2016 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX – Lewis Hamilton on pole

Press call (Photo by FIA)

Press call (Photo by FIA)Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes),  Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes) and Nico HULKENBERG (Force India)

Q: Lewis, one of the interesting talking points arising out of the second part of qualifying was the decision by Ferrari and Red Bull to go out and set their time on the supersoft tyre. You and Nico had both used the ultrasoft but then right at the end you went out and had a bit of a look on the supersoft just as some rain began to fall. So, your thoughts on why you went the way that you did in the first instance and what happened at the end there.

LH: I just did what I was told! I think our strategists understand that that ultrasoft was the better tyre. We had the supersoft available I think they perhaps saw – I’m guessing – I’m assuming they saw that the Ferraris had gone out and they thought we might try to go out and see if we could do a time on it, even though we think there is a time delta between the two. Naturally a hard tyre often goes further so that doesn’t seem like such a bad option. They have qualified on supersofts?

Yes – they’ll start on the supersofts and so will Red Bull
LH: OK, that’s not a bad thing. I think the ultrasoft is not a good tyre for the race. It’s going to be a struggle to get a lot of laps out of it so the strategy will be interesting tomorrow. Obviously those guys are starting behind me so I’m hoping I have a bit of an advantage at the start just from being on the softer tyre but… yeah, in practice my tyre lasted for four laps, so I think for Nico it lasted maybe eight? He says five. So it’ll definitely be tricky but we’ll do the best we can with it.

Q: OK, the same question to you Nico. Your race, the first stint is going to be much more complicated because of where you’re starting. So your thoughts on this situation going into the race tomorrow. And also, picking up on what I was asking Lewis before about the kerbs, is it just a case now of, for the rest of the weekend, staying off them – or is there more to it than that?

NR: For sure yeah, need to stay off them. I even stayed off them in qualifying now most of the time, except for when it really counted. Tyres is going to be tough tomorrow but the thing is we don’t really know because the temperature is going to drop so much so who knows how the tyres are going to be? For sure in the hot it was really tough but maybe in the cold it’s going to be better.

Q: Nico, coming to you, obviously your team is going through a bit of a purple patch at the moment with podiums in Monaco and Baku recently. You’re still looking for your first Formula One podium personally. You must be feeling that tomorrow may well just be your day. Are you very optimistic and excited going into tomorrow’s grand prix?
NH: Yes. First of all I’m happy and excited about today. Special circumstances obviously with the rain in Q3 and then the drying-up track but for sure starting second is a very good starting position. Tomorrow we’ll do what we can. I’m not thinking too hard about that now. We’ll do that in the next couple of hours and tonight and tomorrow but our car has made huge steps forwards since Barcelona really and ever-since we’ve scored a lot of points and a few podiums so yeah, we’re on a good slope, we have good momentum and just try to carry it into tomorrow and make it into another good Sunday.


Q: (Angélique Belokopytov – AutoDigest) Lewis, yesterday you considered that you were not at your top level. So what did change? Did you improve since yesterday? Was it work more on your mental, or the car or maybe both?

LH: A little bit the car but mostly I just had to find time today. Nico had been performing well all weekend and it was just chipping away at improvements, constantly looking at my data, trying to figure out where I was losing the time and how I could improve. Bit by bit, corner by corner… at one point there’s five corners where I’m down, then it’s four corners I was down, then two, then just one corner where I was down. That’s something that… then it rained and I was thinking ‘Jeez, I’ve finally got into this position where I can perhaps battle for pole with Nico’ and then it rained – but fortunately those are conditions I like as well, so it made it a little bit easier, I have to say, when it got into those conditions ‘cos it’s then a bit more about who takes the most risk, I guess.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Hulkenberg, we received indication on the screens that you were under investigation because of the yellow flags in Q2. Are you aware of this?

NH: No, I wasn’t aware that I’m under investigation. I think it was the incident where Sainz’s car’s engine blew up and he was parked on the right on the main straight. I did lift, I did lose time there but still with new tyres, track improvement I might have gone faster, I don’t know but we will see. I’m not too concerned.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Lewis, when you came in here, you stopped to watch your lap – all the lap – what was your view of it, what was your analysis of your own lap?

LH: I could have been faster! I was looking at some places where… you know, when you do a lap like that it’s really difficult to… you know, the previous lap maybe I had an oversteer moment in one corner, you don’t know if it’s dried up and what… it probably has dried up on that next lap so you don’t know just how much you can push on each corner. In hindsight… hindsight’s always a great thing – there were drier patch and more grip and more potential in some corners that I did, but it doesn’t matter because I’m where I need to be. That’s what happens when I watch it. I’m just thinking could be a little bit more there, a little bit more there.

Q: (Silvia Arias – Parabrisas) Nico, I would like to know – maybe you said it before but I don’t know – but when this accident happened, was it because you touched the kerb or is it because there was a mechanical problem in the car and the suspension was broken?

NR: The suspension broke. On the kerb, on the normal exit kerb, the first one, the thin one.

Q: (Peter Vamosi – Vas Nepe) To all of you: there’s a possibility that next year maybe we will have a bigger version of the Austrian Grand Prix, a new track layout but of course the old one, the Osterreichring. Are you satisfied with this information? Would you like to compete with Formula One cars on this or is it OK now?

LH: Me personally? That’s the best news I’ve probably heard in Formula One for a long time. They’re going to take a track back to what it should be or what it was previously. The track is nice as it is now but I’ve not seen the old track but I can imagine going up into the mountains and into the woods it’s going to be epic so I really hope they do that personally.

Q: Nico, your Dad raced here on the old one, any thoughts on that?

NR: I just watched the video from 1982, one of the closest finishes with my Dad finishing second and definitely it looks very exciting so yeah, if they do that, cool.

NH: I wasn’t even aware. Don’t know what the layout was but yeah, whatever. Fine.

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