Aug 2, 2021
F1 2021 Hungarian GP – Post-Race Press Conference Transcript
Full post-race press conference of the F1 2021 Hungary GP from August 2, 2021. Read the full transcript here.
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Welcome to the top two finishes of the 2021 FIA formula one Hungarian Grand Prix. Our Winner he’s taking his first win in formula one, Esteban Ocon, and second place Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton will not be joining us because he’s currently suffering from fatigue and mild dizziness. Now Esteban, without wanting to be rude, I know Sebastian Vettel is on a very tight schedule. We’ve got lots of questions-
Sebastian Vettel: (00:30)
I have a lot of time
-for you I’ll just start with Sebastian. Sebastian, you said immediately after the race that you were frustrated, but it was a great race by you and what in the end made the difference in your battle with Esteban?
Sebastian Vettel: (00:44)
I think Esteban made the difference, he drove fantastic, fantastic race, and he did do a mistake. So frustration is maybe a big word, obviously, emotions run high after the line. I was a bit down because I thought we really have a chance to have a big surprise today, but the surprise was on Esteban side and he deserves it. So not much point to look for excuses. I think the guy won his first Grand Prix and it’s his day and his moment. I’ve tried absolutely everything to push him into a mistake, he had some minor lockups, but nothing big and it’s obviously not easy to pass here, but it’s also not easy to stay controlled and smooth like he did under pressure. So well done to Esteban.
You say he made the difference, but you did also lose one second in your pit stop compared to him. Was that also the difference today?
Sebastian Vettel: (01:36)
Probably, I need to have a look, I pushed really hard on the way in and probably a little bit too hard, lock the rears and triggered the anti stall. So it took me a little while and then I pushed like crazy on the out lap. It was close, but I tried, in the end I have no regrets. I really tried to make a difference, I knew that we were coming from a long way back and like I said, in the end, it’s not our race lost. It’s his race won.
Its been a couple of years, since you last won a race, just how much did you enjoy a race long fight up at the front?
Sebastian Vettel: (02:13)
No. For sure, it’s more exciting, it’s in the end what I’m thriving for, I’ve been in that position for so many years and I knew that today we got lucky, it was a great feeling to fight for something meaningful for podium and for the win the entire race. So I did enjoy that and a brilliant choice, the chase, but I was looking for that climax that didn’t come, but nevertheless I think it was fun today.
And Sebastian, final one from me. You say you got lucky, can you just talk us through the first 500 meters of this grand Prix?
Sebastian Vettel: (02:49)
Yeah. The first start, obviously I’ve had a really bad start and it turned out to be the right place to be and so I did get lucky, I think in the end. I took a bit of margin and people in front, in these conditions, it’s so easy to make a mistake. As we saw it can be quite costly and I really planned to be on the inside and it turned out to be the place to be, so other people are taking each other out and I had a clear track. Esteban obviously reacted to the last second and wasn’t a similar trajectory then and we were in a good place. So, with the restart, I think it was clear probably for both of us to go slick, so I was surprised to see Louis staying out and that made our race.
Thank you, Sebastian, enjoy the break. Esteban coming to you, our race winner, [crosstalk 00:03:38] the floor is now yours. So first of all, can you try and put into words what this means to you?
Esteban Ocon: (03:46)
Yeah, what a fantastic moment. I don’t have much words to be fair, it’s crazy. We were just talking about it with the team, not too long ago that the next step for us would be the top step as we did [inaudible 00:04:03] last year, but we were not expecting that to be today for sure. I just can’t be thankful enough for the trust that the team put in me, we come from a moment where three difficult races the team gave me trust on that. We overcame the difficult situation and we found base back in Silverstone and this weekend I think it has been a great [inaudible 00:04:28] and a fantastic race. Of course there’s been a lot of incidence in that race, but as we are in that position we’re chasing opportunities the whole time and today we got it. So, what a moment. Yeah, I will remember that forever.
Well, Esteban, you’ve dreamt of this moment since you first started carting, was that view from the top step of the podium as you dreamt it would be?
Esteban Ocon: (04:56)
Exactly. Yes. And on this track as well, it can sound weird, but it’s not the favorite track of many drivers I would say, but it is one of my favorites for sure on that [inaudible 00:05:13] , it is in the top two, probably top one now. But, I love just coming here and the support we get, the track, the flow, it’s an excellent track, and I was telling the team, I didn’t have great records here. I think the records just got good now.
This is your first win since GP3 in 2015. Did you feel rusty out front or did it all come straight back?
Esteban Ocon: (05:40)
No, I didn’t feel rusty and I’m sorry to disappoint, but it’s easier to fight at the front like we did now, to manage the openings that are behind, than to fight in the midfield how we are doing, this is much harder.
