On the Podium with Edwin Moses
EM: Lewis, the gap was relatively small in the first part of the race. What happened in the second part?
LH: First of all, a fantastic job by the team. It was great to have a smooth weekend, getting the sessions and really dialling in the car and today. The effect was really putting the car in the place I wanted it and then it was really just controlling the gap between myself and Nico and saving the tyres for when I needed to use them. I had lots left in my tyres at the end there and I was looking forward to eking out a gap, but the safety car came out. We’ve had such great fans here this weekend – thank you so much for the support everyone with all the big banners.
EM: When the safety car came out you had a significant gap. Was that comforting?
LH: The safety car at the end wasn’t helpful, I guess for anyone, because it’s kind of an anti-climax when you have a good race like that. But naturally, as long as no-one was injured and all the cars got back safely that’s what matters.
EM: We wish we could see you at the Laureus World Sports awards next week, as well as Nico and of course Sebastian, as you all have been there. But you’re off to Bahrain, of course. It’s started off well this year and I know you’ll be hoping that you remain at the front?
LH: Of course. But as I said the team have been doing a fantastic job. We did a great job to come back from the last race where we kind of struggled a little bit. And to come here and up our pace and improve – it’s all down to the guys that are here building my car and the guys back at the factory. I’m massively proud and happy that we could get the job done today.
EM: Nico, another one-two for Mercedes-Benz. As a competitor I know it’s tough being a member of a team and an individual as well. How was your race today?
NR: Well, you wouldn’t know how it feels to finish second; you never did, did you! Well, that’s the way it is. I gave it everything in the end on the prime tyre to try to close the gap to Lewis and took some risks. But it didn’t pay off because my tyres just died off in the end, so there we go, I wouldn’t have managed to get any closer.
EM: But your tyres were good enough to keep the gap between you and Vettel that’s for sure?
NR: Yeah, definitely. We’re happy with the gap to Ferrari, having beaten them here after they beat us in Malaysia. It was very important for us as a team. A good, important comeback, so more of that for sure.
In The Media
Q: Lewis, many congratulations. Was the race as expected in terms of the challenge from Ferrari and, also, can you talk us through that radio message you got from the team about speeding up? Were you aware that Nico was getting so backed-up towards Sebastian Vettel?
LH: My job is to manage the car and bring it home as healthy and as fast as possible – and that’s what I did. I didn’t do anything intentionally to slow any of the cars up. But it was a great race and I’m really happy. Definitely going into the race we thought it would be a lot closer and we knew the Ferraris were very, very good with their long run pace and also looking after their tyres. So, today the real goal was to manage the tyres. So, I just managed it and got to really enjoy it, to be honest. A few of the real good fun laps were the laps before the pit stop, which I really enjoyed. Ultimately it was a much smoother weekend than we had in the last race –getting the full practice sessions. That made a real big difference to the balance of the car for the race. So I’m really happy.
Q: Were there further discussions and did you speed up a bit?
LH: I’m out there driving as hard as I can – but within the constraints of the tyres. They kept coming on the radio and asking me to pick up the pace but I was trying to manage the tyres. I was just trying to make my stint go as long as possible.
Q: Nico, how would you summarise your feelings after today’s race?
NR: It was great to beat the Ferrari and the team has done a great job since Malaysia. But I'm also a bit frustrated today, as I saw how much of a difference four hundredths of a second to Lewis in Qualifying can make. Lewis managed his tyres a lot in the middle stint and that put me at risk with Vettel right behind. But the team adapted to box me earlier for the second stop and stay ahead of the Ferrari after he had pitted to try and jump ahead through the undercut on new tyres. So that worked out - but I then had a long final stint to do and the tyres were beginning to give up in the final laps. I'm sure we will sit down and discuss it all now. But in general it's up to me to change the situation. I just need to make a better job on Saturday.