Sebastian, congratulations and amongst the other things to note today, you equalled Ayrton Senna’s 41 career victories, and a great example of how motor sport can stir the emotions in so many ways. The win obviously built on the performance at the start; the safety car threatened it towards the closing stages, but how proud are you of the win that you achieved today and the way that you did it?
SV: Well, as you mentioned, it’s incredible the ups and downs you can go through… look, in the end we have a common passion, something we love, something… we are very different people, different guys, but we share a great passion and that is what drives us. I think the love for racing is bigger than anything else. It was a tough start, a tough week, obviously with Tuesday, and then to think about Jules again on the grid – certainly very emotional and difficult to get back in the rhythm. But then you find yourself back in the car, visor down and there are so many things you have to think about there’s not really much space for other things. I guess we do what we love to do, what we have to do. Equally mentioning Senna’s record is something incredible. I don’t know how to put this in words. I think nevertheless today is for Jules and his family. I think that’s bigger than everything else. But certainly for us, for the team, for myself, it was an amazing day. A great start. Obviously a bit hairy at the end where we had to push again. Unfortunately lost Kimi’s comfortable second position, also due to a problem that he suffered. So, I don’t know, I think if you take the last couple of days, the up and down, both emotionally and in terms of performance, I think it’s difficult to beat, but obviously it’s great to come out on top and sit here now.
Thank you, coming to you Daniil, your second season in Formula One, your first podium. Early on in the race you had to let Daniel through but you made quite a recovery to finish in second place. Was strategy they key to that?
DK: Well, yeah, it’s fantastic to be on the podium for the first time, it’s hard to describe what I feel today. I think first of all, the second place goes to Jules Bianchi and his family. You know, we lost a great guy, a fantastic person and a great driver. Yeah, it was a race where everything happened for me to be honest. After the start I thought my race was over, because I had a massive flat spot. We were discussing with the team whether we should box straight away or not, but we decided to stay out. Then we had a decent stint on the prime but still it wasn’t feeling great through the race. But then something picked up and it was going in the right direction in the second half of the race. The rivals were fighting and I found myself in second place. Today I definitely learned never to give up, whatever happens. It’s a great lesson today. The team, you know, we’ve been having such a hard year and I think all the team, all the guys in the team, all the mechanics have been working so hard and they all deserve this so much. Today I understood that we want to be back to the top one day.
Q: Coming to you Daniel, obviously a double Red Bull podium, your best result of the season as well. You had such an eventful afternoon: the start, I think you dropped down to seventh place in the opening lap, contact with Bottas I believe, later on you had contact with other drivers as well, including, obviously, Nico Rosberg at the end. In amongst all of that some trademark Ricciardo overtakes as well – so it was an afternoon that had pretty much everything I guess?
DR: It was a crazy race. Already from the start, the first corner there was pretty big contact with, I think, Bottas and yeah, the front of the car jumped and I thought we’d damaged something. It was quite a big hit. But then, yeah, we seemed to still have relatively good pace. I saw Dany in front was struggling, so then the team decided to, let’s say, let me go through. I was saying I was faster and knew we could do better pace. So then we got quickly past the Force India and then quickly back past Bottas with some good moves. Then the pace was pretty good. At the restart we had the Option, that was an advantage. That was pretty much an advantage from yesterday by only using the Prime in Q1 so were able to take advantage of that today I guess. Then the restart, I just tried to go around the outside of Lewis. You don’t see much in the cars. Obviously your peripheral vision’s pretty limited but I just felt him come in, so I just assumed he’d locked the front wheel and slid up into me, so we had more damage after that. I saw the right sidepod flapping around. Nonetheless, we’re in third. I saw the pace was good, we were catching Seb and Nico and I was close – but not close enough – to Nico and obviously they’re not so slow on the straights. The laps were ticking down, I had to try something and I got a pretty good run out of the last corner and yeah, just said ‘I’m going for it this lap, no matter what,’ and I went for it. To be honest, the move, it was, for sure, late but it was clean. Up until the apex it was fine. Obviously Nico saw me and left me room on the entry and then, just the exit, from what I recall he just came back across and just basically didn’t give me enough room. I don’t know if he thought he’d cleared me yet – but we made contact and that was when he earned a puncture and I got the front wing damage. We gifted the young Russian his first podium – but obviously he was there to take it so congrats to him and, I mean, we pitted for a front wing and fortunately we still ended up on the podium. As all the drivers have said, this race was for Jules. I left everything on the track. Whether some competitors like it or not, that’s how I wanted to do it and that’s how I’ll always do it. And watching Jules grow up, that was how he did it. He had amazing race craft and made some pretty impressive lunges. I feel all the moves on track were… I drove inspired today and I’m happy to be standing up here. It’s been an emotional week. Before the race was emotional. Obviously very nice to have his family in the presence and, yeah, this one’s for him. Hopefully we find… yeah… some happiness from this weekend and move on.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speedsport Magazines) Daniel, you’ve told us that, other than winning, you love fierce battles. You had those today but is it a bit bittersweet that you saw second and maybe first sort-of slip away?
