Belgian GP: Winners' press conference

1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1h21m20.634s 2. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1h21m22.611 (+ 1.977s) 3. Juan-Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1h21m39.079s (+ 18.445s) Q: Your tenth win of the year, your sixth win here, the 50th consecutive race with a...


1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1h21m20.634s
2. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1h21m22.611 (+ 1.977s)
3. Juan-Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1h21m39.079s (+ 18.445s)

Q: Your tenth win of the year, your sixth win here, the 50th consecutive race with a Ferrari driver on the podium. It looked like the perfect race from the outside.

Michael Schumacher: It very much did. I think we haven't really expected anything like that. We were optimistic. We had a very good weekend altogether but you never know what is going to happen in the race with the temperature and so on with different tyres. Then we managed a very good start where Rubens and myself immediately went up front and that was basically the decision for the race where we could drive our own pace and drive it home.

Q: You had a lead of over 20 seconds and at the end it was down to two seconds. Was that you just taking it as easy as you could or were there problems?

MS: There were no problems. We saw a lot of engines blowing up and it was just precaution, that there is no reason to stress anything harder than necessary. Obviously there were two seconds between Rubens and myself but there was another ten seconds, roughly, to Juan Pablo and in this case we were able to take it a little bit more easily.

Q: Rubens you managed to get past Kimi Raikkonen at the first corner, which must have given you pleasure...

Rubens Barrichello: Oh yeah, because it was in the back of my mind how quick Kimi could go and obviously by overtaking him at the start, it was a lot easier for us to set our times. Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble this morning with the set-up so it was a little bit in the dark for the race and I had a little bit too many blisters on the tyre but altogether, I think from where I started on Friday, with the small problems on set-up and everything, I think it has been a good weekend.

Q: It looked as though you had a rather nasty surprise when you came onto the start/finish straight and found a wall of smoke from Felipe Massa's engine.

RB: Yeah, not just that, but it was also Panis at the top of the hill as well. They were right in front of me both times and I was looking, not just to find a way but to see if there was oil, because if you find the oil, then you're just passenger but luckily I managed to get through.

Q: Juan Pablo, like Rubens you managed to put Kimi Raikkonen behind you, but you never managed to leave him, or David Coulthard, so it was a hard race.

Juan Pablo Montoya: It was a pretty hard race, I think especially at the beginning. We pitted at the same time and when we pitted, I think he put in a lot more fuel to go longer, because afterwards, I never saw him again and it was just a fight with David to the end. I think it was very important that the out lap was quick and that I stayed ahead.

Q: Rubens has now stretched his advantage to seven points in the battle for second place. Any chance you can turn that around?

JPM: You never know. If Rubens has one DNF (did not finish), things could change around, turn around really quickly, so we will see. Hopefully we will be quite strong in the next few races.

Q: Next race, Monza, surely a good place to stretch these records.

MS: I don't think we can ask for so much honestly. We have achieved so much this year that it would probably be a little bit arrogant to ask for more. We just take what comes and we do our best and honestly we would like to do our best and take another victory as Ferrari in Monza, because that's our home Grand Prix, but wait and see. It's a long circuit, we have seen Williams going very well there in the past years. It's going to be a difficult race but it should be a race where we should be competitive as well.

Q: You seem to be more dominant than ever, does it feel that way?

MS: Compared to maybe the last couple of races yes, we have had very good races earlier this season, like Spain and so on. If you go to Spain and you go to Spa, the sort of nature of circuit, high speed corners and so on, they are very similar and that's what our car is built for. Obviously it's great for us.

Q: You make it seem so easy, I'm sure it isn't.

MS: I just enjoyed myself and I just went flat out as much as I could until I had to drive a little bit within a certain pace for a couple of laps to save the tyres and then I just went for it and just had fun this afternoon.

Q: Did you warn Nigel Mansell before the start that he was probably going to have to say good-bye to his record of nine wins in a year?

MS: Obviously we were sharing it. We didn't talk much about it, he was just there to wish me luck. I thought that was very nice.

Q: Was the car absolutely perfect?

MS: Yuh, really good, really fantastic.

Q: I just wonder how you can make it even more dominant at Monza.

MS: I don't think it's necessary and I don't think it's going to happen because Monza is a circuit where these guys (Williams) according to me, are going to be very strong and I think we have to watch out there but we will find out next week. In two days' time I'll be there testing and then I will know more.

Q: Rubens, tell us about the start. Did Kimi go wide or did you just go down the inside? What happened?

