Austrian GP winners' press conference

1. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren-Mercedes), 1:28:15.818 2. David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes), +12.535 3. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), +30.795 Q. Mika, many congratulations on a dominant victory today, your first since Barcelona. From where you were...

1. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren-Mercedes), 1:28:15.818
2. David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes), +12.535
3. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), +30.795

Q. Mika, many congratulations on a dominant victory today, your first since Barcelona. From where you were on the track, were you able to see anything of the incidents at the first corner?

Mika Hakkinen: No, I didn't see what happened. Going round the first corner, as I was heading for turn 2, they showed yellow flags. I was a bit surprised to see the flags, then later on, after turn 2, the team informed me about the Safety Car. When I saw a lot of cars in the gravel [at turn 1] on the next lap I realised what had been going on.

Q. Early in the race you were shown a "Red Shift" signal from your pit. What did that mean?

MH: Yeah ... It is something that a driver sometimes doesn't necessarily want to see. Basically ... it means ... there is no point in revving the engine to maximum RPM. So you don't have to take everything out of he engine. At that point I didn't exactly know whether there was a problem, or whether they were just showing me there was no point in pushing. So automatically I did drop the RPM a couple of hundred revs.

Q. So there was no question of team orders there?

MH: What? Sorry, I didn't hear that question ...

Q. David, you made a super start and seemed to be running level with Mika down to the first corner, where you braked hard. Did you have a change of heart?

David Coulthard: Well, first of all you have to brake hard for all the corners. And being on the inside line you can never be sure how much dust is going to be there, or how much grip going to have, so I took it as far as I felt comfortable. Obviously Mika had the advantage because he was on the outside. Sometimes you have to accept [the situation] because you can't brake as hard and as late on the inside as you can when you're on the outside line. It's as simple as that.

Q. Mika pulled out a significant gap in the first stint, then you started to come back and you eventually set fastest lap of the entire race. Does that mean you had some trouble with the car in the early stages?

DC: No, not especially. As you can imagine, I was quite happy with the outcome of the first lap, because that gave me an opportunity right away to close in [the championship points gap] a lot on Michael. Then after eight or nine laps it became clear that the extra fuel I had been carrying allowed Mika [an advantage over me that gave him an opportunity] to open up a slight gap. There was no point then in battling hard, because I was chasing a slightly quicker car. If we had been battling hard on the track [there was the risk] that I would turn an easy six points into maybe nothing. So today I was quite comfortable to accept the six points and hope the car was reliable, which it was. As I said to the guys [over the radio] on the slowing-down lap, my car has finished every race since Brazil - including Brazil - and that's fantastic reliability. I hope it will continue for the rest of the season.

Q. You're now just six points behind Michael Schumacher. Are you thinking about the world championship yet?

DC: No, there is no need to think about it. If you do well in the individual races, then the reward for that is having more points than the others and a world championship. I just want to look towards the next Grand Prix. I think we will be strong there, I think I will be strong there, and try to get maximum points.

Q. Rubens, your car was touched by someone else's car in the mayhem at the first corner. What can you say about the incident?

Rubens Barrichello: Actually I didn't see very much. I saw that Michael came on the inside, and I didn't want to make any problem for him because we are team mates and we have to work together for Ferrari. All of a sudden I was hit by somebody and I went off the track, into the gravel. Really I am lucky to have survived today, and lucky to have finished third, because the car was undriveable until I came to the pit stop and we were able to make a bit of an adjustment. The car was simply not what I expected, because the floor was broken.

Q. Is that why you weren't able to do anything about catching Pedro de la Rosa in front of you?

RB: Exactly. I was struggling with a very loose car at that point and hoping that things were changed. They did change after the pit stop, but by then it was too late.

Q. Mika, McLaren has now taken the lead in the constructors' championship by eight points. Next we go to Hockenheim, a power track. With a strong Mercedes engine you must be feeling very confident ...

MH: There are all the reasons to feel confident, yes. Over past years at Hockenheim we have always been very competitive there, very quick. We are going to go flat out. We are confident.

Q. You came here refreshed after a holiday, you set pole position and you've led today's race from start to finish. Two weeks ago in France you were happy with 2nd place: would you have been satisfied with anything less than a win today?

MH: Well, the fastest lap would have been a nice thing to get today! I am extremely happy about the outcome of this Grand Prix. I am extremely happy, together with the team, to have solved problems and get back to the speed I used to have. So I am definitely feeling optimistic about the future, because now it really starts and I am looking forward to seeing what happens in rest of the season. It's not over yet, and I am probably one the best people to talk on that subject and about that subject. If you look back at what happened last season, particularly in the last two Grands Prix, it was something incredible. Now we are already talking about it with seven races still to go. There is no point in getting too stressed about what it is going on. But from this point on it will get tougher and tougher for the drivers and their teams. It is going to be very exciting, I am sure.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren