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Monaco GP - Wednesday press conference - Pt.2

22 May 2013


Drivers: Jenson Button (McLaren), Adrian Sutil (Force India), Jules Bianchi (Marussia), Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber), Romain Grosjean (Lotus) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).


Questions from the floor


Q: (Kate Walker – GP Week).
Question for Lewis, obviously you had a very difficult weekend in Barcelona and we assume you will have gone back to the factory, studied all manner of data and drawn some conclusions. While you can't necessarily tell us about those conclusions are you expecting an improved performance for the weekend? Do you think you've got a good level from which to build after, you know, what was quite a challenging weekend?

Lewis Hamilton:
I definitely do. I think a huge amount of work has gone into understanding where we went wrong. As I said, the guys have really kickstarted a lot of different discussions. Obviously it's a real science trying to understand these tyres. Everyone's trying to understand them but I really feel this weekend will be a better weekend for us compared to the last. And moving on from here I think we'll just continue to learn and improve.

Q: (Alex Popov – RTR).
Question to all the drivers except Lewis – because Lewis just tweeted a photo of new helmet especially for Monaco. Do you do something for this race specially? And for Lewis, another question, if you can comment about Paddy Lowe who will follow you from Woking to Brackley.

Helmets first, Jenson...

Jenson Button:
No more special than normal, no.

Q:
Romain?

Romain Grosjean:
That means you don't follow me on Twitter! I tweeted it yesterday. Blue, white and red.

Q:
Adrian?

Adrian Sutil:
The only change I have on the helmet is a Uruguayan flag. Since many years I wanted to do it and now it's on – because my father is from Uruguay but I will keep it on for the whole season and from now on for the rest of my career. It's not special – not specially Monaco.

Q:
Jules?

Jules Bianchi:
Yeah, I have a special helmet for Monaco – but you will see it tomorrow.

Q:
Nico?

Nico Hulkenberg:
No. No special – just the basic helmet.

Q:
What does Paddy Lowe bring to Mercedes?

Lewis Hamilton:
We'll see, time will tell but obviously Paddy's... I've had great experience of Paddy over the last five or six years. He's obviously a great person and massively intelligent and will be a great asset for the team, so I'm really looking forward to working with him. We look forward to it.

Q: (Livio Orrichio – O Estado de Sao Paulo).
Lewis, in 2002 David Coulthard started in pole position, he didn't have the fastest car in race conditions and he won the race. Michael Schumacher was behind him with a car which was much faster but he didn't get to overtake him. Do you think this is the reality this year, that you can repeat what Coulthard did?

Lewis Hamilton:
I think that if you were just watching last year, it's very difficult to overtake. I think Mark won it last year and just controlled it from the front, even though he had a very competitive car, so yeah, overtaking is very very difficult here as I proved a couple of years ago. So if you're able to get out in front, it's more than likely if you're able to manage your tyres that you can stay there. Definitely.

Q:
On the subject of overtaking here, is it all about patience, Adrian? Do you just have to hope the moment comes but you've really got wait for it?

Adrian Sutil:
Yes, well, overtaking is difficult but I don't see qualifying being an important thing for the race. Just looking at all the last races, there have been several drivers starting from the back or in midfield and they were on the podium. I think Lotus have been a good example. You need to have the right strategy. Mercedes? Yeah, they've struggled. They were one and two in Barcelona and had big problems in the race. It just shows that the tyres are so difficult in the race and it's a very different thing - qualifying and race - but I'm here to race and the points are given in the race. Qualifying... it doesn't really matter where you are, you have to stay focused really.

Q: (Jens Walthers – German Radio).
Lewis, how would you describe your relationship with your teammate, Nico Rosberg? Are you teammates, colleagues, friends, neighbours?

Lewis Hamilton:
Well, we're neighbours, next door neighbours but we're teammates too. We work hard together to try and push this team forward. Obviously we have a lot of history together from being teammates and friends since 1997, so we've known each other for a long long time so naturally we have a friendship but of course ultimately we are fierce competitors.

Q: (Ian Parkes – Press Association).
Jenson, when the Honda deal was announced, it naturally raised the question as to whether you might still be around in 2015, but Jonathan Neale (McLaren managing director) said you have a job for life. Can I ask how that makes you feel first of all, and secondly, when he says for life, how many more years do you think you might have left as a racing driver?

Jenson Button:
Did he say a job for life or a job as a racing driver for life?

Q: (Ian Parkes – Press Association).
Job for life.

Jenson Button:
Ah, OK. I don't know what that means then. I don't know. I don't want to think about the future too much at the moment. I think that yeah, you've got to live for the moment and I don't think that trying to agree a lengthy deal for the future is something that is interesting at the moment for me. I'm 13 years in the sport, I want to have freedom and that feeling that if it doesn't feel right any more: stop. But I definitely don't feel that yet. It feels that it is going to be a long way down the road. For me, that freedom is important in the future.

Q: (Paulo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport).
Lewis, do you think that if the Pirellis do change slightly that it will help Mercedes in the rest of the championship?

