Daniel you started and you’ve just joined a very exclusive club of men who’ve won a Formula One grand prix. How does that feel?
DR: Yeah, really nice. It’s still a bit surreal but yeah, just realty cool. It’s not that we were leading the whole race, so it’s not that I had time to understand that I was going to win, it all happened in the last few laps, so I think that’s why it’s still taking a while to comprehend in my head. But really nice, a really good feeling. The race came to life at the end. Mercedes had their issues and it enable us to close on them. We had a good fight with Perez and we were really struggling to pass them. They had, as we know, a really strong car down the straight and it was doing a good job through the corners as well to keep me behind. But then out of the last chicane I got a really good run on him and made the move stick in turns one and two. I was close to overshooting it, dropped a couple of wheels in the grass but it was fine and then Nico in the closing stages. Really, really nice. I wasn’t sure if the two drivers on the last lap were OK, so I just wanted to make sure they were cool before we got celebrating, but I believe they’re fine so really, really happy with the result.
Very, very well done. Nico, as Daniel was just saying, Mercedes had some issues today. Your team-mate retired, so you’ve extended your championship lead to, I believe, 22 points. But you had quite a bit to deal with judging by the way your pace dropped off very suddenly; brake issues we heard, also managing fuel. How hard was that for you?
NR: What happened was that I lost the ERS and when you lose ERS then it doesn’t harvest anymore and then all the braking on the rear is being done by the brakes and then the rear brakes overheated. So it was one problem and then the next problem happened. That just made it massively difficult. I needed to cool the brakes a lot, I lost a lot of power on the straights. At the same time, taking those things into consideration, I was just pushing flat out, qualifying laps, one after another and managing to stay ahead of that pack behind me until two laps from the end. From that point of view it was a very good result and lots of points. Congratulations of course also to Daniel. Fantastic to get the first win. That’s great for him. Not great for me but anyways! We need to keep pushing of course; some reliability problems and we need to make sure that we’re bulletproof.
Sebastian, you said on the radio that you wanted to try something on the strategy. You were getting a bit frustrated, not surprisingly, behind the Force Indias. Tell us about that and also your view of the accident at the end. We’ve just replayed it here and they missed you by 1.5 metres maybe.
SV: Yeah, as I said obviously from lap 20 onwards probably, I don’t know, after the first stop, a couple of laps to go until I caught Nico, the first Force India, basically my race was over. I couldn’t get past. As we saw, until the end there was no way to get past for us down the straights. The Mercedes-powered cars were just too quick. Equally we were in trouble defending to the Williams behind. Basically I was asking to do something with strategy, which I think was possible. On the pit wall they have a much better overview but in my case they didn’t really help me to create something different and to use the pace we clearly had. So in the end I pitted and also lost a position to Daniel. At the very end I was lucky to capitalise on Perez’s brake problems, which allowed me to be much closer down the straights and finally make a move stick. But I think you could see even with DRS open and hi, DRS closed, as soon as I pulled out of the tow he was actually gaining down the straights so… It’s what we’re fighting but I got past him and then into turn one I saw they were very close to each other and I saw something white coming in the mirror and at the last second I reacted and opened the car, basically turned right and Felipe was in the air flying past. Kind of surreal but quite lucky that he didn’t hit me in that instance and I saw him just in time.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Mike Doodson – Auto Action) You mentioned the mistake that Pérez made Daniel – but you were pretty close to him, you must have been planning something. Were there points on the circuit where you felt you could have got past him, in spite of his greater top speed? And were you planning something pretty quickly after what in fact happened?
DR: To be honest I was trying the whole time I was behind him. I was looking for opportunities and, as I said, he was driving well and wasn’t making any mistakes and realistically I needed a bit of a mistake from him because they were just getting off the corner so well. But then I think, yeah, he got quite close to Nico and perhaps just overshot the braking a little bit in the last chicane. I managed to just stay with him on the exit, get the tow and use the DRS. I knew we were strong braking into Turn One, we were really quick into there so, yeah, once I had the outside line free I just basically went in and made it work. Yeah, that was the place I wanted to do it – but as I said, I was trying all the time and it was just then that the opportunity came – but I wasn’t really holding back!
Q: (Christopher Joseph – Chicane) Daniel, I spoke with Alan Jones once and he said he had to acquire a meaner attitude when he left Australia to race in Europe and in Formula One. What is it you think you’ve acquired this season that’s enabled you to achieve this victory?
DR: I think it’s confidence and the more time I spend here, the more comfortable I feel – here being Formula One – and the environment. In any sport a lot of it comes down to belief. If you truly believe in something then you tend to make it work. So, yeah, just a couple of things this year. I knew I’d have a great team behind me and I believed with that I’d be able to get some great results. It’s really nice to have the first victory. Yeah.
Q: (Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Were you expecting it to arrive so early at this point in the season – and also, today has been a pretty much big day for Red Bull as it’s been revealed Adrian Newey’s going to sign for the next few years, even if his involvement is going to be less present in Formula One.
