US Grand Prix FIA Saturday press conference transcript with Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 1m10.832s Felipe Massa (Ferrari), 1m11.435s Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault), 1m11.920s Moderator: So we have the first two on the grid and Giancarlo just...
US Grand Prix FIA Saturday press conference transcript with
Moderator: So we have the first two on the grid and Giancarlo just joining them. So, Michael, what is it with you and Indianapolis? This is a great bounce-back.
Michael Schumacher: What it with us? I mean that's probably the more right question because if we have -- we try always to maximize our opportunities and package, for whatever reason we were not able to do so in the last races. Here it just fits in relation to the other guys extremely well. What is the explanation for it? I don't know other than here straightaway we went out and had grip, and other races we didn't.
So it's characteristic of little details which have big effects. I've been talking about those very often, and here is a little bit of proof of that. It's a long race anyway from here to go, but naturally with this much advantage, we have vast opportunities. Having Felipe in the first row as well, I mean, that's just ideal for us.
Q: It was an interesting start to the session, wasn't it?
Michael Schumacher: Yeah, yeah. It was a good way to figure out what may happen tomorrow at the start anyway. Obviously we lost out initially, but been quick enough to recap.
Q: And you could become the first ever five-time winner here.
Michael Schumacher: Yeah, it would be nice. I'm not really great in these sort of statistics, but you've been mentioning that several times to me, so I can't get around that.
Q: That's my fault, is it?
Michael Schumacher: So if it happens, great for us.
Q: So well done, anyway. Congratulations for the first battle won anyway.
Felipe, very quick, as well. Disappointed not to be on pole position?
Felipe Massa: Oh, I think the most important for sure. We try to be quick as we can. If I was on pole, I would be very, very happy, but I'm very happy to be in the first row. I think that's very important for us. When you think about the temperature, it's still open, difficult but open, and we need to do everything we can to be in front of Renault. This race, we can be in the qualifying, hopefully tomorrow, as well.
Q: Have you made any changes to the car in the last couple of days?
Felipe Massa: Yeah, we make some modification, but the first day the car was already competitive. Just make more modifications to improve the setup, and I think we have a good car for the race, also.
Q: And the track conditions; the wind?
Felipe Massa: Was pretty hot, especially on the scrub tires in the circuit. It was quite slippery, and it was difficult for the car on the track. We saw other cars sliding a little bit, and the track was very hot. But I think we are in a good direction.
Q: Well done. Congratulations.
Giancarlo, are you happy with that third?
Giancarlo Fisichella: Well, honestly, I'm quite happy because I did my best. I did a good lap. It was a good car balance, but I was struggling just with the grip overall. So it wasn't easy to do better than this. And I think we realized straightaway this morning when we saw Ferrari's lap times consistently quick, it was a really tough qualifying session for us to be in front of them and more than a second quicker than us, so it's a lot. So I think they are quicker than us at the moment, but the race is going to be tough for the tires, and we have some chance to do well to score lots of points with both cars, which is our target.
Q: Is it understeer or oversteer that you are suffering? Former driver suggested to me that you had understeer.
Giancarlo Fisichella: Well, Q1 was a little understeering, and we managed that understeering with a front wings. Apart from that, I told you the balance wasn't too bad. I'm just struggling with the grip from the rear.
Q: You don't think the fuel load is going to change anything for the race itself?
Giancarlo Fisichella: I don't think so. Compare them, I don't think so. Unfortunately.
Moderator: Some questions from the floor. If we can have your name and publication please. Sir.
Q: Michael, you seem almost surprised that you had that big of a gap and advantage on everybody here. Just describe that a little bit.
Michael Schumacher: Yeah, I mean, if you look at the last races how close they were or we've even been behind by sometimes about two-tenths, then to be here. If I'm not wrong is about a second to Fisichella, and that's extreme. Coming from Canada, calculating the fuel effect and everything, two-tenths too slow and now one second quicker, that's just miles. I'd rather finish the lap here by one-tenth and take the reserve for the next race and split it up somewhere where we use it. But there you go. I mean, it just shows that when things just are optimum for us, that's what we can do.
Q: Michael, in Barcelona it looked very good for Ferrari, and the track kind of went away from you. From your experience here in Indianapolis, is the track evolving a lot during the race here?
Michael Schumacher: I mean it can evolve, absolutely. A lot? I don't know. But to have a second in hand, it would be difficult to lose a second, honestly. In Barcelona, and that was one of the worst situations, we lost about half a second from Saturday to Sunday somehow. I don't see us too much in trouble for any situation. We have had hot temperatures in Q3 in the beginning, tires were very consistent; there was no problem. So we don't really anticipate any problems.
Q: After the events of last year, are you surprised how enthusiastic the fans have been here? Question for all three drivers.
Michael Schumacher: No, not at all. First of all, the people who may have been that disappointed not to want to come to see us, they're simply home and not see us anymore. The people who come, they are still enthusiastic, and want to see and they believe in what Formula One can do and what we can do. Again, last year was a single event and would be a shame if you be measured to a single event.
Felipe Massa: I think people understand about last year that it was not just joking. We couldn't race, and that was the case, and people, I think, understand and everybody knows that we're going to race here. We're going to do a good show for everybody, and it shows that Formula One is a nice sport. I mean, we are here for race, for competition, to make people happy and enjoy.
Giancarlo Fisichella: Yeah, I agree with both of them. There are people who love that sport, and they understood about the problem of last year. It wasn't our fault. And honestly, I was quite surprised to see a lot of people today, to be Saturday. It was quite surprising after what happened last year. So we expect lots of people tomorrow, and they are welcome.
Q: Michael, how important is it to cut into Alonso's lead for you this weekend being halfway through the season?
Michael Schumacher: You imagine any race from now with having a 25-point disadvantage is important to open or clear up as much as possible. So this can be an important and good race to achieve that. We obviously are both very strong, not only qualifying as well as in race performance. So hopefully we can manage in the race and take the points away and put down the gap.
Q: Giancarlo, do you think this is the result of a conservative tire choice of Michelin after what happened last year?
Giancarlo Fisichella: Well, I don't know. I cannot say yes or no. I told you, we have same package as the last race and I think what they have here. We don't have the answer what the problem is. Just I told you the car balance is not too bad, but we are just struggling with the grip. Could be tires, I don't know if they are conservative or not. But it's a second.
Q: Michael, for so many years when you had that great run, you were the guy being chased, now you're the chaser. Is that a challenge and a role that kind of gets you excited when you're chasing somebody rather than being the guy that they're chasing?
Michael Schumacher: Whatever way you're in, you try to see the positive side of it. There's no point to see the down side of it. So it's what is left to me. We have this opportunity with having a great car in our hands, still nine races to go. So we're going to go for it and put as much pressure on as we can.
Moderator: Some more questions?
Q: Michael, with having a car like this, what does it do for your frame of mind going into tomorrow, compared to maybe last week?
Michael Schumacher: Yeah, I mean last week it was only to minimize the damage. This one is to have a good feeling for the victory and then hope that opening the points as much as possible.
Moderator: Any more? Thank you very much, gentlemen.