Brazilian Grand Prix FIA winners' press conference transcript with 1. Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren), 1h29m20.574s 2. Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren), 1h29m23.101s 3. Fernando Alonso (Renault), 1h29m45.414s Q: Winning for the second consecutive year in...
Brazilian Grand Prix FIA winners' press conference transcript with
Q: Winning for the second consecutive year in Brazil, obviously it is an emotional day for Fernando but from your point of view it is great to win here again in Brazil and a very strong one-two finish for McLaren.
Juan Pablo Montoya: It was a lot of fun, it was a big fight with Kimi all day long and it was a matter of gaps. He was going longer than me so I always had to open a gap to be able to maintain it and it was not easy, especially after the second stop, it was so close, but it was just close enough.
Q: It was a momentous day for McLaren, you have taken the lead in the constructors' championship by two points now, you have often talked about how important that is to you and the team, what are your thoughts on that?
Juan Pablo Montoya: Finally we got a one-two we have deserved since the beginning of the year. At the beginning of the year we probably lost the drivers' championship to Fernando when he was stronger but as a team we are probably a lot stronger, we are a lot stronger now and I think we deserve the constructors' championship to be honest.
Q: It was a bit like a few years ago with the safety car in the early part of the race and Fernando in front and not too much of an opposition for you but an interesting moment.
Juan Pablo Montoya: Well, I was going to go for turn one and I showed the car and he just braked too late and made a mistake, and I just thought 'I am just going to see maybe he brakes really late' and he did and I had a run into the next corner so it was good.
Q: Kimi, an emotional day for you I guess, a strong second place, mathematically it looked as though the win was on for you in terms of how much fuel you were carrying and when you came in for your first stop.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, but I wasn't quick enough in the early part of the race and also after the first stop from the beginning I was not quick enough so Montoya always got a little gap and it was enough for him. It was quite difficult today, the car was not the easiest one but at least it was quick still and it is fine, we got a good finish for the team and that is a good thing.
Q: When you said you were not quick enough, did the car feel different from practice or was it perhaps a legacy of the tyre problem after qualifying?
Kimi Raikkonen: It was nothing to do with the tyre any more but it was not perfect. All weekend the car has been a bit difficult but like I said it was a good finish for the team and we did the best that we could. We knew winning the drivers' championship was going to be difficult anyhow. It was supposed to happen some day and it happened now, so congratulations to Fernando.
Q: Fernando, it is difficult I guess for you to put your emotions into words right now so we can say 2005 World Champion, first Spaniard to ever win the title and the youngest driver ever to be World Champion as well.
Fernando Alonso: Yeah. Of course, it is impossible to really say anything now. I think I am extremely happy and it is a very emotional day for me. I did a good race. At the beginning I thought we would be able to fight with the McLarens but after the first pit stop we realised that it was not possible, so I tried to control Michael all through the second stint and it was a very long race for me, obviously.
Q: What was your concentration like, was it difficult not to think of the end of the race at the start?
Fernando Alonso: I thought about the championship from the first lap but the race had two or three different parts. The first stint I tried to fight with Juan Pablo and with Kimi so the first 20 laps were quite quick to me. Then fighting with Michael and the last stint my team told me the last three or four laps might even be rain so I tried to have as much a gap to Michael as I could, just to be sure, so I had motivation in the last stint so the race was a little bit quicker thanks to that.
Q: Try to describe your emotions on this momentous day for you.
Fernando Alonso: I think I came from a country with no traditions in Formula One and, you know, I fought alone, basically, because I had no help from anyone for all of my career. I arrived in Formula One thanks to the results in my previous categories and thanks to my sponsors and now I think this title is the maximum I can achieve in my life, in my career, and it is thanks to three or four people, no more than that.
Q: Juan Pablo, the constructors' championship is still there to be won, two points between McLaren-Mercedes and a Renault, what are your thoughts heading into the last two races?
Juan Pablo Montoya: We are in a very good position, you know. The drivers' championship is over but I think we have a stronger car than Renault so we should be able to win again. Our car has showed to be reliable, we had a couple of problems earlier in the year but in the last few races we have been stronger so we should be able to beat them.
Q: Juan Pablo, you must enjoy Brazil. I think you always have, haven't you?
Juan Pablo Montoya: It has always been a good race for me. Last year we had a really good fight with Kimi in different cars, this year we had another one in the same car. For me it is special, you know. This race is quite close to Colombia and there are a lot of Colombians who come to watch this race and it is very exciting. With my helmet painted by kids, and it's just, everything.
Q: Was the car absolutely perfect?
Juan Pablo Montoya: No, it is never absolutely perfect. At the beginning of the race it was really good, but then it started to have quite a bit of oversteer.
Q: Could you cope with it easily?
Juan Pablo Montoya: Yeah, just a little bit on the diff and it came back a bit, but it was quite easy to lose the rear going into the slow corners
Q: Were the backmarkers okay?
