1 Ė Charles LECLERC (Ferrari)
2 Ė Valtteri BOTTAS (Mercedes)
3 Ė Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
(Conducted by Martin Brundle)
Q: Charles, what a brilliant drive. That will go down in Ferrari legend,
Charles LECLERC: Thank you so much. What a race. Iíve never been so tired.
Can I speak in Italian? (Continues in Italian).
Q: The great Mercedes Benz team threw everything at you, two against one,
but you didnít succumb to the pressure.
CL: Yeah, I did a few mistakes but at the end I finished first. Very happy
with this. I need to be careful with the mistakes but obviously none of them
made me lose the position today.
Q: Well done, brilliant race. Valtteri, the fresh tyres at the end looked
quite good but not quite enough to pass young Charles.
Valtteri BOTTAS: Yeah, I think we had a good strategy with me and I was able
to go pretty long in the first stint and that opened up some opportunities
at the end. But Iím gutted, you know. I was trying everything I could to get
him and there was no way past. Always when I was getting close enough I
started left-front locking, because of the lack of downforce and they are so
quick in the straights as well. But I tried and I think it was the best I
could do today.
Q: He was very strong off Parabolica, the last corner, wasnít he, and then
down the straight, so difficult to overtake.
VB: Yeah, it was really difficult. We were trying everything we could with
engine modes and everything, but not quite enough. Yep, we move on.
Q: Third consecutive podium here but maybe not the place you wanted to be.
Thanks Valtteri. Lewis, what a dice, what a battle that was! It got a bit
fruity in places.
Lewis HAMILTON: Fruity?
Q: A little bit close. His elbows were coming out here and there. What would
be your word?
LH: He did a great job. Congratulations to Ferrari and to Charles, he did a
great job. A lot of pressure from Valtteri and I. I did the best I could, I
think, but obviously following so closely for such a long time the tyres
eventually just went off the cliff. Nonetheless, they were just quicker
today Ė much quicker in a straight line, so even
if we did get close we couldnít pass. Not our day but still strong points
for the team. We pull away from Ferrari in the Constructorsí Championship
and ultimately thatís what really matters.
Q: And you must be homing in on your sixth title? It must be starting to
come into range in your mind?
LH: Honestly, Iím just trying to do better each race. Iím not really focused
on that at the moment. But of course, a healthier lead than Iíve been in in
the past, so obviously Iím grateful for that. But today wasnít a perfect
race. I think this weekend some improvements to be made to my set-up and
obviously within myself, so Iíll focus on that for the next race.
Q: Valtteri, congratulations, you took second place with 12 laps to go.
Another lap or so do you think you could have got the win today or did
Ferrari have the pace?
VB: First of all, well done Charles. (General laughter, as CL is absent). We
tried everything we could today as a team and personally I was giving
everything I could for the win. For sure, itís annoying because itís so
close Ė finishing less than one second behind the leader. But, yeah, at
least I tried everything I could. We tried. The tricky bit was that they
were so quick on the straights. It required us to be so close in the corners
that it was not really possible to follow, leading the straight (sic), and
also getting issues with brakes locking up once getting so close to the car
ahead. I was pushing hard, so what can I say? Just not quite enough.
Otherwise, it was a good race. I enjoyed it a lot, hunting for the win and
the pace was pretty good especially in the second stint.
Q: Thank you and well done. Lewis, you put a lot of pressure on Charles
today. How much pleasure do you get from that race?
LH: Thereís not a lot of pleasure from finishing third. Going backwards is
never a great thing. Still, it was a great race. He did a great job. It was
nice and tight for a long time and they deserved the win Ė they did a better
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Scott Mitchell - Autosport) Lewis, during the race while you were trying
to hunt down Charles, we heard a couple of times that it got a bit Ďdiceyí
with him. There was the move at the second chicane, where he pushed you onto
the run-off, and I think there was another one at the Curva Grande where you
were going around the outside and he moved to the left? Was it just heat of
the moment frustrations in the car or on reflection, a bit calmer, do you
still think he was a bit on the limit or over the limit at times.
LH: Uhh, thatís racing. Yeah, itís just racing I guess. I had to avoid
colliding with him a couple of times but I guess thatís how the racing is
today. You just move forwards.
Q: Thanks Lewis. Charles has joined us. Many congratulations. Second race
win in the bag. It was an incredible grand prix, an incredible podium. Can
you just describe the last two hours of your life?
