British GP Saturday press conference

1. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1:20.447 2. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren), 1:20.529 3. David Coulthard (McLaren), 1:20.927 Q: Michael, we normally have an hour for qualifying but today we ran just half an hour with all of you going out for four runs...

1. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1:20.447
2. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren), 1:20.529
3. David Coulthard (McLaren), 1:20.927

Q: Michael, we normally have an hour for qualifying but today we ran just half an hour with all of you going out for four runs so talk me through you qualifying session.

Michael SCHUMACHER: Well basically everybody was waiting for anybody to go out and do the first experience, see how wet the circuit is, somewhere still damp where we don't see it and clean it up maybe even. But everybody thought the same so nobody was going out really so it was a bit of a rushed last half an hour. All day was a bit exciting honestly with the heavy rain we had this morning and then in qualifying we lost the computers, we didn't have lap times anymore (Ed's Note: the Information Screens were not displayed during part of the session due to a technical problem) so it was very difficult to know where we lost out for time and at one stage I was obviously second. So it was a bit of a rush through doing four runs in half an hour but nothing to complain really, I mean we did the best job. It's good

Q: With doing four runs in half an hour, can you do anything to change the car in that timke or is it just a case of four straight runs?

MS: No it's fine tuning of the car, yes. You definitely change the car because we hadn't had any running in the dry today so you do some changes.

Q: Mika, you're the only one of the three sitting here who improved on their fourth and final run - could you have improved any more?

Mika HAKKINEN: Yes and no but there are reasons. After we could say that we could do better. And obviously of course we went out something like two minutes before the end and obviously there was like six, seven cars in front of me before the second-last corner so I had to slow down a lot and try to find the gap. And it's very difficult indeed because David's just behind me I couldn't leave it for absolutely the last second for me - that's what I was thinking about because otherwise he might not get a timed lap and there's no reason to start racing between team mates as to which one goes first on the timed lap. So it was a little bit of a compromise so when I did my timed lap properly I was behind a Benetton in the last two corners and there is a possibility that maybe cost me a tenth or two. But then again we have to look at the times and study sector to sector so I'm very happy about the performance of the car, the speed.

Q: Not the sort of performance of someone contemplating retirement then?

MH: Yeah. I heard the same stories.

Q: David, third place on the grid may be quite a disappointment for you and you only squeaked in three thousandths of a second ahead of Jarno Trulli.

DC: Yep, but I'm in front, that's the important thing. I'm not too disappointed with qualifying, I don't feel I've got the balance on the car so far this weekend wet or dry so to be quite close considering the balance of the car I had on the track then it's optimistic for our performance in the race.

Q: Looking forward to the race, you've won here in 1999 and 2000 - is the weather really going to play a role tomorrow?

DC: If the weather plays up then yes it will play a big role but I don't know sitting here what's going to happen and we have to race whatever the conditions so I'm not unduly concerned if it's wet or dry. I think our relative race performance is a bit better than we are in qualifying and if it's wet it's all relative to where you are on the track.

Q: Michael, you won here in '98, it was also wet then. Tomorrow no matter if the weather is wet or dry you've got the McLarens around you and your team mate Rubens Barrichello somewhat further down - is that going to be a problem for you?

MS: I'm used to fight against two silver cars or two blue cars, whatever, so it doesn't really matter very much who is next to you because you have to fight them down whoever it is and we will try our best to achieve this tomorrow. It's obviously important to us to get another victory in because although people may think the championship looks easy there's still 70 points to give and we want to be on the safe side. So we will try to make a good race, make it entertaining to the spectators and have a good end for us.

Q: Michael, was that a difficult session or a good session? How did it work out?

MS: Difficult and interesting because obviously there was only half an hour to go when most people decided to leave the pits and trying to do four runs, trying to work the car, because we haven't any dry experience today for qualifying at all. So it was quite entertaining and then the monitors didn't work any more so we didn't get any lap times. We didn't know where we were fast or slow. It sometimes help you a little bit in which kind of areas to concentrate so it was quite exciting.

Q: It seemed very busy down in the garage, almost chaotic but not quite.

MS: No. It may appear so to people up here because you're sitting here very quietly and you can watch us down there but things were under control, but obviously at the last minute everybody rushes because then you want to go.

Q: How much did you change the car during the session?

MS: A little bit, just adapted a few little things to make it suit the circuit and the circumstances.

Q: But every run?

MS: Almost. Not big changes, because there was no time but certain small things you can always change.

Q: What about this morning's spin?

MS: Just aquaplaned. Just touched it with the rear a little bit too much and went off.

Q: What conditions would you prefer tomorrow?

MS: Any, honestly. Preferably dry because it's more consistent. We have seen how much rain we can have here. We have seen the second session when almost nobody wanted to go out because it was too wet, too much rain, too much aquaplaning. So we don't honestly want to see those conditions but the first session was acceptable. But dry is more consistent and more safe.

