British Grand Prxi FIA winners' press conference transcript with 1. Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren), 1h24m29.588s 2. Fernando Alonso (Renault), 1h24m32.327s 3. Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren), 1h24m44.024s Q: Juan Pablo, a great qualifying lap first of...
British Grand Prxi FIA winners' press conference transcript with
Q: Juan Pablo, a great qualifying lap first of all to get you right up there and then an amazing first corner for you, round the outside of Fernando.
Juan Pablo Montoya: Yesterday in qualifying, being in one of the first cars to run is very hard and even like that, I think we had the potential to do a good lap and we did. And I think that's where the race was won. I had a good start. I knew Fernando couldn't risk too much and I was willing to risk a bit more and it really paid off. I think that's where the race was won. In the first part of the race the car was really understeering so I couldn't push it too much. So I decided to look after the tyres more and I would wait for the start, because if you kill the tyres the race would over. The team did a great strategy, they called me (in) a lap early and Fernando had some traffic as expected and it was just, but it was enough.
Q: It was very close between you two guys, a lot of pressure, no mistakes, you seemed to have the edge in sectors two and three, Fernando always matching you in sector one.
Juan Pablo Montoya: The car, the first sector, turn one was quite oversteery and I had big moments at the beginning of the race going into Becketts and I know that when you lose it there you have a big shunt. For half a tenth it wasn't worth it. And I think that when I had to push to open the gap it paid off, you know. I think Fernando had a bit of traffic.
Q: Just after that first pit stop, side by side with Fernando into Becketts again.
Juan Pablo Montoya: It was good, you know, I think it is great racing and I want to thank everyone at McLaren and Mercedes. I went to Mercedes Performance Engines on Thursday and they said 'ah, we have got this engine for you and hopefully you will win the race with this engine' and to do that is amazing.
Q: Fernando, it was very, very close, what was the deciding factor? Traffic? Perhaps that fuel load on the second stint?
Fernando Alonso: Well, it was very close between Juan Pablo and me. The first pit stop we put a lot of fuel on board, obviously, to go very long in the second stint and even with that I almost overtook Juan Pablo in the first stop, so with a normal strategy it should come. But I think the strategy, as I said, was good, I kept a two second gap with Juan Pablo in the second stint and this four or five laps longer I had in the second stint should have helped me to win the race but unfortunately I had some traffic there and the blue flags didn't work at all this race, so I think I lost three seconds with Jarno (Trulli) but it was not his fault because there were no blue flags at all so he didn't know that I was fighting for the victory at that time.
Q: And it looked pretty close there going into the last stint, as well, you were within one second of Juan Pablo and then the closing laps of the race he managed to pull away.
Fernando Alonso: Yeah, I tried after the second stop to push him a bit but it was really difficult to overtake. I knew the pace of Juan Pablo and me was very similar because all the first stint I was with him, so the last three or four laps Kimi was quite far away so I just relaxed to get the second place. But for us it is a dream come true.
Q: Kimi, a fantastic drive from you up from the midfield, setting fastest lap on your last lap of the race, trying all the way, but you lost a lot of time behind Michael and Jarno.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yes, I think this year the cars are difficult to follow in fast corners. I was quite a bit quicker than they were but I got close at the end of the back straight but I was never able to follow close enough to the fast corners, so I knew it was difficult to get anywhere after that. But at least we have got a podium, it is good result for the team, it could have been better but that is what we got this time.
Q: I suppose you would have liked a few more blue flags for the traffic, what was the traffic like in front of you?
Kimi Raikkonen: Sometimes, but I guess there were more important things to do at that time. It's fantastic to go to the marshals or to race control to see everybody.
Q: Just to re-iterate, very bad luck for you having to take that grid penalty because of the engine change, but no doubt about the speed of the McLaren-Mercedes today.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah. In normal circumstances I think it would have been a bit different results, but, like I said, there is nothing more I can do, I can just try my best and hopefully the team will sort out the rest and move on.
Q: Juan, a final word to you. Your first win for McLaren in the British Grand Prix, it is a momentous occasion for you and the team.
Juan Pablo Montoya: I think it is a great race, you know, it is the home race for the team, actually both parts are in England, and it is just amazing. It is great, all the guys, for me to do this, and I am just so pleased.
Q: Juan Pablo, it has been a difficult season for you, is there a sense of relief in this win?
Juan Pablo Montoya: I know I can win races and everything, but it has been such a frustrating season and when I crossed the line I was excited but it was more of an 'aaaaahh' more than anything. But it was good. It was a lot of work for the team and we have been changing the car a lot, you know, my driving style is so different from Kimi's so that anything you put on the car, I can't drive it. I could just drive it, but if the conditions changed a bit it was a big problem for me, so we have been trying a lot of different things and, you know, the last few races we have made a lot of progress.
Q: How confident were you from your grid position, third on the grid?
