Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Fernando Alonso (McLaren), Felipe Massa (Ferrari)

TV unilaterals:

Q:
Lewis, winning your second successive grand prix...

Lewis Hamilton:
What a dream! To come to two circuits that I didn't know, my first time, to really come out with such pace, to see the team moving forward always and being competitive and just to see how much work the team back home, back in Brixworth, in Woking, in Stuttgart, how hard they all work to produce the car and to develop it - they've done a fantastic job and I'm really just so thankful to them because it wouldn't be possible without them. And the guys here, they are a great bunch of guys. They've done a fantastic job on strategy, setting up the car. So really, it's a perfect team and I'm really happy I could put the icing on the cake.

Q:
And a very very close race with your team-mate Fernando throughout the race distance. You took the lead at the start, but on lap 38 Fernando was right there, and there was pressure all the way.

LH:
It was, especially the middle stint. I think the first stint, the first couple of laps it was extremely close and then obviously I managed to pull out a slight gap and maintain that and then going into the middle stint, the out lap... the first two laps were very good and then my tyres just decided to grain so maybe I pushed too hard on them immediately so Fernando was right up my tail, and it was extremely difficult. Obviously he's in my slipstream the whole time so he would always catch me down the straight and so whatever I gained midfield I lose on the straight, so it was very very tough. But he fought very well, very professional and at the end I managed to pull a gap and I was able to maintain that gap and control the rest of the race.

Q:
As we say, your second successive win but a win in the United States here at Indianapolis; talk us through the closing laps of the race. Did it seem like a long hot day for you?

LH:
It did. Obviously it was great to see that there was a big crowd here and they're all very very supportive, a lot of British flags out there, which is fantastic for me. I get a lot of energy from that, but the last few laps were... it just seemed to be very long. They came across on the radio and said 15 laps and I said 'okay' and then 15 laps just seemed a lifetime, specially when you're out in the lead, trying to maintain it, not to push too hard, not to damage the car. But I was able to do it and as I said, just very very emotional.

Q:
Fernando, you ran one lap longer into the first stint. It looked as if you might have a fuel advantage: very very close on lap 38 as Lewis just said.

Fernando Alonso:
Yeah, very close. I think at the start it was also very close but I didn't manage to overtake Lewis and from then on, when you follow someone, you lose a little bit of downforce and it's difficult to get the tyres in the condition to push all through the stint because you damage the tyres maybe a little bit more when you run behind someone. I think I tried in the middle stint, and I was side-by-side once, here on the main straight but again, it was not enough to overtake him and the last stint was just a conservative one. It was very difficult to overtake, very difficult to follow anyone so I just started thinking of the French Grand Prix.

Q:
We saw you run a little bit wide on lap 46 as well. Was that perhaps a function of the tyres getting a little bit dirty?

FA:
Yeah, it's so difficult to run behind anyone here. I think on the main straight it helps you. You can gain one or two tenths on the main straight because you take the slipstream but in the rest of the corners, you lose so much downforce, you lose so much time. I think the start was the key point of the race because after that, I think whoever was second will finish second in the race.

Q:
How would you describe your start?

FA:
I think it was good but I think we both braked at more or less the same point. The start is always risky. I remember Canada going off on the grass and losing one position, so obviously it was with my team-mate, so you try to overtake but what you don't want is to finish the race in the first corner. Eight points are better than nothing so... we increased the gap to Ferrari which is one of the main things in this first part of the championship.

Q:
Felipe, third again, you probably don't want to hear that but it looked like a lot of pressure from Kimi at the end there, you were on slightly different tyre compounds at the end of the race.

Felipe Massa:
Yeah, there was big pressure. Kimi was on different tyres than me and for sure he had better grip, better track grip as well at the end of the race. So he was very much able to close the gap. But for sure you know, I did a good start, he didn't. I could manage to make a good gap there. And then he got close, but it was after the last pit stop. So then it was good, I managed to keep the car on the track, not making mistakes and just keep him behind.

Q:
How do you feel about the race against McLaren Mercedes, talk us through the first few laps. Do you feel you were any closer to McLaren than perhaps in Canada or Monaco?

FM:
In the first stint I was maybe a bit closer but they were pulling away the gap slowly, lap by lap, making three-tenths quicker and everything, and then he was difficult for me to follow. So they just created the gap, especially Lewis was going away quite quickly. And my car, I couldn't push so much because I started sliding around. Then I just saw them going away. So it was for sure quite difficult for us to beat them today. But it's good to finish third and fourth.

Q:
Lewis, returning to you for final thoughts. Two of your countrymen, Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell, followed their maiden win with another grand prix win. You're in good company. They both went on to win the world championship, of course. You say you're very emotional, just talk us through it again. You've had a little bit more time to think about it, this second grand prix win of yours.

LH:
Yeah, as I said, fantastic and really just extremely pleased and proud for the team. I would have never thought in a million years that I would be here today sitting against these drivers here and finishing, winning both races in North America. So a great leap in my career, in my life, and extremely proud and thankful for my family and to God and to the team.

Press conference:

Q:
Lewis, well done. What an amazing eight days for you.