RB: I got a good jump and by the time he tried to close the door I was already there, so he was just clever not to close any more because we would have touched. I was alongside him by the first corner so I was quite tight on the way in and on the way out there was no way for him to be in front, so that made my race in terms of a result.

Q: And after that?

RB: After that, I mean, we made a lot of changes because this morning I wasn't happy with the car on the old tyres. Obviously I was on different tyres to Michael but this time it was the wrong choice. Still, I have to be glad about the result, I am quite positive about it, but this time I had too many blisters on the front tyres which were a little bit dodgy. But still they were better than our opposition so we were able to drive home. But I had this kind of a problem so Michael was in a different league today, he was driving away, there was no way I could catch him up. There was a time during my first stint that the tyre looked good, but after that I was changing tyres and going through the same problem again so I just said I keep it safe.

Q: Second in the championship, a little bit more of a lead now. Are you feeling happier about that?

RB: Yeah, very happy. I think we came here to try to extend it and it is a little bit more, so that is quite good.

Q: Juan Pablo, what happened when you overtook Raikkonen? I think he had a bit of a moment didn't he?

JPM: I think he was trying to keep up with Rubens and he was just sliding all over the place and he made a mistake. I was quite surprised I could keep up with him after their pace this morning and everything, we thought we were going to really struggle. Actually, we did make some changes on the grid and it was probably the best change we made all weekend. It was amazing. We still had a bit of understeer, but it was so much more predictable to drive than the rest of the weekend and that was very good.

Q: Then you were challenged by Kimi and by David. How much of a challenge did they mount on you?

JPM: I think with Kimi it was pretty interesting but then we pitted at the same time and from then I never saw him again. Then the fight with David started and it was pretty close. As he was starting to accelerate out of the pits I was going by, there wasn't much left. I think the out laps I did were quick enough to stay ahead of him.

Q: And was it hard work to stay ahead?

JPM: It was close. I think we had very similar pace, he had a bit of an advantage down the straights because he was just drafting along. I think at the end he might have been a bit quicker than us, but from what we saw all the weekend they should have just flown by us and they didn't and I think it is good. It is the first time actually this year that they are quicker than us in qualifying and we are actually stronger than them in the race.

Q: Now, I mentioned the dominance that Michael, particularly, and Ferrari had here. Is it frustrating for you to see that?

JPM: Er, that's as fast as our car goes, you know, and we are going as fast as our car goes. That's it. There's not much you can do about it.

Q: Juan Pablo, Michael said before that you can do some trouble to them in Monza. Is that realistic with such a gap?

JPM: Well, you never know. This year, in Canada, the only other kind of low downforce circuit, we were quite strong there. It really depends a bit on the tyres. I think next week everybody is going to be down there and we will have a better idea of how competitive we are. We know they have done a lot of testing in Monza and I think it is going to be tough to beat them but we will do our best, like every weekend.

Q: Michael, was this race boring for you or do you just like driving alone?

MS: It was a very nice race for me, honestly. It is not always necessary to have a good feeling in the car and today I had a very good feeling because the car simply felt perfect and I just enjoyed the driving itself.

Q: So you prefer glory and wins to sporting competition?

MS: No. I didn't say that.

Q: Rubens, the best way to secure your second place in the championship was to have the victory. Was it not possible for you to ask Jean Todt to switch the place?

RB: There was never a chance to ask or do anything like that because I think Michael was so dominant at the weekend, he scored a good pole position and as I said I had a different strategy and it was clear that after three or four laps I was faster than everybody else but I couldn't really follow him. It would have been too much to ask for us to change positions. I think he deserved today and in any case I open up another two points, and that is how it should be anyway.

Q: Michael, looking back to last year, in Monza you were not at your peak. Is that more motivation for you at the next Grand Prix?

MS: It is, I think, the first time it has been for me not being on the peak of performance for various reasons and there it was an obvious reason. But we are not going to, hopefully, have to face anything like this, so I should be in normal shape and with normal motivation and then we shall see what the car does allow us. Obviously the question before was we are so dominant so it will be an easy thing for us in Monza, but we have seen this year that with the tyre situation sometimes you come to a circuit where you have been dominant before on another circuit and you are suddenly not dominant any more and the gap is very close. I foresee that this can happen, it doesn't need to happen but it can happen in Monza, so we have to give it a hundred percent. We will do and I will do and we want to do well for our Tifosi in Monza.

-fia-

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