DRIVERS – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes), Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari), Daniel RICCIARDO (Pink Bull Racing)
Let’s begin with our world champion and six-time pole sitter right here at Albert Park, Lewis Hamilton. Lewis, I feel you stated over the winter that you simply felt that final 12 months was one of the best you’ve pushed in your System 1 profession. Do you anticipate having to go to a different stage this 12 months in competitors these gents?
Lewis HAMILTON: I plan to. That’s what I’ve been working in the direction of.
Why did you are feeling that final 12 months was your finest? What needed to come collectively for you?
Lewis HAMILTON: It was only a mixture of issues and clearly with the strain that was on us as drivers, I feel it was simply probably the most full 12 months.
Thanks. A easy query for you Sebastian: are you able to and Ferrari discover the velocity to beat this man over a complete season this 12 months?
Sebastian VETTEL: We don’t have the reply now. We strive. It’s a protracted season. If it was one race it will be a special story, however it’s plenty of races.
To you, Daniel: in the previous few years Pink Bull haven’t been aggressive on the opening spherical. This 12 months it seems to be such as you had higher winter preparation, so do you assume this might be your only Australian Grand Prix for some time?
Daniel RICCIARDO: I imagine so. We had a great winter. It’s all there in entrance of us now. I feel we’re nonetheless the highest three groups – Merc, Ferrari and us. I feel we’re nonetheless going to be main the pack for now. So hopefully we’ll be deep in that group and have an opportunity to face up on the rostrum.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Andrew Benson – Newpaper24 Sport) Lewis, how essential is it to you to hold on forward of Sebastian by way of stats in your profession and finish your profession forward of him as nicely?
LH: It’s not one thing I’ve ever actually considered to be sincere. I don’t significantly have an opinion in the direction of it. I’m simply going to maintain working as onerous as I can to proceed combating up the entrance and hopefully with that comes some good outcomes.
Right here’s one for you: when you received from pole it’s an all-time document, you beat Michael’s document. One thing to goal for.
LH: Ah, OK.
Q: (Giles Richards – The Guardian) Lewis, you say you don’t chase stats however you have got recognised that you could possibly attain Fangio’s document this season. Have you considered that some extra now that you’re firstly of the season?
LH: I’ve not, truthfully. It’s a protracted, lengthy season so that you don’t actually take into consideration these form of issues, you don’t take into consideration what might be within the sense of matching others. In my thoughts I’m making an attempt to interrupt down new limitations, push the envelope. Attempting to see how far I can take, firstly, the chance I’ve after which clearly the flexibility I’ve and reside to my full potential. I don’t know what that’s, and that’s what I’m discovering.
Q: (Andrew Benson – Newpaper24 Sport) Lewis, how essential is it to you to hold on forward of Sebastian by way of stats in your profession and finish your profession forward of him as nicely?
LH: It’s not one thing I’ve ever actually considered to be sincere. I don’t significantly have an opinion in the direction of it. I’m simply going to maintain working as onerous as I can reside to my full potential and that’s what I’m discovering.
Q: (Leon Alepidis – F1fan) A query to all of you. As Renault is already contemplating strategically to have a fourth engine for the 12 months. Assuming you’ll all keep at that do you set your religion in your crew to go on with three. Would take into account down the road, within the closing phases of the championship, to go for a fourth engine in an effort to keep away from a DNF and a penalty as an alternative of solely a penalty?
DR: It’s onerous to start out desirous about that now. I had just a few engine penalties final 12 months and we’ve obtained one much less [engine] this 12 months so it’s probably – I don’t wish to say it’s particular – nevertheless it’s clearly probably that we could encounter one thing like that or everybody could encounter one thing like that. I feel it relies upon the place you’re within the championship. Should you attempt to lower your losses I suppose then possibly that’s what you’ll do nevertheless it’s for positive too early to start out desirous about that. I feel we’ll keep optimistic and attempt to get these three house to Abu Dhabi.
What about you Sebastian, have you ever checked out it. Is there a efficiency acquire in utilizing 4 throughout the season?