LH:
What an amazing trip. It's been extremely intense. I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I've been treated very well here. And really we've been staying in the Hilton Hotel in New York and here and they've treated me very well. The weather has been fantastic, apart from in Washington with thunder and lightning. And then to come to Canada for my first time and here now to Indianapolis for my first time and have the best two races of my life has been really an amazing trip, as I said.

Q:
As Peter mentioned, a number of drivers, two English drivers he mentioned, but a number of other drivers, also, had successive wins. Is it something that you have learned, do you feel stronger after Montreal coming here?

LH:
Not particularly, mainly because it was another circuit I didn't know. But coming here obviously I knew that I could do well, but with the other drivers with their experience, experience is always the key. I generally, as a rookie, I lack the experience of some others but I have to make sure I maximize other areas to sort of compensate for that. Obviously Fernando was extremely quick this weekend and drove a fantastic race as always. But I managed to out-qualify him in qualifying and just stay ahead of him in the race. He was extremely quick, obviously on my tail for the mid stint when I had some graining on my tyres and just struggled to keep up the pace. But eventually it cleaned up and I was able to pull a gap.

Q:
The pair of you absolutely side by side at whatever it was, 180 miles an hour, what was that like?

LH:
I realised that I lost a bit of time through turn nine I think it was, just lost the back end. Then he obviously closed a good - he got close enough that he would slipstream me down the straight, and I was a bit nervous about that and saw that he was coming. But I had to make sure that I made one move and made it stick. So I moved into the inside and I knew that as long as I brake late, I knew where I had to brake, as long as I braked there, he would stay behind. But then obviously he was on me for the next few corners, and then I was able to break it again. But it's such a tough circuit when you lose a bit of time through the last couple of corners, that's it, you're really open to being overtaken. But as I said, Fernando is extremely fair, especially at the start of the race and done a fantastic job, so well done to him.

Q:
You are so incredibly close. Do you think in future races it's really going to come down to qualifying?

LH:
I don't know. I have to wait and see. As you can see, we're extremely close. But we're very, very close on the track and I think we are getting closer and closer off track, you know. And our respect for each other I think is growing and it's great. We're really happy for the team. But once again, I'm just proud and honoured to be sitting next to him as I've always looked up to him for the last few years.

Q:
Fernando, the reason I asked that question is what you just said to Peter that it was almost the grid positions that made the difference.

FA:
Yeah, this time I think it was the key of the race because, as you said, we were extremely close this weekend. I really think I was a little bit quicker in the race because when you follow a car in one second distance, something like that, means that you are a bit quicker because to follow that close is not easy. I had a good car all through the race, maybe with no graining, with no other problems. So, yeah, I think it was close this time, so, whoever is first in Turn One has 90 percent of the race.

Q:
You were a bit worried about your grid position because there had been something spilt, one of the old cars in the drivers' parade actually boiled over on the grid. Do you feel you lost a little bit of grip off the grid?

FA:
I don't think so. I don't think so.

Q:
So how close was it when you were at 180mph running side by side?

FA:
I don't know. One or two centimetres probably.

Q:
Is that close enough for you?

FA:
It was close but I think to overtake on this circuit you only have one chance, turn one and maybe because Lewis had that moment in turn nine as he said just now. I had an opportunity to be close enough in the last corner, so I had only one chance, lap 38. It was not possible so after that you cannot follow any closer than one second or one second and a half seconds. So yes, you just finish the race and get the podium at least.

Q:
At another time you seemed to make a great big detour over to the pit-lane?

FA:
Yes.

Q:
The reason for that?

FA:
I followed the other car [Hamilton's] for so many laps my overalls and everything were so black because the carbon brakes were coming into me every braking point. I think my brakes were hotter, all my car was hotter than normal, so I tried to pull away from the slipstream sometimes just to cool the car.

Q:
Felipe, obviously the McLarens in a class of their own today, do you feel that?

FM:
Yes, for sure. You can see that. It was difficult for me to fight with them. The consistency... the pace... they were a bit in front of us and it was difficult to fight. But third place, looking at today which was difficult, was a good position.

Q:
Different tyre strategy for the two of you [R?ikk?nen and Massa]. Do you think that Kimi's might have worked better for you?

FM:
Yeah because Kimi didn't have a new set of softs, so he didn't want to start on the scrub set of soft because maybe he lose grip on the start, then he would start on the new hard. But I think looking at the start, I didn't see it, but I saw that he lost some places so maybe it was not the right choice. But in the end of the race he was very quick so it was very difficult for me to keep him behind because he had better tyres, but it was good to finish third.

Q:
There was a big difference between the two tyres today?

FM:
Yeah, the soft was a bit more grippy so it was better. The degradation was not incredible compared to the hard. The hard was just sliding around, so it was difficult to keep the rear on the ground.

Q:
Do you think you can get back to being competitive with the McLarens?

FM:
Well, I hope so. We are going to work, for sure, a lot these two weeks to try to improve the car. To try and understand what we couldn't make and McLaren could. I think that is the best way to approach the next weeks. Working very hard. The [constructor's] championship for sure is not so close compared to the driver's points but we need to keep fighting, we need to keep improving the car and I think we have a good team to do that. We had some problems in the past and we improved that here, so we have to do the same.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...