Um. How excited are you to be racing here? Do you have a favorite section of the race track, what’s the bit that puts the biggest smile on your faces? George? Why don’t we start with you yeah. Of course, i think every driver always really looks forward to racing at spa. Obviously, it’s going to be a an emotional weekend following you know the tragic incidents of of last year, um, which sort of definitely overshadows um your excitement of driving. What is one of the best circuits on the calendar, but nevertheless um we’ll be going out there racing in antoine’s honor and are we driving as quick as i can to um yeah to put on a show for him and uh, as we always do? You know, obviously, ownership has now passed out of the family, but would you like to see some management stay within the family? You know with claire and you know. Obviously the family has been um. You know it’s been a thunderon team for so long. They understand the support of what your thoughts on on that. Please thank you yeah, i think again, like i say, it’s um i’ve, not given it too much thought. Obviously the williams family has been a huge part of formula one. I think the most important thing with this change of ownership is um the name, and you know that side of things will be continuing, which i think is is very important. Obviously um the williams family would not have sold to somebody who they didn’t believe would be beneficial for the team moving forward and you know i’m very pleased um.

You know they’ve come to that that decision and because they believe that is the best for for the future of the team and like, like i said, the the culture will not be changing from from the historic side. Keeping the name of the team is is very important as well for for us drivers and the people back back at base with the changes that are planned. How much more confident and comfortable do you feel with haas moving forward thinking that it might be possible to once again sort of fight at the front of that midfield and maybe even a bit higher up? I think it’s very exciting um and i think for a team like ours who have been operating in that window with budgets um, you know in all all its time in formula one and that’s gon na be an advantage for for us, so there’s a couple of Other teams that would have operated on on those kind of budgets as well, but surely the big teams are gon na be pulled backwards? I don’t see how they wouldn’t not saying that it would be completely level. We will see, of course, i’m hoping that it will, as a house driver, but i think it’s hugely exciting and i think it’s it’s very good for for formula one as well and i think a lot of the feedback i hear from people watching formula. One is that they would love to see more level playing field.

Do you want to continue to race in formula one next year i haven’t decided yet so as a perhaps a follow up to that. Uh we’ve had a question in kimi from frankie mao at formula vision, and he says obviously you still love driving a formula one car, but do you sometimes think that a veteran should give an opportunity to the next generation, as was the case eighteen years ago, when Mika hakkinen left so that you could join mclaren. I doubt that he left just for me so i’m, pretty sure it was his. He had all the other things in his mind, then that what happens to me. I had a three year contract anyhow in south or so really it’s uh. I don’t think it’s very people might be looking at the weather – oh yeah, he just purely left for being a nice guy and giving me the position. But i i it just doesn’t work. Like that and i don’t honestly, my decision is based on what i feel like is right for me and nothing to do with if it helps in somebody or not honestly, it’s, not the sport that you, you know if you want to do it, fine do it, But it’s that’s that’s, not how i make my decisions. The team has traditionally gone very well at spa, but is this weekend viewed as a total reset because of the new car concept chaco? Perhaps we could start with you not really, because i think in part um.

We got a historic base on how we we developed cars, although we’ve changed quite a bit the concept and so on. Fundamentals are still there, so i i definitely think that this circuit is it’s been one of our best in the past, and i don’t see why it should be any different with this new car. Thank you lance anything. You can add yeah i mean you know it’s. I think it’s going to be a unpredictable weekend. You know on paper. I do think that we should be quick here um. I think we have a car that suits this track, but looking at the forecast this bit of rain around so anything can happen. We just have to be ready to to tackle all conditions. Antoine was your roommate. When you were a student, what kind of memories do you have from him at that time? Well, i i have thousands of memories from antoine and yeah. I was lucky to grow with him so from my first season in karting, when i was nine, i started to race against him and then from the age of 13. We both decided to leave our homes to go in that school, that the the federation um sort of built for us for for drivers, and we were only three french drivers to make the move, and there was antoine another french driver and myself and from the age Of 13, until i was 18, i spent basically from yeah 7 30 breakfast in the morning till 10 p.