Lewis Hamilton:
I definitely hope so, it can't be any worse for us, that's for sure. I think that if they do make some changes they will help everyone really and will definitely change the way the races will go, compared to how they have gone.

Q:
Nico, Romain, do you welcome a few tweaks to the tyres, a few changes?

Nico Hulkenberg:
I'm not sure what happens now. Obviously Pirelli provides the tyres and I understand that there are still some discussions there with the FIA and Pirelli, so I'm not sure what's going to happen but we will go forward, we will work with what Pirelli will provide. Tyres are changing, some people deal better with them than others and I think we have to adapt.

Romain Grosjean:
Well, it's not able to change in the middle of the championship, even though it's maybe only a small change, we don't know but I think we were pretty competitive with the original ones and the team has been working well with that so we will see, we will do our best.

Q: (Gary Meenaghan – The National, Abu Dhabi).
Question to all of you: could you just talk about your first memory of Monaco when you were growing up as a fan and what your impressions were and how they compare to how it was when you actually got here as a racer?

Jules Bianchi:
Obviously, when I was young, I was watching Formula One and that was my life because I was racing in go-karts and coming here to Monaco with my family to watch a race was something special, it was like a dream to maybe one day drive on this track. I didn't expect that. Now I'm here, it's a special moment for me and I can't wait to be on the track and enjoy this moment with my car; for sure it will be a great moment.

Adrian Sutil:
My first time here in Monaco was in Formula Three in 2006, I believe, when I raced with Lewis in the European championship. It was a great race weekend, yes, I really enjoyed it, but no contact before that. It was maybe a bit too expensive for my family at that time, we couldn't afford it.

Nico Hulkenberg:
Is that specially about Monaco or in general? First time I came here was in karting, there used to be a kart race here. I don't know if that's still on and then after that, GP2 in 2009, yeah, it was great, good fun, a very unique place, very challenging, one of the few circuits that we still have in the calendar which doesn't allow any mistakes. I always really enjoy coming here for the track, for the atmosphere, for everything really so I'm happy to be here.

Romain Grosjean: One of my first memories was 1996 when Olivier Panis won, the last French driver to win, a long time ago. When I came here, I found it more challenging than what you think it is on the TV. A long time ago.

Jenson Button:
Well, my first memory was in 2000, my first year in F1 and it was all going well until Loews (now Grand Hotel) and I T-boned Pedro de la Rosa and caused a red flag. In those days we had spare cars – in those days, Christ, a long time ago – so we basically had a running race back to the paddock for who got the spare car. That was quite fun.

Lewis Hamilton:
I think for me, apart from watching Ayrton crash into the wall when he was leading by a long way, I think my first real experience here was the same as Adrian's when we were both here in Formula Three. It was a great weekend. I remember I was planning to stay in Menton and then I called Martin (Whitmarsh) and he fixed me up with a hotel room in the Beach Plaza and it was just a ball all weekend, it was one of the best weekends of my life up to that point.

Q: (Ian Parkes - Press Association).
Lewis, you've been asked about your relationship with Nico a few questions ago; what about your relationship with Adrian these days? Has that changed at all now since Adrian's returned to Formula One? Obviously it ended quite acrimoniously not so long ago. Adrian, from your perspective, how are things between you and Lewis now?

Lewis Hamilton:
Things are different, definitely. We've spoken a couple of times and we've planned to get together at some stage and just have a chat basically. We've been great friends for a long long time and we've had some of the best times together along the way, especially, as you said, in Formula Three times. You can only really count your good friends on one hand maybe, so as people say, good friends are hard to come by, so I want to make sure we get things right.

Adrian Sutil:
Well, as he said, yes, different and I'm still waiting for a coming together. I can't say anything more.

Q: (Aleksander Tabakovski – Vecer Macedonia).
Question for all drivers and especially for the German drivers, because this weekend will be the final of the football Champions' league, between two German teams, Borussia and Bayern. I just want to hear your feelings about it and from each driver, who is their favourite soccer team?

Jenson Button:
I'm not a big football fan.

Q:
Which B do you fancy most?

Jenson Button:
Whoever scores more goals, I'll go for.

Lewis Hamilton:
I always like Bayern Munich. When I was playing football – I used to – when I was playing on the computer games I used to play Bayern Munich quite often, so I will say them.

Romain Grosjean:
I'll follow Jenson's club.

Jules Bianchi:
I kind of like Bayern so I hope they will win.

Nico Hulkenberg:
It's kind of cool to have two German clubs in the final but strange as well at the same time. They've played twice in the German league and now they meet again in the European final which is a bit weird. I'm pretty neutral, I'm not a Munich or Dortmund fan but I've become more of a football follower recently and I just watch it, enjoy it, but I don't really care who wins.

Adrian Sutil:
OK, so I'm not a football fan but I'm from Munich, that's the answer: Bayern Munich for me, yes. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Q:
More importantly, do either of you think you could be the back page headlines in the German newspapers on Monday morning or will it all be about the football?

Nico Hulkenberg:
Probably be a lot about the football.

Adrian Sutil:
I hope I make some good headlines after this weekend.


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