ADVERTISEMENT
British Grand Prix Top Three Press Conference

British Grand Prix Top Three Press Conference

British Grand Prix Top Three Press Conference

Full transcript from the top three FIA-hosted press conference after the British Grand Prix, Round 12 of the 2024 Formula 1 World Championship, at Silverstone

Featuring 2024 British Grand Prix race winner Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), P2 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and P3 – Lando Norris (McLaren)

Track Interviews Conducted by Jenson Button

Q: Lando, I’m sure very mixed emotions here in front of the home crowd. It looked like you were the man to beat out there. Your skill in those tricky conditions, getting to the front was exceptional, but not the result you were after.

ADVERTISEMENT

Lando NORRIS: First of all, congrats to Lewis. That crucial decision at the end, he just did a better job on, so hats off to him and Mercedes, they deserve it. It was tough. It was enjoyable. It was fun battling these guys. And these tricky conditions are always, like, on a knife edge and you’re risking a lot. So, many things good, but a few too many let downs today. As a team, I don’t think we did quite the job we should have done, or good enough, but still lovely to be on the podium here in Silverstone.

Q: What I love about you is, I just said to you, your time will come to win the British Grand Prix, and you said, I don’t want time. You are ready. You are ready, aren’t you?

LN: I don’t know. I mean, I’m not making the right decisions, you know. At the same time, I blame myself today for not making some of the right decisions. I hate it. I hate ending in this position and forever having excuses for not doing a good enough job. But I’m so happy. I’m still going to enjoy it. I think we still did so many things right. So many positives. But especially here in Silverstone, the one place I would love everything to go perfectly, it didn’t today. But I’m good. We’ll come back stronger next year and try again.

Q: Thank you, Lando. Big round of applause for Lando Norris. Max, that was a better result than I was expecting, looking at most of the race. Half the race, you’re on the back foot, you had two Mercedes, two McLarens pulling away from you, but you were able to pull out a pretty good result in the end.

Max VERSTAPPEN: Yeah, I mean, we just didn’t have the pace today. I was slowly dropping back when it mattered in the beginning. So it didn’t look great at some point. I was really thinking are we going to finish fifth, sixth? But, yeah, we made the right calls. You know, going from the slicks to the Inters and then also from the Inters back to the slicks, I think it was every time the right lap. And, yeah, then also at the end the call from the team to be on the Hard tyre instead of the Soft was definitely helping me out. That’s why I think we also finished second today. It could have been a lot worse but when making the right calls we still got onto the podium and I’m very happy with that because it looked extremely difficult.

Q: How was it out there? It wasn’t either wet or dry for a lot of it. It was that real difficult decision to make either staying on the slicks or going on the Inters.

MV: Yeah, when it started to rain for the first time, I was already dropping back. I was struggling for grip, so I didn’t want to take too many risks. And I saw the guys ahead of me, they were really going for it. So I just tried to hang in there, not going off the track. And yeah, that was quite tricky. But then at one point, it really started to come down. And then it was quite obvious that you had to go to the Inter. Then you had to make the tyre last as long as you could and then suddenly also the sun came out and the track really started to dry up quickly. But still, you know, you feel quite comfortable on the Inter but at one point you just have to gamble you know to go to the slick and luckily it all all worked out well.

Q: Lewis, I’ve witnessed your whole career in F1 and the achievements you’ve had, 104 victories now, but I’ve never seen you quite this emotional after a race.

Lewis HAMILTON: Yeah, I can’t stop crying. I think, you know, since 2021, I’m just every day getting up, trying to fight, to train, to put my mind to the task and work as hard as I can with this amazing team and this is my last race here, the British Grand Prix, with this team so I wanted to win this so much for them, because I love them, I appreciate them so much, all the hard work they’ve been putting in over the years. I’m forever grateful to everyone in this team, everyone at Mercedes, and all of our partners. And I just want to say thank you to all of you for being here with us today. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. and then otherwise to all our incredible fans. I could see you lap by lap as I was coming around, and there’s just no greater feeling as to finish at the front here.

Q: It seems that the last two and a half years, it’s been two and a half years since you won a race. I never thought we’d say that about you. You seem to always be able to get a win every single season. You’ve put on a brave face. It’s been impressive to see you, but you can tell when you’re such a winner that it’s tough, right?

