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Italian GP - Thursday press conference - Pt.2

6 September 2012


Drivers: Jerome d'Ambrosio (Lotus), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari).



Questions from the floor


Q:. (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport).
Lewis, could you explain to us what happened with you and the team after you showed the telemetry on Twitter? How do you explain this fact?

Lewis Hamilton:
Nothing happened. I had the head of the PR department ask me to take the picture off and I did.

Q: (Adrian Huber – Agencia EFE).
Question for Fernando. Okay, it's always 25 points but to win here, it's Monza, it's a Ferrari place and after last Sunday it looks like fate owes you one as you couldn't build your lead and you lost points, you couldn't match Schumacher on 24 races scoring, so what a sensation this would be winning here.

Fernando Alonso:
Well, I think Monza is a special win, because for any Ferrari driver it's a lot of support that you feel from the tifosi from today until Sunday and you want to give something back to them and the best thing is obviously a race win, but from a championship point of view it doesn't change too much. Even if you're not fighting for the championship, winning in Monza will be special anyway, because the podium celebration with all the people on the main straight etc is nice for anyone, not only fighting for the championship. So we will try to do a good race and see how many points we can make and have clear in our minds what is the priority this weekend.

Q: (Ralf Bach – R&B).
A question to Nico. Do you have any idea who will be your team-mate next year?

Nico Rosberg:
No.

Q: (Ian Parkes – Press Association).
Good afternoon Lewis. Just in general terms from your personal perspective, what would be the attraction, the positives in joining a team like Mercedes?

Lewis Hamilton:
I have no idea. I've not really thought about it.

Q:
OK, could I turn it round to you Nico? From your perspective, what would be the attraction for Lewis to join a team like Mercedes?

Nico Rosberg:
I can say from my perspective. My perspective is that Mercedes and Ferrari are on one level in terms of the history in F1 and the standing. It's very, very special to drive for the Silver Arrow, and especially to win with a Silver Arrow.

Q:
Lewis, does that resonate with you?

Lewis Hamilton:
(laughs)

Q:So, looking at it in general terms: McLaren have won the last two races and Mercedes have only won one race in the past three years, does that put it into perspective for you as to where your priorities might lie?

Lewis Hamilton:
I don't think I'm really looking for anything to be put into perspective. I drive for McLaren, we've won the last two races, we've got another great weekend, hopefully, ahead of us and that's what we've got to focus on.

Q: (Frederic Ferret - L'Equipe)
Jerome, in what way has Romain Grosjean helped you prepare if indeed he has done so?

Jerome d'Ambrosio:
Honestly, we haven't had much contact with Romain since then. We generally do have a good relationship at the track and normally at the track. We don't keep in touch so much otherwise. So that hasn't changed between Spa and here. I think it's been only two or three days and the real hard work was with the engineers. I've been provided with a lot of information from both drivers from the engineers and then that's it. If something happens during the weekend, I have a very good relationship with Romain. We've worked together in lower classes, so for sure he's going to be there, and the same with Kimi. If I have something I want to ask then I will and I'm sure I will get an answer. This was not the time to speak with them, between the two races.

Q: (Vincent Marre – Sport Zeitung).
Felipe, do you think you will be able to beat Fernando again before the end of the season?

Felipe Massa:
Yes

Q: (Vincent Marre – Sport Zeitung)
Here in Monza?

Felipe Massa:
Well, I'm trying everywhere.

Q:
So how important is qualifying for you on Saturday?

Felipe Massa:
Very important. I think qualifying is definitely important for us, just to have an easier race. I think maybe qualifying was not so great for me this year but I always had good direction, good pace in the races, not counting the first few races but afterwards, yes. I think qualifying is very, very important so we focus on that and try to have an easier direction in the race, especially from the beginning to the end.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport).
Lewis, you said you want to stay concentrated on this race, but in your eyes, when do you want to decide to have a clearer idea of next year?

Lewis Hamilton:
I don't have a deadline - obviously before next season I think would be useful. I'm in a great position, and I just need to focus on preparations for these races. We've got a long way to go before the end of the season and Jenson and I have showed in the previous races that there's great potential in the car and in the team, so that's really what I need to try and focus on most.

