Monaco Post Race Conference

Sunday 24 May 1998 Post race winners' press conference: 1. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren-Mercedes), 1hr 51:23.595s; 2. Giancarlo Fisichella (Benetton-Playlife), 11.47 seconds behind; 3. Eddie Irvine (Ferrari), 41.38 seconds behind. ...

Sunday 24 May 1998 Post race winners' press conference: 1. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren-Mercedes), 1hr 51:23.595s; 2. Giancarlo Fisichella (Benetton-Playlife), 11.47 seconds behind; 3. Eddie Irvine (Ferrari), 41.38 seconds behind. _________________________________________________________________ Q.Congratulations, Mika, on being the first Mercedes driver to win here since 1938! This has been a fantastic weekend for you. MH: Yes, I don't think it will be until later today, or maybe tomorrow, that I will realise exactly how important it will be for me that I have won this race. Winning at Monte Carlo is the dream of most Grand Prix drivers, and now it's happened to me. It's so special that it's hard to believe that it's happened to me yet. I never could have done this alone. There are so many people on the team, my close friends, who have been able to make this happen today. Q. David was following you quite closely in the early laps. When he retired, were you worried that the same thing might happen to your car? MH: Yes, you worry automatically during a race, particularly when you are in the lead. Even though everything feels fantastic, you start to worry about the tyres, the engine, everything -- and you wonder if it's going to be reliable to the end. Quite early during this race I had an incident at the exit of Rascasse when I clipped an inside kerb. I was quite worried that I might have damaged something in the rear suspension. It is thanks to the boys who woke up up early in the morning and built the nice strong suspension for us which was able to take a little bump like that. They did a great job. Q. You made just one pit stop, on lap 29. Was that the strategy which you planned before the race? MH: Everything went according to plan. The team called me in and everything was pretty cool. I understood at the time there were no problems. Q. Giancarlo, you must be delighted. After your second place in Belgium last year, is this even more special? GF: It is a great result for me. My target was to get on the podium, so third place would have been fantastic, but to be in second place in unbelievable. I like this circuit a lot and I won here in Formula 3 [on 1994] -- and now I have a second place in F1. Q. Like Mika, you also had a moment at the Rascasse which cost you a spin and almost 15 seconds. What happened there? GF: I touched the kerb on the inside of the Rascasse corner and spun. Fortunately there was still quite a big gap between me and Eddie, so I was very lucky. Q. Eddie, congratulations on another fine Monaco result. You finished third here last year, and this is is your third podium finish of the season. Was it a hard race for you? EI: It was hard at the start. I was behind Frentzen, who I knew was on the soft tyres, so I decided I had to get past him. I dived down inside him at the hairpin and we made a bit of contact. But I managed to keep going -- and Heinz didn't, for a change! Once I had got past him it was a pretty lonely race for me. I couldn't make any headway on the Benettons. We had a lot of fuel on board at the start of the race, so I left the pit stop really late. I am pleased to have finished third, but I am a bit disappointed by the overall performance. Q. When you clashed wheels with Frentzen were you worried about the possibility of damage to your car? EI: Yes, because I have to say that we hit each other reasonably hard. But immediately through the first two corners after the incident the car felt as though there were no problems with it. After that I was confident that nothing [serious] had happened to it. Q. Ferrari made some changes to the car for this race. Are you more confident about your chances for the next race, in Canada, or is your situation worse than you expected? EI: Well, I thought coming here would be better [than it was]. Bridgestone seemed to have had a good softer tyre. But it didn't seem to work out that way. Our soft tyre was a bit too softer and the harder one wasn't quick enough for a good qualifying time. But I did some testing at Magny-Cours last week and we came up with some new tyres for Canada. I am hoping that Montreal will be a different story.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Giancarlo Fisichella , Mika Hakkinen
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , Benetton