Q: Carlos, you’ve dreamt of this moment for years. How does reality live up to that dream?
CS: Well, it hasn’t quite sunk in yet, I think, because I’m very happy, but yeah, I’m waiting for the minutes to go by and to realise what has actually happened today, you know. To win my first race in front of this amazing crowd, with Ferrari, in Silverstone, one of my favourite circuits, it’s amazing. And yeah, it wasn’t easy at all. But it came and I kept fighting for it. And it was about to come one day sooner than later and it was today the day.
Q: As you say, it was busy out there and so much went on. Was it difficult to keep a clear head and to keep a read on what was going on in the race?
CS: Yes, definitely. It was probably, mentally, one of the toughest races, because there was so much going on on the radio, trying to manage both the gap to Charles and Lewis and at the beginning with Max there was a lot of fighting going on. I wasn’t completely comfortable with the car. I was struggling a lot with understeer in the high-speed corners, opening a lot the front-left tyre and this was taking me out a lot of pace, but I kept it cool, kept believing, kept within reach all the time. And suddenly when the opportunity came, I grabbed it and it happened.
Q: Now under the safety car, you’ve pitted for Soft tyres. Your team-mate didn’t. Who made that call? Was it you or the team? Or was it a case of you or him, only one of you could pit?
CS: No, I really don’t know what happened in front. I knew as soon as the Safety Car came out that it was a great chance to put a Soft tyre for me, because I had been on those Hards for longer. I had the front left on the Hard tyre, which I didn’t expect, already opening up with graining. I don’t know, for me it was a tyre that I wanted to get out of the way quickly, because it was not a tyre that was giving me great feeling and pace and when the Safety Car came out I was ready to pit as soon as it happened. I took the opportunity and from then on I knew passing Charles was going to be pretty easy at the re-start. I was 100% sure that the opportunity was there. I just wanted to do it in the cleanest way possible without affecting his own race because I knew behind me they were coming a lot of guys on Softs to attack him you know. I tried my best to not affect him and I think he did a great job also to finish fourth.
Q: Carlos after a weekend like this, pole yesterday, victory today. How much are you looking forward to getting back in the car in Austria next weekend?
CS: Good. Amazing. I mean, we’ve been going through some better weekends recently and my feeling has been a lot better. This weekend, I was very quick in FP2 and I felt like I had the pace to win a race this weekend. But for some reason in the race I struggled… Already in FP3 I struggled a lot more. And in the race, again, I struggled. If anything, I feel like this weekend we might have gone a bit into another extreme of the set-up to try and make me too comfortable with it. And then maybe today I was lacking a bit of front end, but I hope that for Austria we can fine tune it and maybe we can actually fight for that win again and do some good pole positions in the dry and win it in the dry again.
Q: Thank you Carlos, enjoy the moment. Checo, coming to you now. That was an incredible comeback drive to take the 21st podium of your Formula 1 career. What did you think was possible as you rejoin the field in 16th after those first five laps?
SP: Yeah, I was unfortunate, you know, with Charles on the first lap. There was not much room for three cars. And unfortunately, I took the worst part of it. I got front wing damage, which on these cars, they said that it didn’t affect that much, but for me, I had no front end. So I was forced to pit and basically I went all the way to last, and just recovered from there, lap after lap. Those Medium tyres were holding on pretty nicely and we got lucky with the Safety Car there at the end, which gave us a good opportunity to fight for the podium. And yeah, those final laps were what a great fight with Lewis. It has been so long since we had a good fight, so I was ready to have him back. And also with Charles. He was very aggressive but fair and I’m sure the fans enjoyed it.
Q: You looked like you enjoyed it as well. You say you got lucky with the Safety Car. You still had to do a marathon stint of 34 laps on the Medium tyre. How difficult was it to keep them alive?
SP: Yeah, it was getting difficult towards the end of the stint. But keeping that pace, trying to open a bit of a window. I was fighting Fernando and Lando, trying to get the window on them. And then when the Safety Car came out, it meant that we were in P4. So then it was a good chance. And then it was epic final laps. Those laps really remind me of the junior series, you know, when we were all racing and having a lot of fun.
Q: Lewis coming to you now, a 13th podium at Silverstone for you, very well done. Can we start by talking about those closing laps? Did you enjoy all that battling as much as Checo?
LH: I definitely did! That was very reminiscent of the karting days. And I feel that that’s Formula 1 at its best. The fact that we were able to follow and dice like that, lap on lap is a testament to the direction I think that we’ve we’re now in. I was just grateful that I could be in the battle. Because I’ve not been in that fight for a while.
Q: Could you hear the roar of the crowd from inside your cockpit?
