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Canadian GP - Post-race press conference - Pt.1

10 June 2012

Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Romain Grosjean (Lotus) and Sergio Pérez (Sauber)

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Q:
Lewis, one word: wow. What a race. That must feel incredible?

Lewis Hamilton:
It does, it does. Firstly, I want to say congratulations to these two guys [Grosjean and Pérez], who have done an incredible job, but also just to the team, who never seem to give up. Also, the race, I want to dedicate this one to all the fans out there, who are constantly sending letters and messages and always being so positive and supportive throughout the year. What a great feeling this is where I won my first grand prix. I knew today would be a tough, tough race but I loved every single minute of it and I'm really grateful.

Q:
You say you loved every single minute of it but two delays on your pit stops and then you get out and the team tell you, 'actually the guys ahead are one-stopping'. Did you ever think for a moment that it wasn't going to happen today?

Lewis Hamilton:
I never had a doubt in my mind that there wasn't a possibility to win but I was thinking that these guys are falling quite far behind so I assumed they are doing a one-stop but I don't think I'm going to be able to do a one-stop so I'm going to keep on pushing, increase the gap... Yeah, I had a couple of problems pulling away. It might have been my fault, I don't know. But otherwise the pit stops were great and finally we've got some good pit stops and of course we can keep on improving in every area.

Q:
Romain, an amazing result for you and the team. Was the plan always to go for a one-stopper or was that something that developed as the race went on?

Romain Grosjean:
Well, we thought about going for a one-stop and see what was going on later on. The question mark was can we go with the option tyres at the beginning especially that they are already two runs [old] from Q1 and Q3 , that was the one I set my fastest lap time with. But then the car felt pretty good. When I put on the prime tyre, I didn't know what Nico Rosberg was doing in front of me or Mark Webber so it was difficult. I was fighting with them, pushing quite hard but I knew that I was trying to go for one stop and finally when I saw Mark coming in my tyres were quite fresh and then I didn't realise I was third and I then I saw Fernando slowing down and I was second. It was a crazy end to the race because I was thinking P5 or P4 but the pace stayed there and the team did a fantastic job with the car, which was good on tyres. We knew with the heat we would be better today, so hopefully the sun came and it was good for us and it is fantastic to be on my second podium this season.

Q:
Sergio, again an incredible drive, an incredible race. At what point did you know that a podium was on the cards?

Sergio Pérez:
Well, to be honest, until I passed Fernando, because starting 15th the last thing you would think about is ending up on the podium. We went quite aggressive, the first stint was quite good. Then the stop was very good. The second stint was really, really good. I managed to overtake some cars in difficult manouevres. I saw that degradation was not so high for me. I could manage my pace well. Then I managed to get some other drivers. It's a great result for the team after such a bad day we had yesterday. We had a lot of trouble with the brakes. Today, it's just great to finish here on the podium. It's a great boost for the team. After Malaysia it's our second time to get in the [major] points and the second podium, so hopefully we can keep this way. Obviously we have been very unlucky: what happened in Monaco for example. We were very quick there and in Barcelona as well. It's great to come back and do a podium for the whole team and with this here being so close to home with a lot of Mexicans around, it's great.

Q:
Lewis, back to you. As you said, this is the place you won your first grand prix five years ago and we can see how much this meant to you today. Can you just sum up your emotions at the end of an incredible race and a wonderful weekend?

Lewis Hamilton:
It's still sinking in. It's been five years since I won here for the first time but it feels just as good. Again, just massively proud of the team for continuing to push and it feels great to finally be here on the top step. Definitely, as always, we'll never take it for granted and this for me feels like one of the best races that I've had for a very, very long time, so thank you to everyone.

Press conference

Q:
Lewis, obviously you really enjoyed that. As you said, a huge amount of satisfaction from that.

Lewis Hamilton:
Absolutely. Absolutely. One of the most enjoyable races that I've had 'til now. I was just thinking today to finish at the front, as I did in my first win here in 2007, would be very, very special for me - which it has been. I couldn't believe it when I was coming across the line. That feeling inside, it's like an explosion. It's really just incredible. And that's what I love about racing and if I continue to have this feeling for many, many years, then hopefully I'll be here for a long, long time.

Q:
The tactics on the pitwall worked absolutely perfectly. You must have thought, 'perfect', every time you overtook somebody 'yes, that's the way it was meant to work out.'

