Brazilian GP: Winners' press conference

1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1h31m43.663 2. Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS), 1h31m44.251 (+ 0.588s) 3. DAVID COULTHARD(MCLAREN), 1h32m42.773 (+ 0.59.109s) Q: Talk us through what happened in the first few corners? Did you suffer any damage when...

1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1h31m43.663
2. Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS), 1h31m44.251 (+ 0.588s)
3. DAVID COULTHARD(MCLAREN), 1h32m42.773 (+ 0.59.109s)

Q: Talk us through what happened in the first few corners? Did you suffer any damage when you were hit by Juan Pablo going into turn three?

Michael SCHUMACHER: First of all no, obviously. My car was pretty much perfect until the end. We didn't suffer any little problem. It was an exciting first two corners where I have to say Juan Pablo behaved really well. I was thinking I could outbrake him in the first corner, but he was braking so late that it was clear that he would almost miss the corner. So then I prepared for turn two which worked, actually, and he just left enough space for both of us to go through the corner and then I don't actually know what happened into turn four. I moved over to the left to leave the outside free. I didn't feel anything, I just suddenly saw him dropping back so that may explain to you what happened.

Q: Now towards the end of the race you had your brother Ralf catching you. How hard did you have to fight? It looked as though you were having to slide around quite a bit just to stay on the circuit.

MS: No, it wasn't that bad honestly. It was sort of after the pit stop when he was behind me, I knew that there is only one possibility to overtake here which is into turn one, so I made sure that into the last corner everything was right and there it obviously looked a little bit tricky because I was pushing hard into that corner. Into the rest, I wasn't overdoing it because it is very easy, especially in the infield, to make a little mistake under braking. So I was just trying to roll the car more than fight compared to the first stint which still means that I have to push, obviously, to keep him behind me but I knew that I couldn't go away from him to there wasn't any need to try to drive away from him, just protect myself for not overtaking and that worked out.

Q: Ralf, you had a fabulous battle last year with Michael in Canada, this one seemed to be even more intense. Did you enjoy it more or less, even though you came out second?

Ralf SCHUMACHER: Certainly I enjoyed it less because I am second. The first stint wasn't too good, I wasn't too happy with the balance of the car so we changed something at the pit stop which made it a lot better so I was able to catch up Michael. Even though I was maybe slightly quicker than he was I wasn't able to get close enough to overtake him down the straight. It wasn't an exciting race. I'll do it next time.

Q: What was the state of your tyres at the end? Did you ever think there was a chink that you could go through, past Michael?

RS: Yes, well, that's why I stayed close behind. Even Michael sometimes brakes a bit late, especially here, it's very easy to go off line and lose a lot, so that's what I was waiting for, but he didn't do me a favour this time. He was simply better today.

Q: David, good to see you here. Not only a finish but a podium finish.

David COULTHARD: Yes, it's been a while since I've been here. I haven't been here for any of the qualifying sessions this year either. It's a great feeling to be back on the podium. Quite a hard race obviously, because the Renaults got past me at the start and Jenson made a mistake at the last corner so I was able to slipstream him. Jarno was a lot more difficult and it was just a question of being patient for the pit stops.

Q: You were pushing hard and your lap times were close to those of the two ahead of you. Does that mean that McLaren are starting to make progress?

DC: I think our race pace is relatively closer than our qualifying pace, but that's the classic situation, when your car or your whole package isn't quite as strong. You tend to see the true colours of the car in qualifying and it tends not to be such a big difference in the race so I felt that we were going to be a little bit closer but I don't think we're quite there yet, we have got a bit of work to do.

Q: Back to Michael, what chances at Imola, can you do the same again?

MS: As you have seen it has been a very tight race. We did it, certainly. Imola is another one where it's going to be a difficult one, I believe, from the experience that we had last year, although we have improved. It wasn't luck that we won the race, we worked hard for it because we had the new car here, because we had new Bridgestone tyres here and altogether the package made us win this race, so I believe it doesn't look too bad for Imola to look from what we saw last year. Nevertheless we look forward to coming to Imola, our home Grand Prix and hopefully do something good there.

Q: A great result at a circuit where you have an amazing record. Is it a circuit you like, what is it about you and Interlagos?