LH: You can’t imagine it. It’s so loud in the car with our earplugs in, but I could feel it. I could feel it, all weekend from Thursday, I could feel the incredible support here in the UK. And so, I am just incredibly grateful to everybody for showing-up and showing-up in full form and full energy. This is the biggest crowd we’ve had here, so I really hope everyone had a great day.
Q: And Lewis, what about the performance of the W13? How good was it? How encouraging is the pace this weekend for you and the team?
LH: I think it’s hugely encouraging that, as I said, we were in the fight. There were times… I mean, for a good period of time, I was matching the Ferraris’ pace, and even better at some stages. And we got the quickest lap at the end, for example, which is… I don’t think we’ve been able to do this year. We had an upgrade this weekend and I think the race pace was definitely improved. That’s been our strongest part of our car, I think, this year in general. But it’s definitely helped us get a little bit closer. We’re not… I don’t think we’re in a winning position yet. But we’re not far away.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) Question to Carlos, please. You mentioned that understeer that you felt early in the race, that you felt was costing you time against Max and Charles, what do you think caused that? And also to Lewis, please, if you don’t mind, at what point did it become clear to you that you had the pace that you could match with the Ferraris? And do you think without the Safety Car, you might have got back to them? Thanks.
CS: Yeah, it’s strange, because I was very happy with the car on Friday, I think I was probably the fastest over one lap and on race pace. So I was quite confident going into Saturday, then suddenly, in FP3, we found some, some issues with the car that we had to correct and then I went into Quali without knowing what was going to happen, and then in the race, the issues kind of stayed a bit there and we need to analyse why because I felt like I lost quite a bit of pace since Friday. And we will have an in-depth analysis about it. But yeah, I was basically destroying my front tyre in all the high speed corners, which was killing the front for the low speed. And then I wasn’t, I wasn’t generating good pace because of this and it was costing me every lap, but kept it cool, as I said, I told myself, ‘just keep yourself in the race, anything can happen’, and I managed to keep myself up there. And, yeah, it ended-up happening.
LH: I think I was… What was question Did I have? Yeah, I offset myself as much as I could. And I was hoping that in that second… Once my tyres were, and I was getting quicker and quicker as the tyres were getting stronger and stronger and I was slowly starting to eat into that gap and yeah, if we didn’t have a safety car, I think I would have been able to battle these two at the end. But it wasn’t meant to be.
Q: (Jesus Balseiro – Diario AS) Carlos, how many times they do think that it wasn’t meant to be your day? I mean, after the first start, when Max overtook you, Charles overtook you. How did you overcome those kinds of situations today?
CS: I didn’t think that much about it. Obviously during the race I was telling myself to, even if I was struggling and suffering a bit, to keep myself in the race and keep myself as close as possible to the car in front and to Charles. I suddenly had to start managing a lot the fuel and then Lewis started to catch me a lot quicker because I was lifting and coasting that in this track makes you lose a lot of time. And suddenly when the Safety Car came out, I knew it was my chance I mean. I was the first one on of the Soft tyres, behind Charles that on the Hard that had a quite a lot of warm-up in the weekend, like we saw. And I knew I was going to pass him, 100%. But I just wanted to do it as cleanly as possible and without affecting his race, you know, as much as possible, because we wanted a one-two and I knew that as soon as his Hard tyres were coming into temperature, he might actually hold on to it. And I tried to overtake as clean as possible, but knowing that it was my chance and that it was there for me to get it.
Q (Marco Canseco – Marca). Question for Carlos. These victory is a personal relief? Do you think this is a key point in your career?
CS: I think a first win is always a bit of a relief. I’m not going to lie. The same way that the pole position didn’t feel like it yesterday today, the win does feel a bit of a relief, because there you have it, you have a win in Formula 1. And for sure, I’m going to keep fighting for more, you know, I’m going to keep improving myself with this car, and I’m going to try and make it happen. But honestly, I never stopped believing that this win was going to come. Even if this year has been tough for me and it hasn’t been the easiest. I mean in Monaco, I could have won. I mean in Canada it was super close. And it was about time that something just happened in a race that you can win. Or one race that I can win on pure pace or merit, like Canada, no? So keep believing. If there’s something this sport has taught me is that keep believing. Things have never come easy to me in my career but this is a great example that it still happens.
Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Just to all three drivers. I just wanted to get your reaction to that first-lap accident. When you see that as a driver is it hard to put that out of your mind ahead of the re-start, when you see the replays? Even just the car in the barriers? Does this show how far the sport has come in terms of the safety that he can be back in the paddock without any major injuries? Also I just wanted to ask about the protesters and how alarming that was to see when they were invading the track on the first lap. Thank you.
