Belgian GP Saturday press conference

1. Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) 1:52.072 2. Ralf Schumacher (Williams), 1:52.959 3. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1:54.685 Q: Juan Pablo, can you explain how you started on wet tyres and worked your way down to dries? JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I...

1. Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) 1:52.072
2. Ralf Schumacher (Williams), 1:52.959
3. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1:54.685

Q: Juan Pablo, can you explain how you started on wet tyres and worked your way down to dries?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I only actually went through two sets of tyres. We did the first run on wets, but we knew it was going to get drier and drier, so we did a decent lap to get us on to the grid and then we had to really play completely on slick tyres and it really worked well. The team did absolutely brilliantly, and I think everybody did a fantastic job.

Q: Yesterday you lost time, everybody lost time, yet here you are on pole position. Would you advocate in future less practice?

JPM: No, I know the track quite well and I like it. At this moment we are quickest as well in the dry so it was looking quite promising. On my first lap on dries it was OK, but it was quite reserved, so I said I really have to give it a go and I did.

Q: Ralf, you looked incredibly frustrated during qualifying at one point; what were you saying to the team?

RALF SCHUMACHER: I can't really remember. No, we were discussing what to do and it wasn't an easy decision to take, actually. At a certain point, we still had that problem with the intermediate tyre and we had to go on slicks quite early while some Bridgestone runners still stayed on intermediates. At the end of the day, it didn't work too bad. It's always under these conditions that you need to have a bit confidence that the car's doing well and you need to have good luck. Then you're there.

Q: As the circuit was drying out, how uniform was it?

RS: It became fairly even. On the main line on the straight it was already dry with just some corners, especially turn three and four it was still a bit wet.

Q: Michael, while other drivers were changing tyres, you were changing from one cars: did you have one set up for wet and one for dry?


Q: But it didn't produce the pole you were aiming for. Was there any particular reason here?

MS: Put it this way, I'm the Bridgestone pole position man today. If you look at the gap to the next Bridgestone guy it's quite big. We timed it right for your situation. It looked that way already this morning when these guys went on dry tyres in slightly damp conditions they got good grip. You know these tyres have an advantage in one area and then a disadvantage in another area. A race is going to be a long way and it should be alright for us.

Q: Juan Pablo, still aiming for your first win, which sort of weather would you chose for tomorrow?

JPM: No definitely dry. I think the car is working really well on dry. Yesterday was a big struggle with the set-up but I had a good think overnight and it really paid off.

Q: How was the car set-up and how much did you change it during the session?

JPM: Before the start of the session, we decided to keep most of it dry and do the basic things - maybe the wing and little stuff like that - and we left it like that. The only thing we added was that as soon as we put on slick tyres we put on a bit of wing.

Q: How much satisfaction does it give you to be on pole on this circuit in these conditions?

JPM: It's brilliant. I thought it was going to be close, so I gave it a really big 'go' the second lap and looking at the time difference it's brilliant.

Q: How much the track conditions constant for the whole lap?

JPM: Every time you went through a corner it was a bit drier. There were corners where you couldn't really see the dry bit but there was quite good grip, surprisingly.

Q: What about the stationary car at Stavelot?

JPM: Not really. You're really out of the corner in the middle of the straight. It wasn't a big thing. You lifted a little bit.

Q: Ralf, the previous questioner talked about waving your hands around which we all saw, perhaps you don't remember it

RS: No I can't at all!

Q: Perhaps it was frustration - was it?

RS: No, we had a tyre decision to do and everyone seemed to be a bit unsure. I'll have to look at it, there wasn't a panic in the pits, it wasn't that bad, in the end I knew it was going to go quicker. Under these circumstances you need to be out at the right time, you need to find the spaces to give 100% and, well, he was simply better today than I was.

Q: I don't think you were expecting to be this competitive.

RS: Not at all. In the dry it looked that way, somehow yesterday although we were far away we thought that there might be a fair chance for us but really it was better than we expected.

Q: And in the wet?

RS: It has become a lot better but there's still a lot of room for improvement.

Q: Michael, how much of a lottery was this session?

MS: Put it this way, it was very tight for us to use the dry tyres. Honestly I was lucky, within the lap I went out on dry tyres and the lap actually I started it did dry up enough just to use the dry tyres and go faster, because when I went out I was almost sure from our point of view we couldn't improve. But then in the last lap it just dried out again just a little bit extra, which helped us.

Q: Are you upset to be third?

MS: No. Why? I mean listen, with the conditions we are, not at all. It's a long race tomorrow, it's supposed to be dry, I think we're going to look quick in the dry or in the wet. We may have a little problem I see now in these intermediate conditions on dry tyres but why be upset?

Q: Michael, you had an incident yesterday in the wet - what are your thoughts on being in traffic?

MS: It's going to be the usual problem we experience at circuits like Monza, Hockenheim or here - high-speed circuits with a lot of spray on the straights - which is going to be difficult. Saying that there was an unusual circumstance with Pedro coming out of the pits and when we are doing the race we don't expect people to come out of the pits initially until certain things have sorted out.

Q: Michael, 10 years of Formula 1, this circuit tends to bring out the best in a driver - what is it that the circuit does to bring that out or is it that the driver has to be good to be quick here?

MS: It is the usual situation. You need both, you need a good car, good set-up and then if you're good as a driver you can use the benefit. You have a lot of high-speed corners, a lot of corner combinations, and that makes it different to circuits like Hockenheim and Monza where it's only stop and go.

Q: Juan Pablo and Michael, five of the fastest cars were on Michelins today - was there any advantage in Toyota testing here recently?

JPM: I don't know how many seconds they were off the pace so it doesn't really count. Because here we have a tyre that Ralf tested last week.

MS: Different circumstances, different weather... they're going to learn for sure they are, trying it out and getting some confidence but it is their first year, we are there for many years so I don't want to get into this kind of argument and use this as excuses.


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