m. In the evening, each single day, together so we’re in the same classes, we were training together, we’re racing together so it’s difficult to pick only one, but i mean the competition. There was consistent competition, whether when we were in the class when we were training together. If he was doing 15 push ups, i will do 16, then he will try 17 and then, if we will play playstation we’ll spend hours on it just to beat the time of each other and go on to lismo or formula one game and then yeah we’re With also a couple of other drivers um from the age of 15, 16 17 – and there are a lot of things i can’t say on tv but yeah. You know i have fantastic memories and we had some really really good times, especially in budapest, but only my friends can remember that one and um and yeah. You know it was a very smart guy, very dedicated in everything he was doing and that’s. Why i had a huge respect for him? What makes spa uh special guess: it’s uh the longest you know track on the calendar. First of all, it’s uh, just impressive to when you do already the track walk. You already feel that this track has uh such a you know a size to it. It’S it’s, very large, it’s, very the corners are very flowing one to another and uh, and every corner is quite legendary in a way uh, of course, now rouge on the dry.

In a fun, car is not really a corner, but on the wet it’s, still a very challenging corner and the middle sector, all those corners. You know the speed you carry through those corners, especially with the modern formula, one cars they’re impressive, and it just feels cool. You feel all this uh the speed on the straight the speed in the corners everything needs to be. You know perfect also in terms of how setting up the car here it needs to be found. The the right compromise with everything and you need to feel it’s as a driver. You know on friday to make right calls uh what you’re comfortable with what you’re not comfortable with here is the more important than ever. You know and um and yeah always racing. I remember uh, always spectacular races. You know very long straight, so you can go behind each other and try to battle each other on the straight uh end of the long straight and it’s it’s, quite cool it’s, really cool daniel. The car proved to be pretty quick in silverstone. The driver was not too shabby either um, but this potential somehow evaporated in spain. Why is that? And, and what gives you confidence, that the the car is back to full steam in belgium yeah? We we did some analysis after after spain because yeah we, i guess, expected to to keep you know at least the top, the top 10 running going and after friday, you know we were a top top five car in practice and – and we thought yeah q3 would Be much more uh easier of achieving and in the end we didn’t it was obviously very close, but we missed out so there’s a few things we saw, i think, just some some simple ones on setup um through through qualifying, which, when i say that you know You’Re talking even just changing the front wing a little bit.

The angle i think could have could have even these little things could have given us a bit more lap time. But we missed it at the time and when i say we, i don’t mean not putting everything on on the team. You know, i i missed it as well. Um the conditions did change a little bit. I think saturday was quite a lot more windy from what i remember, but but yeah small little small margins, but they obviously proved to be pretty costly and – and i think, as well with barcelona as a track, we all know so well, you know teams engineers, drivers, Like we all have such a good understanding that yeah you just you need to have everything pretty much spot on otherwise you’re going to miss out. So i don’t think it was anything fundamental in the end but yeah, i think, just one of those little ones which wasn’t perfect but uh we’re gon na come here here in monza. You know tracks we qualified sixth and fifth uh last year, so i didn’t start. Sixth, here, because we had, i think, a penalty but uh yeah. We got speed and expect to show it again. What lessons from barcelona can be brought here in belgium? Lessons not not that many! We we just know we. We obviously had an engine change on saturday morning, which helped quite a lot to solve all the issues that we were having prior to that weekend and it helped us to put a very strong weekend together from fp3 to quali into the race and get the.

Finally, the amount of points that we deserved – you know and yeah it’s been a frustrating start to the season for me, but hopefully, barcelona is a bit of a a turning point in the season and we can now start getting everything together more often well, how confident Are you coming into this belgium grand prix weekend, i’m fairly, confident um? First of all, i love spa. I love this circuit. Uh i’ve had some good success in the past before formula one, but since i’ve arrived to formula one, i think there’s been two or three occasions that i haven’t even started the race and a lot of not not a lot of points so i’m. Keen to change that that statistic, because, prior to formula one, it was my favorite circuit and the place where i had one the most and and then all the most poor positions of my career. But i don’t know why, in formula one it’s never quite worked. For me, so hopefully this is a a new chance to to turn that stat around red bull believed they could challenge mercedes for the title this year, but have started another year behind why’s. That happened and how much has it affected your confidence that you’ll be able to win the championship with red bull honda? Well, why um it’s always difficult to say why i mean everybody’s doing their very best so but yeah. Clearly they had a very good winter mercedes and they they also find a lot of performance out of their engines.

