Transcript from the post-race interviews and FIA hosted top three press conference after the Canadian Grand Prix, Round 9 of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship season.
Featuring 2022 Canadian Grand Prix race winner Max Verstappen (Red Bull), second-placed Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and third-placed Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).
Track Interviews conducted by Jenson Button
Q: Congratulations Max, that was a hard-fought victory. It looked at the beginning that it was looking a bit easier for you, but that Safety Car at the end put you under a bit of pressure from Carlos.
Max Verstappen: The Safety Car didn’t help. I think, overall, they were very quick in the race, so it would have been really tough for me to close that gap to the end, even on fresher tyres. But yeah, it was really exciting at the end. I mean, I was giving it everything I had. Of course, Carlos was doing the same. You know, following is tricky around here. I could see he was pushing, charging, pushing. But of course, naturally when you’re under DRS it’s a bit easier to charge. So yeah, the last few laps are a lot of fun.
Q: I guess you were very thankful for the straight line speed of the Red Bull round here?
MV: Yeah, luckily, this year, we seem pretty quick on the straight. So that helps a lot.
Q: The strategy, it looked very tricky out there to really understand what you should do with the Virtual Safety Cars. Obviously you stopped very early in the race and were looking towards the two-stop. Were you ever worried that you weren’t able to catch up with Carlos?
MV: Overall, I think that we’re very strong in the race. So yes, it would have been tricky to catch up. But then of course, the Safety Car came out, so they had fresher tyres. So then I was like… Well, I think I would have preferred attacking instead of defending, but luckily it worked out.
Q: Great job, Max. Carlos, obviously you were gunning for the victory there and it was so close. It looked like the hairpin, one lap to the end, you got really close and went a little bit deep. But you must still be happy with this result.
Carlos Sainz: Yeah, I was pushing flat out. I wasn’t leaving any inch to the walls under braking. I was pushing everything with the battery. I tried everything to pass Max, but today we just didn’t have enough pace delta, you know, to get him close enough in the hairpin to then get him a bit out of line into the chicane. But yeah, the positive thing is that we were quicker, we were faster all race, it’s just that little bit more to overtake around here.
Q: It must give you confidence, though. The last couple of races haven’t been the easiest for yourself or Ferrari, so to come here and have that speed and be fighting for a victory…
CS: Yeah, I’m particularly happy with the race pace with the way we managed to put pressure on Max during the whole race and you know, the timing of the pit stops I think was right. Honestly, we tried everything and we were very, very close to winning today. So I will take the positives and yeah, keep trying in the next one.
Q: Lewis, it’s great to see a smile on your face. I know it’s not been the easiest year for you. After years of dominance, it must have been tough. But today, this is a good step forward for you, isn’t it?
Lewis Hamilton: How are you going Montreal? We’ve had such an awesome crowd here this weekend. It’s quite overwhelming, honestly, to get this third place. It’s been such a battle this year with the car and as a team. But we continue to stay vigilant and focused and never giving up. And that’s something I’m so proud of and inspired by my crew. So thank you to everyone that’s here and back at the factory. They’re a little bit too quick for us at the moment but I was giving everything. But we’re getting closer, so we’ve just got to keep pushing, keep pushing and eventually we hopefully will be in a fight with these guys.
Q: But even the shift from Friday until today seems to be big. I mean, Friday, you were saying it’s undriveable and it looked like it, especially on entries. But today, you had them in your sights. Obviously they had a bit of pace on you, but you could still see them at the end.
LH: I could just about see them in the end. Thanks to the Safety Car but honestly our pace was quite good particularly in the second phase of the stint, and we did a lot of work back in the simulator but also here to get the set-up right, so honestly I’m ecstatic. I think, as I said, I didn’t expect this coming into the weekend. It’s my second podium of the year. So this feels really special, especially here where I got my first Grand Prix win. I love it here in Montreal. So, a big thank you to all the Canadians.
Q: Lastly, how’s the back feeling?
LH: It’s good. I’m back to being young!