LH: It’s so tough, I think, for anyone. But I think the important thing is just how you continue to get up and you’ve got to continue to dig deep even when you feel like you’re at the bottom of the barrel. I mean, there’s definitely been days between 2021 and here where I didn’t feel like I was good enough or whether I was going to get back to where I am today. But the important thing is I had great people around me continuing to support me and my team. Every time I turn up and see them putting in the effort that really encouraged me to do the same thing. And otherwise, my fans, when I see them around the world, they have been so supportive. So a big, big thank you to everybody back at the factory, everyone here. I love you guys, and God bless you.

Q: They threw everything at you in that race. Weather, cars on track, everything. You came out on top.

LH: Yeah.

Q: Congratulations.

LH: Thank you so much. Thank you, guys.

Press Conference

Q: Max, we’ll start with you. It was an extraordinary race for you. You looked out of it for a while, then crossed the line just 1.4 seconds behind the winner. So talk us through it.

MV: Yeah, the beginning was not very good. I mean, I tried to keep up, but I just ran out of tyres. I mean, everything was running hot and I just struggled for grip. So then Lando got by. Then Oscar got by. It started to rain. I had no grip as well there. I didn’t want to take too much risk as well because it didn’t feel good. It didn’t feel comfortable. So I was like, ‘I’ll just sit here and try to survive’. And yeah, that’s what I did. And at one point, even Carlos rocked up at the party. So I was like, ‘geez, this is a really bad afternoon’. But then, yeah, we just kept it on track, made the right calls from the slick to the Inter, and then from the Inter back to the slick tyre, which just basically kept me in contention, really. I mean, by making the right calls today, we were there at the right time. And to the end, with the Hard tyre, that was the right call for us, definitely. So we could push on the tyre, because the Medium already wasn’t good enough for us. So to the end to go flat out on the Hard was the best we could do and we finished second. At one point it was looking like P5 or P6 even. So yeah, on a poor afternoon I would say in terms of performance to be second, I’ll take that.

Q: Why was it such a poor afternoon in terms of performance for you?

MV: I just didn’t have the pace. I couldn’t follow what they were doing in front of me. And that’s something, of course, that we need to look at.

Q: OK, what about making the right calls at the right time? Were you making that? Was it you and GP? Just talk us through those moments?

MV: It’s a constant discussion that I have with GP, you know, with the radar, he tells me the information he has. as well as he can. And then as a driver, of course, at one point if you don’t feel like you can continue on a slick. or you think now it’s time to go to the Inter, you have to shout over the radio that you’re coming in. So that’s what we did. And then it’s the same from Inter to slick. Of course, the team can sometimes help you a little bit more with that if someone is on a slick already. But at the end of the day, the sun was coming out, the track was still drying up quite quickly from the last few days even and I took a bit of risk. Not being 100% sure this is the right lap, but we went for it and it was the right lap at the end of the day.

Q: Max, on paper, the fast sweeps of Silverstone have at least in recent years suited Red Bull. How much of a concern is it that you were struggling so much today?

MV: Well, over one lap, it didn’t look too bad. I think it was just pace in the race. We just didn’t have the pace. I couldn’t follow the deg of the others. And that’s something, of course, that we need to understand.

Q: Lewis, a very warm welcome to the top-three press conference. It’s been a while since we’ve had you sat in that middle seat. And what a place to do it at Silverstone. What made this one so special for you?

LH: I think ultimately because it’s been such a long time. It’s been 900… Someone just told me 946 days or something like that since the last win. And, you know, really challenging, you know, a difficult time obviously 2021 and then coming back in with a car that we’ve not been able to fight with for the last couple of years. I think just it’s been incredibly mentally challenging. I think for everyone in the team, but I think just knowing how hard everyone’s continued to work, knowing how I’ve managed just to keep my head in it, and then with everything that’s happened this year as well, with so many emotions this year, obviously announcing that I’m that I’m leaving and at the same time starting with a car that we didn’t feel that we could win with to then finally be in a place where we win and not only that but at the British Grand Prix in front of my home crowd there is… Honestly, it’s the most incredible honour to be standing on the top of the podium and hearing the national anthem with the King’s name in it, for example. It’s the first time I’ve had that. And then also my family’s here.

Q: And could you hear the roar of the crowd in those closing laps?

LH: I mean, the car’s so loud, so hard to hear, but I could see it, and I really could feel it. You know, when you go through Turn 7, it’s a long, long corner, and you see the guys on the left, or through the last couple of corners, you can also see this incredible crowd, or into Turn 15. It’s really, really an unbelievable feeling to be on that track. This is the best track for me, personally. I think this is the best track in the world. But it’s the fans also, the whole place, the wind direction that you have going into Stowe. That corner is incredible.

