TV unilaterals

Q:
Lewis, a sensational victory for you. Talk us through those closing laps as the rain began to fall...

Lewis Hamilton:
It was an experience and a half. I could see Kimi ahead and after the second stop he was so far ahead and I was thinking how did he make such a gap but I did get stuck in traffic. I was just pushing and pushing and pushing trying to close that gap. I might have been catching him one tenth per lap but then he would pull out a little bit of time and then I was relying on traffic. I was hoping that he would catch the traffic at the right time. Sometimes he caught it on the straight and he got a tow and then I caught them in mid sector and lost time. It was just mix and match. I was just praying, I was saying please just rain, rain, rain. I wanted the rain to come because I knew how to deal with it. The heavens opened a little bit and I saw Kimi begin to back off a little bit, a lot earlier than he did normally into turn eight and that was really where I knew it was on, the fight was on. When I went into turn 12 I was going reasonably wide but then it looked like, I think it was Rosberg, had done a spin and he was coming back onto the track and he was coming back on exactly where I was going off, so I nearly crashed into the side of him. Kimi nearly did the same. I went over the grass, Kimi spun on the exit of that corner, so I got it back and from then on it was pretty straightforward from there. But it was incredibly tough as I had lost all the temperature in the tyres but it was great.

Q:
Talk us through that passing incident at the last chicane when you let Kimi past but then passed him again?

LH:
Yeah, I mean to be honest he pushed me wide. I was a little bit ahead and I was on the outside of turn one. He could have been fair as I had no room. He pushed me to the point where I would either have been on the kerb and crashed into him or have to go on the escape route, so I went on the escape route. I understood I had to let him past, so I did. I got in his tow and he was ducking and diving left and right and I did the same and managed to get back to the inside of him. But then he hit me at the apex of the corner but I think I was pretty much gone from there which was good.

Q:
You led the race from the start but you half spun at the start of the second lap.

LH:
I got a good start. I got away and I was feeling comfortable. The difficulty was that bits of the track were still wet, at the last corner and turn one, so I was having to make sure I got the braking right. It was still a bit unknown and I went into turn one and I think on the last downshift it just locked the rears. It was a pretty pathetic spin but there was nothing I could do about it. Luckily they weren't so close to each other, so I just pulled the clutch, boom, and went as quick as possible. I did get ahead but Kimi slipstreamed me on the straight.

Q:
Kimi opened up a gap of around five seconds but on the prime tyre you pulled the gap back at the beginning of the third stint.

LH:
Yeah, that spin really did put us on the back foot. It was a relatively big mistake from me. If it had stayed dry, we probably could have won if I had stayed ahead. It could have been quite critical. I think he pulled quite a big gap and I got held in traffic, I think it was behind Kubica and my team-mate, and there was nothing I could do about it. When I came out for the last stint, I just pushed and pushed and pushed. It wasn't over until it's over. I could see the clouds coming, so I just had to make sure. I think three or four laps to the end I said I can't catch this guy, so do I save the engine or do I keep pushing. But then I thought what happens if he makes a mistake or goes off or something like that, so it is never over until the fat lady sings and you see the chequered flag.

Q:
Felipe, you must be pleased to finish second. What was it like in those last few laps for you?

Felipe Massa:
Well, to be honest, I was slower than I was supposed to be. I saw many people going off, especially Kimi, and then Lewis was a little bit in front, so I said I don't want to risk the right points. I was quite comfortable going very slow through the corners especially. It was really, really damp. Sometimes you think you would go off just like that. I made a mistake on the start as I thought Eau Rouge was wetter than it was, so I slowed down too much and then Kimi passed me. It was just a mistake. I was just comfortable in the third place during the whole race. It was difficult to catch those guys. We were all three doing very similar lap times. Sometimes I was losing a bit and then sometimes I was catching the pace. Then suddenly the second place came to me, so I am very pleased. The championship is still open and we are going to fight race by race to close the gap and maybe pass those guys.

Q:
When Kimi passed you it did look very close from what we could see.

FM:
Yeah, Kimi was so quick he was going to pass me easily for sure but then he started to close the line and we almost touched wheel to wheel. I found that a little bit strange as he was going to pass me as he was already much quicker. But anyway he passed me but then I got the second place which was pretty lucky given the circumstances. But these things you cannot say are lucky. I was just looking to finish the race and that was it, we finished second.

Q:
Nick, a fantastic decision to switch to the wet Bridgestone tyres. You were very competitive in qualifying but that fell apart when you got hit by Kovalainen.

Nick Heidfeld:
Yeah, exactly. I had a pretty good get away, at least better than the row in front of me. Alonso was even a bit better. I decided to go to the outside rather than to the inside as I had a feeling I could crash there. Unfortunately Kovalainen drove into me. I thought I would spin or the race would be over with the car damaged. I was just very happy afterwards to feel that the car was okay and the steering wheel felt straight. Of course I lost a lot of positions and had to overtake a lot of cars but I still made up some positions on the first stint.

Q:
It must have been real fun on that last stint passing everybody?

NH:
It was but it was pretty much a hero or zero decision. First of all I was stuck behind cars most of the race. I had to stop earlier than some of them, including Vettel and Robert for the second stop. But I had a pretty good out lap and managed to overtake Robert and then I was stuck behind Vettel and it is not easy to overtake here. But then when it started to drizzle, the first lap it was just a little bit but the second lap it became more and then I just thought I will take a gamble. I knew there were not many laps to go and took the decision to go on inters. The team asked me again what I wanted to do and I think it was the perfect call. When I went out I asked how many laps to go and they said this one and then another one and I couldn't see anybody in front of me and thought maybe it was the wrong decision. But they had to go so slow I managed to overtake a couple of cars on the last lap. I don't know who was the last car I overtook, whether it was Alonso or Toro Rosso. Going into turn 10 he blocked pretty hard and I nearly went into the grass and in wet conditions that could have been quite dangerous. I just managed to stay on track by going wheel to wheel and nearly touching his side pods which was not very clever. But I got by, so it was a fantastic result for me.

