F1 Canadian Driver Press Conference (Thursday)
Another race weekend is upon us and here, you can catch up with the F1 Canadian Driver Press Conference from Thursday featuring Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Lance Stroll, Daniil Kvyat and Lando Norris!
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
Lando Norris (McLaren)
Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso)
Q – Lance, it’s both yours and the team’s home race. Just describe how that feels?
Lance Stroll: “Well, it’s obviously a very special weekend; it’s good to be back home. I don’t get to come back often. The week leading up to the race has been great, catching up with friends and family. I enjoyed my time playing hockey with the Montréal Canadiens yesterday, that was fun, and now back to business.”
Q: And I think you’ve got your own grandstand this weekend, is that right?
Lance Stroll: “That’s right, yeah, at the hairpin, like last year, so that will be very special, my installation lap tomorrow, all the Canadian flags in the grandstands.”
“It’s one of the best weekends on the calendar and definitely the highlight of my season.”
Q: Well, let’s hope that Sunday’s race lasts longer for you than it did last year. Tell us about the car’s potential here at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. What do you think you can achieve?
Lance Stroll: “Well, historically it’s been a track that’s suited our car. I mean of course it’s a new year and the competition in the midfield is very tight. But I think there is an opportunity for us this weekend. It’s been a challenging couple of events, in Spain and in Monaco, not managing to score points, but we’re looking to turn that around this weekend.”
Q: Well, you have scored points this year, in Australia and Baku. Qualifying seems to have been quite tough for you so far. How does the car feel on light fuel, is it very tricky?
Lance Stroll: “Yeah, I mean at times I think we have just unfortunately missed out.”
“There are reasons behind why the performance has been poor, but it’s definitely a focus point and we’ll be working on it moving forward.”
Q: Thank you and good luck this weekend. Daniil, your best ever result with Toro Rosso in Monaco, where you finished seventh. Fair to say it was one of your best races?
Daniil Kvyat: “Yeah, I mean, you know how it is in Monaco – you start and pretty from there the positions are consolidated. It was good to get this kind of way, you know.”
“It was a very good day for myself, for the team and to be honest the whole weekend felt quite good in the car – good qualifying. Lately it’s been getting better and better, so I’m pretty happy with things, how they are going, the way they are moving. Hopefully we’ll carry on the momentum and bring it into here as well.”
Q: You say it’s getting better. Is your own performance getting better and better? Are we seeing the best Kvyat we have every seen in Formula 1?
DK: “Perhaps, yes. I wanted to come back to F1 as an improved version of myself and I think I’m managing to do that so far and hopefully again it will be getting better and better.”
Q: You’re equalling a record this weekend: With your former team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne, you’re starting your 58th race for Toro Rosso, which is a record, and you’re only 25. How does that feel and how has the team evolved in that time?
Daniil Kvyat: “You’ve made me feel very old now. Yeah, I’m happy with where the team is going to be honest.”
“I’ve seen a lot of things in Toro Rosso and now I think I’m happy with the team around me and I’m quite happy there. The guys are doing a very good job this year, I think improving many things that in the past were maybe holding this team back, and I’m happy to contribute, to help the team improve these things.”
Q: Good stuff and good luck this weekend. Lando, you first time here in Montréal. What are you expecting from this race track? The walls are pretty close.
Lando Norris: “It’s pretty difficult to say. I’ve obviously done my share of sim work and preparation and seen onboards and whatever, just what the usual is. It’s a new weekend. Monaco didn’t go quite so well for me but it’s an exciting one.”
“From what I’ve seen in the past it looks a fun track, it’s a fun track to drive, although it’s pretty tricky. I’m just looking to have fun and hopefully some racing on Sunday and I guess our aim for the whole weekend is before we go into more details, let’s say it’s to get into Q3 and have a points finish. But the midfield is very tight, like Lance said, and it’s going to be tough. We just need to make sure we’re at the front of that, and yeah, just give it our best.”
Q: The intra-team battle between you and Carlos is proving pretty tight this year, just six points between you? How’s the working relationship between you?
Lando Norris: “It’s going pretty well, actually. I’ve team-mate in other categories of course, but it’s always different when you get to Formula 1, a lot of people… People try to make a lot more of fierce battle between team-mates, a lot of media and everything always look into that kind of things. But we’re have a lot of fun and yeah, we’re friends away from the track. We’ve had a lot of fun so far this season.”
“There has been no conflict. There have not been any points so far where we’ve had different decisions or different opinions on different things; we’ve gelled pretty well. And for the team anyway that has been very positive.”
“We have similar comments. We have different feelings and prefer different things on the car, but we work together, which also helps the team improve, go in a similar direction and that’s a positive thing.”
“Looking ahead to the future, I’m trying to improve the car and become a better team. It’s been good fun and I’m sure it’s going to improve and help things going forward.”
Q: You say you are looking to improve the car. Tell us a little bit about the car, as it appears that it tends to fluctuate a little bit from track to track. Is that a fair assessment?
Lando Norris: “Yeah, I think if you look back…. I don’t know, the one fairly standout one was China and that was just not a good weekend altogether for us, as a tea. But we bounced back fairly well and apart from that we have been fairly strong – top 10 contenders shall we say.”
“I think just because the midfield is close, it’s four teams, five teams, and different teams are better in different areas and at different tracks and it’s hard to make those differences sometimes more than others.”
“Coming into this weekend, it’s just going to be one of those times where we could be very strong or not be strong but we never really know, although we have assumptions on where the car is good or bad.”
“Other teams as well. It’s always a different track when you go out and drive. It’s getting there. It’s improving slowly, but it’s not where we want it to be yet.”
Q: Thank you Lando and enjoy yourself this weekend. Kimi, we’ve heard about the performance of the McLaren, tell us a little bit about the Alfa Romeo. The season started very well for you guys but it appears to have dropped off in the last couple of races. Why do you think that is?
Kimi Raikkonen: “Honestly, we were not that fast. I think, definitely not what we wanted but in Monaco if you qualify quite badly that’s pretty much where you are going to race.”
“After Saturday, after the first few laps and the first pit stop you know where you are going to be. But in Barcelona I think we understood some things that were wrong. Those are two separate things but I think those circuits overall were not very good for us. Hopefully we are back here a bit more normal position but we are only going to find out over the weekend, so we’ll see.”
“Nothing major wrong, it’s just that we lack speed.”
Q: Now, it’s Lando’s first weekend here. It didn’t go so badly for you back in 2001, your first time here, you finished fourth. Tell us a little bit about the track, the highlights from a driver’s point of view?
Kimi Raikkonen: “It’s quite a tricky track in the end, because obviously… It’s not really a street circuit but it’s very narrow on the exit of the chicanes, so if you get it wrong you have to push over the kerbs and if your car is not very good over the kerbs it’s easy to touch the walls. Plus, there are a lot of brakings that have to be right. It not an awful lot of corners but it’s not the easiest place to get right.”
Q: Thank you, Kimi. Lewis, well, fourth for Kimi on his first outing here in 2001, and of course you won your first ever grand prix here back in 2007. Can you tell us what it’s like to come back to Montréal, a track where you’ve had so much success and what you are looking forward to this weekend?
Lewis Hamilton: (To Lando Norris) “I’m just wondering, how old are you?”
Lando Norris: “Nineteen.”
Lewis Hamilton: “Shoot… No, I love coming back to Montréal. The weather is often great here. The circuit is fantastic and it’s a track that I think everyone enjoys. It’s definitely in the top three of the favourite circuits of the year. And I think the city is a big part of that.”
“The city is very vibrant. The people are super welcoming, great food. Even just today, you see the whole bridge is covered with fans, so you already know that you have a massive turnout for this race. From a driver’s perspective the track is awesome. It’s a bit go-kart-esque, with great long straights, so you can overtake, and you’re throwing the car over these big, huge kerbs around the track and there are not massive run-off areas, so it’s a bit of a high-speed street circuit, which is great.”
Q: Why do you think you excel here?
Lewis Hamilton: “Well, I don’t think I’ve really excelled for quite a while here, if I’m really honest.”
“When I was at McLaren it worked quite well. I think our car was quite nimble back then and working really well here. I don’t think I’ve been massively successful as far as I can remember in recent years. But it’s been a bit harder in the hybrid era, especially since we’ve had a longer car, since 2017, so it’s a little bit harder to get turned around some of these corners. But our car is a lot better this year in the slower-speed, medium-speed corners, so I anticipate that this year we will be stronger than we have been in the past. But being that we have these long straights, you k now that the Red Bulls and the Ferraris will be particularly really strong this weekend and I’m excited for that fight.”
Q: Can you just elaborate on how you see the balance of power coming into this weekend? Are you more nervous about this weekend than the previous six this year?
Lewis Hamilton: “No, I wouldn’t say I was more nervous about this weekend. You do notice in Monaco that everyone gets a lot closer, or the top teams particularly are a lot closer, but generally everyone is more packed together.”
“A lot of these other teams have got great packages and are getting closer and closer throughout the year, which is great to see. Here, there are not a huge amount of corners and it’s a lot of straight-line speed. Honda have really picked up their pace with their engine this year, so the Red Bulls should be really strong and they’re great through corners.”
“The Ferrari is generally the quickest car in a straight line, all year long. In the past races we’ve been able to catch them up through the corners, but whether or not that will be the case this weekend, time will tell. But I hope there is a close battle between us all.”