CS: Yeah. Well, first of all, I took the decision not to see the accident. When a red flag happened I knew there must have been a big shunt for the red flag. But I didn’t watch the TVs. Obviously, I was incredibly happy to see Zhou coming out of the car without major issues. And then when I saw it now on the podium, I was completely shocked. It was incredible the crash and the fact that he came out of it, I don’t know it’s crazy. I just find it incredible that you can come out of it. And it just shows the great… You know, we sometimes criticise the FIA, but in these cases you need to give it to them how much they’ve been helping us. And if you see the crash this morning in F2, what happened with the Halo, today, they’ve saved probably two lives. And we need to give them give it to them, the amazing work they are doing in safety. I feel so happy you know to be racing in Formula 1 in an era where we are pushing each other at higher than 300 kph like you saw today, racing. You guys cannot imagine the speeds we’re doing in the high speed and taking directions, fighting for position, and knowing that you can do that safely, or within a safety window. And I thank them for this, because I just feel it’s great to do it. And I love this sport for that.
SP: Yeah, I think first of all it’s great. I heard that Alex went to hospital just for precautionary checks. But they didn’t even have to do it. So very pleased for them that they are here with us and they will be racing again. I knew there was an accident, but I was back in the garage, and I was looking at the TV and they showed the accident and I was shocked. You know, it’s been a while since we haven’t seen such an accident like that. It’s hard to see that and to try to delete it from your mind and try to focus on what you have to do. Well done to the FIA because we’ve come a long way. I’m sure there are still good improvements and always good lessons, you know, to make sure we learn from today, to see the accident, to make sure that there are things we can improve to make sure… I don’t know how if there were photographers around and that were at risk. So just have a look and see if we are able to make this a safer sport for everyone. And the final thing I’d like to add is that when you hear people talking about putting a cap on the driver salaries, we are the ones taking all the risk out there, putting the show, so I don’t think it’s a good thing to be talking about that on the sport going forwards. But the most important of today is that no one was hurt.
LH: Yeah, I mean I don’t really have anything to add they answered it very well. I didn’t know what the protesters were, so…
SP: Yeah, what was that?
CS: I thought the red flag was for that because as soon as I came out of five, I saw three guys running towards me
Q: Onto the Hangar straight. There were some protesters on the left-hand side.
CS: Lap one of the red flag.
LH: Big up those guys.
SP: Luckily we had Seb driving!
Q: (Keith Collantine – Racefans.net) Carlos, at the restart with the Safety Car, your team gave you a message about dropping about ten car lengths back from Charles? What was the reason for that? How do you think the team managed the team order situation in the race today? And now that you and Charles are separated by just 11 points, how should the team be managing things like this?
CS: Honestly, I think today the team managed the race really well. I have nothing to say. At one point we switched positions when we were both at risk at getting overcut by Lewis. I think we did it and executed it perfectly and then they asked me to do this ten metres, but I tried to explain to them, you know, like I had behind probably the fastest man on track today. If I drop ten metres, I might lose a bit of slipstream. And if he passes me then Charles is going to be dead meat also, so my decision to get in the lead as soon as possible, because I knew I was going to get in the lead before Turn 6, with the grip I had on the Soft and go from there and try to not affect his race by getting in the lead. So I asked the team, ‘look, leave it to me I’m going to handle it as clean as possible’. And actually Charles did a great job to nearly stay in P2. Sometimes the driver feeling is there and sometimes the team might tell you something that you don’t agree with and you just do your own thing because you really believe in it. But I trust the team a lot and today we executed a very fine race and we trust each other in this kind of scenarios as you saw. And going forward, the same. I think today we did it well so we keep doing it that way.
Q: (Lennart Bloemhart – Volkstrand) Lewis, I believe this was the first time this season that you’ve led a lap and this is the first time in your career that you haven’t won a race in the first ten races of the season. Pretty special statistics. Is this a strange feeling for you and do you feel that this race gave you the spark you needed this season?
LH: It’s not a strange feeling at all. These things happen. I’ve had plenty of years in my career, probably whether or not… Maybe not plenty, but I’ve definitely had years in my career where I haven’t had wins for a period of time. But yeah, this has given… The progress that we’ve made over the past couple of races has definitely given us hope that there’s more to come. There is potential in this car and we just have to keep doing our due diligence, keep our heads down and stay focused and not give up.
Q: (Graham Harris – Motorsport Monday) Carlos, this track is special for you. It’s where you drove your first Formula 1 car, 150 races later you’ve won your first race. How soon do you think it’ll be before you win your second?