SV: I’m positive we checked out it. I don’t assume it’s the plan however I’m very assured that we’re not utilizing 4 engines this weekend, so we don’t want to fret now.
LH: I don’t actually have rather more to say.
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Motion and Velocity Sport) Daniel, you say the crew is one of the best ready it’s been in fairly some time. Is that extra strain on you? It that extra strain, extra enjoyable, much less enjoyable? How do you take a look at it?
DR: It needs to be extra enjoyable. Not beginning final 12 months wasn’t enjoyable in any respect. So it needs to be extra enjoyable. Even little issues. Final 12 months we missed the anthem on the grid as a result of I used to be within the storage making an attempt to get the factor going, or be there for when it obtained going. I missed plenty of the Sunday build-up, which was not enjoyable. For positive this preparation goes to imply extra enjoyable this weekend and we’ll see the place that enjoyable takes us?
Q: (Ian Gordon – The Mirror) Lewis, you stated you’re pushing the envelope. Do you assume you’ve reached your peak as a driver or are you continue to studying?
LH: I hope not.
Q: (Ian Gordon – The Mirror) Is it a peak age for a driver? Or do you simply stick with it studying?
LH: Once more I hope not. I’m positive there’s a peak when for a driver when their health stage…. When it will get tougher to achieve the health stage that we do at present. When your curiosity begins to say no, when your drive begins to say no, I suppose that’s if you’re over your peak. However I positively don’t really feel I’m that. I’m positively in a great vary now and that’s the place I must proceed, to extract probably the most from it.
How about you two? Daniel, are you peaking?
DR: Not but, nonetheless younger.
SV: I don’t know. I feel it’s superb. Lewis is just a little bit older and he’s not peaking but, so I’ve obtained a lot to sit up for.
Q: (Andreas Haupt – Auto Motor und Sport) What’s your opinion concerning the further DRS zone and is it useful or not?
DR: I don’t assume it hurts. It’s sometimes been a fairly onerous observe to overhaul. I feel, as nicely, with the vehicles, we’re going quicker and quicker and following a automobile is getting tougher and tougher at some circuits, so I feel they’ve been proactive and tried to assist out a trigger right here. I don’t know if it’s going to essentially create overtaking into that nook however it might no less than put you into the zone to then have an opportunity someplace else.
LH: I feel Daniel answered it nicely.
Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) Do you assume the subsequent world champion is sitting behind the desk now, or standing exterior talking Dutch?
DR: Why are you taking a look at me?
LH: I don’t have reply for you. [Sebastian] do you have got a greater reply?
SV: I feel we hope the one sits right here. I feel it’s apparent no?
Let’s put it this fashion, do you assume the one exterior talking Dutch is able to problem for a world championship?
SV: Who do you imply?
LH: There are plenty of Dutch individuals right here.
SV: Particularly for TV and journalists.
DR: We’ll add a ninth to this desk?
DR: We’ll add a ninth to this desk. We’ve obtained eight between us.
Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Lewis, considered one of your former team-mates this week stated that inconsistency was your largest weak point. I’m simply questioning whether or not you assume that’s the case. And Seb, what’s your plan to beat Lewis. Have you ever thought over the winter about one of the best ways to do this?
LH: I feel I proved that’s not the case final 12 months and… yeah… once more, I feel there’s lots of people that must get headlines, and so possibly that’s a technique of claiming it. No, the purpose this 12 months is to be much more constant that I used to be final 12 months. I feel consistency was the rationale that I received the Championship final 12 months.
And Seb, do you have got a grasp plan?
QSV: Yeah, all laid out – nevertheless it’s not with me, it’s in my room, so, after all, prime secret, so I can’t provide you with any particulars.
Q: (Jonathan McEvoy – Each day Mail) Sebastian, do you see any weaknesses in Lewis? How would you describe them, or see them? What are they? If there are any.
SV: Nicely, there aren’t many, so I feel he’s doing a really, superb job for a few years now. So, I feel it’s at all times a little bit of a bizarre query to reply when the particular person is sitting proper subsequent to you. However, as I stated, there aren’t many. I’m positive all of us have our weaknesses. Possibly some are a part of our characters, possibly some are a part of our driving – however to be sincere I don’t take into consideration these an excessive amount of. I take into consideration mine quite a bit and attempt to get higher at what I want to enhance. However yeah, regarding different individuals, it’s not in my arms. So, I attempt to end my plate.
LH: I feel I Share the identical weak point with everybody on this room. Everybody loves pancakes. That’s actually my solely weak point.
DR: Pancakes once more.
Q: (Ben Hunt – The Solar) Lewis, are you up for it this 12 months? You appear just a little bit jaded right here – I don’t know if it’s jetlag or whatnot – however are you up for the battle this 12 months?
LH: I’m positively not drained – that is the 12th season of doing the press convention. I’m not probably the most enthusiastic about this part of the season and the race weekend – however I’m trying ahead to getting within the automobile.
Are you up for the battle?
LH: In fact.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Sebastian, had been you stunned that Kimi began an Instagram – and are you planning to comply with the instance?
SV: ‘Sure’, and ‘no’ are my solutions. Finnish solutions. Brief.
Q: (Andrew Benson – Newpaper24 Sport) Sebastian, can I take you again to your first reply, you had been requested when you might beat Lewis and also you stated ‘if it was one race it will be a special story however possibly over the season’ or one thing like that. Does that imply you’re not assured this weekend that Ferrari are…?
SV: …no however I feel the query was whether or not we… who’s popping out of prime, form of. I feel Mercedes is true and I feel Lewis is true to be the favorite, to place for this 12 months – nevertheless it’s a protracted season so I feel, y’know, clearly, that is one race, Melbourne is specific in some ways. I feel all of us look forwards to kick off the season, to prepare, get within the automobile and race. I feel, y’know, we have now all the explanations to be assured. Our automobile is nice. There’s stuff to return, so a lot to sit up for – however often at this level you don’t know the place the others are. So, that’s why it’s a bit pointless to return right here and say that you simply’ll blow everybody away. Based mostly on testing I feel we’re in good condition. We might be in higher form nevertheless it’s at all times like that.
Q: (Jonathan McEvoy – Each day Mail) To Sebastian once more, how wouldn’t it imply so that you can go stage with Fangio?
SV: I feel it’s a little bit of the same reply to what Lewis gave earlier. Clearly, I’ve had extra time to consider it than Lewis had. Multiple winter. However… yeah… I don’t know. I’m not setting this stuff out and planning or trying ahead to what might probably occur. Definitely, if it’s going to occur it will imply lots – after which I feel you begin to realise – however now I don’t see the purpose of considering ‘what if’. I’ve lots on my plate now and I’m glad additionally to sit up for what’s proper in entrance of me, not what might be sooner or later sooner or later. Ideally, it’s lower than 12 months away – nevertheless it’s a great distance. I feel everyone knows what number of issues want to return collectively to have the ability to battle for the championship in the direction of the tip of the season. After which to win it. Yeah. Additionally, I feel these days the occasions are completely different. I feel it’s very completely different occasions to when Fangio achieved it, in comparison with at present. So, each period has its personal challenges, actually they had been a bit completely different again then. So yeah, it’s not in my thoughts now, let’s say.
(Q: Yianni Mavromoustakos, talkingtorque.com.au) query for all three drivers: how do you are feeling concerning the shift in course of System One for the reason that takeover of Liberty Media?
LH: I don’t know what to say. I simply heard the brand new anthem. Jogged my memory of [TV programme] Gladiators. Do you keep in mind Gladiators in England? Used to observe that on a Saturday night time. We’re going to be the brand new Gladiators. I feel there’s been plenty of good progress over the past 12 months by way of how we have interaction with individuals and the way we have interaction with followers and the openness – however I feel it’s nonetheless a part of a protracted technique of studying the place to go. I don’t assume anybody on this room is aware of precisely what’s the key to System One transferring forwards and succeeding. I feel it’s a really troublesome query to reply however I feel they’re doing one of the best they’ll and we’re all making an attempt to assist them one of the best ways we are able to.
DR: I agree with that. I feel there’s been some good initiatives as nicely inside the paddock. Particularly at plenty of the European races with the fastened crew buildings. Looks like week-in, week-out you’re simply rolling into the identical deal and everybody goes straight to their motorhome and that’s form of it – however there’s usually plenty of buddies or followers or VIPs no matter in and amongst the paddock however they’re secluded. They’ve tried to create like a bar and a little bit of a standard space, obtained some music going within the paddock, and simply create a bit extra of an environment. Once more, the on-track stuff for us, the racing, that doesn’t change, however no less than the followers, spectators for the weekend get a great deal. I feel Melbourne’s at all times accomplished a great job so far as placing issues on, as the entire weekend goes, like filling it up with different racing and different actions, so I feel they’re studying to undertake some methods to create extra of an occasion across the race, so everybody’s not simply residing for that Sunday afternoon: there’s extra occurring.
How about you Seb? You’ve stated you’re not getting any nearer to stepping into social media – however what do you consider the job that’s being accomplished globally?
LH: …I assumed you had been on social media!
LH: I feel I’m following… somebody
SV: Nicely, to whoever it’s, congratulations! It’s not me. What did I wish to say now? Yeah, from a driving standpoint there’s clearly not that a lot that has modified. The rules have been set earlier than there was new individuals taking up. I feel it’s nice to see and I heard final 12 months constantly across the observe individuals supporting us. There have been extra issues to do, it was a bit extra enjoyable, which I feel is nice. Usually, I feel I’m a traditionalist and I like to carry on to sure issues, so most likely there’s plenty of issues I’m not a specialist in and I don’t want to know – so I’m a bit… yeah, confused why the races begin later, a bit unhappy that there are not any extra grid ladies – however apart from that, not many modifications but. I feel we have to wait.
Q: (Chip Le Grand – The Australian) It’s a uncommon factor in any sport when you have got two enduring champions which might be each on the peak of their powers so for you, Lewis and Sebastian, how particular is it to Share your careers on this means and heading into this season the place I suppose we’re all taking a look at it as a little bit of a decider, how a lot moreover particular does that make it, figuring out that the opposite man is so good?
LH: Finally it’s a privilege to be in System One, it’s a privilege to be racing for the groups that we’re racing for and for me and Mercedes, with the heritage that they’ve, to be part of the game that’s progressing and altering with the occasions and to be on the forefront of it, competing in opposition to one of the best drivers which you could compete in opposition to, I feel that’s… if you come to the tip of your profession, you wish to know that you simply competed in opposition to one of the best. There are those who bow out early, there are those who have received championships possibly that haven’t been as aggressive and the final word purpose is to be… to be one of the best, I feel it’s a must to go up in opposition to one of the best. It’s been a terrific expertise to have the ability to race in opposition to Sebastian, he’s obtained the 4 World titles, probably the most of another driver on the time and I feel that is an thrilling 12 months for System One followers, being that we have now two 4 time World Champions battling it out however Daniel’s been smiling quite a bit at present so I feel you’re going to be stunned this weekend simply how aggressive Pink Bull are. There’s plenty of hype round our crew, for instance which I feel may be very troublesome to actually take a lot discover of as a result of the final take a look at was just a little bit distorted with the observe the way in which it was and everybody was on completely different gas masses so I’m excited to see how all of us fare up as soon as we get into follow.
SV: Nicely, I feel when you… I agree with Lewis. Clearly to start with it’s a privilege to have the ability to get an opportunity to show your self in System One, then to have the ability to race in System One. Then I feel if you get in it’s all about successful. You wish to win, you don’t take a look at anything. Most likely in a while, after you’ve received just a little bit, you get a bit extra perspective and open your horizons as nicely after which I feel it turns into one thing particular to win in opposition to one of the best. In my case, clearly, I feel if I take a look at the individuals I raced all through my profession then I feel it’s at all times been form of the identical individuals which ranging from karting age, even when I didn’t race Lewis in karting however you had been conscious. Then you definately transfer on, we met just a little bit later in System Three the place he was lots higher than I used to be after which in System One in the end however yeah, you then care extra about who you race in opposition to and what it means to you, it offers you extra satisfaction. And now, clearly, I’m trying to find the final word satisfaction to win with Ferrari which is the best crew in historical past, the best crew within the paddock and that’s my final goal now, to win with Ferrari and win in opposition to one of the best which arguably… I’m positive there’s loads of numbers that you simply’re all conscious of, arguably, and Lewis is considered one of them.
