Formula 1 Thursday Press Conference – Austria Grand Prix
After a whirlwind race in Azerbaijan, we’re now looking forward to the Austrian Grand Prix and today was the Formula 1 Thursday Press Conference with Lewis Hamilton, Kevin Magnussen and Sebastian Vettel answering the media’s questions.
Here’s what the drivers (mainly Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel) had to say…..
Question – Sebastian, begin by looking at events in Baku two weeks ago. You said in a statement on Monday that you over-reacted in the heat of the moment. Please can you just talk us through what happened in that moment.
Sebastian Vettel – “I don’t think it’s necessary, is it? I think we’ve seen it many times. I’ve seen it, I’ve looked at it…. obviously I had a very different view inside the car than I had with a little bit of a gap and outside the car – hence why obviously I made a statement.”
“I had the chance to quickly talk to Lewis after the race but I don’t want to pump this up more than it already is. I think that it’s my right, our right that it stays between us. I think I said everything I had to say.”
“I think it was the wrong decision. Obviously I got a penalty in the race and yeah, lost a potential race win. We couldn’t foresee that Lewis was running into a problem with his headrest but could have been a lot more points at stake. After that, I tried everything to recover.”
Question – Seb, you said “it was the wrong decision” – what was the wrong decision?
Sebastian Vettel – “It was the wrong move, the wrong decision. It was the wrong move to drive alongside him and hit his tyre. So, that’s obviously I goes what you all want to hear but there’s not much more to say.”
“At the time, I was surprised. It felt like Lewis had hit the brakes and I couldn’t stop running into his car – but I also said in the statement and said afterwards that I don’t think there was any bad intention.”
“I don’t think he actually brake-tested me. At the time, I read it like that and I was surprised which is why I was obviously upset and over-reacted.”
“Am I proud of that moment? No. Can I take it back? No. Do I regret it? Yes. So I don’t think I need to drag this out any longer.”
Question – Lewis, is it the end of the matter for you as well now?
Lewis Hamilton – “It is for me yeah. Solely, really focused on this weekend – obviously it’s an interesting press conference and as mentioned, with so many people here.”
“The people watching can’t see how many people are behind the camera. Yeah, I mean I said everything I felt I needed to say at the last race and just left it there.”
“The job now is to focus, we still have a lot of races ahead of us and a a little bit behind – points wise. So, just trying to keep my head down.”
Question – Does what happened in Baku change in any way, the dynamic between you and Sebastian?
Lewis Hamilton – “I don’t think it does. Sebastian and I spoke after the race and on Monday, shortly after he messaged me. I think the day after – for me, I just said that I still have the utmost respect for him as a driver and will continue to race him hard for the rest of the season in the same way I always have.”
“No less hard than we have been already up until now. My only point to Sebastian was that I felt that saying that I had brake-tested him, I was like, I hope you can correct that publicly because people who are watching felt like that was something that I did.”
“The data, obviously showed that it wasn’t the case – in actual case, he accelerated and I think the goal was to try and be as close to me as possible but that was an error in judgement.”
“My own point there in reply to him was that I hope he makes it clear because I had no intentions, there was no need for me to do something like that. I was in the lead – and, yeah, I accepted his apology and moved on.”
Question – Sebastian, just a few words from you about the relationship with Lewis. The dynamic between you….
Sebastian Vettel – “Well, I’m happy to hear that it doesn’t seem to have a big impact. Obviously, what I did was wrong and I have apologised. I think it’s totally up to Lewis. Obviously I made a mistake so I can understand he’s upset but it’s nice to hear that we are able to move forward.”
“Yeah, I think we have respect for each other on-track and off-track which helps in this regard.”
Question – Kevin, it’s the team’s best finish of the season in Baku. Haas are now up to seventh in the championship. You must be very pleased with how things are going. Do you feel like you’re getting the best out of the team and yourself?
Kevin Magnussen – “Yes, I feel like it’s going well. I’m enjoying my time at the moment, we’re getting good results and with both me and Romain scoring points for the team.”
“As a team, the size we are with so little people and limited budgets, it’s a good effort to be where we are. I hope to be able to keep it up and I think that 7th in championship is one position better than last year.”
Question – You talk about the target for the season. What’s the target for this weekend? You’ve never been out qualified by a team-mate here but you haven’t been in Q3 yet this season. Can you do it here?
Kevin Magnussen – ” Q3? I think that’s not going to be easy. It’s not our natural position. We don’t have the actual pace to be there but I think it’s not that far away.”
“With a slight variation in people’s performance and if we get a little bit more out of the tyres, balance and setup – etc… we can get there but for this track, it’s not our natural position but for sure, we’ll be doing our best.”