MS: Honestly, you know about my knowledge of statistics and records. The only thing I should say is that I like the circuit because technically it's very difficult, it's a very hard race, a very tricky race, it's very bumpy and you're always having to make corrections which makes it a challenge. But then the goodness here is that we have a reliable car and finish races and that means, naturally, be somewhere in the points or on the podium.

Q: Given that this is the first time that you've raced the new car, what does this victory make you feel for the coming season?

MS: Obviously I'm a lot more optimistic on circuits where we traditionally struggled last year, although if you look at his second stint, he was quite a bit faster. For sure, I could have gone a bit faster but probably not as fast as he was going. We're probably not quite there yet, but we're not as far off as we were last year, which is thanks to the good new car and to some tyre development and improvement from Bridgestone.

Q: How hard was Ralf pushing you during those closing stages?

MS: Honestly, the only overtaking you can do here is into turn one and I was making sure that he couldn't. That meant braking very late into the last corner and having a good run out of it and I was controlling that in mirrors and I don't think he was really close enough to outbrake me into the first corner in actual fact, so there wasn't that kind of a worry. In the infield, unless you make a mistake and you run wide, it's basically impossible to overtake.

Q: After the incident with Juan Pablo, do you feel any problem with the car?

MS: I didn't feel any touch. He was saying he lost the front wing, but I didn't actually feel anything so I don't know how he has done that. There was nothing wrong with anything on the car either. No, for me I didn't notice anything.

Q: Juan Pablo apparently isn't very pleased with you. Does he have any cause for complaint?

MS: I don't know. I haven't seen the manoeuvre. To me, I moved over to the left to avoid him taking the inside, I left the outside open for him and that's it. I don't know what happened, I don't know what makes him unhappy.

Q: Ralf, how close were you to overtaking Michael?

RS: Well, certainly, I was always waiting for him to make a mistake to be able to... and I was trying to be as fast as possible into the last turn and on the exit but I was never really in a position to try anything. I didn't want to do a stupid try because it's very early in the season and I didn't want to risk my six points which I was pretty sure to get in this race. I was marginally quicker, but that's not enough to overtake in Formula One.

Q: it was really a matter of watching and waiting.

RS: As it is a lot of times in Formula One anyway isn't it. In my first stint, I struggled a bit with the car's setting, then we changed something at the pit stop and it was a lot lot better, which was why I closed up but then only by two or three tenths a lap maybe, but that's not enough to overtake.

Q: Are you able to change us what you changed? An aerodynamic setting or what?

RS: We changed on the aerodynamic side and I think that simply the second set much better than the first one.

Q: How do you feel about Michael's form for the next few races?

RS: I must say that according to comments from Ferrari side from track side, we were expecting a really big step forward and it has been a step forward but not as big we were expecting. We were able to qualify beside them, with a better start maybe we were able to win the race or a bit better first stint, so I'm full of hope that we can go to Imola and again have a very tight and close race with them.

Q: David. You seem more tired than your fellow rostrum sharers. Was it an exhausting race for you?

DC: I didn't really realise until I stopped then I felt pretty terrible when I was standing up on the podium and those national anthems take for ever. I wish they would speed them up or give us a chair or something. I don't know why really: Whether it is because I had not done the first couple of Grands Prix or whether our car is a little bit more difficult to drive, but I certainly felt really tired today.

Q: What about with Jarno Trulli. Was he holding you up or was he fairly closely matched?

DC: Probably, if you were watching the race you would have seen that when he pitted I suddenly went eight tenths quicker on that lap so quite clearly both the Renaults were holding us up. It was the same when I got past Button, I suddenly caught Jarno up very quickly. So they earned their position on the track. They made great starts and that is part of the game, so we need to improve our starts and if we hadn't lost time then certainly we would have been a bit further down the road, but I haven't even seen what the gap was to Michael and Ralf but I think it was a massive gap so I think we would have struggled to get close to them.

Q: I was going to come to the gap. Admittedly you were held up by Jarno but it is a huge gap. Do you think you can be closing that in the next two or three races?

DC: Yeah, I think that clearly we were losing over a second a lap at the beginning and I spent I think 42 laps or so, 41 laps behind Jarno, so with that amount of time loss very quickly you have lost the gap to that time. I need to look at the lap speed to understand where the rest of the time disappeared, but I don't think we should be surprised that we are as quick as the Ferrari and the Williams because we haven't been quite as quick as them in the first two races. We need to keep working to develop the package. Q: For Michael. The overtaking manoeuvre of Rubens on you, was it a team request or your decision?

