Lewis: “I have every faith and confidence in my guys”
On the Podium with Martin Brundle
MB: Lewis, you stayed out of trouble on the first lap and there was plenty of that going on in front of you?
LH: Absolutely. It was not the easiest first corner but all races have been the same so far.
MB: So are you pretty happy? You’ve had a difficult weekend – but you must be pretty satisfied to be up here, even though it’s only second place?
LH: Yeah, absolutely. I’m really happy for the team and, you know, I got the points.
MB: Some critical overtakes you made that really made your afternoon – one on Kimi and the other on Valtteri Bottas…
LH: Yeah. I mean, with Kimi I don’t know if he was expecting me to overtake there, which was great. And with Valtteri I was from quite far back but he didn’t seem to defend, so it was quite easy.
MB: You got the gap down to 7.7s and must have seen Nico just down the pit straight. Was there a moment where you thought “I could still win this”?
LH: There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I could win it. I had the pace but then I had a problem with the engine again, so I had to back off.
MB: That was the water pressure situation we heard about? So you had to back out of it a little bit to protect the engine?
LH: Yeah, I wasn’t at full throttle down the straights, so just trying to look after it.
In the FIA Press Conference
Q: Lewis, you were probably one of the only drivers up here to see what happened at the start and to make your way through the chaos. How was it from your point of view? How difficult was it to get through? Then, your problem with the water pressure late in the race – how serious was that?
LH: I just caught a small glimpse of some drama happening in the corner of my eye. I knew someone looked like they were spinning so I drove wide to avoid that. Then, when I got to Turn Three, one of the Ferraris was right next to me and all of a sudden I heard a big bang and he was gone – so I don’t know really what happened. After that, I don’t know how critical the engine was. There was no indication for me in the car but I did have to slow down.
Q: Without this problem, do you think it would have been possible to fight with Nico? At one moment you were 7.7s behind him…
LH: I think it’s impossible to really say right now – but the car felt good. At that time I was lapping a little bit quicker than Nico so I was chewing away. There was quite a big gap but it did come down from 13 seconds to 7.5 seconds or something like that. That was the point where I had to back off and drive a second slower through the laps, hoping that the car was going to make it. I had no indication and didn’t really know what the biggest issue was or whether the engine was going to make it, so I just tried to nurse it home.
Q: Were you surprised?
LH: I’ve been surprised for the last two weekends…
In the Media
“Firstly, I would like to thank the guys who came together to get the new parts over here from the factory last night – and then to the mechanics who worked all through the night to get everything prepared for me to go out there and race today. The guys on my side of the garage are having a really hard time of it at the moment – but I have every faith and confidence in them.
“We’ve swapped things round in the garage a bit this season but that is absolutely not the reason we’ve been having issues. It hasn’t been the case for the past three years and I have no reason to believe it would be now. Without their hard work I wouldn’t even have got to this point, so a big thank you to them once again.
“The first corner was pretty hectic. I don’t know what happened – but I saw something happening in the corner of my eye and just thought “I’m not getting caught again!” I managed to get out of the way and avoid it – but if I’d turned in I would have collected them. It was pure instinct and I’m glad I was able to come out without any contact this time.
“From there I had good pace and I felt like I could challenge for the win – but then there was the water pressure problem which ended that chance. It was tough to hang on at the end but I handled it as best I could. I had to really nurse the car home and I’m just relieved to have made it to the flag after how this weekend has been. I’ve got a long way to go yet this season with not many healthy engine parts left, so we need to do a better job on reliability.”