So yeah that meant we were a bit behind and yeah we we’re just trying to do the best we can. I mean everybody is, of course, and uh yeah we’ll, see, of course, what the rest of the the season will bring, but yeah. They are still, of course, quite far ahead, but we don’t give up, i think, that’s the mentality of the team. We will always keep fighting and and go for every opportunity we have and um. I do believe in it um of course, for for next year as well. It might get a bit complicated because of course, the rules are still the same. You’Re not allowed to change a lot on on the cars, but then, of course, there are new rules coming in and it’s a new opportunity for everyone. We saw a dogged drive from you in spain two weeks ago to seventh place, given the pace of the car and the strategy you were on. How satisfying was that result and how was the result received within the team? Well, obviously, i i think it was uh. You know given where we were for the majority race. We took a gamble and took that risk and it paid off. But you know seventh place is obviously not what i’m aiming for and not what the team is aiming for. So it wasn’t, like you, know the champagne bottles popped after the race. We had obviously the issue on charles’s side with the car retiring and you know for me it was damage limitation.

Obviously it is a very tight midfield pack and, as i said, we were probably in the middle of it and with that strategy, move conserving the tyres, etc, we’re able to push a little bit more and get some points at least but uh. Certainly, not you know not a high after the race. I think we were content with uh with what we did taking the risk and that it paid off um but uh yeah. Certainly, we are aiming for for more, but in these times it’s uh, obviously difficult for us once you find yourself in that pack, it can be anything between let’s, say, fifth to 12th 13th, depending on how the race goes. Hello uh question for charles um: we heard after the last race that you’ve completed the last few laps before you retired uh, without the seatbelts on. Can you just explain exactly what that meant? Did you really have no seatbelts on at all and were you recommended at all by the faa, because obviously that seems like quite dangerous thing to do and what was going through your mind, if that was the case yeah, so i unbuckled myself once i knew that There was a problem with the engine. I didn’t thought i will go again and then i re put them on on the way to to go again on the truck. I did one slow lap, especially to know whether the engine was working properly again or not, and then on the second lap.

When i started to push, i realized that one of the four buckles that we have as a seat belt was not on. So i uh. I told it to the team and i i stopped straight away to lewis: do you look at um max and red bull as genuine candidates, or are they just people who are sniping for the odd result? If you slip up and to valteri, you cut a pretty dejected figure after the spanish grand prix, but you said you’d probably be able to find the spirit to bounce back here. How are you feeling and and how ready are you to attack this weekend? Valtryek? Can we start with you yeah? It was disappointing weekend and obviously there was a few races that it just didn’t go in my way and yeah far from the what the goal was. So, of course, it’s disappointing when you have all in you know, for the sport and to try and achieve your goals. But the most important thing is always to to bounce back, to reset and find that right mindset and definitely had some bit of a disconnect again. As we had a weekend off so managed to recharge and i’m yeah ready to to be be here again and uh, trying to be at my best level, so yeah i’m in good spirit and we’re, looking forward to spend tomorrow my birthday on track in one of The best tracks in the world um, probably the best racing car in in the world, so things are good.

Thanks, valtteri lewis, red bull racing uh. Well, i mean, i think, if you take uh the first race away with um with max having the dnf. I think if you look at the results, we would be very, very close in point still so in my mind they are and obviously they’ve had very strong results and they’re getting closer in races. Maybe in qualifying we, we do have the edge but say when it comes to race, we’re, generally, a lot closer, so we’re not even halfway through the season, and so i absolutely keep my eye on them.