Esteban Ocon: (05:55)
So, we had training the whole time, my whole time formula 1 I had pretty good training the fight in the midfield is a lot tougher than what’s happening in the front. It was hard with Seb, obviously putting a lot of pressure, he gave me a hard time, but when you’re ahead you have clean air, you are the one who is dictating the pace on such track and in the end we just made everything perfect from the start, which was a difficult decision because Lewis normally doesn’t take wrong decisions, I’ve never seen him taking a wrong decision. So, to box when you’re [inaudible 00:06:33] on the road, it’s a bit heartbreaking at first, but glad that we did it, because we were a long way ahead and the other guys did a great pit stop as well. I heard you said that Sebastian had a slow stop. That’s probably what made the difference ’cause they would probably have undercut us on that so guys in the garage again top job by them.
Sebastian said earlier that you were inch perfect out front, but were there any moments at all during the grand Prix where it got close? I’m thinking of one instance, I think with Antonio Jevonnah he was coming out of the pit.
Esteban Ocon: (07:10)
Yes. I was not enjoying blue flags. Blue flags and me is not a great story, if I’m behind or in front, but it was very, very close. Once I got to that I think we were a little bit slower [inaudible 00:07:27] and Sebastian in this race, and that’s slowed me down. Basically, I was struggling to get into the blue flags [inaudible 00:07:35] for him to clear and Sebastian got DRS because of that. He almost made the move, it was very, very close, a bit too close for comfort. I just managed to put the gap then in the tight section and the car felt amazing in that tight section, we could pull the gap. So yeah, not all on the control, but good enough.
I asked Sebastian this question. Could you just talk us through those opening moments of the original start?
Esteban Ocon: (08:08)
Yes, we had a chat with we’ve Lance before the race because you know, Lance is an awesome starter in races. And he loves those conditions as much as I do. Normally we always ended up closer to the front on those and he said, it’s the moment to go, it’s easy to make a mistake, obviously, but I’m glad you avoided me. So he made obviously a bit of a bit of a way for me. So got a bit lucky of course, but I’m glad that I could have been behind Louis, just after that. Yes, man you’re all right?
Lewis Hamilton: (08:48)
I’m so happy for you, man.
Esteban Ocon: (08:49)
Thank you very much, buddy. Thank you.
Lewis Hamilton: (08:51)
A long time coming. Yes.
Louis, it’s fantastic to see you, I’ve just got one final question. Esteban this is your team’s first win for eight years. Just describe what is going to happen later tonight.
Esteban Ocon: (09:07)
I mean, it is an awesome moment in my career. That’s for sure. I don’t have words to describe it, but it’s the first win for, for the Renault group since I came back in Formula 1. And after what we’ve been through with the difficult times, just the trust they’ve put in me, I’m glad that they get this reward, and I also want to say a special thanks to Fernando, that has been fighting like a lion in that race, ’cause that probably contributed also to give us a gap, give us a bit of a breather. I said it too many different press out there. I received a lot of bad comments about Fernando before he joined the team. And I tell you that we are forming a great deal together, we are pushing the team in the same direction and hopefully it’s the first win of many for us and hopefully we can share a podium in short moments.
Very well done today.
Esteban Ocon: (10:11)
Thank you very much.
Louis It’s great to see you, now you’ve driven 277 Grand Prix’s, but we’ve rarely seen you look this drained after a race. Can you just describe how tough it is and how you’re feeling?
Lewis Hamilton: (10:28)
Well, once again, just a big congratulations to this dude here, what an amazing result for him and his team and they gave me hell out there. But, it was awesome racing, I mean, it was pretty on edge at least once, but it was great racing. Really difficult weekend or a day. Obviously, they had a lot of work to do from the back, very hard to follow here, but just giving it absolutely everything right till the last lap, in the hope that I could maybe catch these guys, maybe a couple laps more, we could have a bit of a duel, but I’m actually glad that we didn’t have any more laps because this is very much needed. I think in his journey this shows to everyone out there, his potential, I mean he’s racing against a two time world champion, Fernando’s not an easy driver to beat. So this really speaks volumes. [crosstalk 00:11:41].
Esteban Ocon: (11:41)
Thank you, man. [crosstalk 00:11:43]
Lewis Hamilton: (11:44)
Yeah, just so exhausted afterwards that it was one of the weirdest experiences had on the podium.
You mentioned Fernando Alonzo. How much did you enjoy your battle with them out there today?
Lewis Hamilton: (12:01)
Yeah, I mean, now looking back on it, it was amazing. I really was fantastic. I wish the cars could followed closer and excited for what the cars are like next year. Hopefully, that eradicates a lot of that bad drafting that we have here. But it’s a really difficult circuit to overtake in general and to follow particularly in that last sector, but great wheel-to-wheel battles. It literally was wheel to wheel at least once. I don’t really have too much more to say about it, when you’re racing against a two time world champion, he probably is one of the hardest drivers, but fair, I’d say today was maybe a little bit over on the limit.
