Austrian GP: Saturday press conference

1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1m09.150s 2. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1m09.189s (+ 0.039s) 3. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1m09.391s (+ 0.241s) Q: Michael, a little bit down on sector one there... Michael Schumacher: Yes, a little wobble,...

1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1m09.150s
2. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1m09.189s (+ 0.039s)
3. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1m09.391s (+ 0.241s)

Q: Michael, a little bit down on sector one there...

Michael Schumacher: Yes, a little wobble, a little rear locking which caused me to go wide but I was still lucky because I was able to catch it just at the apex again and didn't lose too much time and then had a good lap from there on.

Q: Rubens was a little bit down on his lap - was that a concern for you going into your qualifying lap?

MS: I didn't actually see the sectors; I just heard the result afterwards. No, honestly, our car has been perfectly balanced all weekend. Together with the engineers, we've done a great job finding the balance straight away from Friday morning onwards. No, I felt that I could do better.

Q: You were significantly quicker than anybody else yesterday in terms of car versus car, but today it looks very close. How do you see the race tomorrow?

MS: What we saw yesterday I would maybe put down to set-up issues. I guess the huge difference that we saw wasn't honestly a true reflection. At least, that's my guess from what I have seen and what I have seen today, so it should be an interesting situation tomorrow.

Q: Kimi, you are still leading the World Championship after an unfortunate incident on the start line of the Spanish Grand Prix and you are bouncing back very strongly here in Austria...

Kimi Raikkonen: Yes, it's been a good qualifying. Unfortunately we haven't got first place but the front row is okay and we will see what we can do in the race.

Q: Tell us about the car - how you have been working with it this weekend, how does it feel, what's the balance like?

KR: Well yesterday we had some problems, some difficulties with set-ups but we have improved the set-up all the time, especially from this morning, and we seem to have found the right way. In qualifying the car was good to drive and I'm quite happy with it.

Q: What do you think will be the strong points for your package tomorrow?

KR: Hopefully everything, but I don't know what other teams are doing and they don't know what we are doing. We will see what's going on in the race tomorrow and we will give it our best shot and then hopefully it's enough.

Q: Juan Pablo, you were sixth quickest yesterday but you did say that you had your feeling back for the car. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Juan Pablo Montoya: I think yesterday was a good day. The car was starting to get better. We had a really good balance, but it wasn't quick enough and even though the car felt good today, the situation was the same - good balance but it was just about to be quick. We did some changes, some pretty radical changes, on the car and it made a hell of a difference. The car has got so much quicker since then. I think we've got a good strategy for the race and in the long runs we look very competitive compared to Ferrari and McLaren so it should be an interesting race tomorrow.

Q: Quite a lot of drivers seemed to run a bit too wide at turn one today in qualifying...

JPM: Yeah, actually I lost over a tenth there from my sector in the warm-up because I went in the warm-up and I had a bit of a moment, even though it was quicker it was too far on the limit. I thought everybody's making mistakes there and I knew I had to do a decent first sector without compromising the lap and that's what I did - and looking compared to Michael and Kimi that's where I lost all the time. Even with that, I'm P3 and I'm pretty happy about that.

Q: Michael, since this race last year, we have a new rule that says no team orders should be applied that affect the result of the race. Now, we saw you and Rubens actually touching wheels at the first corner in the previous race, the Spanish Grand Prix. Can you just talk us through your interpretation of that new rule under the heading of 'how do you also drive in the best interests of the team?'

MS: You see the thing in my mind is to win the race, and that's the only thing that counts. That's what I'm going for, that's what our strategy is based on, and team strategy is history.

Q: Fine, but nonetheless, team strategy does come into play still. We see different cars on different strategies, even within the same teams sometimes.

MS: Yup, possible, but I think we made a very clear statement after what happened last year and we will stick to that statement and whatever is allowed from there. Everybody will do the same whenever it's in their interests.

Q: There are some predictions of rain tomorrow. What are your thoughts on that?

MS: Well, no thoughts honestly. I think we will be prepared for all circumstances. We now have two choices of tyres, which I think is a very wise decision from the FIA to make the sport a bit safer in that respect, so I have no doubts whatever weather conditions we will face.

Q: Michael, do you think it had all gone away at the second corner?

MS: No not all gone away. I knew that I lost a little bit of time but to me not a great deal because I got the car back just enough not to run too wide on the kerbs and there lose a lot of traction, so no, I knew that it would be close but seeing how close and seeing what we have done, it gave me good satisfaction.