Juan Pablo Montoya: I knew I needed to get Fernando before Becketts and I did. From there it was a matter of the strategies and see how hard you could push.
Q: How was the car?
Juan Pablo Montoya: Oversteery, really oversteery at the beginning. I took a bit of wind on the first lap and then balanced it a little bit and then I needed to push and open the gap on Fernando in the second stint.
Q: And after that?
Juan Pablo Montoya: It was fine, the last two corners a little bit of oversteer but it was more just make sure to get a decent lap one after another and we will be fine.
Q: Fernando, your feelings early on in the race, when you were behind Juan Pablo?
Fernando Alonso: I was a little bit frustrated with the start, obviously, because with the place on the circuit it should be quite easy to be there from pole position because there is no heavy braking into turn one, so it was a bit frustrating to lose that position. But anyway, I think we did a good job in the first stint, tried to keep close to Juan Pablo and hopefully to have more laps of fuel than him, and we had just one and that was not enough. Very close, but not enough.
Q: In the second stint, he seemed to pull away from you, was that mainly traffic?
Fernando Alonso: No, no. It was I think fuel. Obviously they had six or seven laps lower fuel in the second stint so I was losing three or four tenths of a second every lap. I think the biggest problem was the traffic after Juan Pablo stopped. Those six or seven laps I had to really push and I lost two or three seconds with two guys and even with that we were so close at the pit exit, so I think we felt that the strategy should work well.
Q: Were you pretty encouraged after what you said in Magny-Cours?
Fernando Alonso: It was okay for us, and it gives us confidence for the rest of the season because this was the worst circuit in the calendar for us, for the Renault team, at the beginning of the year, and after the testing as well, so we managed to get pole position here with a good amount of fuel I think we found potential in the car and we are extremely happy for this result.
Q: Kimi, in the early stages you were right behind Michael Schumacher and closing up with him at Stowe every lap, but each time he seemed to pull away again on the exit.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I couldn't get any grip when I got close to him, so when I did get very close, the car got very loose and I couldn't follow him so that was the main problem really. It's so hard to follow the cars in high speed corners, so I just couldn't get close enough.
Q: And the car just washed out on one lap -- you went wide...
Kimi Raikkonen: Yes, quite a few times. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I tried a few times, but then when I did get very close to him it was still very difficult. With these new regulations it's slightly more difficult than it was last year.
Q: Two races running you've got on the podium having taken a ten place hit because of an engine problem. Do you still feel you have a chance in the championship?
Kimi Raikkonen: It's getting more difficult race by race, especially with all the problems that I have. Without the problems surely we should have had a better result in the last few races but I don't know, we need to go race by race and do the best that we can, and then we will see at the end of the season what happens. But it's definitely not going in the right direction at the moment.
Q: And that fastest lap on the last lap, was that just sending a message?
Kimi Raikkonen: I had nothing else to do, so I pushed a lot. (Laughter)
Q: My question is for Juan Pablo. You won the race in spite of the fact that you went out early in qualifying yesterday. Do you believe that there's too much hype about the qualifying starting order, or do you believe you will have a huge advantage for Hockenheim?
Juan Pablo Montoya: I think against these guys there is no advantage or disadvantage, but I think against the guys who run in the first five, especially the first two, and in the first group, there's always three or four tenths advantage. I think from the pace that I did in practice on Friday, Saturday and in qualifying my pace was good enough to be at least P3. I got out to qualify and I was P4, three tenths behind what I did with the same fuel load before in practice, so it was a bit frustrating, but that's what it is and hopefully now at Hockenheim I should be at the front of the group and it should be a little bit better.
Q: Juan, I wanted to ask you, you've obviously had a slower start to the season than you would have expected at McLaren. Was that just down to the shoulder injury or was it a bit more complicated than that?
Juan Pablo Montoya: Well we were expecting the new suspension after the first two races which arrived for Imola but by the time the suspension arrived, I was out of the car, so that wasn't great. So then I got back in the car, with no testing or anything and in the first few races I could hardly really drive the car. I used to have injections to try and go through the pain, but you're not really driving one hundred percent. But even if you try the pain is always there. It's not fantastic. Everything that could go wrong was going wrong and I think that when we went to Nurburgring for example, it was good. I was P3 going through turn one, but I got taken off which ripped half of the floor off. Then we went to Canada and the team called me into the pits too late. That's racing, but things like that just kept happening. Look at Magny Cours, I had to qualify too early and I was screwed. But even with that, I think I should have been on the podium there. It's racing, I guess. The team is doing a fantastic job and they're working really hard with me. And we're definitely making progress. I'm happy. I think it's great to show to everybody that I can still win races, I can win races as I did for Williams.
Q: Fernando, how conservative were you in the first two turns with Juan Pablo?
Fernando Alonso: A little bit, obviously it was not worth taking a risk in the first two corners in a 60 lap race, especially with Michael and Kimi further back, so I knew that Juan Pablo was not going to lift off in turn three, so it was better to lift off than crash.
