Adrenaline and small brains are the makings of nearly all race interviews, but it doesn't have to be that way. Here are the ten greatest interviews given by racing drivers, as chosen by Jalopnik readers.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Getty Images
10.) A.J. Foyt in a nutshell
Suggested By: Chairman Kaga
Why it's great: A.J. Foyt isn't just a spectacular retired racing driver, he is a reminder of how godddamn much people liked to swear back in the day. It is abundantly clear that this man has some shit on his mind and he's not going to think twice about saying it. A.J. Foyt, thanks for being such a straight up mother…
9.) James Hunt bums a cigarette
Suggested By: billybobster
Why it's great: It's strange to think of James Hunt as a hero, nervously vomiting, "Sex: The Breakfast of Champions" man that he was, but it's easy to see his slacker genius in this post-race interview at the 1976 British Grand Prix. Seven races later Hunt would be world champion, but there's no way that he would make it to the top in F1 today, chatting with some extremely ‘70s journalists, bumming cigarettes, and sleeping around. Drivers today follow strict after-race procedures; you will never see such an open candor or such intimacy with a future world champion again. Just ask Vettel.
8.) Tony Stewart speaks for safety
Suggested By: thefoehammer
Why it's great: Tony Stewart doesn't give the most poetic answer to the question of "Is racing so safe now that is has become boring?" but he tells it like it is. Turning the question around on the reporter, he exposes the idea for the ridiculousness that it is. A perfect, blink-of-an-eye reflection on the state of motor racing.
7.) Grohnholm is not a meteorologist
Suggested By: gomerkyle9
Why it's great: Marcus Gronholm is one of those classic top-tier racers where there isn't the kind of sheet between him and the rest of the world that you might find in a contemporary F1 press room. Here he gives a grumpy, gruff, entirely relatable snappy answer to a stupid question. Hat's off to you, Marcus.
6.) Darrel Waltrip on his '77 Monte Carlo "Bertha"
Suggested By: paxman356
Why it's great: "My car is jes' all ate up with motor", is how Darrel Waltrip accounted for his newfound victories in the 1977 Winston Cup. If there was ever a great line said of fast cars, or a perfect explanation of race pace, this is it. We wish there was video of it.
Photo Credit: Jerry Edmundson
5.) Mikka Hakkinen in the press room
Suggested By: Skid Vicious
Why it's great: "Mikka, you've been a superb world champion for the last two years, but your reign, for now, is over. How do you feel? - (sigh) So sad." We all love Hakkinen for his extremely Finnish one-liners, and there is an endless string of perfect responses to watch in this post-race compilation.
4.) Kimi Räikkönen's bowels wait for no man
Suggested By: ameetpadte
Why it's great: Modern Formula One, as we have just seen in the last video, can be a bit of a buttoned-down place, where bland answers are expected to follow even blander questions. To make up for some of the wilderness of the old days when James Hunt was sleeping around, the F1 circus can incorporate some silly press stunts that few people really care about. Here, Kimi shows that he couldn't give a shit about soccer legend Pele giving a presentation, or rather, the exact opposite of what I just said.
3.) John Force is full of LOVE
Suggested By: WOT
Why it's great: John Force, fifteen-time funny car champion driver, is a perfect counterargument for all the people saying that drivers have lost their gusto in the current corporate era of top-flight motorsports. Hell, John Force LOVES his sponsors, LOVES his car, and by all accounts sounds like he loves what he's doing. No one handles something as small and insignificant as a post-race interview like John Force.
2.) Senna and Jackie Stewart
Suggested By: Spiegel
Why it's great: Senna had just crashed out with Alain Prost in Suzuka to win the championship in 1990 when he sat down with Jackie Stewart in Adelaide for an interview. Stewart, a leader for safety in F1 and a triple world champion, doesn't mince words with Senna, pointing out his unparalleled record for hitting other drivers. Senna also saw things clearly, and he gave an answer which is hard to forget.
"By being a racing driver you are under risk all the time. By being a racing driver means you are racing with other people. And if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver because we are competing, competing to win."
1.) Jim Richards at Bathurst, 1992
Suggested By: smallmotorsmakemesad
Why it's great: Cut to 2:28 in the video to hear Jim Richards speak to a booing, drunk, can-throwing crowd after just winning the Tooheys 1000 at Mount Panorama. Race-stopping rain meant that the leading car on the penultimate lap would be declared winner, even though that car, the Nissan GTR of Richards and Mark Skaife, was sitting crashed on the edge of the track. Because a Ford had just lost out to a crashed car, and because neither a Ford nor a Holden had won the race, the Australian fans at Bathurst were livid. Jim Richards had just lost a friend, New Zealand former F1 world champion Danny Hulme, to a fatal crash during the race and he had no sympathy for the drunk bastards jeering at his place on the podium. What he says is at once comical and serious, a race car driver exposed.
"I'm just really stunned for words, I can't believe the reception. I thought Australian race fans had a lot more to go than this, this is bloody disgraceful. I'll keep racing but I tell you what, this is gonna remain with me for a long time, you're a pack of arseholes."