The Thursday press conference kicks off every grand prix weekend, and in Australia three of the big guns were fielding questions – Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, and Daniel Ricciardo.
Most of the time the questions are the same old things about expectations for the weekend of the season, and generally the drivers get pretty fed up with it. There are still moments where drivers show their true selves and joke around a bit, though – especially with Danny-Ric in attendance. Here are some of the more light-hearted moments from Melbourne.
F1 is one of the few sports where the competitors seem reluctant to big up their own chances of success. The three drivers were asked if it would be one of them or possibly Max Verstappen who could win the title this year – whilst Lewis and Seb danced around it, Ricciardo came out with one of his classic lines.
Question: Do you think the next world champion is sitting behind the table now, or standing outside speaking Dutch?
DR: Why are you looking at me?
LH: I don’t have answer for you. [Sebastian] do you have a better answer?
SV: I think we hope the one sits here. I think it’s obvious no?
Let’s put it this way, do you think the one outside speaking Dutch is ready to challenge for a world championship?
SV: Who do you mean?
LH: There are a lot of Dutch people here.
SV: Especially for TV and journalists.
DR: We’ll add a ninth to this table?
DR: We’ll add a ninth to this table. We’ve got eight between us.
Nico Rosberg recently suggested that Hamilton’s big weakness was his inconsistency. When asked about it, Lewis didn’t hesitate to throw a bit of shade at his former teammate…
LH: I think I proved that’s not the case last year. I think there’s a lot of people that need to get headlines, and so maybe that’s one way of saying it. No, the goal this year is to be even more consistent that I was last year. I think consistency was the reason that I won the championship last year.
But what are the drivers actual weaknesses? Well, it turns out Hamilton and Ricciardo share the same one:
LH: I think I share the same weakness with everyone in this room. Everyone loves pancakes. That’s really my only weakness.
What’s yours [Dan]?
DR: Pancakes again.
Vettel revealed his plans for the upcoming season:
Question: Seb, do you have a master plan?
SV: Yeah, all laid out – but it’s not with me, it’s in my room, so, of course, top secret, so I can’t give you any details.
Quick, someone raid his room!
One of the biggest surprises of the off-season was undoubtedly Kimi Raikkonen’s decision to join social media:
Question: Sebastian, were you surprised that Kimi started an Instagram – and are you planning to follow the example?
SV: ‘Yes’, and ‘no’ are my answers. Finnish answers. Short.
Hamilton was somewhat surprised by this and found out he’d made yet another horrendous social media mistake:
LH: …I thought you were on social media!
LH: I think I’m following… someone
SV: Well, to whoever it is, congratulations! It’s not me.
Come on Seb, join us! Even Robert Kubica has Instagram now…