Another special result for you yesterday in Austria: that’s three wins now this season! Talk us through it?
It wasn’t the easiest of races – trying to manage certain things that were a bit on the limit on the car. But in the end I had a very, very fast car again, so it was fantastic to take the win. It was great also to get a one-two and to be back in Austria. The country deserves a race. The fans were amazing and the atmosphere was spectacular all weekend, so thank you very much to them for that. It was just awesome!
You seemed confident, even after a tough qualifying session, that you could win the race. Why was that?
I still believe we have the fastest car and we had very good long run pace on Friday. I just didn’t get the best out of it in qualifying, so I was still pretty confident that our chances would be very good. Of course, you never know how you can overtake and things like that until it happens, but it all worked out well.
Strategy was an important part of the story today. Did the race turn out as you expected?
To be honest, yes it did. Pretty much exactly as we were trying to make it work. I thought I could pass Valtteri at the start, which I did, but then they were very quick on the straights and he just went flying straight by me again. I knew pre-race that even if I was third after the start, the chances were still very good to win the race because we had just a little bit more pace and less tyre degradation – or so we expected. That meant we could go aggressive on the stops which is what we did. It really worked out well so I was extremely happy with that. It was also great to extend the championship lead, which was my goal coming into the weekend.
The final five laps were pretty close with Lewis. How tense was that for you or did you always feel comfortable?
I generally felt comfortable in the last few laps. I thought that I could keep a good gap. On the final lap my tyres dropped away a little bit, but as soon as we got past the first couple of hairpins I knew that I was going to be fine. It wasn’t as close as some other races have been recently.
There’s now a 29 point gap between you in the standings. How significant is that?
It’s a nice gap to have but it’s still so early in the season. I’m just taking each weekend as it comes – trying to make the most each one with the car that we have and enjoying the moment. It’s great to go to the next race at Silverstone, a home race for us as a team, knowing that if we do a good job we can get pole and win the race. So again, I’m taking it step-by-step and every weekend my aim is to extend the championship lead.
If you win the championship this year, will you grow a moustache like your father?
We’re off to Silverstone next, a track that you know well and have been very strong at in the past. How are you looking forward to that?
I’m really looking forward to the next one. It’s a home race for the team, so it would be awesome to get another one-two there and to give something back to all of our colleagues at the factory.