CL: Itís quite difficult Ė a lot going through my mind, during the race,
after the race. A lot of emotions. Obviously it was very difficult during
the race. Lewis was behind me. I think the biggest gap there was was maybe
1.7 or 1.8 seconds, so right behind me. I knew that Lewis rarely makes
mistakes, so obviously I had to stay on it. I did a few, which never cost me
a position Ė once was very, very close. It was crazy and then finally in the
last two laps I started to believe that the win was possible. I think that
with the traffic Valtteri dropped a little bit and that helped me to get a
little bit of space. And then finally going on the line, I let go all my
emotions through the radio. I donít think you can understand anything that I
have said on the radio, but it felt absolutely amazing, and the podium also.
Itís going beyond all the dreams Iíve had since I was a child. To see so
many people cheering for one team, singing all together, itís amazing.
Q: If we were to discuss the decisive moments in todayís race, was it that
choice of the hard tyre at the pit stop?
CL: I donít know. I think the strategy was good. Obviously we were in a
tricky situation because we had the two Mercedes behind and I was the only
Ferrari and they could play the game of going long with one car and earlier
with the other. It was very tricky but in the end I rthink we made ther
right choice with the hard.
Q: (Mike Doodson - Honorary) Following up on that response from Charles, Iíd
like to ask Mr Hamilton if he had the choice of white tyres and if they had
been available would the result have been different in your opinion?
LH: I mean yeah, if I had gone onto the hard tyre I probably would have had
the pace to have finished second, with a tyre that goes longer, but I
wouldnít have changed the position between myself and Charles I think. They
were ultimately just a little bit too quick today. I did ask in the morning
if I could go to the hard tyres and they said no. They said that because we
hadnít run it they didnít it was quick enough. I think the tyre we were on
was quick but I did say in the meeting this morning that the tyre was
potentially going to go off the cliff. It was because I was following so
closely behind for so long, just really on the ragged edge, trying to get as
close as I could to get in shooting distance of trying to overtake. But
every time I opened up the DRS Ė I donít know if you were going to a
different power mode Ė but the gap would stay the same. Itís pretty
incredible the speed they have on the straights.
Q: (Peter Windsor Ė Clarksport) Charles, congratulations. Speaking of
cliffs, Iím just wondering how your tyres were in the last 10-15 laps and
how much tyre management was involved? Car looked a bit squirrelly on some
corners, had a few moments, a few lock-ups. How near the cliff were you?
CL: The hard were quite difficult to manage. From the beginning, apart from
the first two laps, or, no maybe a bit more, maybe three, four laps, I felt
quite good, but then there was like a drop off of grip from all four tyres
and then Iíve been struggling a little bit with front locks, and towards the
end Iíve started to lose the rear, and thatís where the performance started
toÖ where I started to slow down a little bit. They were not in a very bad
shape. I believe they could have stayed where they were for quite many laps
still Ė but yeah, I was just struggling with the rear left especially.
Q: (Luke Smith Ė crash.net) Charles, you said since Austria and the incident
with Max, you changed your approach, being more aggressive. I think we saw
that most clearly today in your fight with Lewis. Could you talk us through
battle with Lewis, and do you think without this change in approach, you
made that you would have won todayís race?
CL: Obviously I think since Austria itís clear that we can go a bit further
in the way that we defend and overtake and yeah, just the aggressivity of us
drivers. I believe that Austria helped me to change this approach and today
itís also thanks to this that Iíve managed to win. It was obviously very
on-the-limit butÖ yeah, Iím happy to race like this.
Q: (Diego Sanchez Ė thebestf1.es) Charles, can you describe how you feel
right now, just in one word Ė and how you chose this word?
CL: I donít know how you say it in English: Libťration.Ö yeah, freedom. More
or less this. How many laps were there in the race? 53. 53 laps felt a lot
longer than 53 laps. As Iíve said, I felt a lot of pressure from behind. So,
obviously, from once I crossed the finish line until now is just pure
Q: (Godina Zsolt Ė f1vilag.hu) Charles, congratulations. After this race
win, how do you see your chances for the next races Ė and do you think that
this could be a turning point for Ferrari in terms of the Championship?
CL: We need to stay realistic. I think we expected that Spa and Monza would
be very good races for our car but we also know that the next few races will
be a lot more difficult for our car. So, we need to be realistic and, yeah,
itís not going to be easy. I think especially Singapore. I think it will be
a nice surprise if we are better than what we expect Ė but what we expect Ė
but we expect to struggle there. Weíll see in two weeks.
