1. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1m08.082s 2. Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS), 1m08.364s (+ 0.282s) 3. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1m08.704s (+ 0.622s) Q: Was that the most eventful session you've ever had? Rubens Barrichello: It was quite busy,...
Q: Was that the most eventful session you've ever had?
Rubens Barrichello: It was quite busy, that's for sure. There were a lot of cars out and on this track at the end of the kerb, you have this dirty part, and if somebody runs off it brings a lot of sand onto the track, so it's very difficult to get it right. Luckily, I was always out at the right time. I had two escapes actually. The first time I had to avoid the oil so I went out and on my last run, my heart rate may have been much higher than 200 at that time because I saw the Toyota coming back on me and I saw a crash coming, a big one. Luckily I was a lot quicker so I could get by but it was just too much traffic and I was lucky to have a good run.
Q: You were going out on scrubbed tyres and doing two timed laps each time. What was the thinking behind that?
RB: First of all we thought of going on new tyres and that's the way I went for a while. Then the time was going by and we had no more chances to do many more runs, so we thought we would give it a try for two laps because of traffic. Eventually, it wasn't far away.
Q: Ralf, are you surprised to be splitting the two Ferraris after what has gone before this weekend?
Ralf Schumacher: We are definitely surprised at being in between them. The gap seemed to be a lot bigger than it appears to be. I certainly don't know what Michael's reason was, but that gave me a chance to come in between the two of them. I did two laps very similar, the car was brilliant so thanks to the team and thanks to Michelin.
Q: Did you change the car a lot between this morning and qualifying, or was it the extra few degrees of track temperature that helped?
RS: It's usual that the more sun we have the better it is for us. That certainly helped, but the car was already good this morning. We just concentrated on working on different things.
Q: Michael was your qualifying strategy knocked off pace by that red flag?
Michael Schumacher: Not necessarily. You basically have the top three who did their time after the red flag. I don't think the knowledge of maybe half a run, which Rubens had done before the red flag, really helped big time. It was a straight and fair session that didn't really work for us.
Q: What happened on your second timed lap on the first run?
MS: I just lost the back end. I think we have a little problem, I don't know what is the problem, that's why I jumped into the T-car, and we need to check now. Anyway, we are in third position. With all that has been going on, that's quite reasonable and the race is going to be long tomorrow.
Q: Looking towards the race tomorrow Rubens, you're in the best position for that notorious first corner. You must be quite confident.
RB: Well, tomorrow is another day. We're going to start all over again so we're going to see, for sure. Today the car was working quite well. I'm very happy. I feel so confident about tomorrow. I'm not going to burn energy thinking about tomorrow. We're going to make a good set up and have a good race.
Q: It's been a bit of a full afternoon, hasn't it, Rubens?
RB: Well, it was for everyone. I could say this was a normal one, actually. There was trouble for everyone. On this track you have a little problem, as I said before, with traffic. You have to be lucky to be at the right time with a car behaving quite well. We don't have such a problem with wind here but we do have with the surface. It's just that the track can differ from run to run, just because someone has been off the track and so on. There were definitely a lot of things going on, especially I think it was Salo the very last moment, and I really thought I would have a very big shunt because I saw the car coming by at, I don't know, he was sixty, I was 300 and something so he was really too close.
Q: And then you were half on the grass, yet you didn't come in and you still went quicker.
RB: I had to because of the last few times. Imola, to be honest I didn't think Michael could have done it and then he did, Barcelona we were both getting better and he still has done it, so I said: 'Not today! I am going to still go for this lap and I am going to try really hard because he is going to come with something, so luckily for me it worked my way today. Like I said before, we have a good team together and it is going to work one day for one and one day for another.
Q: It is extraordinary how Michael was so far ahead this morning and you were so far ahead of him this afternoon.
RB: I think the sessions here are a little bit dodgy because you can make a time up to ten laps or so on. I knew he was going faster, I couldn't have done the time in the morning but I was preparing hard for qualifying. The balance of the car, the best time I had it, was in qualifying, so it is not that I had been doing this and I knew it would happen. But I was really focussed on preparing the car for the first two laps more than anything else because the car was getting better after two or three laps. I really put a lot of effort into the first and second laps so I knew my time would go better, but I didn't know by how much.
Q: Ralf, you said before the start of the weekend that you thought you would be closer to the Ferraris and now you are between them. Is that a surprise?