Q: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix. In third place, Lewis Hamilton, In second place, Carlos Sainz. And taking the 26th win of his career, and his sixth of this 2022 campaign, our winner, Max Verstappen. Max, pressure from Carlos in those last 16 laps, but it seemed like you had it all under control. What a way to win your first race in Canada.
MV: It was a tough race. I mean, I expected to have a little bit more pace. But we seemed to lack a little bit compared to Carlos. That’s of course the only one I could compare to, with the Ferrari. And, yeah, it was a bit more difficult than I expected. But I think, you know, we did our strategy and I think for us it worked. Like that was the right one to do. And I think at that second stop, of course, I had the fresher tyres, I was closing in on Carlos, but I was not sure if I actually would fully close that gap to the end of the race. But then the Safety Car came out. And I was also not very happy with that, because then I knew, of course, that he had fresh tyres behind me. And already with a little bit more pace compared to me and it’s difficult to defend. But yeah, the last 15 or 16 laps we were flat out, pushing to the limit. And I knew, of course, that I couldn’t make a mistake. But it was good racing, you know. It’s always more enjoyable to be able to really push in a Formula 1 car instead of just saving your tyres.
Q: Did Carlos have a go at any point?
MV: I mean, not a go in terms of overtaking, but it was super close all the time. He was constantly in my DRS. I think not once he dropped out of it, you know, so the pressure is always on.
Q: And talk us through the start? It seemed like it made a very good getaway, more than a second in the lead at the end of the opening lap.
MV: It was very low grip out there, of course, because of the rain yesterday. So I knew it was always going to be a bit of a tricky start. But I think we managed that well.
Q: And was there a radio issue? On your slowdown lap we couldn’t hear from you.
MV: Yeah, I think it didn’t work anymore. It decided to stop.
Q: But did it work during the race? Were there any issues?
MV: I have no clue when it stopped. But at one point GP told me that, yeah, it was not working anymore. I think the in-lap, after the line. I guess it must have been working before or maybe it already didn’t work before, which probably they don’t mind! As long as I can hear him, that’s the most important.
Q: Max, you’re 46 points ahead of your team-mate in the championship. You’re building that slowly race by race. How comfortable do you feel at the moment with your car, your team, your position in the championship?
MV: It’s still a very long way and I know the gap of course is quite big, but I also know that it can switch around very quickly. I mean, race three I was 46 behind, so we just need to stay calm, we need to focus, we need to improve, because today we’re not the quickest. It swings a bit, like last weekend it looked good in the race, now it didn’t look as good but we still managed to win and that I think is also a quality and we just have to work together with the whole team you know to try and just find little improvements in the car.
Q: Carlos, coming to you now. So close to winning this race, just talk us through those last laps?
CS: Yeah, it was a tough, intense battle with Max. I knew I had a bit of pace delta on him from the whole race and I think it was five, six laps fresher [on] tyres, but I think to overtake around here you need to be more than those two or three tenths, you know. I gave it all. I was risking everything, you know, over the kerbs, close to the wall and having a few moments out there in the dirty air. I got close a couple of times but not enough to really throw a move down the inside anywhere. But I can tell you I was pushing.
Q: Now, had you put Medium tyres on at that last stop, what difference might that have made?
CS: We… I was thinking about it now. The Safety Car stayed out for a bit longer than maybe what I thought or what the team thought. By time it was green flag, there was only 16 or something laps left, which was the right number of laps to maybe try and put on a Soft, and try to overtake Max on the warm-up phase of the hard. Now, it’s easy to say. At the time, with still 20-something laps to go, the hard was definitely the fastest option to the to the flag, especially knowing that it was a bit of a fresher Hard to Max. It’s a shame. I felt like also without the Safety Car, as Max said, he wouldn’t have caught me easy. I think it would have been a good battle at the end. With him catching up on me, I was ready to hang it out there until the chequered flag. I was in good pace, I was still doing 17.3s. And I think we could have made it to a flag.
Q: But when you were behind him, how was the pace of the car? Was the DRS the only thing keeping you within reach?