Q: (Phil Branagan – Auto Motion) Lewis and Sebastian, as Daniel sits right here at present, he doesn’t have a deal for 2019. What would you prefer to say to encourage him to affix your respective groups subsequent season?
SV: I don’t know. I’m positive he’ll discover a seat so yeah, I don’t know what he’s as much as or what he needs. I don’t understand how a lot he’s asking however as I stated… I’m assured he’ll discover a seat. We solely shared one 12 months collectively, I knew him earlier than that and we had one 12 months collectively which wasn’t nice for me, it was nice for him. However in any case, I feel we get alongside so I wouldn’t thoughts if we get collectively once more sooner or later however I don’t know what his plan… I feel he has a few choices and I don’t assume he must rush.
Q: Lewis, do you are feeling the identical means?
LH: I might simply say that an essential factor is simply actually to have a look at the historical past of drivers and issues that drivers have stated previously and check out to not alienate the crew that you simply’re in. It’s all good and whereas hoping at some stage to expertise one thing new in one other crew however there’s lots of people in our groups and it’s actually essential to maintain them inspired and targeted on you as a driver, that will help you obtain your purpose and when you take a look at… there are some drivers of current years who’ve made dangerous selections in upsetting and rocking the boat and that so yeah, he’s in a terrific place nonetheless. Pink Bull, I feel, this 12 months can actually have a combating probability to win the championship and the opinion of the place you would possibly wish to go, if it’s not the place he at the moment is, could shift.
Q: We have now to have your rebuttal to that, Daniel.
DR: Nicely stated, nicely stated by each. Yeah, I really feel like I’ve answered already so many like contract talks and we haven’t even obtained the primary race of this 12 months accomplished so yeah, I’m simply going to place all these talks on maintain for some time and sure, it is a 12 months which… clearly our prep’s been nicely, our prep’s been good and I actually actually hope that Lewis is true that we are going to have an opportunity to battle for a title and that may in the end make me very glad after which we’ll then… I feel, yeah, as Seb stated, take my time after which see what occurs in… ask me in six months’ time.
Q: (Gaetan Vigneron – RTBF) Final 12 months the principles imposed numbers on the automobile, the identify of the motive force and so forth. And this 12 months, with the halo, it’s even unimaginable to recognise the helmets of the drivers. Is the drivers’ identification one thing you care about for the viewers, for the followers, for the TV commentators and do you have got any solutions to enhance the state of affairs?
SV: We ought to be allowed to design the halo.
LH: I don’t have a suggestion for it however I’ve observed that you simply… it’s virtually pointless of us portray the helmets these days so I’m most likely going to do away with my paint on mine. Saves weight however yeah, I don’t actually have a suggestion for it. I’m positive they’ll provide you with one thing.
Q: Is it essential to you, was it essential to you as a fan if you noticed the drivers’ helmets popping out if you had been a child?
SV: Yeah, yeah, positively and clearly we are able to’t negotiate the place of the halo, we are able to’t put it in the back of the automobile. I don’t know, possibly it ought to be as much as us to design the halo, I don’t know. That might be an concept, simply so as to add a component to what makes it completely different from the remainder.
DR: Yeah, the one factor I might consider was placing one thing on the halo to differentiate teammates. I feel we… is it the digital camera or the rollhoop or no matter that generally one driver has yellow so you’ll be able to form of inform just a little bit there so possibly do one thing between teammates with the halos simply to present followers just a little little bit of an concept who’s behind the wheel as a result of yeah, you don’t actually see the helmet now? We’re fairly hidden. Yeah, that’s all I can consider for now brief time period.