Pole Position Press Conference - 8 June 2002 1. Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams), 1m12.836s 2. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1m13.018s (+ 0.182s) 3. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), 1m13.280s (+ 0.444s) Q Juan Pablo. Second race in a row on pole ...
Pole Position Press Conference - 8 June 2002
Q Juan Pablo. Second race in a row on pole position. Talk us through that qualifying lap.
Juan Pablo Montoya: It was a very good lap. We thought it was going to rain a bit earlier so we went quite early to put a decent lap in and make sure if it did rain we had a good lap, then Michael went and did the same time as in the morning. I knew I had a bit of time to improve, actually quite a lot, even from the morning, I gave it a good go and actually it was quite good. But if we really put the sectors together we could have gone a bit quicker as well. It will be quite an interesting race tomorrow, I think.
Q It was very unusual to see a Williams going out first thing. How much different did it feel on a really green track?
JPM: Not much, but I always say the first five minutes of the session is always quite slippery and you could really tell the difference. When I went down on the second run I had more grip everywhere.
Q Michael, we saw you pushing Juan Pablo quite hard there. Why did you have to abort the final lap, was it rain?
Michael Schumacher: The final lap was already too much spitting down and there was no point to keep trying.
Q This circuit is a compromise between downforce for corners and lack of drag for the straights. How much are you going to change the car for tomorrow knowing that you are going to be starting behind Juan Pablo?
MS: For sure we have a sort of qualifying set-up and then we go to race set-up, so obviously our guys have done a great job in terms of qualifying engines, they really made us go very well today, so for tomorrow we do the necessary changes that we feel are right.
Q Rubens. You lost your third run with a spin. Was that due to the early fall of rain or was there a little bit of oil out there?
Rubens Barrichello: To be honest with you I was playing a bit of catch-up into the session because this morning I went off and in the morning I didn't really have much running so the car wasn't fantastic. On the last run I kept on trying but it was a little bit too slippery but I think all in all, as Michael said, we did a good job, Juan Pablo put in a good lap and he seemed to have a really good balance through the corners. I mean the guys did a fantastic job and our engine was running fantastically well today so we just hope for a better run tomorrow.
Q You are certainly looking very strong for the race. What are your hopes?
RB: We have to dream of the best and the best is a win.
Q Juan Pablo. You were on pole in Monaco but it didn't go particularly well off the grid. Has there been a change to the launch control system for the Williams?
JPM: They always look over everything and I think we should be alright. From what they tell me they have made the necessary changes to make it right, and if it goes right it goes right, if it doesn't it doesn't. What can we do really?
Q Juan Pablo. That must be extremely satisfying because it all seemed to go absolutely according to plan.
JPM: Yeah, it did. We were really expecting the rain a bit earlier and that is why we went out early. It's quite strange because everyone was standing on the pit wall and I was in the car straight away, and said are we going and nobody has been on the track so it was a bit weird, but everything went quite well.
Q A new experience for you.
JPM: Yeah. I have got to say everything went really smooth. The car is quick, it has been good all weekend. Yesterday we were really competitive, today as well.
Q I don't know what conditions you are expecting tomorrow for the race but I expect they are fairly different to today. How much have you had to compromise your tyre choice between the two different types of conditions?
JPM: I think yesterday we knew which tyre we were going to use pretty much straight away. We did a comparison and we knew what we wanted from the tyre and that is the way we choose it really.
Q Do you think the new pit lane exit is going to change strategies during the race at all?
JPM: It's going to change it a little bit, I think. There is probably a better chance to do two stops for some people, but we will see.
Q You don't think it is going to change yours?
JPM: I don't know. I'll tell you tomorrow.
Q But otherwise, everything according to plan so far?
JPM: Yeah, it's good. Third pole of the year, so no complaints.
Q Disappointed not to fight for pole at the end?
MS: A little bit, but then we didn't get it together and that is the result of it.
Q Were you expecting the rain earlier or later?
MS: We knew there was a chance of rain but how early or late you never can predict precisely.
Q Now, at the last race McLaren reckoned they were going to be faster off the line than Williams. Do you have a similar feeling having studied the launch control?
MS: I don't know what they said, but what was very obvious in Monaco was that the left side had more grip than the right side and that was the reason for Coulthard jumping Montoya.
