you imagine the tyre technique will assist you to guys tomorrow within the race?

VB: We clearly imagine that’s the optimum for our automobile. That’s why we determined to qualify on the supersoft – however that’s one thing we’re going to seek out out tomorrow as a result of clearly it is a very restricted knowledge on the lengthy runs. Temperature are going to be cooler than they had been in Follow 2. So, we’ll discover out.

Q: (Christian Menath – We’ve seen within the first try the 2 Mercedes drivers misplaced numerous time within the final sector in comparison with Vettel. Did you any issues there within the final sector? Do you suppose this is because of a special setup? What do you three consider it?

LH: I received a little bit of site visitors with Grosjean, that’s all.

VB: I had a lock-up in Flip 12, misplaced fairly a little bit of time.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Sebastian, simply wanting on the restoration you and Ferrari have comprised of yesterday, it’s been a little bit of a trait for you guys this season. I do know you’ll be able to’t give away secrets and techniques, are you able to give us an indicator of how a lot has modified on the automobile and the way completely different the automobile has been in your palms as we speak from yesterday?

SV: Perhaps I had a little bit of a gradual begin as nicely yesterday. Clearly the observe’s… we’ve been right here however then there’s so many choices to make use of, so possibly I used to be a bit gradual to get within the rhythm however I assumed by the long term it was so much higher. Automobile-wise, I do know we didn’t change an excessive amount of however, for positive, the issues that we modified, they helped. Not dramatic, this I can inform you – nevertheless it was good to have the assist from the manufacturing unit. They had been clearly wanting into it, attempting to get all the things out for qualifying, and for the setup primarily. I feel we had been counting on the assistance from the simulator. Antonio Giovinazzi and, yesterday, Daniil Kvyat was right here and serving to us, so these two, because of them as nicely. Yeah, I don’t know why it’s Friday we appear to be a bit off after which Saturday so much higher – nevertheless it’s clearly higher that approach than the opposite approach round.

Q: (Bart van Dooijeweert – Query for all of you. We’ve seen plenty of vehicles struggling in Flip Six as we speak and yesterday. What’s so troublesome about that nook?

SV: I went broad on the final run. I feel you’ve gotten the sequence three, 4, 5 earlier than. So, it’s fairly tough, then, by the point you arrive for six, clearly, there’s not a lot straight between 5 and 6 – however the tyres are fairly sizzling, the automobile is sort of mild and you recognize there’s plenty of time to realize if you will get a bit bit early on the throttle, as a result of after that there’s a protracted straight. I feel that’s what all of us strive nevertheless it doesn’t all the time work. You then attempt to work across the kerbs as nicely to stability the automobile – nevertheless it doesn’t all the time work. That’s why I feel it’s fairly tough. As we speak, I feel moving into we had some tailwind – which doesn’t assist both. Going out, then it will get higher however… yeah, I feel the opposite approach can be simpler. A bit extra assist initially.

Lewis, any bother with Flip Six this weekend?

LH: I did the identical. That’s precisely how I might reply it. Identical with my final run. I went broad as nicely, so, that’s the place I misplaced plenty of time.

And Valtteri, how have you ever discovered Flip Six right here?

VB: Tough! Sure, positively. Like them. Like for everybody.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) How would you fee the observe if it’s moist tomorrow for the race? Will it’s troublesome, slippery?

LH: It’s all the time troublesome within the rain. I’ve not pushed it within the rain so it will be as troublesome as you could possibly in all probability think about. I don’t know what the traces are, I’ve not pushed it within the rain so… You noticed how a lot standing water there was as we speak, so I feel it will be fairly robust for us all.

VB: Sure, I did some moist tyre testing right here however clearly very completely different structure however sure, standing water could be a difficulty if it’s raining like as we speak however I feel the grip stage is definitely fairly OK, so simply the standing water.

SV: Identical. I did a take a look at three years in the past however completely different structure. I feel the brand new asphalt makes it a bit trickier, the water doesn’t have anywhere to go so it sits on the observe which is clearly limiting us from operating. I assume the explanation why we didn’t run this morning was due to that, or I do know the explanation why we didn’t run was due to that. And normally when the asphalt is new and there’s plenty of sunshine after which it rains, you noticed this morning as nicely, it’s like shampoo or I don’t know, some foam or… yeah, it might probably get fairly slippery, a part of the oil is then launched or one thing however I don’t know, we forecasted FP3 to be dry and it wasn’t, so let’s see. I’m not trusting the forecast for tomorrow. I feel we’ll take a look at the grid, what it’s like and see what we do.

Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) On tv, you see plenty of purple and blue traces, generally there’s a bit automobile in between. Are you already used to the visuals, the structure of the circuit? Or does it nonetheless distract you?

VB: No, it’s positively very clear in my thoughts how the observe is and I’m not wanting elsewhere than the place I’m speculated to go. I feel the primary run right here was just a bit bit like seeing all of the completely different bits of observe and getting used to that however I feel after that, after the primary run it was fantastic.

Q: Lewis, any issue for you right here choosing up the observe structure with all of the completely different choices?

LH: No.

SV: Effectively, I feel for us it’s not a lot the traces of the observe as a result of in case you go onto the observe and in case you stroll the observe and also you go in your knees… we’re sitting fairly low, that’s what I wish to say, so we don’t really see a lot of the traces, the colors, the blue and the purple. I feel the tougher factor is that there’s no reference. Usually you’ve gotten all the things a bit nearer to the observe, a bit bit extra elevation and issues however I feel by now all people’s used to it.