Juan Pablo Montoya: To be honest everyone except Monteiro! I lost nearly two seconds in one lap to Monteiro. I had seven seconds to Kimi and we were like 5.3 or something the next lap, it was quite annoying.
Q: Kimi, you couldn't really do more could you?
Kimi Raikkonen: No. I would have done if I could. I was not quick enough to win the race today. We got close but of course we saw the position with Fernando and there was no point to race after that so we took it easy just to finish.
Q: Are you massively disappointed?
Kimi Raikkonen: Of course it is disappointing not to be fighting for the championship any more but we realised there were not that many races to go and we needed to have really good luck to win it, so it is not really so disappointing. This is never nice but congratulations to Fernando to win it and he definitely deserved it.
Q: But a one-two today and taking the lead of the constructors' championship, you still have that to fight for.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, we will do everything we can do to win that and hopefully next year we will fight for both.
Q: Fernando, Fernando Alonso World Champion. How does that sound?
Fernando Alonso: It sounds great, obviously. Today is good for me because mathematically it is impossible that Kimi can catch me up, so I am really excited about this race and it was not easy, coming from the weather at the beginning, some doubts for everyone, then from the tyre wear, which seemed quite high at the last part of the race and I was a bit concerned to Michael because he was running quite quickly today.
Q: What about when Juan Pablo overtook you after the safety car period?
Fernando Alonso: It was not planned! I knew that Juan Pablo was quicker than me in the first stint, well, the whole race, and the first opportunity he had to overtake me I knew that I had no chance to fight because it was not a day to risk, today. In Suzuka it will be quite different, for sure.
Q: Is it quite difficult to drive a controlled race, which is basically what you did?
Fernando Alonso: I think it was not easy because anything can happen. I was extremely careful overtaking the Minardis and Jordans after we saw with Monteiro in Turkey and Pizzonia in Spa with Juan Pablo I new that anything in the race can happen and every lap was a risky moment for me. I just tried to complete the laps but 71 laps was obviously a very long race for me.
Q: And the car was perfect?
Fernando Alonso: Not really, I think. The overall grip was really a problem all weekend, when we put front on the car was oversteering, when we improved the rear there was too much understeer, we never found the perfect car but just enough to get the podium
Q: Have you been keeping your emotions in check over the last couple of months?
Fernando Alonso: Yes.
Q: So the lid is coming off them now is it?
Fernando Alonso: Not now, because it is too early, but for sure in the next two or three days I will realise what I have achieved.
Q: At what point of the race did you realise you were world champion and I know what it means but maybe a lot of people do not know what was the celebration on the podium?
Fernando Alonso: I realised when I crossed the line, because obviously the last two or three laps you start to hear noises from the car and everywhere because you are a bit worried about any mechanical problem but it can happen so you are really a little bit over-stressed and I think when I crossed the line I realised that everything was done and the celebration on the podium was that there is a sidra typical drink from my region and you have to put it in the glass from the air, the bottle, and I did the same thing with the cup.
Q: Do you want to dedicate this title to someone?
Fernando Alonso: I think for my family and my real close friends. I only have three or four, unfortunately.
Q: Fernando, how do you go from being a Minardi driver and test driver to World Champion in three years?
Fernando Alonso: It was a little bit depressing at the beginning of my career because I arrived having won all the categories before Formula One and then at Minardi I was before last in all races and it was a little bit frustrating. After that I thought I was able to be in a competitive car after one year learning at Minardi but unfortunately there was no place for me at Renault so I was test driver for one year and then from 2003 to now I developed myself, my driving style, and I grew up with the team to be in this position.
Q: Fernando, how hard a competitor was Kimi, how much do you appreciate this title after beating him?
Fernando Alonso: It was fantastic for me and for him, the competition. I think thanks to Kimi this world title is much better for me because Michael had some problems with the Ferrari this year and to beat the McLarens and especially Kimi this year was extremely difficult. As we saw in the last part of the championship, it's impossible to win one race when they have no problems so to beat Kimi this year is probably more than Michael in the last couple of years.
Q: Fernando, looking back what are the most important moments in your career?
Fernando Alonso: I don't know. I think everything; my first race was at 3 years old. After 21 years of racing, a lot of races were important for me.
Q: At what point of the season did you start to think it was really possible to be champion?
Fernando Alonso: I think after Hockenheim or Hungary I realised that the races were happening and the gap was always around 20 points from the fourth race to the 14th so I knew that it was maybe not difficult to keep this 20 point advantage until the end, and at the end, everything was fine.
Q: Tell us about your night and morning before the race?
Fernando Alonso: It was okay. Nothing really special. Last night I slept like every night, this morning I had breakfast, I had the meeting for the race strategy. I slept again before the race and now I raced. I was not really stressed about this weekend at any time. I knew that there were still three races to go and three seventh places were enough for me to win the championship, so I was not really stressed about this race. But obviously I am extremely happy now and ready to fight a bit less conservatively in the last two races and enjoy them a little bit more.