Q: Now, the changeable conditions made this an extremely demanding race for everyone. When was the car at its best for you?

LH: I think probably at the end, naturally. I think at the end, I think the first stint, I was a little bit under-winged at the front, so I was under-steering, I think. But I was just managing, trying to make sure that, because you didn’t know how long he had to go. I was actually planning to go to a long way. I was supposed to go a lot longer than George. He had a really great pace, and he was trying, obviously, to break the tow, so I was trying to make sure that I stayed within 1.6 or two seconds. And then I knew that I could see the rain was coming. And when that rain came, I knew that that was the moment to pounce. And then we both went off and the McLarens came by. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t understand how they were able to generate so much heat still in their tyres or maybe it’s the aero or whatever. But then just trying to hold on to them. And then obviously that last stint, I think we timed it perfect. getting that undercut on Lando I think was really key and the team did such a great job with the pit stop as well.

Q: Lewis, it’s now been two race wins in a row for Mercedes. What does this mean for the remainder of the season?

LH: Yeah, I think hugely, hugely grateful to everyone in the team. I think this is just hats off to everyone. Niki would definitely take his hat off, but everyone that’s continued to work hard, everyone in the garage that’s continued to show up each weekend and not get downbeat by results. I think George’s win last week was amazing, but it wasn’t on pure pace and I think this weekend was the first time we did it on pure pace. Without qualifying on the front row. And then after that, even pulling in that first stint, both of us pulling away from everybody else. And then ultimately, I think with the conditions today, the drivers able to make a bit of a difference.

Q: So you’re feeling pumped going to Hungary in two weeks’ time?

LH: You know, I love Hungary. So, yeah, I definitely am really looking forward to that, to go in there, but just also the trajectory we’re on and the fact, you know, the car is starting to really, really come alive and feel great. And there’s, you know, now I can start to compete with these two here is a great, great feeling.

Q: Alright. Many congratulations. Well done, Lewis. Lando, coming to you. Having led this Grand Prix for a while and shown real pace in it, does this feel a bit like a win that got away today?

LN: I’ve heard that a lot lately, so I hate saying it again. But yeah, I mean, so many things were going well. We threw it away in the final stop. So one lap, but also I don’t think it was a lap. I think even if I boxed on the perfect lap, our decision to go on to the Softs was the wrong one. I think Lewis still would have won no matter what. So two calls from our side cost us everything today. So, especially here, pretty disappointing.

Q: When you’re debriefing this race with the team this week, what will be your overriding message to the engineers?

LN: I don’t know. I haven’t thought of it just yet.

Q: Well, let’s throw it forward to Hungary. Lewis is looking forward to it. I guess Max is looking forward to it. Do you think this is now a battle between all of you?

LN: Ah, many more, yeah. I mean, Oscar as well. Oscar and George. There’s many of us in the fight. So, yeah, I expect it to be good battles, I’m sure. Ferrari, at some point, will get their act together and come back. But clearly we also weren’t quick enough today. I think when it was completely dry, the Mercedes was a lot quicker, and [inaudible] conditions, maybe we seemed a bit better, so we have work to do. We still had a weekend where we’ve clearly been the quickest. We’ve always been there or thereabouts, but never the car, and yeah, I think we need to keep working as a team. I need to keep working on my own stuff. And just try and put it together because there are still so many positives. There are so many good things and so many things in place. But frustrating when a few times this season we’ve thrown away something that should have been ours.

Questions from the floor

Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) You mentioned that undercut getting out ahead of Lando after the final stops. What were you thinking at that stage and how challenging was it getting to the end, getting the win with Max charging up behind?

LH: It was really tricky conditions because it was wet from Turn 14 to 15 but then dry in places, Turn 9 was dry. So the tyres, the whole left side was graining for both of us, I’m pretty sure for Lando as well. And at the beginning it was really difficult to close that gap. And then obviously I started closing that gap to him. But I think on those tyres, it was literally… It was starting to dry up and it was about just trying to get the right timing. And I think if Lando had stopped before us, it would have been very, very, very difficult to have got by. And I think the moment in which I came out of Turn 15 and I came in and he stayed out, I knew that this was the moment that I was going to have the chance to undercut him. And then after that, I think, I was able to just keep him… I could see him in my mirrors coming through a particular corner and I could just see him right there. Every now and then he put in a really quick lap and I couldn’t match their pace when they did do that lap, when they did a low, I don’t know what it was, a 20, I can’t remember what number the lap was, it was 0.3 something. And then at the end, obviously, when Max started to close in, again just trying to give it absolutely everything right on the edge, full attack to try and keep the gap at three seconds, whatever it was. And the tyres started to just drop off a little bit towards the end. So I think it was the perfect distance of a stint. If we had another five laps I don’t know if we would have held on to it but I’m grateful that we were able to.