CS: Hopefully next weekend but we have to work at it. It’s very special, as you say, but it’s special to do it in Silverstone, to do it in front of this crowd that we had today. I heard I had a cheer from them. When you have Lewis, an English guy, on form like he was today, having one of his special days, putting on a great drive like he was doing, and still you have the whole crowd feeling happy for me and then having so many fellow drivers that I’m competing against coming to me after the race to congratulate me and feeling happy for me and actually the whole paddock… I feel the whole paddock feels proud and happy for me and this is a special feeling that I get as a driver and yeah, I cannot explain it, but it’s something that makes you feel very proud and happy about today. So I thank you, everyone for that.
Q: (Graham Harris – Motorsport Monday) Have you spoken to your father yet?
CS: Yeah, I called him for ten seconds after the podium, just a quick because I knew my Mum and him were going to be on the phone nervous for the call and it was 10 seconds: Hi, Mum, hi Dad, thank you, bye.
LH: You should have said I love you too, no?
CS: I did but I didn’t want to sound… Yeah, yeah, we did. We did. Kisses, love you, bye.
Q: (Josh Suttil – The Race) Carlos, earlier in the race, you were asked to let Charles through. Earlier you were talking about how you have a better feeling from within the cockpit. So was that a case of you kind of knew what to do there, maybe a bit better than the team?
CS: Yeah, I gave myself the best chance to stay ahead by pushing as much as I could but I got to a point that I was destroying so much my front tyre that it made total sense for Charles to go through and I let him by as soon as the team told me to do so. First order, I react. I’ve always been a team player. I will always be a team player and especially in Ferrari. I know the team is in front of and above my personal interests and I had that same philosophy when I overtook Charles, when I overtook him back. That’s why I think we are managing well, we are getting on well, and today is a good example that we managed a good race. We had the two cars first and second, before the Safety Car.
Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) To all three drivers, please: you’ve all spoken about how much you’ve enjoyed the racing today, the close fights up and down the field as well. I wondered how much do you feel that was down to the new cars? It’s the first time that Formula 1 has raced with these new ground effect cars on a really high-speed track. Could we perhaps say this was the best example of racing in this new era?
SP: Yeah, I think it was great, the level of racing we were able to do across the grid. I think at the end, we were… Lewis and myself were obviously with same tyre age. Charles was struggling a bit for grip, but it still was a very good fight. It really felt like we were able to race each other hard. We were able to follow each other through the high speeds. Even when I overtook Lewis he got me back because he could stay literally next to me, so it was really very good racing. And I think certainly this is a good test for this generation of cars, where we are able to follow each other and although you lose a position you can get it back by keep fighting the other car, so I think it was great what we’ve seen today in terms of these regulations.
CS: Yeah, I think it’s a great step forward done by Formula 1, and today’s just proof of that. I feel like these cars have improved a lot the racing in high-speed corners and Silverstone was a great example of how much better it is to follow. In the high speed the car is just a lot more predictable, so you don’t get weird snaps like we were getting last year. Also quite surprised about the slipstream effect. I know with these cars is not as big as last year but as soon as Max or Charles passed me I could stay within reach, thinking I was slower but then suddenly you are behind and you gain four tenths or half a second of pace, just because of the slipstream, which helps you to stay within reach of all the cars, which I think today the slipstream effect had a very big effect also in having these interesting fights.
Q: Lewis, you touched on it earlier. Anything more?
LH: I think they answered it well. But yeah, it’s great, really, really great racing. And just to follow was awesome.
Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC) This is mainly for Lewis, but I’d also like Checo and Carlos to comment if possible too. Lewis, you made a remark there sort of half off-mic about environmental protesters. I just wondered if you could clarify exactly how you felt about that because it’s obviously a complex situation. It’s a subject that’s close to your heart. It’s a subject that Formula 1 is also trying to make progress on but obviously some people will have questions about the wisdom of the method that they chose today.
LH: I mean, I didn’t know what the protesters were for and so I just found out and I just said the protesters, I love that people are fighting for the planet and we need more people like them
SP: Yeah, similar to Lewis. It’s the first time I found out and certainly Formula 1 needs to do more, needs to keep pushing and then to keep improving and going in that direction. And it’s great to see people fighting for their cause but obviously it’s good that they don’t put themselves at risk or they don’t put other people at risk. But yeah, I’m sure that Formula 1 can still do more and we have to keep pushing all together to still show a good example.
CS: Nothing to add. I think people have the opportunity to speak out and do manifestations wherever they want, because it’s a right. I just don’t believe jumping into a Formula 1 track is the best way to do it, and putting yourself at risk and all the other drivers. So yes, I support the cause, I think Formula 1 is doing a great job already to try and go carbon zero by 2030. And we are pushing on this area and we are pushing F1 and pushing the FIA to find ways to go in this direction. I just don’t believe jumping into a Formula 1 track is the right way to manifest yourself and protest. You have to be a bit more careful because you could get killed and you could generate an accident.