Belgian GP winners' press conference

Q Michael, congratulations on your second Ferrari win and your 21st career win. You must be delighted today? MS Yeah, it's going to be difficult to find words for that. 1.2 seconds behind in qualifying and then in dry circumstances...

Q Michael, congratulations on your second Ferrari win and your 21st career win. You must be delighted today?

MS Yeah, it's going to be difficult to find words for that. 1.2 seconds behind in qualifying and then in dry circumstances to do what we have done today I wouldn't have bet, again like in Spain, one penny on it that it would happen, especially in the middle of the race while I was behind Mika. I was pushing quite hard going hard over the curbs and I bent my steering and had a big play in the steering. That was quite funny through Eau Rouge and I was close to stop the race because I was a little bit frightened through this high speed corner and may lose my steering. Then I spoke to the pits and they said it's going to be all right and all of that together, to win this race, it's just a Hollywood life I would say.

Q You made a good start and you managed to overtake Damon. Had you expected to do that at the beginning?

MS With us it's obviously not so sure whether we are going to do good starts or not because the system sometimes works quite well, the system actually is fine, it's the clutch. We have some variation in the clutch which the last two races we have had good clutches but it's a matter of luck to be honest to have this or not. It worked perfect today. I wasn't expecting that but I knew obviously Damon had some difficulties through the last races in starting and knew Jacques didn't. Well I almost caught Jacques as well but obviously on the outside it's difficult to pass by in the first corner so I had to pull back.

Q When the safety car came out you, were very clever and made a pit stop immediately. What was the decision behind that, did you hear from the pits or was it your decision to go?

MS No, to be honest it was the decision of the fuel tank because I would have been empty if I would have continued for one other lap. It was our strategy to come anyway at that lap and it just worked perfect.

Q And any problems from your accident on Friday, did your knee give you any problem at all?

MS No, we did some good therapy through the weekend and the swollen bit went almost back completely. I'm just not able to run properly, otherwise in the car it is no problem.

Q Jacques, you must be pleased with a 2nd position because Damon's lead now goes down to 13 points. Do you think you could have won today?

JV Well our car was slightly quicker than Michael's but when the yellow came out we were trying to communicate through the radio to come in the pits but we didn't understand each other so I stayed out and that was a big factor in the race today but then it was close all the way to the end with Michael.

Q How did you feel when you came out of the pits after your second stop and saw Michael shooting by, did you think that's it or did you think you could get back?

JV Well on the second set of tyres the car was very good for two or three laps and then it started to push like a pig and it actually did that with every set of tyres, so I pushed really hard on the first laps and it was good with Michael but then I just lost my front end and I just couldn't turn the corners any more.

Q Towards the end we saw you slowing down a little bit. Was that for that reason or were you just being careful to make sure you got the points at the end there?

JV I was hearing some noise in the engine anyway so I prefer to just lay back a little bit.

Q Mika, we last saw you in Silverstone when you were 3rd and you were 2nd here in 1994, you seemed to have a good hard race today.

MH Yeah, I don't want this to become a habit to be 3rd but I'm very pleased indeed. It went really well. At the end of the day starting from 6th and coming 3rd was absolutely more than I expected to be honest.

Q You had quite a hard fight in the middle of the race with Mika Salo, how did that go?

MH Yeah, it was a bit strange because he didn't really give me the room even. It was pretty clear I was quicker than him, but I guess he didn't see me and things like that happen in a race.

Q Are you feeling more confident now with the car towards the end of the season, can we expect some more good results from you?

MH Yeah definitely, definitely. We can expect more for the last three races.

After the race Tony Jardine of the BBC interviewed Damon Hill and David Coulthard...

DH We should have done a lot better than we did in the race but the pit stop was the crucial thing. I came up the pit lane and there was a safety car on the track and I got the signal to come in and then I got the signal to stay out, so I had to stay out which put me behind Berger and the other guy. Basically I haven't had chance to talk to the team yet so I can't get the full story but it probably cost me a few places there.

TJ We went in to speak to your technical people in the garage and they said that you complained of severe understeer and then we saw you adjusting your wing in the pit stop.

DH Yeah, on my first run I had very bad understeer in the car but I was in traffic so that tends to affect the car quite a lot. The car was much better on the last stint but the next guy was 18 seconds up the road by then.

TJ The points situation now is 13, it was 17 before, it could have been worse.

DH I think that's my view, it could have been a lot worse than it was. I'm still pushing and I'm still hanging in there fighting and it's going to be an exciting last three races now.

DC I came out after the pit stop and straight away I was running two seconds a lap slower even with new tyres and the car felt very strange at the back end. Maybe when the car was coming up or something during the pit stop something happened, I'm not sure but certainly it was a different car and eventually it just caught me out and off I went.

TJ Because that safety car came out, did strategy change then because the two McLarens were out front?

DC Yeah, I think ideally it would have been best to come in under the pace car but the strategy we were running wouldn't allow us to have got all the fuel on board. We would have to have made another pit stop so that was the problem, we had to stay out.

-- David Goodwin

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Mika Salo , Tony Jardine
Teams Ferrari , McLaren