Lewis: “I was fighting hard and did what I could”
ON THE PODIUM
Lewis, it seemed that it all went wrong at the start again. We saw a little hiccup in Melbourne, another little hiccup here… any relation or two separate incidents?
I think two separate incidents – But both equally as painful, Perhaps this one today more painful… nonetheless, we still managed to get back up there and at least get some points. So, again, damage limitation. Congratulations to Nico – kind of an easy race for him, I assume. But I’m glad that it wasn’t more points and obviously I could have not finished the race, so…
Just tell us about that last pit stop. It seemed like you stayed out a bit longer. You were five seconds behind Kimi at one point and then you dropped to more than 12 seconds, so what was the thinking behind that?
Well, the team was hoping that there would potentially be a safety car or something. I had so much damage on the car that I couldn’t keep up with Kimi. I was fighting but the rear end was nowhere. I did what I could with it. At the end I was just keeping the tyres in case I got an opportunity with the safety car – but it didn’t come.
We saw you arriving this morning in traditional dress. You obviously love being here in Bahrain?
I do, as you can see… a big thank you to the fans that came here this weekend. I’ve got some incredible support here. I was trying to enjoy the festivities here and I’ve been so well taken care of, so a big thanks to the Crown Prince and I look forward to coming back next year.
IN THE PRESS CONFERENCE
Lewis, another recovery drive two weeks after Melbourne. Obviously this one a bit more difficult because you seemed to have quite a bit of damage to the car. How did that feel to you, trying to make your way through the field? Maybe you could give us a little detail on the start and that first corner?
Yeah, obviously I just lost a lot of performance from the car. I’m not quite sure what happened at Turn One – whoever was on the inside was in my blind spot so I didn’t see them. It was a racing incident – those kind of things happen. After that, it was just trying to manage the tyres – obviously with a lot less rear end – and trying to get as many points as possible. I did the best I could with it.
Was there a problem at the start? And when did you realise that Bottas was too late on the brakes and you could be in trouble?
I don’t really know what happened at the start. I don’t think there was any particular issue. I think it was just not a good getaway from myself – nothing technical or anything like that. Yeah, as I said, it was in a blind spot. I didn’t know if anyone was there, I didn’t know what had happened… but I’m glad that I didn’t spin. At least I managed to continue and still have some performance left in the car so that I could get back into the top three.
Did you have to run a more aggressive mode during the race to compensate for the lack of downforce?
We just ran the normal race mode – the same as we normally do.
IN THE MEDIA
I didn't get a good start today - but it actually wasn't as bad as the last one. They were completely different incidents – both painful, but this one probably more so! In Melbourne I had loads of wheel spin but this time I just didn't get away as well as I needed to and that was down to me. If you start on pole and go backwards it quickly becomes a domino effect. It's so easy to get clipped from there and unfortunately that's what happened at Turn One.
Nonetheless, I managed to climb back up there and at least get some points, so again it was good damage limitation. I could easily have not finished the race, so I'm glad it wasn't more points dropped in the end. I had so much damage on the car that I couldn't keep up with Kimi. I was fighting hard and did what I could with it – but it wasn't quite enough to catch him, so in the end I had to just save the tyres in case of a safety car.
A big thank you to all the fans who came out this weekend. I've got some incredible support here. I've been so well taken care of, so I look forward to coming back next year. Now I've got to wait until China for the next battle - but it's a track that has been good to me for many years, so hopefully things will turn around a bit for me there.