Q: (Andrew Benson Ė BBC Sport) Last year Verstappen got a five second
penalty for a move that looked similar to what happened at the Roggia
chicane today between Charles and Lewis. What do the three of you think
about the black-and-white flag being employed for that move today?
CL: Iíve been aware on the radio that I took a black-and-white flag for
moving under braking but Iím not so sure of which move you are speaking
about. If itís the one in the right hander where we were flat-out orÖ after
that. What it after that?
Q: The first one, where Lewis went slightly off the track to the right, on
your outside, on the entry to the chicane.
CL: OK Ė to be completely honest, obviously I knew he was on the right, he
braked a little bit early which I think was probably on purpose because he
didn'tí want to try around the outside. I thought I had left a car width. I
havenít seen the images to be honest. But I was pretty sure there was a car
Q: And Charles, what do you think of the use of the black-and-white flag?
CL: As Iíve said, I think itís good if we can race harder. Again, I havenít
seen the images so I cannot say particularly in this case but overall Iím
happy if we can race harder. SoÖ yeahÖ Iím fine.
Q: Lewis, can we get your thoughts?
LH: Weíve just constantly asked for consistency. So, there was a rule put in
place, and then it wasnít abided by today and they used difference
consequences for the rule today but I don't really know why that was the
case. Itís motor racing, I guess, and I guess the stewards woke up on a
different side of the bed this morning. I donít know.
Q: So do you not welcome the use of the black-and-white flag?
LH: Well, thatís whatÖ Verstappen should have got that last year. Weíve
asked for consistency. So the same rule should apply each time Ė but yeahÖ I
donít know what else to say about it.
Q: Valtteri, your thoughts
VB: I havenít seen the whole thing, so I canít say anything.
Q: (Daniele Sparisci Ė Corriere della Sera) Question to Charles. Was it more
difficult to win here or in Belgium, with all this battle?
CL: Here. I think itís the first weekend in my life where the only thing
Iíve got in my head is winning. Normally I focus on just the job I have to
do in the car, which normally is more successful and it works better. But,
since Wednesday, seeing the support weíve had, was just, yeah, incredible.
The only thing I wanted this weekend was to win in front of all the guys
that are supporting us, for the team. So, it was very difficult because also
during the race I was thinking to that win and how much it would mean to
everyone in the grandstand here. So it was adding a bit of pressure, and as
Iíve explained earlier, also I had quite a lot of pressure from lap one to
the last laps.
Q: (Stephane Barbe Ė LíEquipe) Charles, could you describe especially your
feelings on the podium, which is so different here from other places
CL: Well, it felt amazing. I have never had a podium withÖ Iíve never been
on a podium with so many people underneath it. And to see that the whole
straight was full of people Ė mostly red Ė 99 per cent red Ė was great to
see. Yeah, as I said earlier, hearing them cheering, singing was justÖ a lot
Q: (Heikki Kulta Ė Turun Sanomat) Valtteri, seven times a Finnish driver is
second in this race. Is it an impossible place to win here?
VB: No, itís not impossible! Not far away today, it just happens that a Finn
hasnít won here. so, maybe one day. Try again next year, obviously. Like I
said earlier, I think we tried everything we could and it felt like we
maximised everything with the strategy and all Ė but just not quite enough.
Q: (Jon McEvoy Ė Daily Mail) Charles, what are your earliest memories of
Ferrari? Do you remember, for example, Michael Schumacher winning the
Italian Grand Prix? Maybe just a little on that sort of background as a boy;
itís quite a while agoÖ
CL: Iím very bad with history and Iíve got a very bad memory for my own
races so yeah. For the others races, I really donít remember anything. The
only thing I can remember is maybe one of the first Grand Prix Iíve seen in
Monaco, which was at the exit of turn one, I remember looking for the red
car. I was playing with the small cars that you have when you are a child Ė
I was maybe five years old or something like this. This is the only memory I
have from a Formula One car probably.
Q: Can you tell us about your first visit to Maranello?
CL: I went there with Jules Bianchi, who had to go there for some TV stuff
and obviously he tried to let me in with him but they decided I couldnít go
in the factory. Now itís a little bit easier to go inside but yeah, I
remember obviously of dreaming of one day going through these doors and
seeing how a Formula One team works, especially Ferrari. But I remember I
was very impressed by the way as soon as you arrive in Maranello, which is a
city, you can feel that everyone is just here, all working for Ferrari or
completely crazy about Ferrari. That was very very special.
Q: Can you remember what year that was?
CL: No. No. Iíve got a very bad memory!
