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United States GP - Post-race press conference - Pt.1

Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
Podium interviews (conducted by Mario Andretti)

Lewis, I know you really tormented Sebastian for most of the race but you have the resolve and did a fabulous race. What I'm interested in, give me some reaction, your reaction to the circuit. Obviously everything's new, first winner, first time winner and all of that.

Lewis Hamilton:
First time winner, yeah, I'm so happy. The fans have been amazing this weekend, so thank you so much. The warm welcome we've had has been fantastic and I think this is probably one of the best, if not the best grand prix we've had all year. Especially for me and my team, this is so special. It's been a long, long time since I had a win and I'm just so proud, so proud of the work the guys did, so grateful for the support we've had.

Sebastian, obviously you did everything you needed to do to protect your lead in the championship and as usual you were fantastic with your qualifying and so forth. The obvious question again is your reaction to the circuit.

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, I mean first of all thank you very much. As Lewis said, it was incredible. Actually I did my first race five years ago, the last time we were racing in the United States, so it's a very nice comeback today, it was my 100th grand prix, and amazing y'know, the amount of people we had all weekend. It's great for us to have so much support, very happy today for the team in particular. We won the Constructors' Championship so, yeah, thanks to all of you, it's been a great year, now we've got another station coming up in Brazil and as you said, in terms of the Championship it's looking a bit better after the race today. Obviously it was a close fight with Lewis, he had one chance and he took it. After that I tried to stay with him and maybe pass him again but he was probably as quick as I was and there wasn't much in between us. All in all, a great race and a great result for us.

Fernando, as usual, you've been brilliant the entire season, fantastic start, as usual again, you've always done your very maximum and here again you've kept this championship fight alive, fighting to the end obviously. The same question to you, how about this circuit? You like it? You enjoy the ride? What's your reaction?

Fernando Alonso:
Yes, as Sebastian said, the circuit was fantastic but the fans were fantastic all weekend. We really enjoyed and we really have to say big thanks to all the fans coming here, all the Americans, the Mexicans and all the South Americans that came also to support us. So the circuit… basically the layout is challenging for us, challenging for the engine as well. As I said we enjoyed racing here thanks to the fans, thanks to the fantastic facilities and I hope we put on a good show for everybody and people will enjoy even more next year.

Press conference

Lewis, an absolutely fantastic drive and victory in a straight fight with Red Bull Racing and with Sebastian. How much satisfaction does that give you?

Lewis Hamilton:
A huge amount. It's been a great weekend, to be able to beat Red Bull and Sebastian is definitely a tough challenge but we managed to do it today. I don't know, we weren't so bad in the first stint but it was very difficult to follow and to get past. In trying to do so I locked… my tyres went off. We pitted maybe two laps before Sebastian, so then he came out quite far ahead but traffic really worked out quite well for once. Traffic usually catches me out, so I was glad that it worked slightly in my favour at some points. But yeah, what a great feeling to win the first grand prix here, back in the States, I won the last one here as well, so I'm massively proud.

Where was the Red Bull so strong? Because it did take quite a few DRS efforts before you managed to make it.

Lewis Hamilton:
It was everywhere, they're pretty strong everywhere. I think it was more so… the first sector is very difficult to follow through Four, Five, Six, Seven, such high speed it's quite difficult to follow through there. The place where he really extended his gap was the exit of Nine. That was really where, in the most important part, where he made over a second gap, so I was struggling to really get… to remain close. As I said with traffic it all worked out really well. He kind of… I knew that lap would be the lap that I would have a chance, so I turned the engine up and got close.

Sebastian you did all you could and you've extended your championship lead. What are your feelings after second place?

Sebastian Vettel:
I think, as Lewis said, obviously it was close between us, there wasn't much between. I think very quickly we noticed that Lewis is the one we are racing. Obviously, for the rest, I don't know what happened to Mark – he was quite a while in third place. After that, obviously, there was a big gap down to the Ferraris, so yeah, it was clear that we were racing Lewis. Everything seemed to be in control. As Lewis touched on, with traffic it's quite difficult depending where you get it on the track. Surely it didn't work in my favour. Lewis was then close enough, after he tried many times before, to open his rear wing and then down the back straight, it was a bit of an invitation really. It didn't matter which side I would have picked, they were quick enough on the straight and he took the lead fair enough. After that I tried to be as close as I could but, as he said, it was difficult to follow, difficult to get in range. So, bit of a shame to lose first place but as you said I think we did everything we could. Fantastic job for the team today to seal the Constructors' Championship against Ferrari who are now in second. I'm very happy with that and the guys can be, for sure, very proud of themselves. I think we will have a drink tonight, enjoy the time here. All weekend has been incredible, I think, for all of us, for the whole F1 paddock here. The last race [in the US] obviously, as Lewis said, he won it. It was my first race in F1 here in the United States and to come back and get so much support, so may fans… The signing session yesterday was absolutely crazy and full grandstands, so full house. It was really, really nice to race today in front of the crowd.

Fernando, really a fantastic start and then it was just a matter of holding station.

Fernando Alonso:
Yes, we know our championship keeps alive maybe thanks to the first laps. We always qualify around seventh or eighth and we finish the first lap in the first three or four positions normally and then after that the race becomes a little easier when that happens, when you are in the leading group, and today we knew that was a good chance, try to overtake people at the first corner, and then the pace on Sunday normally improves so we knew that if we are in the leading group we can more or less keep the pace. Today not possible to keep the pace with these two guys, that they were too far ahead but enough to keep for the guys behind. And then I think this podium, after all the difficulties we went through this weekend is like a victory for us. Losing three points maybe was in no-one's thoughts I think yesterday night or Friday night after seeing the practice, so we are really happy again to have a very good Sunday and score again good points.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
18.11.2012 - Podium, 3rd Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
18.11.2012 - Podium, 2nd Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8
18.11.2012 - Podium, winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27
18.11.2012 - Podium, winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27, 2nd Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8, 3rd Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
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