Q: (Kate Walker - Girl Racer).
Lewis, in the last few races we've seen strong performances from McLaren amidst some pretty chaotic weather: hot, cold, wet, dry and so on. We're now hitting the really, really hot stretch of the season, from here on in. Are you concerned that with the tyres there might be a dip in form as we're getting back into the hotter climes or have you guys cracked the rubber at last?

Lewis Hamilton:
I don't know if we've cracked it, but we definitely have been improving quite a lot. Jenson proved, at the last race... he did a one stop, one of the few people to do a one stop race so there's something going well with the car. Here will be very tough, I think, but everyone's in the same boat but we are definitely working very, very hard to make sure that we're on top of things when it comes to these hot circuits, because tyre degradation is going to be key, I think, particularly in some of these hotter climates. But we went pretty well in Hungary so it wasn't a disaster there but it could have been better so we need to improve on that.

Q:
(Luigi Perna – La Gazetta delllo Sport) Fernando, your car was completely rebuilt after the crash. Are you worried about that or are you confident that you will have a Ferrari in perfect shape?

FA:
No, not worried. Obviously we make some changes and we went back to some parts of the car that we've been using three or four races ago and then for Monza, specially, there is a very unique aero package here so the car is a little bit different to any other track. Even with the Spa car it had changed. It was planned to change nearly completely for this race, so I don't think it's making a big difference.

Q:
(Carlos Miguel – La Gaceta) Fernando, when the championship is so close and the cars are so close, do you really think it could be possible to win the championship with no more victories, only podiums?

Fernando Alonso:
Who knows? I think that depends on your opponents and also what they do. If they keep sharing victories, it's possible to win without any more wins but at the moment, we see McLaren very strong in Germany, nearly won the race there, won the race in Hungary, won the race in Spa so they can win three or four consecutive races and your gap disappears. As we said, already from the last six or seven Grands Prix, we need to focus on which one is second in the championship at the moment which, today, is Vettel so this weekend we try to finish in front of Vettel, like at the other weekends we try to finish in front of Webber.

Q: (Alan Baldwin - Reuters).
Lewis, on the twitter subject, I know everyone is playing it down, but Jenson said after the race that he was disappointed that you had tweeted the details of the wings and everything else. Have you spoken to Jenson, have you cleared the air with him about it? It seemed to us that Jenson was seeing more in that tweet than maybe you did.

Lewis Hamilton:
I haven't spoken to him, don't plan to, moved on from it. Obviously it wasn't the best thing to do and it won't happen again, so move forward and focus on this race.

Q: (David Croft - Sky Sports).
Lewis, when you look at a contract or renegotiation or look to move, at your stage of your career, what is it you are looking at? Is it purely money or are there other factors?

Lewis Hamilton:
I want to win.

Q: (David Croft - Sky Sports).
Pure and simple you want to win.

Lewis Hamilton:
Yes.

Q: (David Croft - Sky Sports).
And is that win 2013 or win 2014, which is a big season, things change quite drastically in 2014, don't they?

Lewis Hamilton:
Yeah, I always want to win, every year you compete, that's why us drivers exist and that's why the teams exist. It's just making sure you're in the right place to do so.

Q: (David Croft - Sky Sports).
Being in the right place, does that mean that it might pay to be in a team that manufactures their own engine and their own energy recovery systems rather than being with a customer which McLaren will be?

Lewis Hamilton:
It doesn't mean anything.

Q:
(Patricia Sanchez - La Gaceta) Jerome, so you say you've got plenty of information from your team. Do you think there would be room for more testing days in the calendar from your experience?

Jerome d'Ambrosio:
I have no idea yet.

Q: (Patricia Sanchez - La Gaceta).
Do you feel that you've had plenty of time in the car?

Jerome d'Ambrosio:
You mean so far?

Q: (Patricia Sanchez - La Gaceta).
Yes.