CS: I mean, without the DRS it’s impossible, because the DRS is still affecting you quite a lot, especially at this track that you cannot do different lines. It’s all chicanes that you have nowhere to put your front wing to avoid the understeer and the overheating of the tyres. But, even like that, I was happy and confident to be in the dirty air and managed to stay even in overheating, 16 laps in DRS. I could close, I think in lap three, as soon as the DRS opened, and it was all about cooling the tyres, and regaining the battery to try and really drain it when catching him. As I said, I left everything out there. But compared to a Red Bull today, we were quicker, I think the whole race. First time the season that I think I can say that I was fastest man on track, which gives me some confidence and hope for the next races. But two or three tenths is not enough to pass a Red Bull, you need more like five, six tenths of pace delta if you really want to have any chance of passing Max.
Q: Lewis coming to you. Welcome back. Your first podium since the season-opener in Bahrain. After what’s been a difficult run of races for you and Mercedes, how much satisfaction does this podium give you?
LH: It feels great today, to be in amongst the battle. And for a second, at the end there, I was just about keeping up with these guys – but then they pulled away at the end. But it’s given me and the team a lot of hope. I think that there’s more to come from this car. The potential is truly there if we can get the set-up, right. And I think that’s been the most difficult thing this year, is really trying to optimise the set-up. The window for this car is much, much smaller than any other car we’ve experienced. And yeah, I’ve not been on the podium for a long time. So, especially as I had my first one here 15 years ago, to be back up there and get to experience the energy from the crowd was very reminiscent of that first year here and yeah, I’m so, so happy with it.
Q: Lewis, you mentioned set-up, and the last time you drove this car in the dry on Friday, you seemed at a loss to explain the lack of pace. So, what did you change between Friday and qualifying and today?
LH: I wasn’t really lost. It’s just we tried two different avenues and the avenue I was down was dreadful. So, we collated all the data we had and we made drastic changes to the set-up. And it was much, much, much nicer today. More in line with what we anticipated and it was good. When you get a full race distance in, you find a lot of things out about the car and the relationship you have with the car and data, etc. So, there’s a lot to take from today. One really great thing is we’ve got really good reliability, which I think is a real tribute to all the great work all the team are doing at both factories. So, we just got to keep our heads down, keep working and hopefully I know where I’m losing to these guys, so that’s where I’m going to go and try and focus on attacking, to improve.
Q: Lewis, we’re heading back to a more conventional circuit next, your home race, Silverstone. Just how confident are you at track like that now?
LH: I think we’re better in medium and high-speed corners probably, than we are in the low-speed corners so I… but we have bouncing, so I don’t know how it’s going to be through Copse and all those places. Max doesn’t know what I’m talking about – but Carlos knows what I’m saying. So, it’ll be interesting for us there. But yeah, really excited to get back to the UK, the weather’s incredible right now, so I hope it’s the same next week.
Questions from the floor
Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing News 365) Lewis, you said the car was “a lot, lot nicer”. What do you mean by that? Was the bouncing less, was it just quicker? Did it feel more comfortable? What was it?
LH: The balance I had on Monday (sic ‘Friday’) was neutral, super positive, so no rear end. And as soon as you apply one degree of turning, the rear end’s come around. So, I was just fighting that constantly and it was very difficult to keep it out the wall. That’s why I didn’t finish my long run, because it was just undriveable in the set-up window that we tried. It was just an experiment, to see whether the car would work there, it didn’t. So, then we made the changes, and today was a much more… a much, much better balance in terms of I had a little, nice amount of understeer today, better traction, not having those snaps. So, it was night and day difference. We still have bouncing, that’s not going away.
Q: Was it better than Baku, the bouncing?
LH: Yeah, much better than Baku this weekend, with the suspension that we chose.
Q: (Ronald Vording – Motorsport.com) It’s a question to Max and Carlos. Max, you just said a Red Bull lacked a little bit of race pace here compared to Ferrari. But so far this season, the pattern has been different, with Ferrari being faster on Saturday, you guys on Sunday. To both of you, why do you feel that it was different today? Is it just related to the specific track layout here? Or a result of the Ferrari upgrades in Barcelona? This is actually the first good comparison that we’ve got since then.
MV: I don’t think it’s always been that they have been quicker on Saturday and then slower on Sunday. I think Barcelona they were also quick on Sunday. And there were a few more races. So it just, you know, goes back and forth a bit. And yeah, we need to understand of course… it also rained yesterday. Maybe that didn’t help for us today with the greener track. But that’s all things we have to look into. Maybe track layout, kerbs, whatever, we’ll have a look into that but at the moment it’s difficult to really explain why they were a bit faster than us in the race.
CS: Yeah, I agree with Max. There is a bit of a trend. But I think recent races, it’s been very difficult to compare race pace. I would say that coming from Friday, Max looked very quick on the long run. If anything, I felt like we were a tenth behind – but I think that switched today and we were a bit quicker – which is good news for us. And, as I said before, it gives us good data. And on the personal side, good feeling also that I was pushing out there really on the limit and with no mistakes and being able to push this car to be fast.
Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) A question to Max, please. Max, what was the key to keeping Carlos behind during those closing laps to the finish after the Safety Car? Was there specific areas of the track you were concentrating on, to make sure he couldn’t close in after that?
MV: Well, of course, you always have to make sure that you know the place where he had DRS, you have a good exit the corner before – but it was all about just really pushing to the limit and not making a mistake in general. Because I knew what even in Sector One, if I would have made a tiny mistake, Carlos would gain a tenth on me, and that might have been enough to then get closer in the first DRS zone, and then in the second you know… So yeah, it was proper racing, proper pushing. And I mean, I had my moments, where I had a bit of oversteer, and then I looked in the mirror and so Carlos as having the same amount of moments. So, it was really on the edge, but that’s good to see.
Q: (Stu Cowan – Montreal Gazette) Max, it’s been three years since you raced here in Montreal. How have you changed and improved most as a driver over those last three years?
MV: I mean, in general, experience, just racing and being in Formula 1. Yeah, and then the rest is all down to whatever car you have, right? I always enjoyed coming here to Montreal, but we never really had a competitive package around here because we were always a bit slow on the straight. But luckily this year we seem quite competitive on the straights so I knew that this might… It was the first opportunity to really fight for a win and that just makes it that extra little bit more special to come here. But also what I really enjoy, coming here to Montreal, is just the old school kerbs. We have a lot of tracks where we have very standard kerbs and here they are still very iconic and unique. And we really have to keep them because it’s so much better to drive for us. So yeah, I hope we can drive here for quite a few more years.
Q: (Jesus Balseiro – Diario AS) Carlos, you said you felt the fastest on track for the first time this season. How do you feel now in terms of confidence inside the car? And do you think you’re capable of being with Max and Charles from now on?
CS: Well, I hope so, but as I said a few races ago, I want to take it a bit more race by race, you know, not thinking too much about the championship or anything like that. I really want to focus in getting to a track and see if I can get myself in a good window of performance and comfort inside the car. I think this weekend I did that, right since FP1 I looked very quick, both in qualifying and race pace. In the race there (I) was pushing flat out without any fear of losing the car, like I had, for example, in Barcelona. And also some good progress being made… we’ve changed a bit of things on the car to try and make them… make it a bit more to my liking, and they seem to be working. But at the same time, I think I need more circuits, I need more different kinds of corners to have a proper feel for that.
Q: (Jess McFadyen – Motorsport.com) Lewis, you’ve mentioned how your side of the garage has maybe taken on more experimental set-ups. Is there any light at the end of the tunnel for you in terms of needing to maybe be the team’s guinea pig a little bit and where you can focus on driving and racing and being competitive?
LH: Yeah, maybe in the second half of the season George can do the experiments! We’re just trying to work… we’re just trying to progress as a team. And yeah, I think moving forward, I think we’ll be a little bit more cautious on doing too many experiments as it really does hinder you through the weekend, especially if you only have practice one and two in the dry and don’t get a FP3, for example. So yeah, I think there’s lots of learnings from this weekend, and improvements that we can make moving forwards. But you know, really great pace today. And it’s so nice to see, it’s not always been the case I’ve had with this car so it’s nice to have a bit of a good battle with her today, her or him, whatever you call a car. And I really hope, moving to Silverstone… it’s such an important race for us and for me and so I really hope that… I just want to be in a battle with these guys. At the end there when the Safety Car came in and we started again, I was hoping that I could just… the dream was like if I can keep in that battle with them and find a way but they were rapid. But we will get there eventually.
Q: (Celini Ehret – F1only.fr) Lewis, you mentioned that you’re still bouncing; what about your back today?
LH: Yeah, well, the bouncing was nowhere near as bad as the last race. The last race was… there was no words for how hard it was. But this weekend, we managed to… we did have bouncing but it was nowhere near on the… if the last race was 10G’s this one maybe was to two or three or something like that, you know, so it’s livable. But we still, I think, as a sport need to do better and I think us as a team also need to do better.
Q: (Rodrigo Franca – Car Magazine Brazil) Question to the three of you: it’s Father’s Day, and the three of you have a lot of stories about the father being involved in motor sport so I would like you to comment on the importance of your fathers in your career.
MV: Well, without my dad, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now. So what he did for me is, well, difficult to explain. You know, as soon as he stopped in F1, he basically dedicated the next 12 years to make sure… well, make sure… he would try everything and he did everything for me to be where I am right now. I mean the amount of hours we travelled through Europe together and not only that, but also the workload he did back at home in Holland, working on my engines, preparing my go karts, being on the dyno, it was really crazy. Like when I would wake up and go to school, he would bring me to school and then he would go to the workshop and continue his work. After I finished school, I would go there and he was still working and he would be on the dyno. I would help him, he would show me what he was doing because he wanted me to understand, you know, what was actually driving me. And, yeah, it’s been really… especially now when I look back at it, it’s crazy and really… I’m really thankful for those times. At the time I thought a bit lightly about it because I was like ‘why do I need to do all this? Why do I need to be involved?’ But it definitely helped me a lot, also later in my career and even now like… of course, he doesn’t tell me anymore ‘you have to turn in here and you have to do this and do that’ but I just really like to share every single weekend, not only about racing but in general, just, you know, what I’m doing and stuff like that. I think it’s very important to have that kind of relationship. So yeah, I hope he enjoyed today. I’m sure he was very nervous out there. He’s always nervous. So yeah, at least we made it stick. So that was a good present, I think.
CS: Yeah, I have a very similar story to Max. My father retired from rallying in 2004 and in 2006 I started competing in go karts and since then he’s been my right hand, my mentor, my advisor, my leader, you know, in terms of where… what I should do in my career, and it’s great to be able to spend so much time of my childhood, you know, with my father and still having the same conversations that we used to have back in the day when I was 11/12 years old. He still tells me similar things and I’m very proud, you know, not only to share the racing side, but also I am proud to share a lot of moments with him in my family. We play a lot of golf together, paddle, squash, he’s 60 and getting old, but at the same time, we can play all these sports together which is great. And we are having a lot of fun. And he still comes to races and we enjoy them together.
LH: Yeah, similar to these guys. Contrasting difference, you know, my dad would have given everything to be a racing driver when he was in his younger days. But coming from the humble beginnings and just with the dream of creating a better opportunity for his kids than he had and I’m forever grateful for my Dad, you know, the journey that we’ve been on, the struggles that we had, and to be in here and our first Grand Prix win in 2007, looking down at him, knowing everything he did, to raise money and to… literally almost selling the shirt off his back to keep us racing. I hope that he’s proud today. And I continue to try to do him and my whole family proud with every moment that I step in that car. And yeah, Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there because it’s such an important role. And I’ve got friends that didn’t have their father with them and the mothers have done such an amazing job. But it’s great to also be able to celebrate the Dads today.