Q: (Rodrigo Franca Ė VIP Magazine) Charles, speaking of that, you are in the
Ferrari Driver Academy since a long time, in the Ferrari family so can you
tell us of the importance of the programme and if that makes this podium so
special and your winning here in Monza for the fans and for the Ferrari
CL: Well, at the end, if Iím here, itís also thanks to the FDA. There are a
few people in my career who have helped me to get there but definitely the
Ferrari Driver Academy is part of these persons or group of persons. We did
a lot of mental preparation, physical preparation. They also helped me a lot
with the simulator work so I was on the simulator quite a lot and they have
tried to give me as much experience that they had from Formula One to me to
grow as a better driver so obviously I believe itís a great proof that the
Academy is working properly and there are also a lot of talents coming who
are very strong and Iím pretty sure they will come very soon, joining
obviously me but all of us in Formula One soon.
Q: (Joe van Burik Ė RacingNews 365) Charles, how much did you miss the
support from Sebastian in the race today? Was it extra hard, considering you
didnít have him?
CL: Obviously itís always an easier situation to have two cars instead of
one but obviously yesterday Seb was extremely unlucky, he couldnít do the
lap in the second run of Q3 so yeah, but Iím pretty sure it will be better
in the next races.
Q: (Fabio Seghetta - TuttoMotorsport) Charles, obviously with this win
youíve overtaken Sebastian in the driversí standings. Do you think the next
races, apart from the good or bad performances, you will stay there or do
you think that together you can try to get as many points as you can to go
over and maybe challenge the two guys to the left and right of you?
CL: To challenge Lewis and Valtteri will be very difficult because, as I
said, I donít think we will be as competitive as weíve been in Spa and Monza
but letís see, obviously . I donít know if I will keep the position ahead of
Seb in the driversí championship. I think we need to work together and to
try and have the best performance for the team. He wants to beat me, I want
to beat him as much as he does but yeah, weíll see at the end of the
championship. I canít know.
Q: (Giovanni Messi Ė News Formula One) Charles, two questions: the first is,
what did you think of during your final lap and if you have an opinion Ė I
donít know Ė on Sebastianís mistake during the first laps of the race?
CL: On the last two laps I started to see in the grandstand that there was
quite a lot of agitation, that all of the fans were jumping so yeah, I was
telling myself Ďstop looking at the grandstand, look at the track, focus on
what you are doing as a driver and then you can enjoy whatever there is
outside.í But it was quite difficult to stay focused on driving, seeing how
much movement there was in the grandstand. And then I havenít yet seen Sebís
Q: (Davide Russo Ė Russ Formula One) Valtteri, you still believe in this
VB: Well thereís no point ever giving up when thereís still statistics to
say itís possible. Obviously itís a bit of a long shot, honestly, if youíre
realistic with the way Lewis is performing and the consistency heís having.
But obviously you never know. This is F1, weíve seen crazy things happening
so thereís no point giving up, I just focus as an individual, my best
performance I can and for us, as a team, to keep those improvements coming,
that we are doing together and by the end of the year we will see, but
thereís no point in giving up.
Q: (Daniel Horvath Ė The Paddock Magazine) Charles, you need to beat a four
time World Champion first if you want to win a race. Do you think Sebastian
is the toughest teammate youíve ever had, considering the lower categories
CL: Yeah, definitely. Heís definitely the most complete driver Iíve been in
the same team with. Iíve learned a lot from Sebastian. Heís an amazing
driver, very quick. He has a lot of experience too so the way he works is
very methodical and very detailed and of that Iíve learned a lot.
Q: (Andrew Benson Ė BBC Sport) Lewis, youíve had an apparently very warm and
respectful relationship with Charles so far this season, when seen from the
outside. Will anything change in that as a result of your unhappiness today?
LH: Iím not unhappy; of course, as Iíve said, I donít like to go backwards
but he did a fantastic job today. I gave him as much pressure as I could and
we had a couple of close moments, we could probably talk about it in private
together but itís nothing major and we continue to race. Iím looking forward
to many more races together.
Q: (Peter Windsor Ė Clarksport) Charles, amazing that you mentioned that you
were thinking during the race about winning and what it meant, and Iím just
interested to know what part of the lap, given the amount of pressure youíre
under constantly, you were able to think about that. Where on the circuit
were you actually able to think about things like that?
CL: Maybe on the long straight for like 200 meters, I had the time to think.
We were quite quick down the straightÖ not for the whole straight, only for
part of it. I was thinking very quickly.