Q: There is only one corner before the first intermediate point but we were just working out you were actually fourth quickest when you got there and then you had the moment as well so it was quite something to get it back...

MS: Well, the fourth quickest, I think it was only Kimi who was exceptionally quick in that area, who was about two tenths quicker than the rest and then everybody else was within hundreds and thousands and probably so was I at fourth, but yeah, on top I had the moment. My personal situation showed me a good sector time so I was not worried for the first sector at least, it was just down to the last sector to keep the tyres together and just have a clean run and not have the wobble in the last corner as yesterday.

Q: What is it about the kerbs here, it is almost as if they tempt the drivers to use them more, particularly the first and last corners and a little bit in the second?

MS: The last corner, I think, is probably the most specific case because you can use quite a bit of it on the inside and sometimes it drives you wide and if you go beyond the first section of kerb you come to this very special sector of kerb and that just pulls you out and if you go there you lose a lot of time. You are sort of tempted to over-push a little bit all the time and yeah I have struggled and as we have seen some other guys.

Q: Is that going to be the case in the race or less so?

MS: I think I have made enough experience yesterday so I hope that is enough for me.

Q: Kimi, are you looking forward to the view on the grid tomorrow a little but more than you did in Spain?

KR: Yeah, I think so. It is much better now. In Spain I was at the other end and it wasn't really a good race for me but now everything seems to be okay and it was quite a good qualifying.

Q: Did you think you had done enough for pole position?

KR: I knew that it was going to be close and, okay, it was a bit unlucky that we didn't get the first place but the front row is always a good place to start.

Q: It seemed to be a very clean lap. How was it?

KR: Yeah, it was a pretty good lap. It was the first time this year that I got my qualifying lap together and it was quite a good time for that. It just helps you during the race if you can start on the front row or even on the second row and there is an interesting race coming tomorrow.

Q: So, knowing what your strategy is going to be for the race tomorrow, how is the feeling starting from the front?

KR: I think we have a very good chance to win the race. Of course, we don't know what the other teams are doing but we are quite confident that we have a good strategy for tomorrow.

Q: Juan Pablo, given that you have had a fairly difficult weekend you must be pretty pleased with third?

JPM: Yeah it wasn't, you know, that difficult. The car was pretty good yesterday -- it wasn't quick enough but it felt pretty good. Today we did some changes and it was a lot quicker and I think we have a really good race car and it will be interesting tomorrow.

Q: What about the lap itself?

JPM: It was okay. The first sector I took a bit easy because everyone was making a mistake in turn one. In the morning I did a pretty similar time to Kimi but it was right on the limit and it is so easy to lose the car there that I know how to do a sector time without making any mistakes and it seemed to come off.

Q: Given that the car is reliable, at least we saw at the last race it was reliable, what are the chances for the race tomorrow?

JPM: I think it is very good. Like I said, I think we have a very good race car and we will see how good it is.

Q: Some of the later drivers seemed to be a bit all over the track. Michael, as you were the last one out did the track seem especially dirty or slippery to you?

MS: Indeed, there was quite a bit of dirt on the circuit accelerating out of the first corner which you naturally carry into the first corner and then the exit of turn one was not particularly clean as well but that was the same for Rubens.

Q: Were you told to take it a bit easier because of that?

MS: No, you always drive to your circumstances and that is that.

Q: Juan Pablo, when you came around the final corner here David Coulthard had been off and there were some stones on the circuit there. Were you aware of those?

JPM: No I wasn't and it was a bit of a surprise when I turned up and I saw all that but it didn't seem to affect anything.

Q: Kimi, yesterday you were one second slower than Michael but today you were almost on the same time. Was it set-up or fuel level?

KR: No, I would say we had some difficulties yesterday with the set-up and this morning we found quite a good set-up and improved in the second practice and I think that is the difference. We have always been not so quick compared to other cars on Fridays but we seem to always find the time for Saturday. The Friday is always more practice than anything else and providing you get a reasonably good time on Fridays it doesn't really matter.

Q: For the two Michelin drivers, yesterday your team-mates were complaining about the graining on the front tyres. How is the situation today?

JPM: Well, we get a little graining but on our car this doesn't seem to affect the pace too much.

KR: Yeah, I think the situation is much better than yesterday and I don't think we have anything to worry about for the race.


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , McLaren