Q:
Lewis, what a fantastic victory for you and McLaren's 11th victory here.

LH:
A fantastic weekend and I am just stoked to have battled through the tough conditions. I think it was one of the most exciting races of my career. I love having battles with people like Kimi. It was just great fun and I think the team did an incredible job as always. The car was great, so I have to say a big thank you to them. There were a lot of British fans here as well, so a big thank you to all them for their support. We are going to keep on pushing. Keep our feet on the ground and keep pushing for the next few races.

Press conference:

Q:
Lewis, how hard were you pushing in the dry? Was there anything more you could do?

LH:
No, I was on every limit that I knew that was possible and even beyond the limit sometimes. I was pushing as hard as you could. But when you are behind someone that has relatively the same speed as you and you get a few seconds behind them you lose downforce, so I was having to make up for the loss of downforce and try and reduce the gap. The closer and closer I got, the harder it got, so the more I would have to push and find grip in certain areas. I was pushing but it was so close I probably would not have had the opportunity to overtake him if it hadn't started to rain, so I thank God for opening the heavens a little bit as that enabled me to get close to him and to have, I think, one of the most exciting fight for a long, long time.

Q:
Were you expecting the rain?

LH:
I wasn't expecting it but I was praying for it. I was hoping. I was going through Eau Rouge and saying 'please rain.' I wanted it to rain. I thought just a few droplets would make it harder for us, perhaps not as much as it did. It did make it that little bit harder for us to get on the edge, so we could have a good battle towards the end. I think that is what it did. I thought it was very exciting.

Q:
What happened in the pit stops as you lost out in the first one and gained in the second?

LH:
With the mistake I had which was quite costly after the first lap, at turn one when I had the spin and lost my position, that really put us on the back foot, so we went for a shorter middle stint on the softer tyre. Unfortunately I came out in a lot of traffic. I had great pace but I got stuck in a lot of traffic where I ended up using a lot of the life of my tyres early on just sticking with them. I think that is where I lost all the time to Kimi. The second stint I had a great out lap. The pit stop was great but I had a great out lap and really getting the heat back in my tyres and getting on it. I think I took quite a chunk out of Kimi for the first few laps and then it started to balance out. I kept on pushing as much as I could but it was level for a long time, so I was hoping some of the backmarkers would influence his pace but they were influencing both of ours, so I don't think I gained or lost any more than he did.

Q:
With five races to go what are your thoughts on the championship now?

LH:
Well, as you know it is still open. Felipe has had another impressive race and came away with eight points, so I have not really made a huge difference in the points system. I have a good lead, I must have an eight points now and we are going to continue with the reliability and the pace that we have. It is just going to be a very tough fight but I will do everything I can to make sure I come to the next race just as strong if not stronger. I know I can get stronger, so we the team is going to do that and we are going to keep on improving.

Q:
Felipe, are you pleased with second?

FM:
Yeah, I mean looking at the circumstances and how crazy the race was, especially the start. I lost second place at Eau Rouge because I thought there was more water than there was and I backed off too much and Kimi passed. I had reasonable pace but I was not 100 per cent happy with the car because we took away a little bit of downforce on Saturday morning, from Friday to Saturday, as normally that is the right direction to go. Then I think for the conditions we had today, the wind conditions especially which were very strong, I was not very happy with the balance and I lost a little bit of the stability. I was not very comfortable like I was yesterday. But anyway, I think it was a very safe third place and then the rain came. I saw these guys fighting like crazy and I was just thinking about the championship. I was just cruising and trying to bring the car home as I knew eight points can be very important. Two races ago we lost 10 like that, so I didn't want to lose anything, I just wanted to bring the car home. That's it, so I am quite happy with the second place and I am quite happy also with the job that we did inside the team and also the engine. This is the second race with the engine, so I think that is quite encouraging for the next races.

Q:
What was the difference between the tyres?

FM:
On the last stint, I think we went much slower than the first and second stint, all three guys. I think the hard tyre was just too hard with no grip and the car was sliding around and was less quick. The car was more inconsistent in terms of balance but the soft was pretty consistent, pretty reasonable.

Q:
Nick, four laps from the end you were seventh, so you must be pretty pleased to be on the podium.

NH:
Yeah, you figured that out pretty well. It was fantastic for me. I lost some places at the first corner. The start was not too bad but Kovalainen drove into me and after that it was a pretty tough fight to overtake a couple of cars but then I was struggling to overtake some others like Robert. On the circuit it was impossible to overtake Vettel. I was clearly quicker but you just could not get a lot closer and as Lewis said at the same time you start to destroy your tyres. In the end I saw that drops were coming, up the hill, and the next lap it was small drizzle. I thought it would get worse from lap to lap. Obviously I knew it was not long to go and actually I was pretty sure that nobody would have the balls to change the tyres, so I thought I would try. I took a gamble and it paid out. After I came out I asked the team again and they said this one and another one and then I thought maybe it was not the right choice but on the last lap I overtook a lot of cars. I did bed in some tyres on purpose yesterday and they were just in the right conditions for a little bit of water.

Q:
After your problems in the last few races what does this podium mean to you?

NH:
It is a great result at a time when I struggled, or at least I struggled heavily in Valencia. But more importantly for me I have shown that my qualifying performance was good. That's where I have struggled before but I achieved the maximum there yesterday with fifth position. I think everybody knows that I can do good races and I showed that today and obviously it is always great to be on the podium.