Q So are you as confident on the front row?
MS: We are confident that if everything goes well...the systems, I think, are so optimised that usually go up the same way and unless the tyre manufacturer really differs for start performance you stay where you are.
Q Are you fairly confident for the race?
MS: We are always confident. We know we have a good car but then being second you have to somehow find your way through and that us going to be difficult.
Q Do you see a change in strategy because of the new pit lane exit?
MS: As he (Montoya) said the pit lane is probably a little bit faster than it has been but it is very marginal so I don't expect too much of a change.
Q Rubens. After the dramas you have had today, you must be pretty happy with third?
RB: Yeah, that's true. I mean, this morning I had an off and it was a pretty strange one because I got sideways into the corner but the problem was it was grass then tarmac then grass, and when I went through the tarmac the car just swerved to the right, which, in the future we will have all the asphalt thing and the car just wouldn't do that at all. And then, because the walls are so close here there was nothing to do. Then on the third run in qualifying again the car jumped out of the kerbs and got sideways so I was just praying not to touch the wall because I was desperate to have another run. But as I said in the room there, I was playing a little bit of a catch-up because it's since the morning yesterday we ran with the fuel, so this morning I ran only 16 laps and I was unhappy with the car. So the first run was okay, the second was improving and I was hoping for better in terms of time. But in terms of position then yes, I think it is a good one, and there is hope for tomorrow.
Q And they have repaired your race car for qualifying?
RB: Yes, I have done qualifying with my race car.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q Juan Pablo. Yesterday you thought a 13.3 or a 13.4 would take the pole. Are you surprised at your speed today?
JPM: I think the car goes quicker and quicker and it is very difficult to really tell how quick it is going to go. It is just basically the new tyres. They give you a lot of extra grip...it's quite difficult to balance the car because you are always on old tyres, so when you put new tyres on the balance shifts a bit and if you can really get the balance right with the new tyres it really pays off.
Q For Juan Pablo. Do you think the fact that the weather was colder today helped the Michelin tyres?
JPM: Normally I would say that when it is cooler the Bridgestone is stronger.
Q Yeah, I know. But it seemed you went faster than you were expecting yesterday.
JPM: It is very difficult to predict what is going to happen. You can't say it is going to be 12.5 or 13, you know. Yesterday everybody was running with fuel, so it is very difficult to say how quickly you are going to run the next day.
Q I want to ask each driver about the exit to the pit lane. Do you expect any problems?
MS: A modification has been done again since yesterday. So, for sure not. They extended the line.
Q For Michael. Juan Pablo has shown he is not easily intimidated by other drivers, yourself included. What are your plans for the first corner? Does the fact he is not going to back down make any difference to you at all?
MS: Not really because a good racer has to be like that, honestly, and we are all the same. Everyone up front could probably call themselves a good racer and we know what we have to do. It is going to be tight and whoever has the better start may have the jump in the first corner.
Q Michael and Juan. Ferrari had quite a big advantage earlier in the season but we haven't seen that in the last few races. Has the gap been closed or is it just something that is unique to Monaco and Montreal.
JPM: I think the tyres play a big part, a big role, and we have to see how competitive we are everywhere. There are places where the Ferrari has got a big advantage and some other places where the Michelin tyres do a great job. In the last two races the tyres have been fantastic and I think that has been the major difference.
Q This track looks similar to a CART track. How could that help you?
JPM: Last year I qualified tenth and I shunted the car in the race.
Q Juan Pablo. There was a great shot of you in the garage before you went out on the track for your qualifying run of you yawning. Outside of being in the car, of course, when do you start feeling the pressure?
JPM: You do feel it, but I don't remember yawning during qualifying. This morning I was a little bit tired because it was a bit early and I didn't get much sleep.
Q Michael. My same question, do you think the gap has been closed between you and the Williams?
MS: Yes it has. It is obvious I think. We have been up front for quite a while and now it has turned around. We have mentioned that many times to you guys and people are reluctant to believe that it could happen, but that is the way it is. There will be other circuits that may favour us, but here it is probably favouring them a little bit more than us.
Q Michael. Are you worried you might blister the rear tyres in the race on this track?
MS: Not necessarily, no.