Q. Congratulations, Michael, on making the race look so easy today. Was it as straightforward as it looked? MS: Except on one occasion [when I went straight on at Ste Devote], that was true: I had a good run from the ...
Q. Congratulations, Michael, on making the race look so easy today. Was it as straightforward as it looked?
MS: Except on one occasion [when I went straight on at Ste Devote], that was true: I had a good run from the beginning on. We chose the right tyres, the right setup, the right time to pit stop. Everything was just perfect. There was a very important decision just before we went out to the grid, when we changed some details -- which finally worked.
Q. What happened in the incident at Ste Devote when you went straight on with about ten laps to go?
MS: It was a struggle anyway to keep things together at Ste Devote, because I was locking up the front tyres. I could probably have made the corner, but instead I decided to go straight on and have a little spin, to enjoy myself, and then continue.
Q. Was there any question in your mind about possibly using dry tyres, as some of the other drivers decided to do?
MS: I thought about it, too, but I didn't see the conditions changing and I didn't know other people were making the change. In fact I was quite surprised that anyone should make that decision. It could have been right and it could have been wrong.
Q. What are your feelings about the next race on the schedule, in Spain?
MS: To be honest, I would prefer to cancel Spain because it is not a circuit which suits our car! Now that I have opened out a small gap, I suppose I can afford just to go for a finish in the points and still look good. After that race, though, I believe we will be looking reasonably good for the rest of the season. But Spain will definitely be tough, so I just have to do my best.
Q. Rubens, this is the first-ever race finish for Stewart Grand Prix and your first podium since Canada in 1995. Are you surprised to be here?
RB: I suppose I am surprised, to be honest. But I am glad for this great team. They did a great job, they put everything together, and the car is very good. The wet gave us our best chance to be on the podium. At one stage when I was 2nd I saw that I was 28 seconds behind Michael, I could hardly believe it. For the last two laps I thought, 'Jeez, I don't know how to drive anymore,' because I was concentrating so hard and I was so determined to bring the car home. It was quite tough.
Q. Your team boss Jackie Stewart won here three times. What advice did he give you?
RB: He kept telling me that the white lines were dangerous! This is a great moment for me. We haven't done too much testing There have been reliability problems, too, and until today we had no idea whether we could finish. It is great to see the other car finishing as well. It was hard to keep my concentration in the final minutes, too, when we didn't know how many minutes of racing were left.
Q. You had a good fight with the Jordans at the beginning. What happened there?
RB: My tyres were working very well at the beginning and they [Jordan] were having trouble at one stage, because I passed Fisichella going down to the chicane. Then Ralf ran wide, at Portier I think, and I overtook him. But it was a fair battle. At one stage I was trying to get close to Michael. But the gap [between us] wasn't going down and then I made a mistake and at the chicane and ran straight on. After that my car was touching the ground a bit harder, so I decided to keep on going because the gap to Fisichella was increasing at one second a lap.
Q. Eddie, after qualifying so far back, you must be very happy to have come through to score a third consecutive podium finish ...
EI: Oh, yes. It was unexpected, but I got a reasonably good start and picked up two or three places. After that there were people running wide, so I was able to nip through. Everything was running pretty much to plan. At one stage I was close behind Rubens, and there was a possibility of finishing the race without putting fuel in, so we were wondering whether we should go for 2nd place. But we decided to settle for 3rd. So I came in to put in a little fuel and off I went again.
Q. How bad were the driving conditions?
EI: The biggest problem for me today was that the idle [speed of the engine] had been set too high to get around Loews. Almost every lap I had to pull the clutch in and coast round the corner, then let the clutch out again. A couple of times the engine was pushing me on and I didn't think I was going to make it round the corner. That was really the only worry I had all race.
Q. Those early laps must have been lively for you ...
EI: Oh, it was chaotic! I was hitting people up the rear, I was being hit from the rear and even from the side. The Ferrari must be a very strong car, but it survived all that. God knows how many contacts I was getting in the first five or six laps. But we came through it and climbed up through the field from 15th place.
Taken from :
--- David Goodwin