Q: (Luke Smith – The Athletic) We saw some really emotional moments with your father, your mother and Bono on the podium as well. To have these people who have been so significant in your career to be there right as you met them, does this emotionally feel like a win very different to any others in your career?

LH: Yeah, it really does, because I think, you know, I’ve had my parents come to a race here and there. We’ve had, you know, my mom was there when we won a championship. My dad’s been there when we won a championship. It’s always been just at a different point of life. First World Championship, you know, was incredible, but it was really difficult to absorb it all at the age I was at. I think this weekend, I think just within life, you know, your parents are getting older, you know, we’re travelling so much. Time with family is a constant challenge. My niece and nephew are growing up and growing out their cuteness. But I’ve had them here this weekend, and I think they’ve all… We all try to be there for each other, even at a distance. But to have them there and… I mean, I know I’ve always had their support, but to be able to see them there and share this experience, they wanted to be at my last race, the last British Grand Prix with this team that have been so incredible to us. I mean, Mercedes obviously supported me since I was 13. So it’s definitely meant the most today to have them there and to be able to share it with them.

Q: (Fred Ferret – l’Equipe) Lewis, congrats. Can I have the menu of your roast dinner yesterday night?

LH: I didn’t have a roast dinner last night, I have to say! I would have loved a roast dinner. My stepmum makes the best roast dinner. And I’d go out of my way to have one. So maybe I’ll get one tomorrow. I think tonight I’m going to have a good curry tonight. Indian food. I love Indian food. Last night, I just had something normal. But I think it was really about… I know I slept very well last night. I stayed here… I was here until about 10 pm last night, went to do the stage, watched the match, and I came back here and just really worked on my craft, you know, worked on things that I needed to improve on from practice that weren’t quite good enough. And I feel like I was able to implement that today. So I think that time really made the difference last night.

Q: (Daniel Moxon – Daily Mail) Lewis, it’s been 945 days since you last felt this feeling. Obviously, you’ve had some quite difficult times relative to what had gone before in that period. After so long without winning a race, is it easy to sort of start losing faith over time that maybe you might not have the chance to feel it again?

LH: Absolutely. It feels different to previous races and particularly races where you’re having race after race after race or seasons where you’re having multiple wins. I think with the kind of the adversity I would say that we’ve gone through as a team and that I personally felt, that I’ve experienced, those challenges, the constant challenge like we all have to get out of bed every day and give it our best shot. And, you know, there’s so many times where you feel like your best shot is just not good enough. And the disappointment sometimes that you can feel, you know, and we live in a time where mental health is such a serious issue. And I’m not going to lie, that I have experienced that. And there’s definitely been moments where you know, the thought that this was it, that that was never going to happen again. So to have this feeling come across the line, I think, honestly, I’ve never cried coming from a win. It just came out of me. And it’s a really, really great feeling. I’m very, very grateful for it.

Q: (Justin Allen – The Sun) Just a light-hearted question for all three of you, if I may. Obviously, this is the start of a massive week of Dutch-English rivalry with a certain football match on Thursday night. Can I just ask the three of you, are you looking forward to the match and where are you going to be watching it? And what words of advice or encouragement would you give to your respective teams?

MV: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I’ll watch it. I always text with Virgil [Van Dijk] a bit here and there before or after a match. Honestly, I don’t need to tell them anything. I mean, I think they know much better what or how they have to prepare and work themselves and with, of course, everyone involved in the team, right? So, of course, actually, I hope that Holland wins. I mean, it’s simple, but hopefully it’s just going to be a great game. And actually, of course, it would be great to be in the final.

LH: I don’t really know much Dutch. I only know [speaks Dutch]. Is that good?

MV: Yeah, how are you?

LH: Oh, cool. I think to the Brits, I think yesterday was a really good showing. It was a really great time today, or this weekend, for British sports. And the penalties were obviously amazing last night. I actually have never sat… I’ve been in a pub growing up watching a match, but sitting last night watching with 20-plus thousand people was really, really incredible. And I’m grateful I had that experience with George. And then I think, yeah, I think really just we all wished them the best. I think I’m sure they will want to play better and will know that they will know what they need to do. They will know that they will probably want to elevate their game and lots of learnings from every single game, just as like we have from every single race. So I will be with them and I’m sure everyone will be out in full force.

LN: A mixture of both. What would I say? Not a lot. I just let them do their thing. I’m sure for anyone in any sport, as soon as you have people trying to tell you what to do, it’s not a nice thing. Just wish them the best. Yeah, and just like Lewis said, I’m sure they always want to play well. And I’m sure they always do their best and that kind of thing. So yeah, the whole of the country is supporting them from the British side, the UK. And we’ll all be watching and wishing them the best.

Q: (Ben Hunt – Autosport) Question for Lewis. You mentioned the emotion and never crying before. Do you think this is part of the healing process? So after what happened in ’21, this is the final piece in the jigsaw to help you get over what happened there, to compartmentalise it and be able to move on?

LH: I mean, I think there’s a long-winded question. I mean… I think only time will tell. What I can say is that I’m not giving up. I feel like I’m making the right decisions with my life, with how I prepare and how I manage my time, the decision I’ve taken, for example, for next year, the commitment I still have to this team and the love that I still have for this team and the love that I still have for my job. I really, really love this job. And there’s never going to be anything that comes close to it. And it’s something I’m incredibly grateful for, to be in amongst these 20 drivers within this great sport that’s having such a momentous time. We just had the launch of the trailer of the movie today. I do hope… Honestly, when I came back in 2022, I thought that I was over it. And I know I wasn’t and it’s taken a long time for sure to heal that kind of feeling. And that’s only natural for anyone that has that experience. And I’ve just been continuing to try and work on myself and find that inner peace day by day.

Q: (Tom Carey – The Daily Telegraph) Another one for Lewis. Obviously we know how much you’re looking forward to going to Ferrari next year. It’s going to be an amazing move for you. But is there an element of bittersweet, you know, winning that with a team based locally in Brackley in front of your home fans and realising how much you’re giving up, leaving them just as they’re coming back to the front as well?

LH: No. I think when we started the season and we had a car where we weren’t going anywhere near Red Bull, for example, anywhere near looking like we would ever get a win through the year, that for me felt like it would be kind of bittersweet at the end of the season, where you’ve not had something like today. And the fact that we’ve really all come together, everyone’s done such a great job to get the car into a place where we’re feeling much more comfortable and really changes from the foundation from last year. So not leaving on a low, but leaving on a high, which has been our goal. There’s still a long, long way to go, but the car, by no means, is the car the quickest car on the grid right now. I think we are super close, and I think hopefully with a couple of, with the next upgrade perhaps, we will be in an even stronger position to really, really be fighting at the front row more consistently.

Q: (Tim Hauraney – TSN) Question for Lewis. Lewis, congratulations. We’ve seen you win a lot over your career. Given where the car started at the beginning of the season, and then also this being your last time around with Mercedes, where does this victory stand for you?

LH: Well, you know I have a really bad memory, but I honestly, I’m really very much about living in the present, and this does feel… I don’t feel like I’m able to compare this one to any other to me. I had so many great moments and moments where I didn’t think that I was going to be able to win, like the first Grand Prix win here in 2008. You know, I qualified terribly, well P4, but it felt like I wasn’t in with a shot of winning a Grand Prix, and then it rained, and obviously I had that great feeling. So many moments through. I think being at your home Grand Prix, That’s the longest stint that I’ve not had a win, 945 days. And the emotion that’s accumulated over that time. So this one feels, could be one of the most special ones for me, I think, if not the most special one.

Q: (Weian Mao – Formula Vision) A question for Lewis. On this weekend, 1954, Mercedes scored its first Formula 1 victory. Just want to share your thoughts on this aspect. Also, as we know, you are moving on to the following next year. But in the future, maybe do you still have some unfinished stories with Mercedes off track, maybe?

LH: Well, 1954, I mean, What car? That would have been in the W197, maybe? I can’t remember which car that would have been. But yeah, I mean, the heritage of Mercedes is legendary. And I’m very fortunate to have been a part of Mercedes for this, you know, this last 18 years. Actually more than that, 20 plus years, because they started supporting me when I was 13. So, but obviously every Grand Prix win that I’ve had, the 104 has been with Mercedes, powered by Mercedes, and something that I will always be grateful to have been a part of.