French Grand Prix Race Reaction (Driver Interviews)
Another race weekend has gone by and today, we’re writing about the 2019 French Grand Prix which saw Lewis Hamilton take the win with his team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, in P2 and a great result for Leclerc who brought his Ferrari home with P3.
Below, you can see the race reaction along with driver interviews.
MERCEDES – French Grand Prix Race Reaction
Lewis Hamilton: “I’ve been racing a long, long time but this just never gets old. It’s always a challenge out there and I just love trying to find the edge and really being on top of this machine.”
“It may look easy from the outside but it wasn’t easy at all – there’s some really technical areas and everything’s always on the edge. So, when I could, I was saving tyres, saving the engine, saving fuel.”
“I had quite big blisters on my front tyres which I was worried about but we got to the end and I couldn’t do this without the incredible team – I’m so proud of everyone and so proud to be a part of this group of people. This has been the best start of the year and we have got to enjoy it!”
Valtteri Bottas: “It was a fairly quiet race in the end but the start was my best bet. Lewis had a good start so the opportunity wasn’t there. Lewis was very quick today and I was trying to keep up but my front tyres just started to fall into pieces.”
“We were concerned with the blistering and we backed off a little bit to be on the safe side and make it to the end but ultimately, Lewis had the pace advantage and kept the tyres in better shape. It’s something for me to have a look and learn – I’m really proud of the work we have done as a team and scoring another 1-2 is great.”
FERRARI – French Grand Prix Race Reaction
Charles Leclerc: “Overall, this weekend was pretty positive. I’m pleased I was able to fight for second place right at the end, even if I never had a real chance to attack Valtteri. I am satisfied because we managed to maximise the potential of the car.”
“It was about time, because after a few so-so weekends, everything went smoothly right from the start of free practice and then in qualifying and the race, where our strategy was perfect both in terms of the timing of the pit stop and our tyre management in the second part of the race.
I believe hard work always pays off and I feel we proved that this weekend. Now we go straight to Austria where I hope we can maintain this same good form.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I had a pretty lonely race, apart from a bit of confusion at the start, given that the timing of the lights going out caught us a bit by surprise. It was fun fighting with the McLaren’s, first Norris then Carlos. The first stint went pretty well and that meant I could close the gap to Charles and Max. Then in the second one, I had a few more balance problems and I didn’t feel totally comfortable with the car.”
“I think today’s fifth place was the most we could have done, given that Charles, Max and me were all running at pretty much the same pace. At least getting the fastest race lap means I get an extra point.
We still need to understand why Friday was so complicated with some of the parts we brought here not working as we had hoped.”
“Our car is not yet strong enough and it’s down to us to improve. We still don’t have the pace to beat Mercedes, but I know that everyone at Maranello is working with so much positive pressure – and passion.”
RED BULL RACING – French Grand Prix Race Reaction
Max Verstappen: “The race was a bit lonely at times but it wasn’t boring as I had Charles in sight which was good motivation to keep trying to match his lap times. You have to keep pushing yourself even if there aren’t cars that you are directly fighting.”
“I always want to see how fast we can go and push as much as possible. In the second stint, we were looking quite good but with six or seven laps to go I ran out of rear grip and I couldn’t really rely on the rear tyres anymore. I think it took a bit too much out of my tyres trying to keep up with Charles early in the race but I’m pleased to be in front of one Ferrari and finish fourth on a track that doesn’t really suit us.”
“The target is always to win but it was not possible here today and I got the most out of the package. We have made a small step this weekend but we still need to work on all elements to fight for victories.”
Pierre Gasly: “It was a long, difficult day and I’m disappointed, especially being here in France. From qualifying, I have struggled for grip and it was the same in the race. At the moment I don’t have the answer but I’m sure we will analyse everything to understand exactly why we lacked pace.”
“I tried to do everything I could inside the cockpit but I could not push the car as I was sliding a lot. I have never really felt the car like this and with Austria next, we will have to quickly work hard with the guys to come back and put everything together for the next race. “
“Honda are pushing hard and for sure they are developing so this is a positive.”
MCLAREN – French Grand Prix Race Reaction
Lando Norris: “I had a good start, same as the guys ahead of me. Being on the inside, I got boxed in and Carlos managed to go around the outside, which was something I couldn’t have done from my starting position on the inside. The rest of the race was good, I had good pace and was just managing the gap to Carlos to protect my tyres for later in the race.
“A hydraulic issue, around 20 laps from the finish, cost me a lot of time and made the car really hard to drive. The steering wheel went really heavy and I lost the power steering.”
“It was really tough, I did my best not to lose places but it was too much of an issue to hang on as I had lost so much pace. Still, one point, considering everything, is a good result as it could have been much worse. Great job by the team all weekend and everyone back at the factory to give us both such a quick car.”
Carlos Sainz: “Very happy after a strong and well-executed race. I made another good start and once I was in P6 I controlled the race, controlled the pace, and drove to the target lap times the team was giving me to manage the tyres. It was a simple race from that point of view and one of those days where everything comes together and produces the maximum result available, so well done to everyone.”
“We were definitely the fourth fastest car this weekend – in qualifying and the race – so happy with that.”
“Congratulations to the team for the hard work all weekend and for another double points finish. We just need to keep pushing hard to improve at every race.”
ALFA ROMEO – French Grand Prix Race Reaction
Kimi Raikkonen: “I was a bit disappointed to miss out on Q3 yesterday, but we knew it would be much better to start on different tyres than the softs, and so it was. I didn’t make the best start but luckily I didn’t lose too much on the straight and I could fight back in the next few corners.”
“We were in a strong position after the start, on the hard tyres, but I had to hold back Hülkenberg the whole race. It was a great battle with the Renaults for most of the afternoon and in the end I was able to catch up with the cars in front.”
“The last few laps were very intense and it was good fun. It’s really good that we could fight against other cars in the midfield and be up there. We had the speed and we got a good result in the end.”
Antonio Giovinazzi: “It was disappointing to finish out of the points, but we were up against it when starting on the soft tyres. It was the price to pay for a good performance on Saturday, but it effectively compromised my race before the start.”
“We pitted early as the softs didn’t last, but in the end we had to make another stop in order to finish the race. I can still take some positives from a strong qualifying, and of course it was important for the team to get back into the points.”
“I would have loved to celebrate Alfa Romeo’s birthday with a better result, but we showed to be competitive and hopefully we can carry this form to the next races.”