Spanish GP Saturday press conference

1. Michael Scumacher (Ferrari), 1:18.201 2. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren), 1:18.286 3. David Coulthard (McLaren), 1:18.635 Q: First a question to all three of you; hands up if you were using traction control in that session? Mika HAKKINEN: We ...

1. Michael Scumacher (Ferrari), 1:18.201
2. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren), 1:18.286
3. David Coulthard (McLaren), 1:18.635

Q: First a question to all three of you; hands up if you were using traction control in that session?

Mika HAKKINEN: We disconnected it in the last run which helped a bit.

David COULTHARD: I haven't heard 'hands up' since I was at primary school!

Q: Michael, the car has looked superb all weekend, it's obvious that Ferrari are over their slump and are back on the pace and up to date with these new regulations.

Michael SCHUMACHER: I haven't seen that we have been in a slump situation. The media likes to see it that way very often. Anyway, the fact is that we're back up where we want to be and we have worked hard as usual. There's pretty much good hope for the rest of the weekend because we have been working very precisely to prepare for every eventuality for the weekend. Things look good but then, as you see, things are very tight.

Q: Certainly today, you seem to be conserving tyres. You didn't go out for a last run this morning. You've only done eight laps this afternoon. Are you worried about tyre wear?

MS: No. Basically, you want to prepare everything in the best order for the race and that's what we did, but it's not really the case that we're worried. It's simply that we want to have the best performance.

Q: Mika. Superb run there at the last minute, I think you managed to pull about 0.4s there. Did you get the maximum from the car today?

MH: Like I said, I disconnected the traction control at the end, and that helped me a little bit at the end. Some problems where I had some understeer. It was good but generally, it was a big push.

Q: You've won the last three races here. Does it give you extra confidence going into tomorrow's race?

MH: Oh yeah, plenty! Yes, in one sense. Obviously you have a completely different approach to the Grand Prix in one sense because you have extremely nice memories about the place. So yes, I suppose, there is a slightly different attitude and feeling about this Grand Prix and I believe it's going to be help me a little bit tomorrow.

Q: Now you're starting second, which is on the traditionally dirty side here in Barcelona, but will the introduction of launch control make it less of a problem this year?

MH: If you have two equal cars and the other car is on the clean side and the other side is dirty then obviously the car on the dirty side is always a negative thing. But obviously it's impossible to know how equal we are with the Ferrari, so tomorrow we will see how we will do the start.

Q: David, you've done four very good laps today, all within fifteen hundredths of each other. You must feel therefore that was the best that was going to come today.

DC: Well no, actually, quite the opposite because my first run was a base line tidy run, and every run thereafter was riddled with the little difficulties and mistakes and certainly my last run, I lost a lap with the Sauber which had to pass me on its lap so I can only presume that he felt I held him up and was returning the favour. So, no I don't feel that I got the maximum out of the car. I think that where Michael was achievable, if you were able to hook all your sectors, all your corners together, but this is where I ended up so I have to make do with this and look to the race tomorrow.

Q: David, you're starting third and normally you would have said to me, if I can get a good start I can get past the other two. Is that still possible?

DC: None of us know, as we sit here today, just how the traction control at the start is going to work. I think that being on a clean part of the track has got to be potentially better because the system works out how much grip is available and will optimise that. But the driver still pays a part in reaction to the lights and there could well be a lot of cars sitting on the grid tomorrow and not moving anywhere because the systems don't quite work the way they expect them to.

Q: Michael, similar question to you. Do you feel it's just a case of watch the lights go out and press the throttle and a nice win for you here in Barcelona?

MS: Well, if it would that easy, we would probably go home right now and celebrate, but there's about more than 60 laps to go which is going to be tough, and strategy will play a big factor as we have set launch controls and see how they work between individual teams will be interesting tomorrow with the first race we do under proper race conditions with all these new systems, so it will be quite interesting to see what is the effect for whom.

Q: Any specific reason why you didn't do all the laps today?

MS: Ross mentioned to me there was no point to stay do the lap and come in. The times were slightly down I think because the wind had moved a little bit faster so there was no point.

Q: Mika got a little bit close to you on that last lap.

MS: Yeah, but not close enough obviously.

Q: With the new technology, how confident are you of it for tomorrow?

MS: Pretty confident. The top teams naturally have made the most of it compared to smaller teams, we've done a lot of testing with it.

Q: Is there any argument you can see for not using any aspects of it?

MS: No. I could well see you may get an advantage without it in qualifying but the race is another story.

Q: Mika, tell us about that last lap because it got very close to Michael.

MH: It was a bit disappointing not to get the pole. I think Turn 5 I lost a bit of time, too much, up to that time things looked pretty good, I lost a bit of the back end in that corner and lost the time but got it back later on. Generally it was good to get the feel of the car in that run because it was performing really fantastic.

Q: What was the advantage of not using traction control on that lap?

MH: If you have some problems with the car in some corners you can fix it with the throttle. Traction control sometimes doesn't allow you to do that in some places.

Q: Do you think you're going to use everything in the race tomorrow?

MH: Maybe!

Q: David, are you a bit disappointed to be third?

DC: Of course you want to be quickest but you know when you're out there whether you're doing the maximum or not and if you do the maximum you take where you finish up. The only real clean lap was the first one and the others, the fact that they were all the same time along the way meant that there were mistakes in some corners or you're not quite happy with the balance. On my last run I didn't complete the lap properly because of the traffic, so you have to take it as the chequered flag shows it.

Q: Were you using all the various new bits today or, like Mika, switching them off?

DC: It's a very difficult one to answer just as a yes/no because there are so many things available to us and so many variations that there's no way you can possibly understand it because we don't!

Q: Presumably it's essential to have the confidence in the various bits and pieces available to you?

DC: I feel confident, the only time you'll doubt the system is when it switches off in the middle of a corner and you find yourself going backwards across the gravel. Until that happens there's no question the system has certain advantages and the biggest one is at least you all know what everyone's running and there was some doubt in the past about that whether right or wrong. It eliminates that.

Q: Michael, were you happy with the choice of tyre this time?

MS: Not just this time. If you really take everything in consideration we haven't done any wrong decisions for our package.

Q: Even in Imola?

MS: You never saw how quick I could have gone. It's very easy to say what has been said but if you deeply analyse you will be surprised by the result.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren