Belgian GP: Saturday press conference

1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1m43.726s 2. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1m44.150s (+ 0.424s) 3. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1m44.335s (+ 0.609s) Q: Michael, you were so much faster than the others. You must be very proud of that pole ...

1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1m43.726s
2. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1m44.150s (+ 0.424s)
3. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1m44.335s (+ 0.609s)

Q: Michael, you were so much faster than the others. You must be very proud of that pole lap?

Michael Schumacher: I am certainly, because, incidentally, I found out this weekend that I've never had pole here so far so it's something which I didn't realise and I really wanted to have and we had the opportunity, because we worked very well yesterday and today. We sort of had a good feeling for the qualifying that we could do it and finally we did, because the guys did a great job with the car, set it up perfectly right.

Q: Why did you go out right at the end when you didn't have time to complete a flying lap?

MS: Simply because we went out too late. And why we did this? I guess somewhere we miscalculated and sometimes that can happen. To be fair, it wouldn't have been a better lap because we made a set-up change which didn't go the right way. I just wanted to try it out because I already knew when I left the pits that I wouldn't make it, but at least I get this sort of information, and it was good to finish it.

Q: Kimi, your best qualifying session but the car looked tail happy. What was it like for you?

Kimi Raikkonen: The last run was good, but unfortunately I think one of the Jaguars went off in front of me and there was one car between us and there was some sand, so I lost some time in the middle sector, but it was OK.

Q: There was an incident when Montoya came up very fast behind you on your in lap. At what point did you see him, because he looked as though he was a bit upset that you had got in his way?

KR: I didn't see him. I was looking in the mirrors and I just saw him at the last minute and I just went straight through the Bus Stop because I didn't want to be in front of him.

Q: Rubens, you seemed to find traffic on your last run.

Rubens Barrichello: Yeah, unfortunately. To be very honest, I was struggling quite a lot this morning. I found a better set-up for qualifying so I'm happy to be third, on a good line for the start. But, you know, I was already happy with the car so I knew I could have gone faster. Unfortunately I got one Minardi at the top of the hill after Eau Rouge, which cost me three tenths. I still went very fast into the sector two which was going quite well and I got another Minardi on sector three so it was very unfortunate, because other than that I think I could have pipped Kimi.

Q: At what point did you no longer have to worry about rain?

RB: Well, I think that's never the case because we never know what's going to happen. We have a fair idea what could happen, but it didn't look as if it was going to rain at any point in qualifying.

Q: Michael, ten years ago you scored your first win at this circuit. If you win here tomorrow it will be ten wins in a year. Are you looking forward to it?

MS: Certainly I look forward to it. Obviously Spa is my most favourite circuit and to do well means a lot to me, because of the history I've had here, and therefore it would be the ideal result.

Q: Does it surprise you that you've never been on pole here?

MS: Yes. Some guys told me at the press conference on Thursday, but I wasn't aware of that at all. I thought it had happened somewhere. You know I don't keep too much record of what has gone on but obviously, today, finally we were able to do it.

Q: Why did you abort one run?

MS: There were yellow flags in turn twelve for Fisichella so there was no point to go.

Q: Were you fairly confident of being quicker than McLaren and Michelin, even though they've been looking pretty strong?

MS: We sort of were reasonably confident. They went out on new tyres this morning, we didn't and you normally improve sufficiently, so I thought we had some margin. But on the other hand, we have seen in qualifying, especially, with the Michelins, that they sometimes make improvements which you don't expect. It was probably more with the Williams than with the McLarens but from that point of view we were reasonably confident.

Q: And you finished early this morning.

MS: Yeah, there was a little problem to check but there wasn't much point in going out again because we wanted to take the time, because we weren't sure if there was rain at one 'o clock or not. We wanted to be sure the car was ready.

Q: Having said that, nobody went out for about 20 minutes.

MS: No, when we got closer to one 'o clock we then knew the weather would stay consistent and then there was no point to be out at one.

Q: Now, I believe you are not happy with the writing on the circuit here?

MS: Yeah, because here it is a circuit which traditionally can have wet circumstances and to have wet circumstances on paint is very slippery and on a straight I don't really see the point. There is plenty of space next to the circuit, it doesn't need to be on the circuit. The problem is if it is going to be in one place it is going to be in all the places in future and we know in Monte Carlo the zebra crossing stripes are very slippery and I don't see any reason for that to be. It is not only me, it is us drivers, we feel unhappy about it and we sort of asked to move it away.

