Grand Prix of Belgium: press conference on Saturday

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
3. Esteban Okon (Racing Point Force India)

Interview on the job

Question: (David Coulthard) Lewis, it is nice to see how you congratulate Sebastian, but it is unlikely that he is as satisfied with the result as you are. For you this is the 78th pole in the career and already the fifth in the Spa! Ferrari was very fast on the dry circuit, you clearly needed the rain – my congratulations, well done!
Lewis Hamilton: For me it was one of the hardest qualifications – a feeling that we have more and more difficult, compared to the start of the season on Saturday.

I do not know if the Ferrari had the advantage in speed – in the second session I only participated in five hundred and I expected that I could still play in the final, but I understood that the fight will be tight – the rivals are very quick the straight. But then it started to rain and this weekend we did not work on the wet job!

I can not describe how difficult the situation was – you saw for yourself that I could not hold the trajectory in the first corner. I had to catch the car the whole time, the asphalt looked dry in some places, but it turned out to be wet. I agree that in Hungary the qualification was also kept in the rain, but there we drove on the rain tires and the grip on the track was better, while today it was not easy for the intermediate tires. In the last session I was out of the track twice, but now I am very happy that I have brought everything together in the last round!

Question: (David Coulthard) You have the optimal starting position in the upcoming race, the fight for the title goes on, is not it?
Lewis Hamilton: I think that today's qualifying has all remained in tension, but this is good formula 1! It is nice to see that there are so many fans. In the beautiful circuit of Spa, it's great to race, I'm so grateful to the team that they gave me the chance to win the pole!

Question: (David Coulthard) Fantastic work! Sebastian, Lewis said that I might be able to compete with you on a dry track, but personally it seemed to me that Ferrari was guaranteed the whole first row, if it was not for rain. In the final you could drive faster?
Sebastian Vettel: I think so, but we have not planned the best attempt. Given these weather conditions the result can be any, but I took second place. Due to the speed of the machine we could capture the pole, but we will never know that I could win this qualification.

The battle in the final was different than in the first two sessions. The advantage of Lewis is big enough, he has achieved a pole position. However, I am sure that the car will be fast enough tomorrow to fight for victory.

Question: (David Coulthard) You said that you did not plant the best attempt. It seemed to me that at a certain point the team was not sure how to proceed …
Sebastian Vettel: We have a confusion. When it starts to rain, the team must choose the right time to go to the circuit for both riders. Kimi hastened to leave and at the end of the session the sun came out and the track was almost dry.

I also did not know how to do it, and then on the drying asphalt, when I tried to save the tires, I rested in Esteban Okon. In such a situation you understand that every circle can be decisive, but keep in mind that if the track continues to dry out, the best of the circles is the last. Maybe I did not act calm enough while driving, but I am satisfied with the position in the front row, our car is fast enough, so tomorrow we have opportunities.

Question: (David Coulthard) Esteban, welcome to the top three! My congratulations, for you this is the best qualification result in Formula 1! Such a high result under difficult circumstances is very useful, since you do not know where you will play next season, but how happy are you yourself?
Esteban Okon: This is fantastic! Thank you all for your support. It is great to get third place after such a difficult period for the team. Fortunately, everything is over now. We all start again and are of course satisfied with this result.

We did not expect such success. The boys did a great job – they quickly changed their tires and I managed to get back on the track. It is awesome! I passed the circle without problems and won the third place. I am looking forward to the race!

Press conference

Question: Lewis, congratulations! How difficult were the conditions on the job?
Lewis Hamilton: For me, this qualification was one of the most difficult for a long time. Yes, it was not easy for us in Hungary, but today we had to switch from slicks to intermediate tires, but there were only a few laps in stock to estimate the degree of adhesion, to heat the rubber and to understand where the asphalt still is always dry and where it is already wet.

When we fled into the Eau Rouge, we did not know if we had to lift our foot off the gas pedal – or actually, it had to be lifted up anyway, but it was difficult to orient, because the asphalt dried up in some places.

I find it difficult to find words to describe how difficult it was today. I do not know what happened to the other drivers, but I personally left the track in the first corner and then in the twelfth – luckily there was a circle left in the reserve, otherwise I was in a very distant position.

I knew that speed is sufficient for me, you only have to achieve the optimal balance: do not over-attack, but do not be too careful. The situation was different from bend to turn, in none of them it was impossible to feel confident, but I even love this challenge! Now I am very happy, because the team worked perfectly, but I have always looked good in the rain!

Question: Sebastian, Ferrari was the fastest in all sessions on the dry track. Can it be said that the rain prevented you from conquering the pole?
Sebastian Vettel: Maybe, but we will never know how the last session would have gone on dry asphalt. The rain did not help us. The situation on the road was a bit strange – the asphalt was not completely dry or completely wet, somewhat average. I understood that the last fastest lap would be decisive, but continued to attack, because in such circumstances the session could well be stopped by red flags if someone was out of the way.

I stayed on track and felt pretty confident, but I was driving a lot slower than in the last lap – it seems that we did not orient ourselves in this respect in the best way. Of course we did not know how fast the job would dry up, or the rain would increase, but I do not feel like I put everything together in that crucial circle. In addition, I terminated the ERS indictment, the bulk of the circle I went without a hybrid component – generally not the best result of qualifying, which was very interesting.

Interesting in her was that even on wet asphalt and with intermediate tires Eau Rouge passed on the eighth gear and did not switch down. It was great, but the emotions are not the same if you know you could have worked better. In any case, I start from the second place, which is not bad in itself, but first we have a long race. With the machine you can fight and catch up, making it fun on Sunday!

Question: Esteban, congratulations on the third place! Is there such a high result under the curtain of the last session?
Esteban Okon: I know absolutely that everyone on the dry track has a chance. In such circumstances the battle is always heavy and today we have squeezed a maximum out of our car. In my racing career this is the second time I qualify for third place in the rain – a fantastic result! It's nice to get it after a difficult period for our team. Now the problems are over, we are fully focused on the weekend, our car is fast and on a dry track – I want to believe that the result on Sunday will be good too.

Questions from places

Question: (Jerome Pagmire) Sebastian, in an interview on the road you said that they might not act calm enough. How should this be understood? Are you nervous because of the rain, or was there something wrong with the mood for the session?
Sebastian Vettel: In today's circumstances, like other participants, it was not easy to navigate and make the right decision. At one point there was unrest, I had to wait a while in the pit lane. As a result, this had no effect, but I was not as calm as I could.

Of course, after it is always easy to argue, but today, as I said, everything was determined by the last circle. Previously it was only logical to maintain the necessary temperature of the tires, but we did not know if the rain would increase again. At the end of each round I was slowing because of the coming traffic, but I realized that if I go to the result, the next round will suffer, on which the state of the route will probably be better. What do I have to do in such circumstances?

I do not feel like I have made the most of the session. We did not work in the best way, but you also saw that some racers did not have enough fuel today, so it could have been much worse. The second place is a reasonably acceptable result.

Question: (Christian Menat) Sebastian, you said that in the last fast round the ERS load ended. It seems that, while you were preparing for it, you came out of the last chicane specifically, in order to be able to accelerate on a straight line, but you should have known in advance that charging had stopped. Why did you go to the last round instead of using all possibilities on the penultimate?
Sebastian Vettel: If everything is so simple for you, you may have to play the championship yourself! As I said before, I tried to finish the circles completely and not slip off the track, as a rule I had enough of the selected charging settings, but this time I was very surprised when I noticed that it was almost gone. It is clear that we should have worked better, but in such circumstances the session could be stopped at any time by red flags, and then the last round would simply not be. I always let go of rivals in the third sector and tried to repair the load of ERS, but for a quick lap it was still not enough.

Question: (Scott Mitchell) Esteban, you talked about the recent situation in the team. At the moment your own perspective is not entirely clear, as far as the result of today is important in this respect. Probably strange, the third to have qualified, to hear similar questions. Lewis, Sebastian, how do you evaluate the performance of Esteban this season?
Esteban Okon: I understand that my future is not clear yet, and now I do not know what I'm going to do next year. But all I have to do is concentrate on the job and show myself as good as possible on the circuit. If you perform successfully in Formula 1, it remains unlikely that you will go unnoticed.

Question: Lewis, what about the Esteban results?
Lewis Hamilton: Esteban behaves very well with others, and on the road is incredible, but unfortunately there was a strange situation in Formula 1. Instead of inviting a potential athlete into the team, people will join someone else who feels more at ease soon. Perhaps the competitiveness is therefore different and the financial possibilities are not comparable.

As soon as I and Sebastian extended my contracts, the market for racers increased noticeably and in such a situation it is necessary that managers carry out their work as quickly as possible and find the best option. I do not know which vacancies are still available, but Esteban is one of the fastest riders and he deserves a good car. I hope he still has the chance to get one.

Question: Sebastian?
Sebastian Vettel: It is difficult to judge from the side, but it seems to me that Esteban is doing everything right. It is good that today he has been so successful in qualifying and achieving the result, which in most cases does not allow their car to count – it says a lot. By the way, in circumstances like today it is easy to make a mistake, the rider needs maximum concentration – and Esteban has no complaints in this respect.

Unfortunately, the modern realities are such that first a talented racer appears and everyone sees him as a superhero, then the next appears and he is also considered a superhero, then this cycle is repeated several times and at some point no one pays attention to the first , although it continues to perform at a high level.

It is good that Esteban worked so well today – in fact it is his time, because our results with Lewis are largely expected. Ferrari and Mercedes are constantly fast, while the car with which Esteban stands, whatever it is called, can not count in third place, but today the Okon managed to achieve this result. I am sure that this will be taken into account by those who will eventually sign a contract with him for the next season.

Question: (Phil Duncan) Lewis, in the course of your career we have looked more than once in the rain, you managed to get the best of your opponents. Can you say that you have no equal on a wet course?
Lewis Hamilton: Absolutely not. I try to perform successfully on dry asphalt, but I can not speak of a guaranteed advantage. I wish you could feel how hard it was for us today – you probably would understand this if we were not all done with the session. Much depends on a combination of factors, circumstances, considerations. You heard that Sebastian had problems with ERS, while I could avoid something like that – I tried to make sure the charge was enough to try, and I was actively helped by the team.

I do not know what else to say to you – in the end everyone will form their own opinion. I like to chase in the rain, but today I did not count on it, because I wanted a sharp fight with Ferrari on dry roads. Yes, they had some advantage, but I still hoped that I could lead the way. On the wet circuit the situation was just awful. Yes, it was interesting in its own way, because we all had to constantly catch the car, but in such circumstances you never know when the front wheels are blocked and when they are blocked, the car is very difficult to stop.

Question: (Oliver Brown) Lewis, I was interested in your answer to the question about the situation with Esteban Ocone. Doing business in Formula 1 is such that for teams money often means more than speed. How do you think this happened and what can be done to remedy the situation?
Lewis Hamilton: I have not thought about what can be done to correct the situation you have described. The best racers should perform on the best cars. It should not be that preference is given to the richer, but less talented – I think people in the FIA ​​should pay attention to this, because this situation is already noticeable in the younger series.

Yes, there are no vacancies in the Mercedes and Ferrari, until recently Red Bull Racing was one place. Probably there should be a selection system … I do not know what options Esteban has now – if I were your manager, I might be able to help!

Esteban Okon: We can discuss this separately.

Question: (Jerome Pagmire) Continuation of the subject – Esteban, what does it mean for you such support from Sebastian and Lewis, and how annoying is the situation with the contract?
Esteban Okon: Of course it is nice to hear supporting words from two world champions! I really want to perform the next season and every day I do everything I can to do it. Let's see what happens next. My career is being handled by people in Mercedes, they have always managed to find an excellent option – I hope so too this time.

Question: (Flavio Vanetti) Lewis, on a dry track Ferrari was very fast. Do you have the fear that they are favorites during the race in the absence of rain?
Lewis HamiltonThey were favorites today, they will be tomorrow, but this in itself does not guarantee them victory. In some of the previous races Ferrari also had an advantage, but we managed to turn the situation into our favor.

Of course, the Grand Prix of Belgium promises to be very difficult, on Friday Sebastian's speed hit a long series of circles everyone – I do not know if I can take the pace that makes it possible to create a gap, but we will to discover all this tomorrow, I am ready to do my very best. The battle for the fifth turn is always heavy, Ferrari is very fast on the straight – let's see how everything turns out.

Question: (Libio Orihio) Lewis, you won piles on dry and wet asphalt, won at the start from a distant position. There are already four country titles to your name, but from the side it seems to us that you have never been as impeccably piloted as this season. What is the reason?
Lewis Hamilton: Personally, I'm not sure that I fly flawlessly this season. Every athlete strives for perfection in many aspects, I try to work on different factors and a lot depends on how time is spent outside the circuit.

Question: (Libio Orihio) Can you give examples?
Lewis Hamilton: Examples of factors? It's about how you deal with the team, what you spend your free time, how you relax, prepare, train. When you talk about aerobatics, how you work on stability, how to reduce the risk of mistakes, how to motivate the team to take a step back and give you a very fast and reliable car.

Речь не о том, чтобы для тебя просто построили машину – гонщик и команда должны сделать это вместе. Факторов много, и опыт здесь, безусловно, помогает, но притом ты должен по-прежнему выкладываться на все 100%, ведь в чемпионате постоянно появляются молодые и мотивированные гонщики. К слову, находить мотивацию для самого себя тоже важно, и этому очень помогает соперничество с гонщиками вроде Себастьяна, ведь оно заставляет находить в себе скрытые резервы и повышать собственную планку до уровня, который ранее невозможно было представить.

Вопрос: (Барт ван Дужвеерт) Вопрос ко всем. Погода в предстоящей гонке, очевидно, будет наиболее прохладной во всем сезоне, воздух прогреется всего до 15 градусов по Цельсию. Как это скажется на стратегии?
Себастьян Феттель: Нам будет в каком-то смысле даже проще – в кокпите не так жарко, но это всё еще лето! Я не в курсе прогноза, слышал лишь, что будет сухо, но в Спа возможно всякое. На стратегию прохлада практически не влияет, просто будет немного комфортнее. Гораздо сложнее было бы прикинуть, как всё прошло бы при +35, ведь в Спа такого не случалось, ну а прохладная погода была здесь с самого начала уик-энда.

Эстебан Окон: Ситуация одинакова для всех, нам просто нужно адаптироваться к прохладной погоде. В прошлый раз такая температура была разве что на зимних тестах, тогда нам пришлось непросто, но посмотрим, как всё сложится. Гонка в любом случае не покажется легкой.

Льюис Хэмилтон: При прохладной погоде меньше риск пузырения шин, что хорошо для всех. Конечно, шины с более тонким рабочим слоем еще менее склонны к образованию пузырей, но в этот уик-энд они не используются.

Перевод: Валерий Карташев

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