Brazilian GP winners' press conference

1. David Coulthard (McLaren): 1:39:00.834 2. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari): +16.164s 3. Nick Heidfeld (Sauber): -1 lap Q: David, we saw you jigging around on the podium there, it must have meant an awful lot to you this win - but talk me through...

1. David Coulthard (McLaren): 1:39:00.834
2. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari): +16.164s
3. Nick Heidfeld (Sauber): -1 lap

Q: David, we saw you jigging around on the podium there, it must have meant an awful lot to you this win - but talk me through that move you put on Michael going into the first corner.

David COULTHARD: Well it was very difficult conditions. We were we were - there was a lot of traffic. You couldn't see anything because of the guy in front so you had to have a lot of trust in the other drivers. I had a bit of an advantage and got a run on Michael as we came onto the straight and then it was pretty straightforward. And, you know, we decided earlier that there might be a change in the weather so we would make a little bit of a compromise on the set-up to make sure I was in good shape for the damp. That didn't give me too much trouble at the beginning of the race and once it was damp the car was working very well. So I think we had the right strategy.

Q: Now earlier on in the race before you made that move on Michael you were third behind Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael what were your plans at that stage, did you know rain was coming?

DC: I was praying for rain. I knew that I'd made the changes to the car with my engineer to change the car for the wet conditions and we were getting calls saying that there was a pretty good percentage chance of rain. I didn't want to be the one to get caught out again in those conditions. I didn't want to be first to pit, I was waiting for Michael to do that and once I was out again I was able to get past him quite easily. And I think my engineer Paul, and Mark and all the guys did a good job on setting up the car so it's very satisfying to win this race. I know that we were slightly fortunate because Montoya was very strong but I still think in the wet we were in good shape.

Q: Well congratulations, David. Michael, can you talk me through the move, erm, just after the restart when the Safety Car came in after a couple of laps when Juan Pablo Montoya made the move on you?

Michael SCHUMACHER: It was pretty easy, I mean he had quite a lot of straight-line speed in comparison to us. The problem here is that it's a very long straight from the last corner to the start and finish line so you have to give a long time for the Safety Car to go off then before you can start to push and you only have until this last corner. And the guys are very close to you from there and it is very easy then to take the slipstream and go past into the first corner. Although I thought I was in front enough to keep in front, I mean he must have braked very late and he just got it right. I mean he pushed me wide on the exit, which is pretty normal racing, we touched a bit but no problem with that and then I thought I could have a run at him at a later stage but I never got really in that position.

Q: Later in the race when the rain had come, you went out on intermediates as you did in those circumstances in Malaysia last time out, but then it became clear that you weren't able to make any gains on David. Did it ever cross your mind to take a gamble and come in to fit dry tyres again because you had Heinz-Harald Frentzen an awfully long way behind you at that stage?

MS: No. There was no need to fit the dry tyres. It was far too wet.

Q: Michael, thank you very much. Nick Heidfeld, congratulations, your first visit, first place for Sauber, an excellent performance. You were going very fast in the wet behind Jarno Trulli - was it because you guessed before the race that it was going to rain?

Nick HEIDFELD: No, we went for normal dry setup but I think that Jarno was on wet tyres, I'm not sure but when I followed him it looked like wet tyres because earlier on it was wet, he passed me.

Q: Then Heinz-Harald Frentzen retired ahead of you and you were into third place - what does it mean to be up on the podium for the first time?

NH: Well, it's incredible for me and I'm really happy for all the team who put a lot of effort in it and it's really hard for me to realise right now because to be out on the podium, it is amazing.

Q: Well congratulations. Back to you, David. Three races gone, Michael leads the championship on 26 points, you're now six behind on 20, your team mate Mika Hakkinen has only one. Does this now change your position within the team, do you think that they'll put their whole weight behind you for the San Marino Grand Prix?

DC: I think the team provides two equal cars anyway, so I don't think that's an issue. I think that you should your championship position at the end of the season, not at the beginning so there's a long way to go, a lot of work to be done. I'm just delighted to get my tenth victory here, it's my sister's birthday today and she asked me for a win for her birthday so it's the best present I could give her. So I'm really overjoyed. This is the best feeling I've had from a Grand Prix victory.

Q: David, congratulations, how important is it, after six wins by Ferrari for yourself, for the team, to put an end to it?

David COULTHARD: Of course it is really very important. It's very important to try and win every Grand Prix that we enter and Ferrari and Michael have had a good run. Obviously we've started a little bit on the back foot these first three Grands Prix, we know that, but there's been an incredible effort from at the team back at the factory and we did take a step forward here this weekend. There's more to come but it was enough for us to take this victory. You know normally I like to win in a straight fight but I don't care, I'm delighted to take this victory.

Q: How important were the conditions, would you, do you feel it could have been the same result if it was all dry?

DC: Well I think that - I don't know, the fact is that the race was what it was so that's what we have to comment on. We took a decision to make some adjustments to the car on the basis of it being wet because that's what we believed to be the case coming in to the second half of the race. And that made it pretty difficult for me to hang in there initially but I thought I was keeping quite close given that I was on the one-stop strategy. Clearly Michael was on the same strategy, but I was going lap after lap waiting for the rain and the team was saying 'here it comes, here it comes' and it came. So that was a big relief because we could have been sorry if it stayed dry for the whole race.

Q: At what time - you went an extra lap almost, you said just now that you didn't want to be the first to stop why was that? Why did you wait the extra lap?

DC: We just wanted to be absolutely sure what was going to happen with the weather conditions. The team were waiting to tell me with the weather reports and they came on when I came past the pits saying 'we think it will rain for ten minutes'. So I said 'let's wait, one lap,' we did - and clearly Michael gained time on that one lap - but when I came out, you know, the car was working well and I was able to take advantage of the car.

Q: What tyres were you on when you came out?

DC: Intermediate.

Q: So now you know what they were like for Michael two weeks ago?

DC: You know we tested the wet tyres in Valencia before the season, we know the performance of all the tyres. But, you know, the difference in Malaysia when we came in to pit the Safety Car went out so the right choice would have been that tyre.

Q: Hmm. And this time the intermediates were better?

DC: Yes. And there was no Safety Car and it was the right thing to do because we didn't think it was going to rain for that long.

Q: What about the start - that must have been an interesting moment?

DC: Yeah, I saw Mika jump forward when he stalled. At first I thought he'd jumped forward and then just held the car in place but then I saw his hand come up so immediately I had to compromise my getaway off the line and make sure that I was going hard left. So I didn't really make much ground but luckily Ralf made a bad start and I was able to go up the inside and he was quite fair. He could have maybe squeezed me a little bit but didn't, and it was just a case of trying to settle into a rhythm behind Michael.

Q: And that for about 20-odd laps until he pitted and then you were right behind Juan Pablo. How quick was Juan Pablo?

DC: He was in good shape, you know, I would presume he had his car set up completely for the dry. I don't know how we could have compared had I done the same thing but they have a strong package and as Michael mentioned earlier they have high speed, the car is working well and so, you know, we've got a real battle on our hands for the championship.

Q: Okay David, thanks very much - it's interesting you were generous enough to give your sister a birthday present and not yourself, because you've just had a major milestone yourself haven't you?

DC: Yes but who wants to celebrate being 30?

Q: Michael, first of all a very early stop for you as well, obviously - were you basically on two-stop?

MS: Yes.

Q: Having gone as far as you did, in the dry conditions, would you have preferred to have dry?

MS: Well actually I was hoping for the wet patch but... because as I was behind David and he had done his pit stop and I had to do one more pit stop so the only chance was hope for rain. Which came but did not work out this time for us. The car wasn't really working in the way I would like it and, as you saw, I had a couple of 'offs', which is unusual for me in these conditions, but there is certain limits and the car wasn't really prepared for those circumstances.

Q: Did you go for a compromise setting, like David?

MS: Yes and no.

Q: Very precise! So, was yours in a way therefore a guess in the wrong direction, is that what you're saying?

MS: Why don't you ask some questions different?

Q: Okay, so you're not going to tell me.

MS: No.

Q: Then those two moments. Obviously it was very difficult conditions but they must have really compromised the whole race for you. Or the second one anyway.

MS: Sorry?

Q: Well by that stage, once you went off the second time that was the end of it, really.

MS: Yeah but honestly, even without the off you can see David was clearly faster than me and I wasn't able to follow him. Despite what happened in the race, honestly.

Q: So going into the first corner when the Minardi was between the two of you , talk us through that if you would.

MS: Initially I mean, the Minardi was completely on the left side so, I was he'd stay there, and I could dive through the outside. I knew David was on my left somewhere but when I came to the braking point you know he started to over to the right and I didn't know how far away and whether I would be safe or not. So I had to slow down more than I needed and obviously David took the right choice to the inside, but when I had decided what I was going to do, because I was closer to the Minardi, there was only the outside available to me, honestly. But to be honest you have seen the race and he would have catched me later at some stage.

Q: Were you expecting the rain to come earlier or when were you expecting it?

MS: No, there was no precise predictions that the rain would come. Even in the first two laps we had already some spots of rain, so I was saying 'there might be some rain, be prepared' but honestly during the race again there were some stages when drops came and then finally obviously it came.

Q: Okay, thanks very much. Nick, well done, congratulations, it's nice to see you here. You had quite a battle early on; in the early stages you had quite a bunch of guys behind you - Olivier Panis coming through as well - tell us about that.

NH: Well, I started to do my best but a couple of guys were able to overtake. Kimi was following me quite close as well, and there's nothing else too special about that.

Q: Then, in the wet conditions, were you on intermediates as well?

NH: Yep, was on intermediates.

Q: And how much had you set your car up for wet conditions?

NH: Not at all, we went for a full dry setup, we knew that there was a chance far rain ut we thought it was quite small and just went for dry setup.

Q: After the result in Australia and this race here, are you redefining your sights?

NH: Well, obviously, as a racing driver you always have to believe in yourself and I did that all the time. Obviously it's a lot more fun this year. To be able to go in the points, I guess it's got to be an exception this year to actually be on the podium but definitely I'm going to do my best to get back here as often as possible.]

Q: San Marino's always been a good track for Sauber.

NH: Yes, I was surprised how quick the car was here because most other teams were testing. Unfortunately we haven't been testing but we got a couple of more parts from the wind tunnel which seem to be working okay and also it's completely different circuit to the first two circuits so we're looking in good shape.

Q: Is there a lot of development stuff coming through?

NH: There will be some but I'm sure that the bigger teams can afford more things than we can.

Q: Michael, inevitably we're going to try and get a bit more out of you about the setting of your car. Was it something that was done before the race or did something develop with the car during the race which you had not expected?

MS: No, the car was what it was. Nothing else developed.

Q: Does this mean to say there was some disagreement between you and the team over the settings of the car?

MS: You would like me to answer this, honestly? I mean - certainly not, why we should have any disagreement about it, I'm responsible my setup as anyone else I just don't like to go into detail with you my setup! It's pretty easy!

Q: Okay, it's just that you looked unhappy, I wondered if -

MS: No no no I'm not unhappy it's just that I would have been more happy sitting in the middle here. That would be the perfect, to some degree, but then they did a better job than we did so that's it.

Q: Tell us how the car was, what was it doing that was so difficult?

MS: I think maybe you saw some inboard shots and what you saw I felt.

Q: Was he bolder than you, did he take a risk?

MS: No, no it was pretty straightforward overtaking, a tight one, but no problem there honestly.

Q: Michael, do you think had you come through the first corner ahead of Montoya the history of the race would be different?

MS: No, I don't think so.

Q: After the touching with Montoya was the car damaged or what?

MS: No, I don't think so. I haven't seen anything.

Q: David, is this the best race of your career?

DC: I certainly enjoyed this one a lot because after the first couple of races I didn't think wins were going to come that easily. And when you start in fifth place you don't really expect you're going to win the race - you hope you can - but the situation worked out really well. I'm really delighted how well the car was working in the wet because it showed the decisions that we made were good rather than just guesses, and that's very satisfying. I'm delighted for my two engineers, and naturally for the whole team. Simple as that. You know winning feels great and Michael winning all the time maybe he got a bit complacent. You know, I haven't won for a while and maybe you winning five in a row... well I can't remember the last time I won a Grand Prix.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Minardi