Q: Kimi, are you happy to be second or disappointed not to be on pole?

KR: Of course I am happy but still, we were very close on timings. If you look at the sector times I just got a bit of traffic and sand on the mid sector on my last run, but it is still my best qualifying so far, so it is pretty good.

Q: It looks as though the car nearly got away from you, probably because of that sand.

KR: No, it was just I was just pushing quite hard and I got a little bit out of shape. It was a couple of corners after that when I got the sand on the circuit, but it doesn't really matter.

Q: At one point, on your second run, you were just going up the hill and Panis had blown up. The circuit was full of smoke. Did you lose any time there?

KR: No, I just quickly went on the radio and asked which way I need to go because I saw absolutely nothing and then I suddenly saw the oil line and I just took the opposite side of the circuit and went through the smoke. Happily there was nothing in front of me. It wasn't very nice.

Q: What about for the race. Are you fairly confident? Michelin are looking good here at the moment.

KR: Yeah, it has been looking good. Unfortunately we had some problems every session with the car and we didn't have much chance to make longer runs because we were losing time with problems and it took the whole session to fix it. But there is still tomorrow morning to come and hopefully we can find a quick race set-up.

Q: Rubens, you said you were happy to be third and you feel you have made the right tyre choice. Does that mean you have made a different tyre choice to everybody else?

RB: It is just a good choice for the race, that's all.

Q: So you are happy with third place?

RB: Well, I mean, of course you are working to make it better but on the other hand I was struggling quite a bit this morning. The car was not balanced at all, I was having all sorts of reactions and in the middle of the corner I would have understeer and oversteer so it was pretty difficult. The qualifying time was a lot better, we made improvements and I was looking good. I was fairly confident and on the last run I was even thinking I could go better because the sector two, which is the longest one, was quite a lot quicker. But I lost a lot of time with a Minardi in Eau Rouge because I had to back off so I lost three tenths up the hill and when I got to the bus stop there was all that mess with everyone backing off, so it is just that I lost the second position. I couldn't have gone faster than Michael but I could have probably done a 43.9 or a 44.0, something like that.

Q: So the stability, which is vital round here with these fast corners, is much, much better. You feel it is going to be okay for the race?

RB: Traditionally I have always been okay on the race in terms of set up. I have struggled a little bit in the morning trying to find the set-up but I am finally happy and I am sure tomorrow is going to be a good set-up for the race.

Q: To Kimi, do you think it will be possible to repeat the performance you had in Magny-Cours?

KR: Hopefully, but we don't know really. The whole package seems to be pretty good here, the tyres and the car are working well, but there is still the question mark for the moment how the car and tyres will be in the race. So far we have been looking quite good here and I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be strong also, but we will see tomorrow.

Q: Michael, you were on your own for your first flying lap. Was there a special feeling to be on your own on your favourite circuit for a flying lap?

MS: I can only see what I see in the mirror backwards and forwards so I don't know what is going on on the rest of the circuit. For me it doesn't make any difference. The point is to have a clear lap and not be held up, and that was the case.

Q: Kimi, how important is it for a young guy to be second on a circuit as difficult as this and to have such a big gap to your experienced team-mate?

KR: It is important to be as good as possible but I wouldn't say because I am young it is going to be more important than next year. I am always trying to do my best in qualifying and in the race and if I get in the front row or in the first place or as good as I ever can go it is always good for me. It is nice to be quicker than my team-mate but it is different, sometimes he is quicker sometimes I am quicker. It just depends when you get your set-up right, but it is always a nice feeling.

Q: To Michael, this race could be the last on this track. What is your feeling about that?

MS: Well, it would be a shame, first of all. Secondly, the thing we should remember is that Spa has been several years under discussion whether to race or not to race here, and it has always been on the calendar at the end of the day. I hope the same sort of story will happen again.

Q: To everybody, here the first corner is quite difficult to pass. Are you worried about it?

KR: I think it is a little bit tighter than some other circuits but there are also difficult corners in other circuits and I don't see any reason why it should be any more dangerous or difficult than any other place this year. Maybe it can have an accident more easily but this can always happen and we will have to see what happens next year.

Q: Michael, you said the drivers were not particularly happy with the advertising, but were you told it is going to be removed?

MS: Yesterday we were told, yes, it would be taken away.


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Kimi Raikkonen
Teams McLaren , Williams , Minardi