RS: It is a surprise. To a certain extent we even thought in the last run that with a perfect lap it might even work out. It is a lot better than we expected because we made everything possible out of our package and the tyre worked brilliantly today, especially with the sun coming out. The whole package was fairly good.
Q: So that was fairly important, the track conditions?
RS: It is always important, but more important for us than it seems to be for other teams. We prefer it to be hotter.
Q: So the rising temperature all the time was playing into your favour?
Q: What about the first corner. Everybody is going out wide. What grip are you getting from those green bricks?
RS: Actually we get more grip than we get from the circuit so we should consider having that everywhere! It looks a lot nicer doesn't it?
Q: How do you feel about the front row. You may be on the dirty side?
RS: Yes, that's the only worry we have for tomorrow but then today I enjoy being second and worry about that tomorrow. Since we all have this launch control it shouldn't be such a big issue. We just have to come through the first corner, it is a very exciting two starting rows at the front and let's go to the race from there.
Q: One of the big things is the consistency of the Bridgestones. How consistent are the Michelins?
RS: I have no worries about that one. I am sure it is going to be sorted tomorrow.
Q: Michael. What happened between this morning and this afternoon?
MS: Obviously I don't know yet, but I am certainly going to investigate. It is probably a bit unusual that I go faster this morning than I can do in the afternoon, so we will, I guess, find a reason for this.
Q: What was the car doing that you didn't like this afternoon?
MS: It was just not performing, just not fast enough. I don't know yet, there wasn't anything specifically wrong it was just not there, at least not in one part of the circuit. But then you honestly have to say that Rubens did a very good job on the other side, so that moves it quite far apart.
Q: Was the T-car better?
MS: I did a faster lap time with it, but when you have not run a car for the whole weekend and you just step in it is never perfectly right, and so it was here. But that is the way it is and now we have to look at what we do for tomorrow.
Q: He (Rubens) was doing his quick times on the second lap, were you looking for the same sort of thing?
MS: I was trying as well. I obviously knew what he was doing but then, like in the last lap I got into traffic, and I couldn't, and there was a couple of other things as well. In the second run I got into traffic as well, so I didn't really have the opportunity to do it.
Q: So how do you feel about the race tomorrow?
MS: Reasonable, honestly, because we have done very good work. We are fast in general. We know the situation is going to be tighter here than it was in Barcelona, still I believe we have a bit of an edge, as we have seen in qualifying. It is small but hopefully we can use it for our advantage.
Q: Michael, did you change the car because you were unhappy with the set-up or because there was a mechanical problem?
MS: We couldn't get the time in the car. We tried twice, the first one we thought something just didn't work, I wasn't sure myself, I had a mistake in turn two, so I just tried it again and we jumped in the T-car. But as I said before there wasn't an obvious particular problem.
Q: Rubens, will you be given the T-car tomorrow?
RB: I am sorry to be impolite, but it is our problem. It is something that we are going to deal with inside the team. The T-car has always been Michael's because he has always been the faster one, so the T-car is his car.
Q: Ralf. Do you guys normally carry fuel on board for an extra lap like Ferrari did just in case it is necessary in the session?
RS: Yes, sure, I am going to go and ask Michael and Rubens later on what strategy they will go for and we will make it a lap longer! It is certainly that we have a different car, I think in a race performance we are going to be a bit weaker than the Ferrari, it at least showed up in the last few races, but we will certainly have to adapt our strategy. We don't know what we are doing yet.
Q: I think the question was regarding strategy in qualifying. Could you have done an extra lap if you had wanted to?
RS: No. It was never planned for us to do an extra lap. We tried it in the morning and it wasn't quicker for us. Sorry.
Q: Michael, how much traffic was there on your quickest run?
MS: It was McNish, I think, in front of me, but I don't really know if that cost me significant time.
Q: Rubens. When you left the pits for the last time, you lost time with one Toyota. Do you think you could have gone even quicker?
RB: It is very difficult to say because if you see that in the previous run I had done my fastest time on the second lap, so the tyres were holding up quite well for the second lap but it is fair to say that on that run I got a little bit of a tow from, I think, Ralf. It wasn't a tow it was just two cars in front so maybe I got a little bit more speed out of that. The balance was quite good for that run, so maybe I could have improved my lap.