Qualifying Press Conference – 2018 Russian Grand Prix
Race Weekend: 2018 Russian Grand Prix
After the qualifying session, the top 3 drivers (Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel) went to the media press conference and below, you can see what they had to say about Qualifying and the race tomorrow.
Question: Valtteri, I have to say, an incredible lap. Your team-mate looked in supreme form, but you go the job done and you got pole position on a track where you took your first win last year.
Valtteri Bottas: “Thanks, yeah, it was a nice lap. In the end I managed to also improve a little bit. I don’t know what happened, I think he aborted his lap. It feels good. I’ve still got a bit of the shakes. It takes some concentration, but it was fun.”
Question: Did it take that much to get pole position? I can see you’re still shaking, the emotion are trying to get on top. Lewis on supreme form at the moment coming up behind you to congratulate you.
Valtteri Bottas: “Yeah, maybe I don’t look like it, but I’m really happy, for sure. But it’s only the first step in this weekend. It’s a massively long run from the start line to Turn 1, so it’s going to be important to try to keep that position.”
Question: You can be happiest today, you got the job done. Lewis, another front row lock-out by Mercedes. You looked like you did a very good sector, but just lost it out of Turn 7?
Lewis Hamilton: “Yeah, first of all a big congratulations to Valtteri, he has been driving all weekend and just did the better job. It’s a great track and the weather is fantastic and we have a great crowd.”
“It was intense naturally as it always is. Just my last two laps were not special at all! But you can’t always get it right and at least we are still in the fight for the race tomorrow. But the team are doing an amazing job, so really happy with the 1-2.”
Question: You did the good job in Singapore. You got the best qualifying lap of everybody and you managed to control the race. You’ve come here with an upgrade and the car is working very well. How much do you owe to the team to keep that momentum and to keep that carrying on for you to take the fight to Sebastian?
Lewis Hamilton: “We rely fully on the team. The guys back at the factory, the guys here do an impeccable job and it’s really motivating to see new upgrades come, just to see the evolution of the car throughout the year, because I’m the one that gets to go out and test it. And as I said, a big thank you to everyone here in Russia for having us, because it’s a beautiful place so far!”
Question: Sebastian, P3 today. I think we can say it’s not over, this weekend, but it’s very difficult from Ferrari’s point of view. Mercedes have come here with some upgrades and you just haven’t had the pace, have you?
Sebastian Vettel: “Not yet. We’ll see, maybe it happens tomorrow. Obviously it was important to get as close as possible to them, and then we’ll see. But it’s true that they have been very quick so we’ll see.”
“Tomorrow is a long race, we’ve seen that the tyres are very important. For today, I think it should have been a bit closer, the gap, but not enough to be a threat. I had a tiny mistake in the last sector. But I knew that I had to improve by half a second, so I had to try. It didn’t work but I’m quite happy.”
“The car felt alright, so that makes me quite positive for Sunday.”
Question: It’s a long run down to Turn 2, which is the first braking zone. Do you think you can use the extra power you’ve normally got and equally is it your best chance of getting on top of these two?
Sebastian Vettel: “I hope so. I just spoke to Valtteri and reminded him of what happened here last year. Maybe we can turn it around; that would be nice. I think it depends on the start, the initial jump, that’s important.”
“Then I think you know where you are and then we see what we can do for the first corner but after that, as I said, it’s a long race. Tricky one, but for sure if there’s a gap we’ll go for it.”
Question: Valtteri, after a fairly tough run of form, you said you wanted a big result, so how sweet does this pole position feel today?
Valtteri Bottas: “For sure it feels good. I’ve only once on pole, earlier this year in Austria, so it’s been a bit long since last time, so it is a good feeling.”
“Coming into this weekend I knew that normally this has been a pretty good track for me and again managed to get some good laps in qualifying and the car just felt really, really strong. As the times show, I think the team has done an exceptional job again, bringing new bits again at this race.”
“We’re just step-by-step improving this car, which is going to be really important for the rest of the year with the championship fight…”
Question: Congratulations. Lewis, fastest in Q1 and fastest in Q2. It’s still a Mercedes one-two, but just talk us through your session, finishing second today?
Lewis Hamilton: “Well, big congratulations to Valtteri, he did a great job in Q3. It’s been a really good weekend so far, honestly. I really can’t complain. I don’t know where it really got away from me in Q3 but I struggled a little bit and Valtteri obviously picked up quite a bit of pace.”
“The middle sector was where I was slacking, as I’d call it. Anyway, it’s great to have a one-two and it’s a long way down to Turn 1 so we’ll still have a fight at least tomorrow.”
“It’s going to be a long race, for sure.”
Question: Seb, third place today and with the pace that Mercedes’ showed in FP2, FP3 and then earlier in qualifying as well, do you think Ferrari maximised its potential today?
Sebastian Vettel: “Yes.”
Question: …and in that case, what’s the potential for tomorrow?
Sebastian Vettel: “Well, we go racing!”
“You never know what’s going to happen. I think… I was joking with Valtteri earlier that he should remember what happened last year where he was third, I was on pole. But you never know. It depends on the start.”
“It depends on so many things. So, we will see. As I said, we will go racing and try to do, obviously, our best. It’s been a bit of a tricky one for us.”
“We didn’t have the pace by quite a big gap, which is a surprise but it is like this and we will fight as much as we can tomorrow.”