Esteban Ocon: (12:53)
You asked them to give you behind.
Lewis Hamilton: (12:54)
Yeah, for sure. I totally get it and I will do the same for my team.
We enjoyed it very much. Thank you, Lewis. Let’s let’s open this to the floor now and we’re going to start with Alex please. Alex Kellen, Auto Sport.
Alex Kellen: (13:11)
Thanks Tom. It’s a question to Esteban, please. Esteban Ocon. Congratulations on the victory. I just wondered about the decision to go to slicks ahead of that second start. Was it something premeditated you guys had discussed under the red flag or was it decision you made as you were coming around back towards the pits and then also what happened when George Russell lined up alongside you and got past you coming out of the pit lane? How was that from your point of view? Thank you.
Esteban Ocon: (13:34)
Yeah, there was a lot going on for sure. But when I saw Lewis going on interns, I saw Sebastian behind on interns. You know, I felt quite, quite relaxed because from where we were, there was quite a lot of water still clearly, but the sun came out and basically the track was [inaudible 00:13:52] at such speed that we were not expecting having anybody. So, we’re having to turn one, it was right already. So I said to the team, because you know, it’s again another start after red flag. So you were both able to talk, if we are not able to talk probably would have been a different story, but yeah, it was clear to me that it was right. So I was discussing with the team what to do. What put me in a bit of a doubt was Lewis continuing straight ’cause do we send and the team messages, they usually don’t make mistakes at all.
Esteban Ocon: (14:28)
I got a bit in doubt once that happened, but it was definitely the clear thing to do. So we box great pit stop by the guys came back in front of everybody at the line and got the medium, it was working straight away. It was quite warm out there. I was quite slow to react ’cause I never did a start from the pit line, like it was my first one. So I thought it was allowed to overtake. So I didn’t say anything, in the stewards or of the team, I saw George directed better than us and passed. So I was ready to fight, but apparently it is not allowed. So, I go to the lead back after that.
Thank you. We’ll go to Christian please. Christian [inaudible 00:15:16] , Motor Sport Magazine.
First of all, congratulations Esteban. Questions for Lewis, exactly the opposite question. Can you talk us through that situation after the restart? Did you know that there is the chance to pit after the formation and how was the communication with the team? Thank you.
Lewis Hamilton: (15:26)
Yeah, hi. I know that we can pit. Obviously we all start it on the enters. And I try to just the formation that pushes giving the team information it was dry and all the corners. And so I kept telling them it’s dry, dry, dry, dry. And they said to stay out. I don’t really understand, but I’m sure it’s at the top of definitely a mistake from us all, but we went and we lose as a team and we bear the burden of the mistake together and we just keep fighting. So, the team did an amazing job with the strategy with pit stops and I just had to make it work out there. So, it was flat chat for the entire race and very, very hard with Thai temperatures and that. But nonetheless I enjoyed it.
Lets go to Rebecca, please. Rebecca Clancy The Times.
Rebecca Clancy: (16:44)
Thank you very much, Tom. A question for Lewis, please. We’ve just been told that you had to go and see the team doctor because you were suffering from fatigue and a bit of dizziness, and firstly, are you okay? And secondly, what you think caused that. Thank you.
Lewis Hamilton: (17:03)
I’m okay. Yeah. There was dizziness and everything got a bit blurry on the podium. So, I’ve been fighting all year already with staying healthy, I think after what happened at the end of last year, and it’s a battle.
Esteban Ocon: (17:40)
I’m just going to jump on that. It was a really hard race in general, this track with the heat, the humidity, the corners on that. You get the combination, you don’t have a breather here, so you need to really fight the car until the end. I feel flat. I feel completely dead as well. So, It’s not that Lewis has a certain issue or not, but I tell you I will have a good sleep tonight as well.
Lewis Hamilton: (18:09)
After your party.
Can we go next police to Scott? Scott Mitchell, please.
Scott Mitchell: (18:18)
Yeah. Thank you, Tom. It’s a question for Sebastian, please. And then if Louis wants to weigh in as well-
Scott, can I stop you there at Sebastian has had to leave, so he’s not actually in the room. So please ask away to Louis, but Seb’s not here.
Scott Mitchell: (18:35)
Absolutely. Lewis Seb wore a shirt with the pride colors on the grid and it looks like he’s been summoned to the stewards around the procedure to deal with that. It’s obviously something similar to what you had last year with your Briana Taylor t-shirt and falling foul of the FAA protocols. We don’t know obviously what the outcome will be for Seb, but are you hoping that for this sort of thing, that can be a bit of common sense applied because obviously I know breached his FFA protocol, but said, was trying to send a positive message earlier.
Lewis Hamilton: (19:05)
I think it’s wonderful that Seb has taken a stance this weekend really to speak out for those in the LBGTQ+ community here. I spoke with Elena at the beginning of the weekend and I think it was important for him to do so. So, I don’t think he probably won’t be in too much trouble, but we have to make a stand, we’re pushing diversity, includes inclusivity and that community 100% includes that is included in that, so I’m proud of him for it.
Thank you, and Andrew. Andrew Benson, please. BBC.
Andrew Benson: (19:56)
Thank you, Tom. Congratulates Esteban, first of all. This is Lewis though, Lewis you seem to have made a significant step forward as a team this weekend. Do you have an explanation for that at the moment? And do you think you can carry it forward beyond this race?
Lewis Hamilton: (20:14)
I really hope so. I tell you it’s definitely been a hard slope for us in terms of those guys with their update. I think it’s probably a combination of things, but they took a really good step. Once we got that midpoint Monaco onwards was intense and the upgrade really has worked. And then we’ve just been working on our procedures through the weekends and trying to extract more from the car. And I think now we’re a lot closer. This weekend has been very strong and definitely surprising to see how strong it is compared to them. So, proud of everyone back at the factory, as I said, who continued to not give up and even with today, with the big mess up, the team, still not giving up, keep pushing. And that’s what we do. We never give up, we keep pushing, keep fighting and I’m so honored to be able to race for a team like this. And we learn from these these mistakes, unfortunately, of course we wish it didn’t happen, but it’s not how you fall. It’s how you get back up.
Thank you Kristin [inaudible 00:21:38] please? Motor Sport.com.
Esteban Ocon: (21:40)
Thank you, Tom. Congratulations to both of you and thank you for creating some good content going into the summer break question is for Lewis. Lewis one point Toto came on the radio and he said, I believe it was, ‘you can win this Lewis’, does that’s, that provide extra motivation for you when it’s a different voice than Bono’s. So what does it do when, when Toto comes on the radio, which is quite unusual?
Lewis Hamilton: (22:04)
He’s got a great heart Toto, but with all due respect, when I got the call, I was like, I want whatever they’re smoking at the end of this race.
Lewis Hamilton: (22:15)
‘Cause you guys are so far ahead, and I had to make another pit stop, I think at the same time. And it was going to be impossible to catch you guys, but-
Esteban Ocon: (22:24)
-he believes in you, man.
Lewis Hamilton: (22:29)
You know, for sure it it’s when you’re out there, it can definitely seem lonely at some stages, you know? And sometimes you go such tunnel vision that it’s like 10 laps it’s like a light year. So much time has gone by in that period of time you feel like you’re traveling through time. It’s a very, very strange experience. And so then you forget people are on the other line. And so it’s nice to be reminded that they’re filled.
Phil Duncan please, PA.
Phil Duncan: (23:08)
Thanks Tom. Just one for Lewis. Lewis, just picking up on some comments you made earlier about your health, obviously you tested positive for COVID in December, and there’s obviously been a lot made about long COVID. Do you think that’s something that you’re suffering from given what you’ve spoke about earlier?
Lewis Hamilton: (23:29)
I haven’t spoken to anyone particularly about it, but I think it is lingering. I remember the effects of when I had it, and training’s been different since then, and the levels of fatigue that you get it’s different and it’s a real challenge, as I said. So just continuing to try and train and prepare the best way I can. Yeah. Today I think it’s, who knows what it is today, maybe it’s hydration. I don’t know, but I’ve definitely not had that experience. I had something similar, like in Silverstone, but this is way worse.
We’ll do one more. And Alex Callen [inaudible 00:24:23] you’re turn.
Alex Callen: (24:26)
Excellent. And it’s another question to Lewis please. And just a specific one again about the second start as you were, as you were coming around and you were reporting that there was something sort of quite heavy left-hand down on the steering. Can you explain what you were feeling there? And so did that have any impact on the decision making process about whether it’s come in and pit for slicks or not?
Lewis Hamilton: (24:46)
No, I didn’t just went to the grid on slicks and the steering wheel straight, and then we put the Whetstone and staring wasn’t straight. And I didn’t understand if, as I pulled away for the first start, it felt like the car was pulling a little bit to the left and didn’t understand it, but they said it was fine. And I don’t think the balance was spectacular in the race, and so it’d be interesting to see what exactly it is. If anything, but we’ll look, we’ll go through with a fine comb.
Alex Callen: (25:22)
Thank you, Louis.
Thank you, Esteban, as well. We’ll leave it there. Great job today.