DR: Yes, it’s a lot of mixed emotions about many things right now. Firstly, I’m definitely still grateful to be on the podium. It’s been, I guess, a long year, a tough one definitely. All of a sudden to find two of our cars on the podium, it’s pretty surreal. But yeah, I knew I could have sat in third and accepted that but knowing that I had the pace – I had the Option, compared to Seb and Nico on the Prime – I had an opportunity to do something about it. It was nearly like Déjà vu, nearly like the end of the race last year. Basically I’ve come third before, I thought ‘we have a chance to win,’ so I went for it. I guess it’s a bit of a shame how it ended up but at the same time I don’t regret anything I did on track today. I definitely left it all on there and I thought I drove with a heavy but a strong heart, and that makes me happy. Definitely no regrets.
Q: (Oleg Karpov – motorsport.com) My question to Dany – two questions actually – first of all, you were catching on those last laps Daniel and Nico. Do you think you had the pace to give them a fight in the end. Secondly, what did you think when they collided, what was going through your mind?
DK: After the safety car restart there was an open fight for the podium between all of us. To be honest, I must give a credit to Daniel. His pace has been better this weekend than mine, I think he had a better chance of a shot for victory this weekend than I did. Certainly had a shot for podium in the end but, y’know, my tyres were not in a great condition, to be honest. I was coming closer, step-by-step but I think it would be really hard, especially considering the Mercedes straight line advantage, to give them a fight for the podium, so Daniel, I think, did the right thing trying to go for it – but yeah, this weekend I think, like I said, I’ve been able to take every opportunity and that’s where I am right now. The pace we will have to analyse. But, you know, sometimes you are faster, sometimes you are slower and this is how it goes in racing.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Congratulations Sebastian for winning the so-called Finnish Grand Prix first time! How much better it would have felt to have to have first one-two for Ferrari in five years?
SV: I think it looked pretty promising off the line. Obviously it was a great move from Kimi. I think, obviously, he started another row back and we managed to be one-two after the first couple of corners. So, I guess he did a hell of a job to get these Mercedes in the first two corners. Yeah, then I was told during the safety car phase that he has a problem with the car. He lost the [MGU]-K and obviously then you’re pretty chanceless, you lose a lot of power and then all the systems start to misbehave, so in the end he didn’t finish. It’s a shame – because I think it could have been, first of all, a very, very strong team result and second, y’know, a one-two. Yeah, it’s a great day for Ferrari but not as great as it could have been. Obviously a bit of a shame for Kimi – it’s not my job but all the bullshit that’s been going around recently, I think both of us were driving a very consistent race and deserved a one-two today. I think that’s a couple of answers to some questions.
Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) Sebastian, this is your ninth Hungarian Grand Prix but only your first win. On most of the tracks you’ve got much better statistic. Do you think that with this victory you can change your luck in the future here?
SV: I hope so! It has been a while. In all honestly, I’m a little bit disappointed because we didn’t have the traditional Hungarian trophy with the porcelain on the podium today. So, 99.8 per cent happy. I was looking forward to that – not that I have a crush on porcelain or a weakness for porcelain but I think it belongs to this grand prix. To the organisers, please go back and… [to Daniel] did you have a porcelain one last year?
DR: No, same as yours
SV: S*** I don’t know what happened. I think 2010 I was very close to win and did a stupid mistake and then we had this very ugly – I’m not saying the brand – dog with four legs, or five legs, or six, I don’t even know – then they went back to the porcelain one, now they’ve gone back to something else! Obviously it’s great to win but not entirely perfect. I’ve always liked this track. Great to see so many fans, a lot of German flags, a lot of Germans and Austrians coming to support… I guess a little bit less Austrians this year… supporting me but therefore a lot of Italian and Ferrari flags around, so it was great. I’m very, very happy to tick this box finally.
Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Sebastian, how much of a surprise was the pace of the Ferrari to the… where has it come from because we didn’t see it on Friday and Saturday? And did you think it was a mistake to switch to the medium tyres behind the safety car for the last stint?
SV: Well, we had to run the primes at some point so no choice. Obviously we knew that by going option, option and then have to go prime, it’s not ideal for the safety car but it was the quickest race. I think without the safety car no questions to be answered now but that’s how it goes: sometimes it’s in your favour, sometimes it’s not. I think Friday was obviously a bad day for us so I don’t think you can take that as a reference and yesterday I think we had a good recovery and then it remained open how quick we really were on a long run but today was really really good, I think. It makes a difference if you find yourself in clean air, dictating the pace rather than following the top two cars. In some races we didn’t really see them for long. In other races we were sort of stuck behind them and you cannot really show your true pace so I think – especially in the beginning of the race, but then again, I think the whole race – the pace was really really good. I think Lewis was still probably a little bit quicker but didn’t have a smooth Grand Prix so this is how it goes sometimes.
