Formula 1 Thursday Press Conference – China
Circuit: Shanghai International Circuit
As we all get ready for the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix – the Thursday Formula 1 Press Conference is here, featuring Questions and Answers with Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly and Marcus Ericsson.
Formula 1 Thursday Press Conference – China
Formula 1 PRESS CONFERENCE – China
Question: Pierre, if we could start with you please. Let’s start by reflecting on your sensational result in Bahrain last weekend. How do you reflect on what happened there, and what kind of reaction have you had around the world?
Pierre Gasly: “I must say it’s been amazing. First, just personally, y’know? It’s a big investment for a long time, since I’m a kid. It’s a lot of work, a lot of preparation and, of course, it’s my best result in Formula One – but just to see that all the work I’m doing at the moment is paying off and actually we are going in the right direction, so of course, I’m really happy about it.”
“Secondly, for the team, it’s only our second race with Honda and already we can see that we are actually going in the right direction, communication-wise everything is going well and the car is competitive.”
“So, this was really amazing, and also the support I got afterwards, after the weekend, I’m just super-impressed. A lot of articles, a lot of TVs, and media writing as well. It was something impressive but really nice, a lot of support from the people as well. So, it’s been great.”
Question: You say the car is competitive. Do you think the performance will translate to a track like this one?
Pierre Gasly: “I’ll tell you tomorrow! I really hope so. I think definitely we understood much more about our car potential, car setup, about the tyres but still we need confirmation, as you say, and I think this weekend will be a good opportunity to see if… definitely to judge our baseline and see if the potential is the same on other tracks.”
“Definitely we need to be quite careful. Bahrain has been so good for us and I don’t know if it’s going to be similar on other tracks. So yeah, hopefully it’s going to be the same but we’ll find out tomorrow.”
Question: Are you coming into this weekend feeling very confident?
Pierre Gasly: “Yeah, definitely, we feel more confident than we were, for example, in Melbourne or for Bahrain. This is going to be my first time in Shanghai, so it’s also going to be a new track for me.”
“We’ll probably take a bit more time to adapt myself but definitely we are a bit more confident but still we need to be careful – because we have no guarantees about the performance – we know it’s really tight in the midfield.”
“In Bahrain, the car was just fantastic in terms of balance, in terms of grip – but we know that if we don’t get everything right, suddenly if you lose two or three tenths you can be at the back of the midfield and it changes your weekend completely. So, we need to be quite careful and just make sure we do the right things.”
Question: Marcus, you’re another man celebrating a tremendous race in Bahrain. How do you look back on last weekend’s events?
Marcus Ericsson: “Yes, like you say it was a great race for us, great to be in the points and also a great reward to everyone in the team. It’s been a lot of things happening over the winter.”
“We’re coming from two very difficult years, where we’ve been always at the back as a team, and then this year we’re coming into the year with Alfa Romeo coming on as a main sponsor, and partner to the team and it’s like a new chapter for Sauber. It’s been a lot of work put in to make a step forwards and to move up the grid.”
“To be already at the second race of the year in the points, it’s, I think, a great result, a great team result and a great boost for everyone. So yeah, it was very nice and also for myself personally, I was super happy to be back in the points. It’s been a long time. So, yeah, overall it was very positive.”
Question: Tell us a little more about that. It’s been 50 races since you were last in the points. How much of a relief was it?
Marcus Ericsson: “Of course, it was big relief. I think I’ve had four times P11 since then. So, I was close a lot of times, and had some great races but it’s very difficult when you’re in the worst car on the grid.”
“Some races I had a perfect race – and finished P14 or something like that. It’s frustrating, but, yeah, of course we’re all here to try to score points. So to be back in the points last weekend was a great relief.”
Question: You say last year’s car was the worst on the grid. How good is this one?
Marcus Ericsson: “I think we have a very solid baseline to work from.”
“Like Pierre said, the midfield is very, very close and I feel that we are very much in that midfield – but probably in the lower part of that midfield at the moment. But also like Toro Rosso showed last weekend, if you make a step you can really move quickly up or down in that midfield group.”
“So, first of all I’m just very happy that we part of that group on pure speed. Now we need to work even harder to try to improve that position – but I know everyone does, both here on track and also in the factory and we have a lot of things planned for the season.”
“We need to keep working hard, keep pushing hard and then we should be able to fight every weekend.”
Question: Max, coming to you now. As much as the other guys had a good weekend in Bahrain, it was a very frustrating one for you and Red Bull Racing; I think it was the team’s first double retirement since Korea in 2010. Can we start by talking about the car? You were very bullish about it in winter testing but now that we’re a couple of races in, just how competitive is it?
Max Verstappen: “The car is very quick, I think especially in the race. I think we know in qualifying we are losing out a bit, just on pure performance, on top speed.”
“As soon as that all calms down a bit in the race, yeah, I was very confident, for example, before we went into the race to still move up a lot of positions, because I think the car was definitely capable of just driving back to the podium.”
“So yeah, I’m just looking forward to get started again here, because we have a good package, and there are a lot of good things coming. So, yeah, ready to go.”
Question: You made a very good start on Sunday and then there was the incident with Lewis Hamilton. Just one week on how do you reflect on what happened with Hamilton? Have you seen it on TV?
Max Verstappen: “I was in the car. So I felt it, I saw it! That’s racing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You can say whatever you like about the incident. I think I had a fair shot at it.It was nothing crazy, nothing risky.”
“Yeah, unfortunately this time it didn’t work out. Looking back, for example, in Mexico last year it did work out.”
“This time we gave each maybe not enough space, but that’s racing as well at the end of the day. Like I said, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.”
Question: Have you spoken to Lewis since the incident?
Max Verstappen: “No.”
Question: So looking ahead to this weekend, how important is it for you to get into the points and might we see a more conservative approach this weekend?
Max Verstappen: “It’s always important to score points and that’s always the target, but we are here to finish on the podium or win races – that’s why we’re here. That’s what I will try to do again this weekend.”
“So, for me, there won’t be a change.”
There’s lots more on the way so make sure you keep checking back for all the latest!