Q: Lewis, one of the things I think is interesting about how today has evolved, that might surprise a few people, is that Mercedes hasn’t really shown too much. FP3, then you weren’t really at the top of the timesheets throughout qualifying. You mentioned “that’s the plan”, about saving the best to last. So, what was the strategy today?
LH: I just mean that, as a driver through the weekend you plan to have the last lap as your fastest lap because that’s when the track is at its best. That’s when you’ve got the configurations as close to perfect. That’s really the lap you want to do it on. The others have just obviously taken a step. It’s a real, real surprise. I’m sure the team are surprised, I’m sure we are just as surprised to see Ferrari really competing on a lap, which is great to see. Also with Williams, also with Red Bull. I think for racing it’s great. It makes it… that’s probably the most exciting qualifying session I’ve had for a long time, where there’s a lot of people really in the mix and you have to be spot on. I was almost there with that.
Q: Nico, there was a radio message for you: “look after these, these are the race tyres.” Obviously there is a consideration there: you have to take some performance out of them because you need the lap time but you’ve also got to use them tomorrow. How do you see the use of them tomorrow playing out?
NR: Tomorrow is going to be a tough race in terms of tyres. They have a lot of degradation but I’m confident because I had some really good long runs on Friday, so I’m well prepared for the race and feeling good about it.
Q: Daniel, are you fully able to recharge the energy system around this lap? One or two drivers are saying it’s been a bit of a struggle. Are you completely on top of that side of things with Red Bull?
DR: Yeah. Yes we are. We’re not having any issues there. I think for such a long lap, a little bit on what Lewis touched on, it’s amazing how close we are, y’know. Monaco is a street circuit but it’s a lot shorter lap so you can expect us to be closer but this one, yeah, it’s pretty cool how many cars are within half a second or a second. So, it’s going to be a fun race tomorrow definitely. I think tyres will be key, as always, but particularly here. It’s not going to be as straightforward as Monza with a one-stop. So, it should be fun.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Silvia Arias – Parabrisas) Daniel, we saw you doing a wonderful lap, it was unbelievable watching it on TV. Do you have the same feeling when you’re going to the limit? Your feelings about this lap please?
DR: Yeah, street circuits are fun. I think all us drivers enjoy them. You jump across kerbs, you brush near the wall, it’s a little bit like the closer you get the more you want to risk and I guess that’s why we race, we love that rush, that adrenalin. It’s like speed, we wish we could go faster. It’s a bit like that when you come to a street circuit, you just really enjoy handling the car, playing with fire, so to speak. It’s not always the quickest way when it’s sliding around but I think you’ve got to take hold on a street circuit so that’s where I get the enjoyment.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Lewis, Nico just explained why, on the last lap, he was quick enough to be on the front row. How was it with you because you also did your fast lap only on the last lap? I guess you didn’t go slowly beforehand intentionally. Did you have any problems before?
LH: I just didn’t really have a clean lap through the whole of qualifying. The last one was the cleanest. When you do the first lap, you get your lap time. The next time you go out you have a delta so you know whether you’re up or down on that lap. I locked up into turn one and missed the apex and so I was down 0.18/two tenths by the time I got to turn five. At that point, I was thinking this is going to be almost impossible to regain that but the previous lap there were a couple of corners where I lost out as well so I fixed those and got back the time. It’s great that there’s still potential there and with a perfect lap it’s a good place to be.
Q: (Don Kennedy – Hawke’s Bay Today) Lewis and Nico, if I understand the restrictions on radio use, how important is that going to be in terms of this race and information about how each other is doing in terms of your position on the track and what tyres you’re on and so on? Do you think it’s going to affect your battle for the championship?
NR: I don’t think it’s actually going to make too much of a difference tomorrow. There’s just a few bits and pieces… you know they can’t tell me ‘OK, work on turn seven because that’s where you’re losing some time’ or something like that or ‘turn twenty is good, keep doing what you’re doing.’ That’s the main difference, so actually for tomorrow’s race really, I don’t think it’s going to be too much of a thing.
Q: Lewis, anything to add? The starts, obviously, you’re going to be able to be talked through all the things you need to do still, that’s still permitted.
LH: Yeah, obviously coming into the weekend there was a plan of zero being able to say to us but I think there’s a just a few things (that are banned). We’re all in the same boat so I’m quite excited about that.