Race - Turkish GP 2020 - Team quotes
Haas F1 Team driver Kevin Magnussen finished 17th while Romain Grosjean was unable to reach the conclusion of Formula 1’s Turkish Grand Prix, held Sunday at Intercity Istanbul Park.
Magnussen started from 13th on Pirelli’s Cinturato Blue wet tires as the field struggled for traction on a wet and slippery surface. Magnussen made a customary strong getaway to capture a top 10 spot and preserved his position after exchanging wets for Green intermediate rubber on lap eight. Magnussen remained in touch in the points-paying spots but upon coming into the pit lane for a second time on lap 34 a cross-threaded wheel nut on the left-rear tire delayed his progress. Magnussen had to stop at the end of the pit lane, wait for his mechanics to address the situation, prior to re-joining the action. The significant time loss relegated Magnussen to the rear and he classified 17th.
Grosjean took the start 17th on wet tires and picked up one position on a frantic opening lap. Grosjean switched to intermediate tires on lap eight and continued to circulate in the treacherous conditions before opting for another set of intermediates on lap 37. Grosjean was tapped into a spin by Williams’ Nicholas Latifi and on lap 52 came into the pits to retire the car, which was two laps down, having sustained substantial damage to the left-hand side of the VF-20’s floor.
Lewis Hamilton claimed a record-equalling seventh Formula 1 title with the 94th victory of his career, drawing level with Michael Schumacher’s achievement. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez claimed second with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third.
Haas F1 Team maintains ninth in the Constructors’ Championship with three points.
Haas F1 Team will be back in action for the Bahrain Grand Prix, to be held at the Sakhir International Circuit, from November 27 to 29.
“It was a tricky race as suspected – it was very slippery. We struggled all weekend to generate tire temperature. I didn’t feel very comfortable in the car, or at least I couldn’t really push the way I wanted. There were times in the race it was getting better, other times it wasn’t. Then Nicholas (Latifi) crashed into me which heavily damaged my floor. We retired the car shortly after that. We were struggling in these conditions from the beginning, it was always going to be a hard race. If there were mixed conditions maybe we could have done something, but in a pure wet race it was harder.”
“The race had been going really well. The tires really wore down to the carcass, and when they got to that stage we were really strong. I think we cost ourselves some points today. I guess a tire didn’t come on I guess at the pit stop. I had to stop the car and get pulled back. I lost two laps and that was it really. We had really good speed in the car, so once again it’s very sad that we’ve missed a points opportunity.”
“The race was going in the right direction, at least for Kevin (Magnussen). We were solid there in the top 10, looking quite stable, and then we had a bad pit stop again. That took us out of the points. From there on we just couldn’t do a lot. It was a very interesting and exciting race, but we weren’t part of it to get points. There’s nobody else to blame but ourselves. We need to fix this going forward.”
— George Russell finished 16th whilst Nicholas Latifi retired from the Turkish Grand Prix
— George and Nicholas both started from the pitlane on the intermediate compound tyre
— George ran a two-stop race, pitting on laps 32 and 42 each time for the intermediate Pirelli tyre
— The team retired the car of Nicholas Latifi due to damage following a collision with Romain Grosjean
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
The weekend ended as it began with tricky conditions throughout. We chose to start both cars from the garage on Inters in the hope that we could make some early gains with hot tyres and avoiding the stint on Extreme wet tyres. George made good initial progress and the plan was working well. However, as the tyres began to wear, there was a difficult phase when used tyres had insufficient rubber left, but new tyres were unsuitable for the drying conditions. Nicholas was forced to retire after a collision with the Haas damaged his car. Unfortunately, the track never dried enough for slick tyres as this would have added another dimension to an exciting race and would have suited our strategy.
It has been a very difficult weekend throughout but the team in Turkey have acquitted themselves very well and we have gained a lot more experience of the Pirelli tyres, especially the Inters. Sadly, we just didn’t have the pace this weekend, but we look forward to pushing again for the final triple-header sequence in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
We made the decision to start from the pitlane, which was always the intention. On the laps to grid I knocked the front wing off at the pit entry, but the guys did a great job to get the car fixed. The race itself was very tricky in the opening stages, but then we found ourselves in P11 and it was looking really promising, the car and tyres were feeling good. From then, the tyres dropped off, so we boxed for another set of intermediates which didn’t work. None of us were able to push the car to the limit, slipping and sliding around. This weekend wasn’t a lot of fun which is a shame as it is a fantastic circuit and we didn’t get the opportunity to fully appreciate it. A massive congratulations to Lewis, he keeps on delivering and is setting the bar for all of us to chase.
We had some damage on the car after contact with Romain Grosjean, so we decided to retire. I was getting lapped, but my mirrors were so dirty that I literally couldn’t see behind me. I knew I had to move over but it was difficult to judge where they were. There was no grip out there and therefore you can’t generate tyre temperature, so with the damage on the car, there was no point staying out. There was no part of the race that was enjoyable for me and overall, it was a weekend to forget.
“Today was just a very difficult race to be honest. The start was not great and I dropped back to fourth with the lack of grip on the dirty side of the grid. I got back up to third and tried to follow Checo through the kink but washed out massively which put me onto the green on the exit kerb and I had a big spin. I tried to keep it out of the wall but flat spotted my tyres and needed to pit. With fresh tyres of course you very quickly catch up with the guys in front but then you can’t pass. There’s just one line around here and already that line is very slippery and you just have to do the same line as the person ahead which is very frustrating. Also, the fact that the track wasn’t really drying meant we couldn’t switch to slicks so we had to stay on intermediates which just get destroyed pretty quickly. It was a complicated race with a mixture of just following the car ahead, having no grip and trying to survive! It’s not been a great day and I guess it was just not meant to be.”
“I have mixed feelings as everything was going to plan and it looked like we were on for the win but it was a strange race and finishing seventh is definitely confusing. We have been so competitive all weekend so today is a tough one to take. Both of us had poor starts but we picked our way through the field and when we pitted for inters, we had incredible grip and we were so quick. The pace was really strong but then we boxed for a second set of inters and we had no grip and no pace so there’s a bit of head scratching. It’s hard to understand but we’ll sit down and understand it as these conditions were so unusual. This weekend has been going really well, I’m happy with the progress we’ve made and some things on my side of the garage have definitely helped so I can’t wait to get out there in Bahrain and get going again.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal
“In conditions that we felt strong in all weekend we fell short in an incredibly challenging race. Max and Alex both lost out after a very slippery getaway on extreme wet tyres, with both dropping back into the pack emerging fourth and fifth at the end of the first lap. We were able to get the jump on Seb after the first pit stop, giving Max track position and enabling him to close up and attack Sergio. Max struggled to make a move without DRS at that stage of the race and got too close to Sergio in his wake and had a spin. We were then forced to pit him for new intermediate tyres putting him on the back foot and well down the order. Alex then took on the challenge and was quicker than the two Racing Points ahead before also experiencing tyre issues and a spin which saw us pit him earlier than we would have liked and from there on both drivers were well down the order. Sixth and seventh are disappointing positions to end our 300th race at a weekend that held so much promise but congratulations must go to Lewis for achieving his record equaling seventh world title in truly impressive style out there today.”
“It wasn’t a very eventful day. I just drove my race and finished P12, there wasn’t much that we could have done better. I’m a bit frustrated because there are no points for us today, it’s not pleasant to fight the car all race and finish with no reward. It was a very tricky race, luckily I made very little mistakes today aside from one spin, so it felt good as a driver to bring the car home in these conditions, it’s good training for my concentration! Generally speaking, our pace in the wet this weekend wasn’t good, and we struggled to get the car in the right window. We just need to understand what we did wrong this weekend and learn from it.”
“The whole weekend was really bad for us. We had very poor performance on the wet tyres yesterday, and with today being wet again, we knew we were going to struggle massively. It’s a bit embarrassing because if it was all fine in the dry during practice on Friday, it means we were just too slow with the wets and intermediate tyres, we just couldn’t switch them on and struggled in FP3 and Quali. In addition, we took a penalty today. We need to understand what went wrong and what didn’t work in order to do better, in case we find ourselves in the same conditions. We already have some answers but still, we should have done a better job and I’m disappointed. Now it’s done and we should look at the next few races.”
Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer)
“It was a difficult race for us, starting with the penalty for Pierre. We were disappointed, but we’ll accept it and move on. It was always going to be a difficult day starting so far back on the grid. We learned a bit from our poor performance yesterday and tried to apply those learnings to the running of the car today, I think we improved, but it wasn’t enough to propel us up the grid and challenge for points. The conditions were quite difficult, and I think it’s fair to say the car didn’t have the pace that we would have expected it to have in the dry. There’s a lot for us to learn and we’ve gathered a lot of data, so we need to analyse, learn from it, and come back stronger in the future if we face these conditions again.”
Franz Tost (Team Principal)
“First of all, it was nice to be back in Istanbul. The city, where we had an amazing marketing event at the beginning of the week, is beautiful and the race track is very nice. Friday was quite a successful day, we were competitive during FP1 and FP2, finishing both in the top seven positions. Therefore, we expected to show a good performance for the rest of the weekend. Unfortunately, the weather changed on Saturday and became wet. We were totally lost, we couldn’t find the proper setup, and as a result, Pierre qualified P15 and Daniil P17. This was of course very disappointing, as the car had absolutely no grip due to the wrong setup. Following the fire on Pierre’s PU in Portimao, we decided that once he had not qualified well in Qualifying, we would change the Power Unit to put us in a safer situation for the rest of the season. We decided to go for this option yesterday evening, so we applied for a PU change to the FIA, which was accepted. However, following some penalties, Pierre ended up in P13 so we wanted to continue with the old Power Unit and not start from the back of the grid. We informed the FIA, but in the end, we were penalized. We started from the back of the grid and we finished in 12th and 13th position, which was very disappointing because the car had much more potential.”
The fourteenth round of the season turned out to be a rollercoaster affair as a thrilling race unfolded in Istanbul. Following a strong showing in qualifying, with the best Saturday results of the season and both cars in Q3, things got a bit more challenging for Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN in the race.
The threat of continuous rain did not materialise and the race turned into a battle on a gradually drying track, with drivers tip-toeing around on a soaked circuit at the start, then gaining confidence and speed as the surface improved and the field moved onto intermediate tyres.
In these conditions, keeping hold of our lofty starting positions was always going to be a tall order: Kimi and Antonio had a strong opening stint, holding their own, but once on the green intermediates, things became harder.
Antonio’s race ended abruptly at the start of his second stint, a technical issue forcing him to park the car by the side of the track. For Kimi, it became a solitary race eventually closed in 15th place. Despite the point-less return for our efforts, the good display shown in qualifying represents a big confidence boost for the team. With our direct rivals not scoring and only three rounds left on the calendar, our grip on eighth place in the championship intensifies. The finish line is in sight, but there is still a lot of work to do – and our team is ready to rise to the challenge.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“We weren’t able to capitalise on the very strong performance we delivered in qualifying yesterday, when we were among the fastest on track. Our race was challenging, with tyres being very hard to manage: we would have probably been able to hold our own on a wet track, but in progressively drying conditions we did struggle. In the end, we lost Antonio due to a technical issue early in the race and Kimi finished 15th, which is not what we had hoped. As a positive, at least, we didn’t lose any ground on our championship rivals and we are one step closer to confirming our eighth place in the standings, with three races left.”
“The race was far from fun, but it’s a bit what we expected once we saw the weather. We would have probably had a much better speed in a full wet race, but the mixed conditions definitely didn’t work in our favour. We struggled to make the tyres work, when they did they’d be good for ten laps and then fall off, so it was hard to get into a good rhythm. At least, we didn’t lose any points in the championship to our rivals.”
“It’s been a challenging Sunday after yesterday’s strong qualifying results. I lost the car on the way to the grid, but luckily I only damaged the front wing: the crew did a great job changing it and getting the car ready for the start of the race. Unfortunately our race didn’t last long: we had a gearbox issue and had to retire the car. It was a day like this, the conditions were even trickier than yesterday and in the end luck was not on our side. I’m just looking forward to the next race.”
Renault DP World F1 Team scored a solitary point from the Turkish Grand Prix after a frustrating afternoon in difficult conditions at Istanbul Park with Daniel Ricciardo finishing tenth and Esteban Ocon eleventh.
Things had looked good off the start with both drivers – on the preferred, right side of the grid – rocketing off the line to contest the top four positions at Turn 1. However, that would prove to be the downfall when Daniel was unfortunate to clip Esteban, which forced the Frenchman to spin. Daniel had been nudged by Lewis Hamilton on the inside of Turn 1, which led to his minor contact with Esteban who recovered to fourteenth. Esteban was hit again by Valtteri Bottas at Turn 9, which caused a left-rear puncture and he had to pit for new Wets on lap one.
Daniel held onto seventh until the first pit-stop, with both drivers pitting for new Intermediates on lap 10. Esteban began his recovery from there to edge his way back into points contention. Daniel stopped again for Intermediates on lap 32, but he couldn’t get them into the optimum operating window and slipped back to ninth, before conceding that position late on. Despite an impressive 48-lap effort on Intermediates, Esteban followed Daniel home in eleventh.
The team is fifth in the Constructors’ Championship on 136 points.
“We made a great start today, but I was squashed in between Lewis [Hamilton] and Esteban into Turn 1, so I had nowhere to go and I clipped my team-mate which is the last thing you want to do. We lost a couple of positions from the incident and then when we switched to the Intermediate tyres and we just couldn’t make them last. There were moments during the race when I was told I was one of the fastest out there, then just a few laps later my tyres were completely gone so it was all a bit of a lottery. Obviously, a big congratulations to Lewis for wrapping up his seventh drivers’ championship and to do it in such a dominant fashion today is very impressive.”
“It was a difficult race for us today. I got hit twice at the start and that ended our chances of scoring good points. I was happy with my start and it was probably my best one of the year. I was third or fourth at Turn 1 and then I was unlucky to spin after Lewis [Hamilton] got close to Daniel, who clipped my rear. I then got hit at Turn 9, which punctured my rear tyre and from there it was always going to be hard to recover. We did our best and we move onto the next one. Congratulations to Lewis on the seventh world title.”
Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director
“Today’s race result is very disappointing. It was unfortunate that Daniel and Esteban touched at the start. Daniel looked competitive in the first part of the race, but his pace significantly deteriorated after his second stop as he struggled with his tyres. Esteban drove a solid race to finish eleventh and that was the best we could have hoped for after the first lap incidents and the lack of pace with the Intermediate tyres. Big congratulations to Lewis for his seventh title. We now turn our focus to the final three races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi where we expect to be competitive on more conventional and grippy surfaces and aim to fight back for third position in the Championship.”
“We’ve come close to a podium several times this year, so it’s great to enjoy the moment now with the team. It was an exciting race and a difficult one all the way to the end. I was trying to look after the tyres, push at the right time to keep the temperatures in the right window, and learn the track all at the same time. It’s a great result and we called it exactly right. When I crossed the line, I told the team that I didn’t think the tyres could last another lap! They were vibrating like hell at the end. It was about keeping it on the track and making the right calls, which we did. The key was managing the intermediates at the beginning and end of the second stint, it made a huge difference. Lewis was on another level today and, once he got by me, he controlled the race. So, second was the best we could achieve and we did a great job to keep the Red Bulls and Ferraris behind. I had no idea Max was chasing me with all the spray and my mirrors being fogged up: I just saw him run wide and then disappear. There was also a crazy end to the race with Charles! I made a little mistake into Turn 9 and he got by me, but I was able to cut back in front at Turn 11 and then Seb got through too! We’re all delighted with today’s result and it was a great effort by the team. We’re going to enjoy it tonight!”
“It’s really hard to understand what happened today and we need to go away and figure it out. I made a good start from pole position and I was able to build up a lead of over 10 seconds in the first stint, which gave us a real platform for the second stint to get a great result. Throughout the race, I was struggling with graining on the intermediate tyre. The team made the right call to pit when we did because the graining was extremely difficult and it didn’t look like slick conditions would ever arrive. But we then had significant graining on my second set of intermediates, and I couldn’t push to make up places. In hindsight, maybe staying out would have allowed the tyre to clean up, but it’s easy to say that now. Getting pole yesterday was a great achievement, but the points are scored on Sunday. It was fun to lead so many laps, but we didn’t lead enough! While I’m frustrated today, Checo’s scored valuable points and we’ll switch focus to the final few races.”
Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal
“A podium is a great result for the team after an excellent drive by Checo. We can be very proud of the fact we led a significant amount of the race in very difficult conditions with both cars. As we’ve come to expect with Checo, he managed the wet tyre very well early on and the team timed his switch to intermediates perfectly. To manage the intermediate on a changing track surface for 48 laps was a huge challenge, but he managed it to secure P2. It’s a shame Lance didn’t get the result he deserved. He handled the pressure of starting on pole position very well. He was flawless today and carved out a lead of over 10 seconds, when his tyres worked as expected. It was tough to judge the conditions, but we made the right call to switch Lance to intermediates, rather than wait for slick conditions that ultimately never arrived. We need to look into why Lance struggled so much with graining on the new intermediates because that prevented him from joining Checo on the podium. Regardless, today’s result is a memorable one that has lifted the team back into P3 in the Constructors’ Championship, which is a real boost going into the final few races of the season.”
"Very, very good day for us after a disappointing Saturday. We definitely saved the day today, and came out the second best team in the midfield fight. Yesterday after qualifying we did an in-depth analysis about why we weren’t switching the tyres on and I tried a few things on the out-lap and it gave me confidence. At the start I picked up six places and it was back to my old skills that I like a lot and back to myself again.
"We managed to put together a very strong race under super tricky conditions. I had a very good start, picking up six places, switching on the tyres and keeping a solid pace with both compounds. From there, I managed to pull off some good overtakes to finish P5. I definitely rate this race as one of the hardest I’ve done in F1 so far and I’m very happy to have recovered 10 positions in these conditions. I’m also happy for the entire team because it looks like we saved a tough weekend with both cars again in the points. Last but not least, big congrats to Lewis on equalling such an incredible record – seven championships is a great achievement."
"That was a good race – a lot of fun. My start wasn’t great, but I think a lot of people on the left-hand side of the grid had bad starts. Everything after that was good, it was just very difficult to overtake. Normally it’s like that in the dry, but in the wet there was only one line you could use and it was almost impossible to pass. But, when we were in clean air, we had really good pace all the time. I think we did the best job we could during the race – and I had the fastest lap, so that showed the car was genuinely quick. Finally, a massive congratulations to Lewis on winning his seventh championship. It’s a really amazing achievement."
Andreas Seidl - Team Principal
"What a recovery! Friday and Saturday were both very difficult days and delivered the worst starting positions we’ve had this season so far. Last night it was important to focus on the task ahead and maintain the belief that there would be opportunities to make a comeback today. Big thank you to both drivers and the team for an excellent job in executing a clean race in incredibly difficult conditions.
"We had a competitive car today, and good work from the team on the pit-wall, in the pit-box and back at Mission Control allowed the drivers to show their qualities and deliver a very strong result. With three races to go, P5, P8 and Lando’s fastest lap of the race means we scored important points for the Constructors’ Championship.
"I’d also like to congratulate Lewis on a seventh Drivers’ World Championship title. It’s an incredible achievement and all of us at McLaren are very proud that he started his career with us."
16 places gained overall and a third podium finish of the season, as well as the best team result of the year. Today, Scuderia Ferrari delivered the perfect antidote to yesterday’s very disappointing qualifying in the Turkish Grand Prix.
The result was down to a great job from everyone at the Istanbul Park track as well as from those back in Maranello, including Team Principal Mattia Binotto and especially from Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc who had started from 11th and 12th respectively. They went on to finish third and fourth and brought home 27 points. It means that while the team is still sixth in the Constructors’ classification it is now just 24 points off third place. This was Seb’s first podium of 2020 and follows on from Charles’ in Austria and Great Britain.
Constrasting starts. Vettel’s result owed much to his first lap when he jumped all the way up to fourth, then third next time round after Lewis Hamilton made a mistake at turn 11. Drivers starting on the right hand side of the grid had a clear advantage in terms of grip and Seb made the most of it. Charles, like the others starting on the left, got away badly, losing two places.
First part. The early stages saw Sebastian fending off the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alex Albon, while out in front were the Racing Point duo of Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez. Charles however was losing time in the pack and so the team decided to bring him in early, changing from the wets to the intermediate tyres. He immediately had a great pace, moving into the top ten in the space of just five laps.
Middle part. On lap 32, Stroll and Perez still led, while Albon had got past Seb. Charles had just pitted for his second set of intermediates and was ninth ahead of Lando Norris in the McLaren. On lap 34, Vettel pitted for new intermediates, rejoining ahead of Albon but losing places to Hamilton and Verstappen. On lap 40, Seb passed Stroll for fourth place but shortly after, he had to give best to Charles who was coming back at a stronger pace on newer rubber.
Closing stages. Charles caught and passed Verstappen, who then pitted, which handed fourth place back to Seb. In the closing laps, the Scuderia pair rapidly closed on Perez in the Racing Point. They pounced on him on the very last lap. Perez made a mistake at turn 11 and Charles got past but Checo stuck with him and tried to get the place back. As Leclerc tried to defend by braking late, he went wide at turn 12. Sebastian made the most of the scrap to get ahead of his team-mate, crossing the line just three tenths behind Perez, with Charles fourth. The race was won by Hamilton who took his seventh world title, thus equalling Michael Schumacher’s record. Congratulations to Lewis for a very well deserved championship win!
Statistics. This was Sebastian’s 121st podium, his 55th with Ferrari and the Scuderia’s 773rd. Formula 1 now has its final short break of the year before the Bahrain Grand Prix kicks off the final season-ending triple-header of 2020.
“There are some races that are special, where anything can happen. I think today’s race confirmed that I have a special relationship with Istanbul Park. One could say my Formula 1 career began here and here again, in what has so far definitely been a difficult season, I have managed to finish on the podium for the first time.
The first lap was incredible. I got away well and with the heavy wet tyres, I had great grip. Then, when we switched to the intermediates, I struggled a bit more. I think the fact there was less water on the track helped and so, in the closing stages I was really quick. In the last few laps I caught Charles and Perez who were fighting.
Charles overtook the Racing Point, but locked up at turn 12, so I went inside and I only just missed out on getting second place too. I am sorry for him and I can understand he is very angry about what happened, because in many ways, I see myself in him. But he is so strong that very soon, this day will be completely unimportant in his mind. He drove a great race.”
“I am extremely disappointed with myself. I messed it up in the last corner and there’s not much else to say really, because in the end it’s the result that counts.
My start was bad, from the dirty side of the track, but then things went better and in the middle part of the race we were extremely quick and I did a good job of catching up with the leading group that had been several seconds in front, but then I threw everything in the bin at the end.
I am sorry for the team, as we could have finished second today. On the other hand, I am pleased for Seb as he has had a difficult season so far and completely deserves this first podium.”
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
After a very difficult Saturday, it’s great to end up as the team that scored the most points on Sunday. We knew that, in these conditions the race would come to those who made the fewest mistakes. Overall, as a team, we did a good job, particularly in terms of strategy. We made brave choices at the right time. It’s also worth noting that we might have done even better, getting both drivers on the podium. Overnight, we worked very hard at the track and back in Maranello to work out why we hadn’t got the tyres to work yesterday and today, that collective effort paid off, as could be seen with both the wets and the intermediates.
It’s particularly pleasing that Sebastian finally got into the top three. He drove a very strong race, especially that fantastic start. Charles was very quick for long parts of the race. If it had not been for the start and that final slip on the last lap, he would have finished second, but he still had a great race. We’ve made up a bit of ground in the Constructors’ classification, but the gap to those ahead of us is still significant. Here in Istanbul, we confirmed that we have been making progress since Monza and we want to continue doing that in the final three races of the year in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
Finally, I wish to congratulate Lewis for this very well deserved Drivers’ title, which means he equals the number held by Michael Schumacher.
#HAMIL7ON: Lewis Hamilton claims seventh career FIA Formula One Drivers’ Championship in a season like no other
— Lewis Hamilton claims the FIA Formula One Drivers’ Championship for the seventh time – a record equalling total
— Lewis claimed his 94th F1 career victory - his tenth of the 2020 season and his second at Istanbul
— Valtteri finished in P14 after a challenging race
— Lewis (307 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 110 points from Valtteri (197 points) - an unassailable lead in the Drivers’ Championship with 78 points still to be scored
— The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (504 points) leads Red Bull Racing (240 points) by 264 points in the Constructors’ Championship
— Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, accepted the Constructors’ trophy on behalf of the team
I know often we, or I say, it’s beyond my wildest dreams, but I think my whole life I secretly have dreamt as high as this. But it always felt so farfetched. I remember Michael winning those championships, and all of us drivers here are doing the best job we can, and just to get one, two or three is so hard to get. So, to get seven, is just unimaginable. But when you work with such a great group of people, and you communicate, and trust one another and listen to one another, there is just no end to what we can do together, this team and I together. And I’m so proud of what we’ve done. And them trusting me out there today like they did, that comes with experience. This year has been so tough… I haven’t gone out, I haven’t gone for dinner, I’ve just stayed in my bubble. Getting room service every day, and not really anything exciting and that’s naturally because I‘ve got a championship to fight for. I think this year I’ve sacrificed more than ever before in my whole life. That’s made it quite difficult. Making memories like this, I want to wait until I can be around my family, be around all my friends, because I want to share it with them. I feel so proud of this race today. I was thinking about moments when it went wrong before, like China 2007 when I lost the championship on worn tyres in the pit lane. All these things I’ve learned along the way, I was able to apply today, and that’s why you saw the result and the gap you did today. At the same time, I feel like I’m only just getting started, it’s really weird. I feel physically in great shape, and mentally this year has been the hardest year for many people, for millions of people. I know things always look great on here, on the big stage, but it’s no different for us athletes. And it has been a challenge I didn’t know how to get through. But with the help of great people round me, with the help of my team, Team LH, I managed to keep my head above water and focused. I’m hopeful for a better year next year. And I’d love to stay, I feel like we’ve got a lot of work to do here. I am working to push to hold ourselves accountable as a sport, to realise we’ve got to face and not ignore the human rights issues that are around in the countries that we go to, and how can we engage with those countries, and how can we empower them to really change, not 10 or 20 years from now, but now. And I want to help Formula One, I want to help Mercedes in that journey to become more sustainable. I hope to be a part of that, at least the initial phase, for a little bit longer.