Jerome d'Ambrosio:
Obviously so far, I don't feel like I've had plenty of time in the car. I had one time in Mugello on a fairly wet track. No, for sure I think it's good to get more time in the car and I can get much time in the car but I've got other things... I was really involved with the team all season so far, back at the factory as well, so I will try to capitalise on that.

Q: (Vincent Marre – Sport Zeitung).
Jerome, are you going to change your attitude of driving now you're coming back, having already had some experience in Formula One?

Jerome d'Ambrosio:
No, there's no reason to change myself, change who I am and the driver that I am, stepping in for the weekend, I think that's the worse thing you can ever do. I will approach the weekend as I have approached all the racing weekends I have been to so far. Of course, it's a special one, we are in Monza. I'm part Italian, it's a bit of a home race for me so I'm really cheered up for that and really going to give - as you always do - 100 percent that I have, but I'm not going to change the way I am and the way I drive.

Q: (Alan Baldwin - Reuters).
Felipe, Lewis is quite relaxed about not knowing where he's racing next year, but I guess in your case you're pretty frustrated. Could you just explain how frustrated you are, and also what percentage chance you think there is of you staying at Ferrari next year?

Felipe Massa:
For sure, I expect to be in a different position in the championship to what I am but I'm just concentrated on my job which is driving the car, driving the quickest speed that I can. As I said, I am frustrated with my qualifying, not with my races and I'm sure that if I can improve the qualifying, I can be very strong in the races and completely change the results. As I said, I didn't sign anything for next year yet but I think we have the possibility to sign and let's wait and see. I don't know when but I just need to concentrate on the results of the races. I think that's the main important thing for my future as well.

Q: (Luigi Perna – La Gazetta dello Sport).
Fernando, was Monza also a special race for you before becoming a Ferrari driver and what is your special memory of this race? If you have one special memory.

Fernando Alonso:
It has always been special, because of the speed that you reach on this circuit, so for us drivers we love to drive fast cars, we love the speed so when you come here and especially with the V10 engines, we reached 370/375 kph so Monza has always been special. As I said, I think the podium ceremony here is a little bit more emotional than any other place. But obviously when I joined Ferrari it was a different level and the enthusiasm and support that you feel is probably the best race of the calendar for us in terms of emotions.

Best memory here would be 2010 when we won here, so first time driving for Ferrari. It was a special weekend so hopefully we can repeat this moment soon, this year or the following years.

Q: (Thierry Wilmotte – le Soir).
Question to all of you, but not Jerome: do you have any concerns about the fact that there is a newcomer - of course, he's not a rookie - but a newcomer coming into the field at the wheel of a good car? Do you have some concerns about that, especially for the start of the race?

Felipe Massa:
For sure not.

Fernando Alonso:
No, I don't think so.

Nico Rosberg:
No concern, because he's had experience last year so he's not a rookie.

Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo).
Fernando, Felipe, in Barcelona and in Montreal, you had great changes to your car and Ferrari made a great step forward. You have regularly said you are now eight tenths slower than the fastest car. Is there room for a new package from Ferrari to make it similar to McLaren, for example?

Fernando Alonso:
I think so. I think there are still three months of competition. There are still eight races to go, so all the teams bring some updates to every race. We just need to make ours work a little bit better than the others. In February or March we were more than a second behind the front runners, and then around Barcelona or Canada we were two or three tenths. In two or three months you can make a lot of progress. We just need to be clear on that and make some good steps which I'm sure and confident will arrive sooner or later.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport).
Jerome, you just mentioned that this is your second home Grand Prix. Could you remind us if you have some relatives here in Italy; do you come to Italy sometimes, and which part of Italy do they come from?

Jerome d'Ambrosio:
OK, so a bit of funny background here. I have grandparents from Naples in Italy, Monte Casino and one from Naples. Italy is a bit of a second home race for every racing driver in the sense that when you're involved in go-karts you are involved in Italy most of the time, with Italian teams and for me, personally, I've grown up in the racing scene in junior formulae in Italy in Formula Renault, in F3000, Formula Masters, Italian teams and so on. I've spent a lot of my life and definitely, yeah, this is why I consider this personally as a second home race.


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