Pit-lane to podium Lewis, that was also via the barriers of the second corner at the start. What a crazy afternoon you had…
It’s been a pretty crazy weekend. I was just pushing as hard as I could to see if I could get as high as I could and it turned out to be a great result.
When you got out of the car yesterday, you were disappointed you had that failure. Were you convinced Nico would win and you would struggle to get into the top five?
Absolutely. A big thank you to the team, they did a great job with the pit-stops and with the strategy and I just tried my best. The car’s been fantastic – when it’s going. Obviously a lot of points lost, because we could have had a much better weekend but we have a lot of strengths to look forward to in future races.
You were really struggling in the beginning. You were talking about the diff, you were talking about a vibration, we heard you were getting very hot in your seat, you were clearly nursing a few issues as well?
At the beginning it was obviously a mistake by myself, but the brakes were very, very cold; I locked up and I was gone. Fortunately I got going again, thank the Lord I didn’t damage the car and we managed some damage limitation again.
What does this third place mean to you or are you still regretting yesterday?
No, obviously this is damage limitation. On one hand I’m very grateful to have been able to get through with all the difficulties I’ve had this weekend, after yesterday and the first lap today. I can’t believe how things have gone but to be able to come back through was great. The safety cars obviously helped quite a lot but naturally I look at the fact that I had the pace this weekend I lost quite a lot of opportunistic points. We’re still there in the fight and fortunately I stayed ahead of my team-mate, which means I’m still there or thereabouts.
How hard did he come back at you?
He was catching me at three seconds a lap, so it was very, very tough at the end. Fernando, and big congratulations to Daniel, drove fantastically well, both of them. It was very difficult to keep him behind, and also with Nico, and impossible to get past Fernando.
We heard on the radio the messages from the team asking you to pull over and let Nico by, around about lap 50-51. Can you just explain your thoughts at that particular time?
I was in the same race as Nico. Just because he had one more stop than me doesn’t mean I wasn’t in the same race as him. And naturally if I’d have let him past, he would have had the opportunity to pull away and when he does pit, he’s going to come back and overtake me, so I was very shocked that the team would ask me to do that, to be able to better his position. To be honest, he didn’t get close enough to overtake, but I was never going to lift off and lose ground to Fernando or Daniel to enable him to have a better race. So that was a bit strange. But we’ve got a long way to go, moving forwards still and, as I said, thankfully I’m still in that battle, so, I hope we can come away stronger.
Going into the summer break, psychologically, what does it mean for you, the fact that you started in the pitlane, your team-mate started on pole, and you’re here and he isn’t?
That in itself is huge for me. I can’t express to you the pain that you feel when you have issues such as the issues that I’ve had in the last couple of races. It’s very, very difficult to swallow, and, to come back the next day and get the right balance between not attacking too much, and not making mistakes, all these different things. When you’re at the back you’re having to push way past the limit than perhaps you would from pole position or in the top five. So the fact that I’ve managed to come back through obviously is a showing of just how great this car is and how great this team is – but ultimately we’ve all worked hard for it so it probably feels better than a win, gliding from the lead. It definitely feels much more satisfying when you come back through. And, as I said, to be ahead and to win the fight is really encouraging.
During this crazy race, what was the main difficulty for you, trying to find your way on the wet track at the beginning or resisting your teammate at the end?
The beginning. The strange thing about starting from the pit lane is that you don’t get ready to go out. Your brakes are cold as you start, your tyres are brand new and obviously I experienced that into turn two. It was an interesting beginning to the race but I’m very grateful that I got through.
Three different drivers, three different teams, three different power trains in the last race of this part of the season. Does it mean that in the second part of the season we will maybe see some more competition or did the circumstances of the race create this situation?
I think it’s great for the fans to see. I’m sure today – people say it was a great race – that’s really what the fans want to see so I hope that continues for the future.