Lewis Hamilton:
I think the team did a really great job with the pitstops and the strategy. I was very, very surprised that I was able to look after my tyres and then push at the times that I needed to push. I was very, very surprised in the first stint, that I was able to close up on Sebastian. I never thought they would have such degradation. And so to catch them, and see them go in, and then still be able to push, was a real pleasure to see, because it's very, very rare. But I knew that Fernando was going to be the one to beat. When he was behind me I thought he was going to be the one to beat today, as he generally has great pace on long runs. But we did it. I wasn't able to do a one-stop. I don't think I would have been able to do it – I think I would have fallen back as they did: perhaps even further. I think a two-stop was just right.

Q:
Was that a result of knowing that you had trouble with the hotter temperatures?

Lewis Hamilton:
No… well… of course we were aware of that. Of course we went into the race knowing that we'd be doing a two-stop. And when the guys were behind me I kinda had a feeling that Fernando would be doing a one-stop, so I knew I had to make a gap while looking after the tyres. I was able to make a gap and then hold it, even though Fernando started to pick his pace up. It was one of the best stints that I've had for a long, long time. And then at the end I had a serious gap to catch up but I was able to be 1.5-1.7 seconds faster than Fernando each lap, which was fantastic. And the greatest thing here is that at this circuit you can overtake. Even if it's not the back straight, you still have opportunities to overtake, which always gives us good races.

Q:
Romain, you were in traffic early on. That must have been very interesting. What did you think?

Romain Grosjean:
It wasn't easy at the start because basically I was fighting in the traffic and I didn't know whether the guys were going to do one-stop, two-stops. And then I tried to jump Rosberg on a pitstop but it didn't work, so I was behind him again. And when you follow a car it's not easy to save your tyres and protect a little bit. I know that we were trying to go for one-stop and I didn't really know what to think about. And then I saw Nico coming to the pit and thought 'good news.' And then I caught Mark. Mark was quite the same pace as I was, so it wasn't easy, and then he went to the pit as well. Then I was more safe and I couldn't realize from P9 – I think – on my pit board to P2 in a few laps. I didn't really understand what was going on but I knew that we had to carry good pace. Again, the team did an incredible job to give me a good car in the race. We knew with the sun it would be better today. I really want to dedicate this result to them, to friends and to, today, Guillaume Moreau, which was on my helmet, who had a crash at the Le Mans test day last week. I wish him a good recovery. And I'm very happy that he was on my helmet for this race.

Q:
You've been a rookie here and obviously learnt the circuit. You've enjoyed taking on the Montreal accent – you're feelings about your podium here.

Romain Grosjean:
It's good. I'm feeling more at home. People speak French, the city is quite nice and the people are really welcoming, so it's good to be here. The track is interesting; not an easy one to learn but as we say most of the time: if you have a good result then you like the track – so I think now I like Canada and I'm looking forward to coming back next year. But before that we have 13 more races until the end of the season and I hope we can keep our pace, our results and keep up the team.

Q:
Sergio, you were almost a rookie, apart from three laps, and from 15th on the grid, one-stop, once again showing that you can keep the tyres alive.

Sergio Pérez:
Yeah. It was a great race for the whole team because after such a disappointing qualifying that we had yesterday, with so little pace as well – we didn't have the pace we wanted to – so we had to fight in a different way with the strategy and try to make it work and make it happen with the strategy. We didn't have any reference on the long runs. The long runs we did with the tyres, it was 10-15°C less track temperature. So, it was a lottery, basically, but I think the team has done a great job with the stop and the strategy, myself too, keeping the tyres alive and being so consistent. It's been a great result for the whole team. We have been so unlucky since Malaysia. We had the pace but for some reason or another we don't manage to get the result in the end. I think it's great to come back into the points with another podium.

Q:
You mentioned you had brake problems yesterday, was there any trace of that today?

Sergio Pérez:
No, when I mentioned we had a brake problem it was nothing like a failure. It was just that the balance was really bad for me and I could not manage to stop the car, I flat-spot my tyres, so I have a lot of vibration in qualifying. In the race it was different. We worked a lot during the night – yesterday – to fix the problems and today we did a great job.

Q:
And after these two podiums that you've had, as you say a little bit of frustration that since Malaysia you haven't had better luck. What do you feel you can do in the rest of the Championship?

Sergio Pérez:
The thing is we long to fight for a podium every race. Today was a very crazy race, as we have had many of this year. But I think we have the potential to do it. This has to be the target, to get the first win this season for our team.


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