Q. It's a question for Michael. Before, you talked about a longer period project for Mercedes and you mentioned Benetton and Ferrari. In those days, you were in your mid-20s and then in your mid-30s. Now you are a little bit older. Is there any risk that time will run out before you find the target and is there any risk that you can work and somebody else can reap the fruits of your work, like Nico (Rosberg) for example?
MS: That's why, right from the beginning, we talked about a three-year situation. I hope that within this time I can collect the fruits of it. Certainly we are on the right path. If I see modifications and mistakes and the learning curve – all what has been done to improve next year makes me very confident and comfortable and again, the target is to reduce what used to take four to five years to reduce it in time, so that I take the benefit from it.
Q. Michael, with your experience, if you were having a bet where would your money go on the championship, among the five contenders now?
MS: If you want to lose money, you bet on one of those guys because none can be right and can be correct. If you look at this year, I think it has been a very exceptional year: for the reason to have so many drivers still in the championship and for the fact that there have been so many up and down happenings, retirements and so on, that I don't think you could have expected, so I wouldn't bet any money on anybody. I cross fingers for one that I'm good friends with, but that's about it.
Q. Who would that be?
MS: I'm good friends with Sebastian (Vettel), so my fingers are crossed for him.
Q. Lewis, immediately after the Singapore race, I think you suggested that your title challenge was in a little bit of trouble. Do you still feel, two weeks on, that that's still the case, and if so, what do you plan to do to make sure it's not run away from you?
LH: I think at the time I clearly had quite a few tough races with the failure in Hungary, and then we had a win, and then we had two DNFs, so it was just after two tough races. I think it's very easy to get your emotions mixed up with your thought process, but I think after coming away from it, there are still four races to go and looking back at the history of the sport and looking back particularly at this season and seeing how close it still is, after many people made mistakes and certain situations, it clearly shows that it isn't impossible to win. I still feel very optimistic. I still know that clearly I have a tough job ahead of me and it's going to be tough for all of us but I feel that I have as good an opportunity as anyone and so I'm going to work as hard as I can to make sure that I finish the races. Generally, when I finish races it's not so bad, so fingers crossed that that will be the case.
Q. Just following up on that point, Lewis, three retirements in your last four races, do you see any need to – not play percentage – but to make sure you score points? As you say, when you finish you do score heavily but you've got to finish, haven't you? Do you see any need to modify your approach?
LH: I'm clearly looking at all of the races that I've done and looking at how my approach has been and trying to evaluate and trying to take a step back and trying to see it as something I can improve on, of course. It's difficult to pinpoint one particular part. Of course, I could go and drive around and not overtake anyone and just stay in position, that's easy enough but that's not me, so that definitely won't be happening.
Q. Lewis, you've already partially answered this question but can I have a clear answer from you: as you have not seen the checkered flag for the last two races, how crucial will this race be for you in the fight for the championship?
LH: I don't think this race will be particularly more crucial than the next three races. I think they're all very important to score maximum points. Clearly, if I had finished the last three races or the three races that I've missed, I'd be in a much stronger position but that's life and there's nothing I can do about it. I can't go back and change it; all I can do is try to recover and try to apply myself in the most productive way toward my team and toward myself and toward the racing. My plan, of course, is not to arrive at weekends and see how hard my team works and let them down and let my family down, or let my friends down or let myself down. So I'm doing as much as I can. I hope that this weekend is a stronger weekend. I feel good about it, so we will see.
Q. I have a request from the three drivers at the front: I would like to hear some frank opinion as the number of grand prix races has been increasing over the last few races through to this year and next year. How is it for you and your teams?
AS: I think it's OK. Next year we will have 20 grands prix, so I will look forward to it. It's very busy, no question, but we have no testing in between. Years back, when there was no testing ban, I think there was even more work to do, and it was more stress and busy but we are still in a good position and, of course, there is a lot of traveling. But the places we go to are very interesting and therefore I think it's good that we have 20 races.
LH: Yeah, I agree. From my point of view, I think as a driver I love racing, so I kind of welcome it. However, it is very tiring on the team, time away from the family, but then, I'm pretty much certain that if you go and speak to any of my team members, they would not change a thing. We're all racers, we're all here because we love doing what we do. I think one more race, two more races isn't the let-up.
MS: I very much look forward to it and coming back to the point, 20 races, yes, but if you go back to what it used to be in the past, we used to do racing, testing, racing, testing, racing, testing. We used to do a lot more. It's only probably the last year or two that we do much less than we used to do, so I guess we, as drivers, naturally prefer more races than all the testing. Occasional testing, yes, I would agree on, but certainly I don't mind the number of grands prix at all.
Q. Question to Michael and Lewis: what do you need to have a winning car in Suzuka, and do you think the Red Bull can be beaten this weekend?
LH: At this circuit – well, I've only been here once, so Michael is probably the best one to start, you've won here six times, so there's no one better to answer that.
MS: In a way, it is a high-challenge track, and drivers, yes indeed, can give a great input on this kind of track, especially in the first sector, but nevertheless, the car is mega-important because of this first sector. If the response from the front end in particular, with all these longish corners, is weak, you suffer quite a lot and in this respect, looking at the nature of the Red Bull car, I think it's going to be very strong in my view, but then I know that McLaren is pushing very hard on developments, so we will see whether they can keep up or not. That's going to be a tough one.
LH: Well, the Red Bulls are very quick at the moment, so it will be very difficult to beat them. They won here last year, they've got very good and efficient downforce but as Michael said, we are all pushing...at least our team is pushing very hard to always close that, so hopefully it will be strong here as we were in the last race and hopefully even closer.
Q. Question to the three in the front row: it is reported that the Korean International Circuit has started to lay the final pavement, the day before yesterday and going to finish it tomorrow. It means that only two weeks later Formula 1 cars will drive on it. What do you think of that, particularly from a safety point of view?
MS: I guess we trust that the guys know exactly what they're doing, because there's a lot of experience how to build racetracks and I understand Hermann Tilke is involved in the project. We trust that it can all be achieved. I'm sure that they will put in maximum effort to make it happen.
LH: It doesn't really worry me from a safety point of view. I think the FIA always does a great job and they and the team clearly won't let us race if it was unsafe. I feel totally comfortable that everything will be done in order to keep us safe and therefore we can continue to race.
AS: Yes, same, very similar. The pictures probably look more dramatic than it actually is but the FIA will for sure make sure that it's safe enough to race on, otherwise we won't be going there, so we trust them.
LH: We want to race.
AS: We definitely want to race.
LH: We will keep pushing.
Q. Michael, people say you are master of Suzuka. You won six times here in Suzuka, many times more than anybody else. I was wondering if you could share some secrets, do you have any reasons why you have been so good here in Suzuka?
MS: I don't think it is naturally only Suzuka because if you just go for this statistic I have a couple of other tracks where I have been winning many times. It's just that I've been around so long! That's why maybe the number is so high, plus working with a very professional and fantastic team and doing my best on top of this. That's what has given the results.