Traditionally, post-race F1 press conferences have a jubilant atmosphere. Majority of the time, the winning driver reflects on the race and his fellow podium achievers share their thoughts on the Grand Prix. However, at times drivers get involved in ugly on track incidents which spill over to the press conference. Here are 4 moments when press conferences got really tense.
“Fernando is faster than you”. It was the first time Felipe Massa heard that infamous team order but it certainly wasn’t the last. The 2010 German Grand Prix will go down in history as one of Ferrari’s worst moments as a team. Despite bolting at the start and taking the lead of the race, Massa was ordered to move aside for Alonso. The controversial swap led to outrage among fans and even resulted in the FIA fining Ferrari $10000 for employing team orders.
The media didn’t spare Fernando Alonso in the post-race press conference, resulting in some hard-hitting questions. Everyone wanted a piece of Fernando that day and the media didn’t let its chance slip. Massa quietly observed as journalists threw difficult questions at the double world champion. The only positive highlight of the conference was when Sebastian Vettel tried to break the ice with a classy quip.
“Multi 21 Seb!”. The second entry on this list is the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix. Another race which was marred by team orders but it stirred up controversy due to one driver choosing to ignore the same. Sebastian Vettel started the race on pole but a poor tyre strategy resulted in the German losing the lead to teammate Mark Webber.
Red Bull chose to employ team orders to bring home a 1-2 finish and preserve the engines. However, Vettel decided to take matters into his hands and challenged Webber for the lead of the race. In the end, Vettel passed Webber to win the race but left fans and his teammate fuming.
The post-race presser which followed was awkward for both drivers. Vettel expressed regret at disobeying team orders and apologized to Webber.
“yeah… as you can see I’m not entirely happy. I think I did a big mistake today. [I] think we should have stayed in the positions that we were.”
“I want to be honest at least and stick to the truth and apologise. “
Webber was upset with the whole incident and refrained from making any comments.
“In the end, I’m happy with how I drove and… yeah it doesn’t… yeah, emotions are… probably not the best time to talk at the moment.”
After crashing out of the 2009 F1 Brazilian Grand Prix, Jarno Trulli wanted a piece of Adrian Sutil at the press conference of the following race. For context, Sutil and Trulli were involved in a first-lap incident at the race in Brazil. The replays made it clear that Trulli was at fault but the Italian thought otherwise. The pair nearly came to blows after the avoidable collision.
Trulli, in an attempt to prove his point actually brought photos of the incident to show the world. The presser also involved Alonso and Kimi which only made things a lot more awkward. Alonso could barely hold it together and Kimi was being Kimi.
The final entry on this list is the 2015 United States Grand Prix. A Grand Prix which wasn’t short on drama during the race and the following events. Lewis Hamilton was Champion once again but his teammate wasn’t very happy. The race saw Hamilton pushing Rosberg off track amidst wet conditions.
Rosberg now on the backfoot, needed to make amends and keep a cool head. Sadly, the German driver made a costly mistake on track and handed victory and another World Championship to his rival.
In the post-race cooldown room, the world watched the infamous ‘cap throwing’ incident unfold. It is unclear what Hamilton’s intentions were but Rosberg was in no mood to play games that day.
Naturally, the post-race press conference was uncomfortable for both drivers. When asked about the race start, Rosberg gave his honest opinion.
“For sure it was extremely aggressive, we hit each other, or I would say Lewis came into me, so obviously that’s not good. I can’t say more than that.
“That was just some games so nothing much, nothing more into that,” said Rosberg, regarding the ‘hat incident’.
The newer generation of F1 drivers definitely get along but how long before the fun and games stop?