Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing).
Questions from the floor
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L'Equipe).
Lewis, was there any difficulty during the race for you or was it an easy trip?
I don't think any race is ever easy. Obviously there are opportunities that are presented in front of you and obviously you have to take them with both hands and today that's what I did but no, looking after the car, looking after fuel, not making any mistakes, it was a massive challenge in that sense. The time... I would hear that Nico had stepped up the speed, reacting to those things without damaging your tyres, so without doubt it was still a great challenge, but one that I was able to do well because the car was spectacular this weekend, so really really happy with just a great performance by the team.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L'Equipe).
For the three of you, do you think that the three contenders for the title are sitting up there today?
I would like to think that us, as Mercedes, are the title... at least, at the moment, but there's such a long way to go. We've got a lot of competition out there so I'm sure everyone's going to be pushing and so we need to stay on it.
And the championship leader?
That sounds very good already as it is but there's a long way to go. I'm not thinking about that at the moment, I'm really just taking it race by race, just enjoying the moment, making the most of it, keeping on it, keeping to push. The best example is now Red Bull. The last day of testing was four weeks ago or something or three weeks ago and they were absolutely nowhere and now he (Vettel) was right in the back of me, pushing me. OK, I had some pace in hand so I could beat him in the end clearly but still, the way they've ramped up their pace, very impressive, so we need to keep on it to keep our advantage.
Well, I think Fernando is missing, Daniel, Kimi and probably one other guy that we don't know yet. Still early days, but that's what I would say.
Q: (Kate Walker – Crash.net).
For all three of you: we've heard an awful lot about some extreme measures that drivers have taken to stay below weight this season with the car. Now Malaysia is always a punishing race because of the heat. Was it more difficult this year, especially as we had no rain, just the physical challenge?
It's always a great challenge here and today wasn't as hot as it has been in the past, I would say. Generally, this year, with a lot less downforce, it's a lot less physical – still really physical but it's not as much as years and years ago when we had so much downforce and particularly last year when we had a lot of downforce, but it's still a serious workout. Fortunately I'm just grateful my drink machine worked, even though it's like drinking hot tea, it did the job. I think the team has done a great job in terms of weight this year. We know we're not having to cut things off to get to the weight.
Yeah, it's not nice that everything weight-wise is on the edge but that's the way it is. It's always a compromise between being light but still being able to perform at the highest of my abilities and I found my compromise and so I felt absolutely fine today. But of course, it is tough out there always. Malaysia is very, very hot.
It's always hot, it's not a walk in the park but I think we're going slower, tyres are harder, cars are slower, less downforce as Lewis touched on, so it's probably a little less hard than it was. The fact that we all try to save weight for this year... next year the weight goes up anyway which is good for the heavy drivers but for this year it's a pain for them. Doesn't help, because you're a bit more on the edge but this is probably one of the worst races. I think the most difficult one is probably Singapore later this year.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport).
Sebastian, Red Bull made big progress between Bahrain and Melbourne, again progress between Melbourne and here. Are you happy with the speed of development, is that the speed you need in order to catch the Mercedes, let's say, when the European season starts?
Yeah, we need to make big steps because they are quite far ahead but I'm quite happy with the steps we're currently making. It's the first race distance I've done this year, since Brazil, it's the first race distance I've done so that's a big step. Obviously, at some stage during testing, we didn't expect to finish the first couple of races so well done to all the guys in the team on the reliability front. It's not a big secret, we know there's still a lot to do. In terms of driveability we're not yet there where we want to be. In terms of power, it's not a big secret without giving a hammering but the guys at Viry are flat out to work on that front. Renault is pushing very very hard but at this stage we have to summarise and say that Mercedes did a better job, they're quicker than us so we know that there's a lot of things we have to do better but it's still a bloody good result today, finishing on the podium, right behind them. That's what we need to do, as long as we can, up to the point where we're even and we can challenge them and give them a harder time.
Q: (Ajit Devadason – Sify.com).
Lewis, this is to do with your helmet design: the words that you have chosen for this season on the back of your helmet, Still I Rise, are you thrilled that it's working your way and it's matching belief?
It's what I have tattooed on my back so I just added it to the helmet design and I think the metaphor is just that regardless of what difficulties you go through, you still rise above it. That's really something my Dad has always enforced in me. We've had so many ups and downs throughout our lives and our careers, as everyone has, but he would always 'say just rise above it' and do your talking on track. I had a difficult time in the last race and that's what I did today, so I feel quite good about it.