DR: I think it surprised us, yes, because the pace Mercedes has had all year. As we saw they… Obviously I’m still going to take the victory, don’t get wrong but they had their issues today which allowed us to really make an attack but it’s nice that we capitalised on that. I think it would have been disappointing if they had their issues and they were able to still get the best of us. At least we capitalised when we could. It’s nice, the news with Adrian. He’s a good guy, so let’s try and keep this momentum going. We know we’ve still got some work to do but really happy for the team today, it’s really big points for us in the Constructors’ as well. Let’s enjoy the moment.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – Universo Online) To Sebastian and to Daniel. Now that Adrian Newey will continue in Red Bull, the previous time it happened you extended your contract Sebastian. Will it interfere in your future in the team? And you, Daniel, as a rising star, if it also influence your decision?
DR: I think I’m still in the very early stage of my Red Bull Racing career. I’m more than happy where I am now, so I’m more than happy where I am now and obviously it’s very good news that he stays. I’ve only just started working with Adrian. We know that the car is strong. We’ve got a few other areas we can work on but it’s good news, so… yeah… I can’t see any change happening soon!
SV: Well, I think my contract’s still long enough. I think the only focus is on trying to catch the Mercedes. As Daniel touched on, we know we have a very competitive car but not yet a very competitive package to match them and to beat them regularly. Today, I think we got lucky. Obviously it feels great and it’s a great reward for the whole team after such a painful winter and a very difficult start to the season with a lot of problems, to get both cars on the podium and to beat at least one of the Mercedes, I think that’s a very, very positive day for us. I’m looking short-term if you ask me about the future right now.
Q: (Chris Medland – Crash.net) Nico, is the emotion for you concern that Red Bull are closing in, is it disappointment at the lost win or is it a positive feeling with the points gained over Lewis today?
NR: Not positive in the end, the overwhelming feeling. It was a very, very difficult day out there today and then to come home second – and I didn’t even know that I was second, I only found out afterwards – so that was positive. And extended the Championship lead, which is important, of course, and yes, we are fully aware that Red Bull is still an amazingly strong team and pushing like crazy to catch us. We are well aware of that and we are always concerned and always making sure that our drive remains exactly the same as it was last year when we were half-a-second behind them. We’re really pushing to even extend the gap. We’re trying to, yeah.
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and National Speedsport News) Daniel, you’ve joined your three fellow countrymen as a Grand Prix winner. What does that mean to you as an Australian, to join those guys and to win for your country?
DR: Yeah, it’s awesome. It’s still sinking in a bit. I’m just really pleased that I was able to – as I said – to really capitalise today on the opportunity. I could see it in front, when Nico was there and Perez was in between us. I was – like – if we can just get Perez, I think we’ll be able to make a charge on Nico. Really pleased. Yeah. It’s going to take a little bit to sink in but OK, so very proud, great to hear the Aussie anthem. It’s been a few years since I won a race, I think 2011, Monaco in World Series or something, so like three years, it’s a long time, standing on a top step. It’s a feeling I missed a lot.
Q: (Massimo Lopez Pegna – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Nico, this is the first time this year that Mercedes has lost a Grand Prix; especially for you, how disappointed is it to lose on what was basically the last lap?
NR: Well, I didn’t know at the time, so at the time, I was actually more pleased… because I saw this huge train of cars behind me and I was pleased that I was managing to stay ahead and OK, one guy got by but I still managed to hold on but then in hindsight, of course, having lost the win, that’s very very disappointing, definitely, and also disappointing for us as a team. We have such speed and such a great car, to not win the race and even just finish with one car and come second is hugely disappointing for us, definitely. Our ambition is to finish one-two so we need to make sure that we get back there again next race in Austria.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Nico, what problem was more difficult to handle: the one that you have lost power or the subsequent brake problems?
NR: Well, the power, once I re-sorted my braking points and everything – because I arrived with so much less speed – so once I sorted out those out, then the power one was actually OK but the brakes, that was more difficult because I also had to run the brake balance forwards, very very far forwards just to use the front much more, so it was just much more difficult with front locking, and to find my way with that. And at the same time I had to do qualifying laps and with the brake balance, I was using the front tyres much too much so that was very challenging.
Q: (Chris Medland – crash.net) Daniel, you said earlier in the season that your first goal was to tick off your first win. You’ve done that; if you could think ahead, what becomes your next goal now from this point?
DR: I think I’ll just enjoy this for now and not look too far ahead. I think this is definitely a moment I should embrace. I’m actually supposed to fly back tonight but I don’t know if I want to spend (the night of) my first victory on a plane so I will see what happens.
Q: (Sean Gregory – Globe and Mail) Daniel, I was wondering what it feels like to deliver a home town – home country I guess – Grand Prix for your race engineer, Gavin (Ward).
DR: Yeah, it’s really cool. I called him down after we did the podium celebration, I called him down underneath the podium to pour some champagne over him. Gav, my performance engineer is a fellow Canadian, so it’s really nice to give him this one here.