MS: It is very clear if your team-mate is faster that you let him by. Obviously the team did tell me as well but that is a sort of normal practice when is the best time and the team can maybe see that better than I can from a mirror point of view.

Q: What effect do you think this result will have on the championship?

MS: If you saw what had happened from Australia to Malaysia, how the gap had changed one way to another, in Formula One everything is possible. You never should discount any kind of top team and McLaren certainly is a top team so we will certainly not be surprised if they are going to be back in business very soon.

Q: To Michael. You seem to be on the second stint faster than Ralf on sector 2, two tenths often. Is that what held Ralf from coming up behind you?

MS: When somebody follows you so closely he obviously can't drive his full potential and I was doing that in sector two. So the realistic moment to look at when there was enough gap that both cars were running clean is the first stint and I don't know what the sector times were then. But the last stint doesn't really represent what was actually going on.

Q: Ralf. Did you expect Michael could make just one pit stop?

RS: After the start, when he went away, I thought he was on two, but then I saw Rubens coming up so fast and that was the moment when I was starting to worry really, and I was aware of the fact that he was rather than on a long two stop...It was pretty clear to us and the team came through on the radio to tell me, but I couldn't do anything about it. I must say some cars, and I think it was the same for Michael, with the blue flags behaved not very well today and I think that gave us a bit of a tough time really.

Q: Michael. It seems that Pele had some problems with the flag. Did you understand what to do?

MS: The sort of speed we are doing there and the time we can see what is going on with Mr Pele is very little, so no, we don't know. I didn't see the flag though, that's the only thing I noticed.

Q: For Ralf. There was a period when you came closer to Michael then dropped back then came closer again. Was it a question of the balance of the car or of the performance of the tyres?

RS: It was a question of lapping cars, I am sure. Because I came closer and as well before Michael had to overtake all these cars, the Jaguars and the Toyotas, I was closing up on him. Then I came to lap them and it was pretty difficult for me as well. But in the first stint the car wasn't very driveable so it was very difficult. I had some moments and that is why I lost again, and I couldn't really be consistently quick.

Q: A question for Ralf. This was a track and a race where everything was indicating that Williams was the favourite one. So are you disappointed?

RS: As a team we go away from here with eight points so that's not too bad I would say. The new Ferrari has proved to be better than the old, which helped them out a lot here but I am sure, Imola in two weeks time, we have another test and a few more bits to add on the car and we will see how it is. I am pretty confident it is going to be another close one.

Q: Michael. You had two big moments at the start-finish line under braking. What happened there?

MS: Actually I was pretty much influenced by the car running in front of me. It just took away enough downforce to almost catch me out.

Q: Michael. Were you surprised with the performance of Bridgestone or were you already optimistic over the way they could perform in this heat?

MS: I wasn't expecting that good a performance from us. From what we have seen in Malaysia and what we have seen over the weekend, I was expecting that over the race, initially we would keep the lap time but we sort of stayed more consistent where the Williams would tend to go faster and faster towards the end of the stint, which luckily didn't happen. They actually didn't go that fast and we went faster than we anticipated. That is obviously due to tyre and car altogether and you can only experience that in the race itself. You cannot represent that on a free practice day because conditions are slightly different.

Q: Michael. From yesterday to this morning was that victory just built by the fact you understand more about the new car?

MS: I think I can explain to you what happened. As I told you just before, we felt our tyres would maybe have a bigger give-up than the Michelin ones would have but in free practice you never do that long a run to really find out. You sort of try to estimate and in the real fact we certainly have improved since yesterday the car, another little step, not massively, and the fact that the tyres hold much better together than we had expected made us doing these kind of lap times and just pulled enough gap to keep in front after the pit stop. I think it was as simple as this.

Q: For David. Last year you were battling with Ferrari and Williams, this year at the beginning it was more with Williams, now you are struggling with Renault. What is happening to McLaren?

DC: Well, we obviously haven't taken as big a step forward as the other cars during the winter. We know this car is a quicker car than last year's when we have done the back-to-back tests, but we just haven't taken a big enough step, it's quite clear. We just need to work on each area of the car a little bit more.


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams