“Wipe smile off face”: Hamilton waddles off Vettel
Melbourne – After Melbourne qualifying, the first poison arrows fly between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Toto Wolff disagrees with the British. The voices.
The first Formula 1 race of the 2018 season has not even taken place yet, and the first poison piles are already flying. After the first qualifying of the year in Melbourne, the World Cup rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are teasing each other.
When Hamilton was asked at the press conference whether Mercedes had turned on the engine again on his last fast lap, the World Champion replied: “I assure you that we don’t have an extra button. I used the same mode in Q2 and Q3.”
For years there have been rumours that there is a button in the Silver Arrows’ cars with which the drivers can turn up the power of the engine for a lap. Also this time Hamilton improved significantly on his last fast lap.
So Vettel, sitting next to him, did not buy the British man’s claim and asked: “What did you do all the time before that,” Hamilton replied: “I was waiting to get a good round and wipe your grin off your face.
Vettel still buzzed Hamilton’s testimony in his head during the interviews afterwards. So when asked why Hamilton was so far behind, he replied: “Either they opened up – but Lewis said that’s not the case. Then he certainly overslept most of the qualifying.”
SPORT1 summarizes further votes from RTL, the press conference and the pit lane:
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), grid position 1: “With all the results over the years, one could think that this is the norm – but it is not. It’s always just as intense. My heart’s racing. I’m so happy with this round. This last round was definitely the best of the weekend. I’d say it was one of my best. It’s always hard when you have two red cars – or a red car – in your rearview mirror or in front of you.”
Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari), grid position 2: “The lap was quite ok, but the difference in lap times is still too big. It was also difficult with the conditions and the crash of Bottas. But we still have a lot of work to do to improve.”
Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), grid position 3: “Yesterday I was not satisfied, but in qualifying things got better and better. It’s a shame Lewis got the gap out at the end. My round wasn’t quite ideal. I could have squeezed out a tenth to a tenth more. But it wouldn’t have been enough for the front. We know we have some catching up to do to get there on Saturday. “As far as the pace goes, we’re not in a bad position in the race.”
Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 4th on the grid: “Mercedes was far ahead of us as expected, but without my mistake I would have landed only about half a second behind Lewis. Since the rear wheels then slipped on the artificial turf, the tyres overheated. It cost me two tenths. Otherwise we would have been second today.”
Nico Hülkenberg (Renault), grid position 7: “Yesterday I didn’t feel comfortable in the car and struggled – today it was better. It hurt a little bit that the 3rd week of the season was over. Training was wet, so we didn’t really get to ride in dry conditions. Because I could have optimized something else. Haas looks really strong and I think their car is even stronger in the race than in qualifying.”
Fernando Alonso (McLaren), grid position 10: “Big points are waiting for us in the race. I even hope that we can do better than sixth place and our longruns are better than our speed on one lap. There’s been a lot of downtime here in the last year. If it hits a few of the front riders, we can really clean up.”
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), grid position 15: “I am very sorry for the team. We have a competitive car, it all started in my first fast lap. I was carried out too far at the exit of Curve 1. I lost control of the tail. I couldn’t do anything and then I crashed into the wall. Here in Melbourne overtaking is very difficult, but with the third DRS zone it might be a bit easier.”
Toto Wolff (Mercedes team boss): “There is a party mode in the car. We turned this one on in Q3. But there was no difference between the first and second run in Q3. Lewis just had a great round. It’s good that Valtteri is okay. Less good is that we had to change the gearbox and have a lot of work, which doesn’t make a good team result any easier, especially as the competition has proven to be strong.