Q: Fernando, how do you feel about winning the championship in Brazil, was it special or different for being here, and how is the feeling of fulfilling a dream, your dream, your childhood dream?
Fernando Alonso: I feel any place to win the championship is okay for me. It doesn't matter to win here or in another country. Here Formula One is very famous and I think the fans are really emotional here so I really enjoy winning here for sure, but I think it is not a big difference. How do I feel? For sure, it is a dream come true for me, like any racing driver, to win the Formula One World Championship, but I am 24 and after this I think there is not much to do. I am the youngest World Champion in Formula One and now I need to find new targets because this one is over.
Q: Fernando, when will you next be in Spain and what sort of reception are you expecting when you go home?
Fernando Alonso: Probably after China I will be in Spain, and I don't know, nothing really big because we tried to plan something if I was winning but it was not possible, there was a lot of political interest around these possible celebrations so we decided not to go.
Q: Do you think it's a new Alonso era in Formula One?
Fernando Alonso: No, I think every year every car is different and sometimes there is my name in the newspapers and sometimes it is Kimi, sometimes Button, Juan Pablo, depending... the last three or four races people follow one driver or another driver for sure. This year was my year with no problems at all. Luck was always with me and my team really helped me a lot this year so everything came to me this year, but for sure in the next races or next year will maybe be different.
Q: Kimi, you had many problems in the season, what are your feelings about those problems and what do you intend to do in the next two races and next year?
Kimi Raikkonen: We try to win the last two races for the team and try to win the team championship, but there's no point in worrying about the problems we had because it's not going to change anything. It wasn't perfect for me, or for the team but unfortunately those things happen in racing and we will try to minimise them for the future.
Q: Do you think the sceptics will now be convinced after your title?
Fernando Alonso: I don't care about the people that don't like me. It's normal in sport; sometimes you support one driver, sometimes the other one. It's the same to me. I always try to do my job, try to always tell the truth to everyone and sometimes in Formula One this is quite hard because we don't tell the truth maybe 50 percent of the time but I do, and sometimes people don't like what I say.
Q: Kimi, what is your opinion of Fernando as a champion? Do you think he's a good champion?
Kimi Raikkonen: Like I said already before, he definitely deserves it. Whoever has the most points at the end of the season or before the end of the season deserves it and I don't have anything bad about it. We lost it this year and now we try to win it next year, so for him and for Renault it was a good year.
Q: Fernando, what crossed your mind when you crossed the line?
Fernando Alonso: I cannot tell you! (Laughter) I was a bit worried about everything in the car, tyres and things like that, so I let my voice go on the radio at maximum volume to the mechanics, to the engineers to say thanks but when I crossed the line I didn't think anything really.
Q: Fernando, Renault came to Brazil quite positive that they could close the gap to McLaren with the aero and engine upgrades. There's still quite a gap. Do you think you can close that, do you think you can win races in the last two races of this year and do you think that you will be able to mount a successful defence of your championship next year, bearing in mind that McLaren will be strong again?
Fernando Alonso: I think the car improved for this race and we were able to be on the pole, obviously with less fuel but even with less fuel the last three or four races we were not able to fight. The car improved a little bit, we were again very conservative in terms of engine revs and things like that because we really need to win the Drivers' championship so after that, I think we can risk a little bit more, we can be more competitive and we can be even closer at Suzuka than we were here in Brazil. I'm confident that if we finish the two cars -- Fisi and me - the last two races we can fight for the Constructors' because maybe McLaren doesn't finish with both two cars.
For next year I think it will be totally different. We saw McLaren and Renault were very strong this year but it is impossible to know what the teams will be next year. We saw Ferrari were dominating really strongly last year and nobody imagined that this year Ferrari would be nowhere and I think that for next year it will be the same thing. We all start from zero with the V8 and I'm really confident. I think my team is approaching the 2006 season in the perfect way so hopefully we can still fight for the championship.
Q: Fernando, it would be interesting to hear about this: to win a World Championship with a car that is not the fastest in Formula One, you need a driver that has a lot of maturity and you are the youngest.
Fernando Alonso: Yes, but I also had a very good car. The first three or four races I had the best car because we were able to win races at 70 percent of the potential of the car, and from Barcelona, Monaco, I don't know what McLaren did but we were not able to win races running 100 percent of the performance. We had a good year, but as you said I won the championship not with the best car so I am really proud of what I did. And as I said before, after 21 years of experience maybe I have the maturity.
Q: In the past five years Schumacher dominated Formula One, is it special to beat the king?
Fernando Alonso: Yeah, everyone wants to beat Michael on the track because it is the same as beating Armstrong in the Tour de France. The first year that Michael is not racing then maybe the championship doesn't have the same value. People think maybe that with Michael on the track it was different. To beat Michael this year was really an extra happiness for me.