That was a long race. Such a long day. From the first lap onwards, everything went wrong. I don’t know who it was, but someone was spinning in front of me in the first corner and I was avoiding, and then I spun as well. Then I had contact in Turn 9 and then the car wasn’t the same anymore. I struggled to stay on track. I couldn’t stay on track, the steering wheel was like this, and there was a piece missing from the front wing. It was just about surviving from then on, not good. Congratulations to Lewis as well. He deserves this title completely: he was the better one of us this year overall and seven titles is a very impressive achievement in our sport.
Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG:
Huge congratulations to Lewis on this seventh World Championship – what an incredible achievement! Lewis has been a part of our Mercedes family for over 20 years now. He joined us as an incredible karting talent; today, he’s one of the best drivers of all times. Lewis keeps improving even when it might seem like there’s little left to perfect, and I’m excited to see where else his journey will take him. It’s not just Lewis’ development on track that is impressive, but also his inspiring journey off track. Lewis has become a passionate advocate for more diversity and inclusion. He has also taken tangible steps to support this important cause. As a team and as a company we stand with him. We’re proud you’re part of our family, Lewis. Thank you for seven world championships powered by Mercedes!
Today once again showed how Lewis is capable to cope with a situation that went against him in the beginning, he was the one who kept it on the road, looked after the tyres and let the race come to him. And that made the difference today, he was hungry as a lion. Driving a car on slicks at the end, with the risk of rain, he just brought it home for a 94th win in Formula One and to take the seventh title – it’s such an impressive achievement. This year has been very special because it was so difficult for everybody in the world. I hope we have been able to bring people some joy, some entertainment, and coming out on top after a race like this feels incredible. Looking at Lewis, we have such a strong relationship that has built up over our years together; the team is 100 per cent behind him, he is 100 per cent behind the team, and this was one of those days where that trust really shined, taking the win against all odds. We simply need to say congratulations to Lewis and to recognise the amazing job he is doing, setting new benchmarks in this sport. We will be flying home together, so we will have to see how we celebrate – I’m sure we will find a way!
We didn’t need a reminder as to why Lewis deserves to be a seven-time champion today, but he gave us one anyway. He deserves every bit of success that he has had, and it was a privilege to see him celebrate that championship on the top step of the podium. The race itself was pretty unpredictable. We were able to make some changes to the car with the rules around ‘change of climatic conditions’ and for the first time this weekend managed to get the tyres working. The opening laps were clearly quite tricky, and it was surprisingly hard to get close to anyone to pass, especially when we didn’t have DRS. Valtteri had a good start but spun trying to avoid a Renault at turn one and then had contact later at turn 9 causing some damage that compromised his car for the race. Lewis also had a good start but ran a bit long into turn 9 and lost a couple places which made his day more difficult as he spent a long time stuck behind Seb. The strategy ended up being more straight forward than we’d expected, the biggest point of discussion on the pit wall was how far we could go on a set of inters and we didn’t really know the answer to that as we’ve gone that far before. Lewis did a great job of looking after the tyres and managed that stint well avoiding the need for an extra stop. We’ve still got three races to go and are looking forward to some warm weather in the Middle East and hopefully finishing this season with some strong results.