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Belgian GP: Post Race press conference

Today’s post-race press conference with Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz.

Track Interviews – Conducted by Martin Brundle.

Carlos Sainz, congratulations, another podium, but you really had to work hard for it today.
Carlos Sainz: Yeah, unfortunately, it was harder than expected. I mean, we got a good start, a good restart after a Safety Car, but the pace was just not there. We had a lot of overheating on the tyres. We were sliding around a lot and yeah, for some reason our package wasn’t quite there this weekend, but in the end we finished on a podium and yeah, we will take it.

George Russell was hunting you down. Were you confident you had enough speed to keep him back?
CS: No. The first two laps were strong, but then we immediately went into high degradation and then I realised that that we were degrading more than what we should. Red Bull, Max and Checo, they were a league of their own today and unfortunately we couldn’t put a stronger fight and we had to survive. We will have to learn why at this track we were not so competitive.

Well, you’ve not got long, because we got two more races coming up soon. So good luck next week in Zandvoort.
CS: Yeah, Zandvoort should be a better track for us. Monza should be advantage Red Bull there. But we will try and win it in Zandvoort.

Thank you. And talking of Red Bull, second place man – Sergio Perez. Sergio satisfied with that one?
Sergio Perez: Yeah, I really hoped for more. Today was a good opportunity but Max was just flying. He was on another planet and he was untouchable. Especially the first stint was quite poor in terms of degradation, but still it’s a very strong result for the team and I think we managed to get a lot of points today, which is important. Yeah, looking forward.

A 1-2 for the team. A little bit difficult off the start down to the first corner. But you kept your head and pulled it around.
SP: Yeah, there was a bit of chaos on lap one. I had a really poor start and I lost a few positions. I managed to get them all back in Turn 5.

Yeah, you had to keep an eye on Fernando and Lewis getting together in front of you there.
SP: Yeah, it was very hectic that lap one and a lot of contacts.

And our incredible victor, Max Verstappen. A huge crowd here supporting him. You gave them what they wanted. It seemed to me nobody could stop you winning this race today.
Max Verstappen: I was a quite a hectic first lap to try and stay out of trouble. So many things were happening in front of me. But once we settled in after the Safety Car, the car was really on rails. Picked the right places to pass people and we could look after our tyres. That’s how we made our way forward. And after that, once were in the lead, it was all about managing everything. But this whole weekend has been incredible.

It will be to talk to your grandchildren about down the road. P14 on the grid. You won, Fastest lap, driver of the day. You must be so happy?
MV: Of course. It’s been a weekend I couldn’t imagine before. But I think we want more of them. So we keep on working hard.

Alright, so next up, of course, your home Grand Prix in Zandvoort.
MV: Yeah, let’s see what we can do there. I mean, of course I’m going to enjoy today and then we’ll see next week where we can do.

Press Conference

A very warm welcome to the top three finishers of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix. Finishing in third place, Carlos Sainz. In second place, Sergio Perez. And taking the 29th win of his career, and his ninth of this 2022 campaign, our winner, Max Verstappen. Max, very well done. I don’t know how we sum that one up, but was it the most dominant race weekend of your Formula 1 career?
MV: I think if you look at the whole weekend, yes. The car has been incredible from FP1. I don’t think we expected it to be like this. But you know, sometimes it’s nice when things positively surprise you. And yeah, it’s been really enjoyable to drive the car around here this year. And yeah, of course, we knew we had our difficulties for the race when you start P14. But yeah, we stayed out of trouble on lap one, which wasn’t easy. It was very hectic in front of me. But once everything calmed down with the Safety Car, it was literally just overtaking one car every lap. And once I was back into P3, and I saw that my tyres were actually holding on quite nicely with the Soft compound, I knew that there was a good possibility we could win the race.

Now, you said you didn’t expect the car to be this good. Do you think it’s track specific or have you taken a step forward?
MV: I think our car is very efficient. And then this track I think suits it perfectly, maybe. So I know that some tracks which are coming up might be a little bit more difficult and I expect again a good battle with Ferrari, it was just that yeah, this track seemed to be perfect for the car.

Now you took the lead on lap 12, and that included a couple of Safety Car laps. Did you hit the front even sooner than you were expecting?
MV: To be honest, I didn’t even think about it yesterday. I just wanted to have a good race and I knew that as soon as I was out of trouble after lap one that we could have a good race. But I never really think about what lap I’m going to lead because it’s impossible to imagine.

So let’s throw it forward to Zandvoort next weekend. Do you think it’s going to be closer with Ferrari there?
MV: Yeah, I don’t expect it to be like this. Just because of the track layout, more downforce on the car to get round, less straights as well. So definitely will be closer than here.

Alright, very well done to you. Checo, we’ll come to you now. Very well done to you as well. You’re sixth second place of this season. After your start how confident were you of getting back up here?
SP: Yeah, it didn’t start well, today. It was a very bad start, losing a lot of places. Luckily I managed to stay out of trouble and managed to get George by Turn 5. And then there was a this incident between Fernando and Lewis, so back to P2. Then the Safety Car, so it brought us back into our original position. And yeah, I couldn’t get soon enough through Carlos. I was managing the tyre, starting on the Medium, it was probably a bit harder than expected on the deg, on the initial pace. And then from then on… Still, it’s a great team result.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the start? What exactly happened to make you so slow?
SP: Yeah. I think there was something with the clutch. As soon as I dropped, I just went straight into wheelspin and here it’s very penalising, the tarmac is really rough at the start. I think normally here if you get a bad start it’s probably one of the worst places to get it because the tarmac is so rough at the start.

We’ve had Max’s thoughts on the pace of the car this weekend. Can we get yours as well?
SP: Yeah, well, I think they got the car was certainly the fastest today. And especially Max was very impressive. The whole weekend, especially come the race, he was just on another level today. So that’s great, great to have, you know, but I think it’s very track specific. I think when we are back to Zandvoort we will have the Ferraris and Mercedes back into contention.

Just one more question for me. You had a pretty good view of what happened between Alonso and Hamilton on the opening lap at Les Combes. What’s your read of that?
SP: I was focused on getting George! And yeah, once I got by, then I saw, I think, Lewis in the air. And I was just focused, again, not to get hit by Fernando who was coming back on track. So yeah, to be honest, difficult to read it.

Carlos, coming to you now. Very well done. But you did start on pole and you’re now third, is there anything more you could have done this afternoon to beat these guys?
CS: No, I don’t think… I think we left nothing on the table today. We were just not strong enough compared to them. They were on another planet this weekend. They were just strong in Quali, strong in the race, better in tyre management, stronger on the straights, stronger in the corners – some of them. And we were just not quick enough, unfortunately, this weekend. After the strong start that I got, the strong restart of the Safety Car, the gap that I had after the first couple of laps, I felt that I was on for a good opportunity. But very quickly, I realised that I went into overheating with a tyres. I was sliding around a lot and it was not going to happen.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Spa here.




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