Q: Did it make a difference not knowing what time you were going for?

MS: We had the total time, we knew those. But it's always good to have an idea where you're losing out and where to concentrate on, but before we did the third run, we just got back the times so we did have an idea. But on the other hand, the guys knew it and they told me but when you come back into the pits and you watch the monitor, initially I at least like to watch and have an idea of what's going on. Like this it took a bit longer. Where we lost out and where we may pick up, yes.

Q: Mika, are you disappointed not to be on pole?

MH: A little bit, yes, but not too much. It's been a long time since I was this close to pole position and to be second in qualifying. So I'm very pleased because the performance of the car was very good so it was very enjoyable to drive.

Q: You knew what to aim at the end, what happened on that last run?

MH: I think I lost maybe time in the last two corners because I was stuck behind a Benetton. But I haven't checked the timing system yet exactly whether that's true or not, but I think it is. So if I would have had a clear run in those two corners I think it would have been better.

Q: Would you allow yourself a little confidence, starting on the front row?

MH: Yes, sure. We've been good in starts - not always - but we've been quite good so I'm confident for tomorrow. I feel the performance in the car is very consistent and looking at the tyres on Friday, it looked pretty good, so we should be strong.

Q: Do you think the rain this morning, given your performance yesterday, has worked in your favour or against you?

MH: It's difficult to say. I think it was good it rained this morning. It definitely showed us, first of all, our performance in the rain, and I was confident in the car and it was quick. We made some very good changes in the morning to get the balance right so we should be very strong if it rains tomorrow, and vice versa, if it's dry we should be strong.

Q: David. Disappointed with third?

David COULTHARD: Not actually too disappointed. Naturally you want to be a bit higher up than that but you get your one chance at it, I wasn't quite as well balanced as I would have liked and under the circumstances reasonably happy. It could have been much worse.

Q: How crucial is the grid here?

DC: I think the front row's always an advantage. Pole's always an advantage because you get some clean air but as you've seen this year it isn't always the pole man who wins so - so much can happen, we'll wait and see what the weather brings us, what the strategy brings us and we can decide afterwards how good it was.

Q: What's the policy now then? Wait and see?

DC: Well yeah. Do you think we've got a crystal ball or something? Do you mean in terms of weather? You set the car up on the basis of it being a dry race and if, come tomorrow, it's wet you have your wet set-up and depending how wet it is depends on how wet you go with set-up. Nothing magical, it's just common sense stuff.

Q: Would you prefer one or the other?

DC: One or the other. Rather than changing conditions because that always becomes very difficult for when to make your stop and it worked for us in Brazil but can easily work against you. I think given what happened last year I think it would be nice if it was dry.

Q. Michael can you just tell us about your pole lap, I didn't personally see it on the monitor but the commentator said 'he's missed the apex at Stowe but traction control and it doesn't matter and okay...' was that accurate?

MS: It's actually true, yeah. I did not hit the apex in the perfect way but luckily the corner is sort of wide and it didn't lose me out too much but otherwise nothing specific to say. As the other laps, it was quite a bit on the limit and especially when you've done a lap like I had done and simply no chance to push it a little bit further. Most of the time that means it's a little bit too much but at least you try and if it works it's fine and if not then you know you have the other one in the bank.

PW: So it wasn't a case of traction control saving the situation?

MS: No. No, this was nothing to do... actually you don't use very much of that in such corners.

Q. Mika, are you out there to win or to help David win?

MH: Well I've never won the British Grand Prix so I would like to win. I'm not sure this type of question already yesterday in the press conference so I don't think I'm going to start continuing where I left yesterday.

BM: Just in relation to the front row situation?

MH: That doesn't matter.

BM: Can I ask David then, are you expecting help tomorrow from Mika?

DC: Well, it depends on the situation. If there's a scenario that can help me gain points relevant to Michael then yes I would expect help and I'm as curious as everyone in here to know just exactly what's going to happen.

Q. Michael, why do you seem to be happy that Mika is beside you?

MS: Obviously Mika has had a tough year so it's nice for him to be back.

Q. Mika, how much motivation does it take to qualify so close to the pole like today?

MH: It's always related to motivation how you perform on the racetrack, but is this different here today than it has been in other countries? No. I think at the last Grands Prix there has been maximum motivation and maximum performance from myself to perform and here it's the same. Today just feels like we got things right.

Q. David you said earlier in the year that contrary to what Michael was saying about traction control, you were saying that it has an effect through Becketts and Copse even. Was that still the case?

DC: You know if the car gets sideways and if it registers a differential wheel speed it will cut in so that's always a sort of security in the back of your mind but I'm pretty sure on our qualifying laps that perhaps there would be no cuts - apart from my first run when I touched the kerb on the exit of Copse and it was wet, I think that's the only time it is used at high speed, the rest of the time it is at low speed.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Benetton