1. Michael SCHUMACHER(FERRARI), 1m 35.266s 2. Juan Pablo MONTOYA(WILLIAMS), 1m 35.497s 3. Rubens BARRICHELLO(FERRARI), 1m 35.891s Q: Michael, it's interesting that your qualifying time is just slower than last year's. Michael SCHUMACHER: I...
Q: Michael, it's interesting that your qualifying time is just slower than last year's.
Michael SCHUMACHER: I don't know that it's so good when you imagine how much money everybody has invested to go faster and then we go a little bit slower from one year to another, but we are sitting here in the middle. That's what we were aiming for and that's what we have achieved. Everybody was feeling bored after Australia and thinking it's going to be an easy season and you see what's going to happen: things are tight and we're going to have an interesting race tomorrow, I think.
Q: Did track conditions change to cause you to go out early for your final run, instead of waiting a usual?
MS: It was only a matter of traffic, honestly, and Ross thought it was a good moment to go. Honestly, if you look at the temperature, we should have waited until the very end, because I guess it was even cooler at the very end than it was when I went. I did the same time and that was really the situation, we couldn't really improve further.
Q: Juan Pablo, if you had strung together all your best sector times, you would have been on pole, not Michael.
Juan Pablo MONTOYA: Yeah, I know, it's a bit frustrating. The car was really good, I was especially losing time in the last sector. In the first two sectors, I thought it was good and really put the third sector together, and it was a matter of putting it all together. The first sector wasn't very quick, just over a tenth off. I tried a bit harder in the second sector, but I made a little mistake, but that was it. I aborted the lap.
Q: The Williams looked particularly evil out on the circuit yesterday; what have you done to change them for today?
JPM: Everything. On my car we changed just everything. We tried everything from springs, bars, you mention it. My car was specially good in sector two, which is the quicker sector and has the quickest corners on the track. It was good. It's good to know, especially in the quick corners, that we can match the Ferraris. But they seem to have a bit more downforce.
Q: Rubens, you left it late in the session to go faster...
Rubens BARRICHELLO: I'm happy with that. It took a while for us to find a better set-up because the car doesn't seem to have been the same as this morning. This morning, the car felt a bit more together, but I'm happy. I think a final run like that is always under pressure. You have traffic, so many things, so it's good to be at least within a small gap towards the front row and we can always aim for a fight.
Q: Why did you leave your first run so late? Did you think the weather conditions were going to change?
RB: When you come to a track where there isn't much running, like this one, if you leave it to the end, it seems like the track gets better and better. You never know if it's going to cool off or not. You have something that can tell you, but it can't be that accurate. So it was a matter of just getting a free track and a clear one.
Q: Michael, looking towards tomorrow's race, what are your predictions?
MS: Honestly, the weather conditions are going to be a big factor, and there's a possibility of showers, as we had last year, and in these circumstances, it's very unpredictable, honestly. Our aim is clear. We want to be finishing the race as high as we can, hopefully with Rubens one place up or the other way round. That's the aim. Whether we're going to do it... There's a couple of cars behind us that want to change that.
Q: Michael you seem to have been very relaxed this weekend and, in fact, you have not done as many laps as many others. And yet it was very close at the end, it was a bit touch-and-go wasn't it?
MS: Yes and no. I mean, basically, we had a very good preparation yesterday, where we did many laps. We did long runs and we prepared ourselves for tomorrow and today was only a matter of qualifying, which is usually one lap, so that is what we did. We concentrated on it and we worked our way through.
Q: So would you say the car is perfect in all conditions?
MS: I would say so, yes, and obviously, in our tyre situation we don't have to prepare tyres for the race. That's why, compared to our competitors, who seem to have to run-in their tyres, and prepare them for the race, there is no need for us (to be concerned).
Q: So you are pretty confident from pole?
MS: I think our tyres choice is a very good one especially for tomorrow. So I am pretty confident.
MS: Yes. Not as confident, maybe, as in Australia. But...
Q: Where you weren't even on pole!
Q: Juan-Pablo, are you happy with second?
JPM: Well, yes and no. You know, it is a bit disappointing because the other sector times were there and, after the second run I lost a bit of time in the first two sectors. (I) seemed to have quite a bit of understeer and then, in my third run, I got the last sector together where I had been struggling all weekend. I t was just a mater of putting it together and it was simply two options: either try to put it together or try to find a bit more
Q: Where do you lose time in that sector? At what specific corner?
JPM: In the third sector, there are a couple of places where you can lose time quite easily and in the second sector it is especially in turns seven and eight, a double right-hander with understeer.
Q: Is that why it looks nervous to drive from the outside? It looks like a very nervous car?
JPM: It is not that bad. Today it was really quite good to drive. Yesterday it was very nervous, but today it was very nice to drive actually. Yes, it does move a bit.
Q: Rubens, it looked a bit touch and go at the end there to see if you would get out in time or not. Is that how it was planned?
RB: No probably not that close, I think. It was the right time to go. It was fortunate, but if I had a red light for example into the scrutineering area, there would have been no time. So it was a little bit of luck really to have a go. Yes it was really last minute like it used to be with Senna, probably..
Q: How much do you change the car during the session?
RB: Oh very much because I went out with the car I had this morning and it felt a bit different so we tried something else and it didn't work. So we changed a little bit and finally I got a better run, not the optimum one like I was looking for, but it was okay to put the car on the third position.
Q: Was the ultimate one there?
RB: Yes, I think so because this morning on old tyres it was looking better. So, I was actually hoping for a better run and, unfortunately, I was pushing everything I could with the amount of understeer I had and the car was a bit tricky on braking as well. So I am happy with the speed I took out of the car, but still, on the new tyres, I would still have liked it to go faster.
Q: Michael, how do you explain the track not getting faster towards the end of the session and probably as a consequence of this the pole position time actually being slower than last year?
MS: I don't think it's a matter of the track not getting faster. I think it is just a matter of the track being slower than in previous years because, if everybody is basically not really faster than in previous years, I can only explain it by (saying) the circuit asphalt may be being less rough, or something like that. There is no other decent explanation than that.
Q: Can you tell us if there was any talk in the Drivers' Briefing yesterday about the start, subsequent to the last race?
Q: There has been some talk about the Michelins being better in the heat, but there are two Bridgestone-shod cars up the front. What are your thoughts, please? Will there be a big difference with the heat and the tyres here?
MS: No. No I wouldn't think so. We are pretty much prepared for hot conditions. We have suffered at some stage last year, but I believe we have picked up and for me the factor is that maybe the other competitor (Michelin) seemed to struggle in Australia, in particular, as they have done in previous years and our tyres are pretty consistent. We did not suffer in Australia and we didn't here and we are pretty stable and we shouldn't suffer in the heat either.