Q: (Viktor Bognar – Magyarszo) I think this must be the best ever race for Red Bull drivers because all three of you were part of Red Bull plus Max Verstappen finished fourth. What do you think Helmut Marko is thinking right now?
SV: I think he’s pretty happy. To be honest I have a… obviously Helmut loves racing, he’s very straightforward as we all know and for sure he would have loved me to be third and not first today but he has always been a man with great respect and since I obviously told him my decision, he has still been a supporter, we are still in contact. It’s great to see that despite the colour that we wear that we still share something that is larger than that. I think that he has… I know that he has received a lot of criticism in the past for his programme, his Junior programme that he’s mostly looking after and I think that if you look at the podium today, I think he’s very happy.
DK: I owe a lot to Helmut, Dr Marko. He’s a kind of racing father for me. I wouldn’t be sitting here without his support right now.
SV: We all wouldn’t.
DK: We all wouldn’t actually so yeah, Seb answered it correctly right now. Always great opportunities, great chances but you have to deliver, simple as that and today it felt like I did my best, super opportunities and this podium is also… you know we all share this podium with him today and I’m extremely happy to share it with him as well.
DR: You never know what he’s thinking! I’m sure he’s happy.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesporte.com) To both Red Bull drivers: here is a circuit where the power of the engine doesn’t have as great importance. Can you analyse the development of Renault and the development of the chassis?
DR: I think that what’s been the most positive thing about this weekend is from Friday morning, first run on the track, the car felt good. I think it’s the first race in a long time where we haven’t really touched the balance throughout the weekend. We haven’t been chasing our tail, the car had more feeling about it this weekend, at least from my side. I felt like I could dictate the balance a bit more and position the car more where I wanted to. It’s quite a bumpy circuit. I felt the car was behaving well over the bumps, even comparing to last year I thought we definitely made some progress. Even though for sure this circuit suits our car more, I did feel like we’ve taken a step forward and the updates and everything we brought over the last two races, we made them work in the right way this weekend so definitely a lot of positives and yeah, it’s nice to have I guess a smile on both of our faces but also the team, give them some positivity coming into the break now. I’m sure Spa… you know there’s more straights there but I’m sure we can still be strong. We’re going to be enjoying the second sector a lot. It was a pretty good circuit for us last year. I think we’ve made some good progress nonetheless even though it’s track specific.
Renault? On Friday it was an old power unit, old spec everything so that was not an issue. Today in the race I thought it performed well. Here it’s obviously less… yeah, less sensitive, thanks Seb, with the power and everything. It was good. As we saw in the last part of the race, we had the pace to win. We were there, fighting for it so I think from Renault’s side, from the team’s side, it’s been our best weekend yet and I’m proud for everyone in the team to show that and show some progress and maybe we won’t get asked so many questions now in Spa.
Q: (Peter Vamosi – Vas Nepe) Sebastian, before you leave Hungaroring, please sign the 2015 picture in the pit tunnel and draw a picture of you. There is a picture now? OK. Great.
SV: That’s quick.
Q: (Peter Vamosi – Vas Nepe) You can sign it now.
SV: I’ve been thinking about that all weekend when I’ve walked through. I was looking at Piquet, Senna and then Daniel at the end and I thought haaa.
Q: (Peter Vamosi – Vas Nepe) Now it’s your opportunity, yes. And of course is Hungary right now in a special place in your heart because your last World Series by Renault race was here, your first race for Toro Rosso was also here and after nine years, you managed to win?
SV: Yeah, it’s definitely special. I remember I was late, I missed the flight coming for my first Formula One race on the Thursday, I was late, obviously my first time with Toro Rosso. It’s a good story now but back then I wasn’t making myself very popular being the new guy in the team and arriving late. I don’t know, it has been a little bit up and down here. I don’t know why. I think we had quite a lot of pole positions in the recent years. I think 2010 was the most obvious race that I should have won but messed up with that silly mistake during the safety car phase and after I think that we had the pace but then the races decided to go a different way and yeah, despite the fact that we had a great car… we always had a great car around here, couldn’t really use that. It’s great, obviously, to turn around, very special to do it now with Ferrari as well, so very happy and hopefully it’s a sort of turning point in my Hungarian Grand Prix career.
Q: (Attila Lenart – Auto 2) Danil, does it mean anything to you… I mean does it make the champagne sweeter that your first podium actually happened in a country where most of the people have been taught to learn Russian, so they can more or less spell your name correctly?
DK: Well, yeah, it’s been a story for a while I guess. It’s only five letters but so challenging to say.
SV: How do you actually say it?
DK: I already forgot how to say it right to be honest myself! It’s Kvyat, it’s quite easy but you’re right. Before the Russian Grand Prix, before any Russian circuit was built, this was kind of a home race for myself, I would say, because it’s the most eastern country in Europe where we race. It’s a pleasure. The Hungaroring has been up and down for me in the junior formulae; there have been good races, bad races. Today was a really good race so yeah, like you said, a very special day.