When Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton were last in a press conference together, the internet celebrated following that question from the much-loved Aussie to the caught off-guard Lando Norris. On that day the press conference went viral, so would such hilarity ensue once again? Romain Grosjean and Robert Kubica made up the set of 5 drivers ready to face the questions from the media amassed in the Press conference room. The first topic to shake the room though was not that of the Singapore haze impairing vision of drivers but rather Robert Kubica no longer agreeing with the vision of Williams as he announced he would not be part of the ROKiT Williams Racing Team in 2020.
First, Romain Grosjean was congratulated in holding on to his seat with Haas for another year following today’s announcement that the driver pairing will remain unchanged next year:
It feels like the story is not yet over and I am very happy to carry on with the team. It’s not been a good year…we can move on in the future and I am looking forward to many more races under the Haas colour.
Discussion then moved to what would be the major news story of the day as Robert Kubica announced in the room he would not continue with ROKiT Williams Racing in 2020.
In order to have other opportunities I have taken the decision that I will not continue anymore with Williams after this year. A decision I took and a future for me in different scenarios and now I will evaluate what is possible.
Following this, Lando Norris was then faced with the challenge of staying straight faced during his first question with the notoriously mischievous Daniel Ricciardo alongside him as the press room well aware of the history between the two since that question at Silverstone. What transpired was Ricciardo counting extremely slowly to ten on his hands (out of the vision of the on looking television cameras) in response to the fact that the Perth native had promised Lando Norris that he would be laughing inside 10 seconds. The British rookie lasted longer than that but was soon under the pressure of a fit of the giggles once again. All this in response to a simple question of handling the temperature conditions.
Daniel Ricciardo was asked as to whether his best result, with Renault, in Monza was a shot in the arm:
I don’t like needles so I don’t like a shot in the arm but it was definitely good for us. I think, yeah, it had been a while since we got a big result like that. Obviously, Canada was the standout in the first half of the year.
Ricciardo was quick to praise his team and all those increasing the performance of the Renault engine:
To get a result like that (in Monza) on a power circuit…was a big pack on the back for them.
Amongst the questions were a sequence of tributes to Robert Kubica following his announcement, the most poignant coming from Lewis Hamilton the 5-time Formula 1 World Champion.
I’ve known Robert since we started racing together in go karts…for me, Robert’s one of the most talented drivers that I have competed against. The talent that he had...it’s still there. I think it’s really remarkable the strength and determination shown.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel share the record for the most Singapore Grand Prix victories with 4 a piece but in the press conference, only Lewis Hamilton was present so the media were keen to know how confident he was of achieving a third consecutive victory around the Marina Bay Street Circuit – in the face of the recent Scuderia Ferrari revival.
Well this is one of the toughest races of the year, an immense race. We come here each year and it shifts between the Ferraris, the Red Bulls and us…I have no idea whether they will be quick as they have been in the last race…It’s not really the hottest that we’ve seen so far so fingers crossed it stays something similar to this…but it could change.
Also discussed was Lewis Hamilton explaining how he no longer follows people on Instagram as he was not liking the obsession he had with scrolling through updates upon waking up – he now prefers to read a book instead.
With the way that the top three teams appear to be so close together, one thing that you can be sure of is that when these magnificent machines take to the streets over the next few days no spectator shall be reading a book. Now, we hope that we get battles on track creating stories that are worth telling.
Another contributing to the press conference was motorlat.com asking Lewis Hamilton of his infamous 2018 pole lap and what it takes to get into the zone for such an achievement.
To be honest it was a bit of a blur the whole lap, I don’t know who was driving. It was obviously a special lap and I think it takes a lot on this track and the tyres are a huge issue. It was a combination of everything…the chances of that happening are quite slim...the stars aligned I guess.
If the stars align for Lewis Hamilton on Saturday and that is converted to a race victory, then surely that would be one hand on a 6th Formula One Championship.
The final thought though goes to Robert Kubica:
I always said that I took a lot of energy and time for me to recover and come back to the sport since I joined back in Formula One. I would like to stay. I said that this year would be the goal to remain in Formula One.
We can only hope this goal joins the list of so many already achieved by the talented Polish fan favourite.