Q: Juan Pablo, could you please tell us what were the biggest difficulties you found when changing teams, if you found any?
Juan Pablo Montoya: I don't think changing teams was a big deal, driving a different car... If you look at Kimi's and DC's driving style, you look at the inboard camera and they just drive a lot smoother than what I do. I could get to the limit of the car and do a good lap, but if I wanted to get anything more out of the car it was very difficult. That's been changing and it's been getting better.
Q: To Juan Pablo and Fernando, you talked about the problems of blue flags and traffic. Is it quantifiably worse here than any race this season, and if so why would that be bearing in mind it is a centralised system that they have?
Juan Pablo Montoya: You know, I have been in this situation for a while but it was terrible. You know every time I got to traffic I would lose about two and a half seconds. I was just hoping that Fernando would do the same thing. But I guess we both got it. I was shouting in the radio to the team and they were saying 'we're telling Charlie, we're telling Charlie' and I think the message was going through but there were no flags.
Q: Do you feel this is the start of bigger and better things for you at McLaren? If so, given the car next year, you should have a better chance next season in the championship.
Juan Pablo Montoya: Well, I will tell you, this year is not over completely yet. You know the fight between Kimi and Fernando -- they could take each other off in two races and I've closed the gap. Things can change so much. Things played out really well for me here but we might go to the next race and struggle. I don't know. We need to make sure we don't struggle and make sure we score maximum points for the team and we'll see how things go from there.
Q: Kimi, how are you feeling towards the team after being penalised in two races?
Kimi Raikkonen: It hasn't changed anything. It's not the first time I have been penalised. It's hard sometimes but we win as a team and we lose as a team but of course, everyone needs to do more hard work to make sure that these things don't happen again.
Q: The recent FIA survey said that 94 or 96 per cent of the viewers who watch races would like to see more overtaking. But the technical directors said on Friday that to do that they would have to make cars slower. As drivers, would you prefer to have the fastest possible cars, or more opportunity to overtake a rival?
Juan Pablo Montoya: In my opinion, I think they could compromise. We could still have the same speed and I think one of the problems is that they are reducing downforce in the car and one of the ways to find more grip is increasing the tyres, so that the hole when you follow someone is bigger so the turbulence is bigger and the grip level is smaller so it makes it harder to pass. Even if you go slower you don't have the grip so it makes it harder to pass.
Fernando Alonso: Same opinion. We should find a good compromise for the drivers' point of view. Of course we would like to drive the fastest car possible. We are in Formula One and we are already racing in many other categories and when you arrive here you want maximum technology and maximum car performance. But for sure you can have something in the middle.
Kimi Raikkonen: When you compare to the last year, it is developing more difficult to follow people around here than it was last year. So even when they have tried to change the rules they have not exactly worked out because trying to follow someone in the high speed corners is much more difficult.
Q: Kimi, Ron Dennis said yesterday that he thinks you keep getting better and better, from week to week you are a better racing driver. Do you feel like you're getting better and in what areas particularly do you feel that you're improving the most?
Kimi Raikkonen: I would not say you get any better. I have been driving the same way all season and last season, but when you have a good car it is sometimes easier to go quicker. Of course, you get the experience but it doesn't make you any quicker in the car.
Q: Kimi, did the team tell you that Fisichella had a problem in his pit stop?
Kimi Raikkonen: Actually I saw it on one of the big screens so I knew something was happening, because he didn't pull away when the guys stopped refuelling. I just was expecting that I was going to be close to him, but then I went through the first corner and I noticed he was just behind me and then the team told me he was just behind me because he had some problems.
Q: Fernando, you finished second but it is like a victory considering the points. And Kimi says that it's getting more and more difficult to try to win this championship. Is it getting easier for you?
Fernando Alonso: No, I think it is getting quite similar still. Too many races to go and I think anything can happen with two or three races where you don't finish. Kimi has a quick enough car to win all those races so we have to concentrate now on finishing the races, to have as competitive a car as we have now and try to finish on the podium. If we can do it it will be easier and easier when the races come.
Q: The start is always crucial but did you have it in your mind that this was a particularly crucial start, that you had to get in front of him, and did you think he would actually back off?
Juan Pablo Montoya: Yeah. Was he going to back off? We were going to go side by side into Becketts. Either one of us was going to back off or we were going to go off and the chances were that he was going to back off before me. He's got a fight for the championship and I haven't. I just wanted to win the race. We knew we were going to get Jenson off the line, what do you think is going to happen. I told the guys I can either get a run into turn one or if I don't then hopefully I can get a better run into turn two or three or whatever. It was just enough. It was pretty cool, it got to a point where we were quite close, I thought we were going to touch but he bailed out. It was good. My car was too oversteery in the first stint and it wasn't quick enough.
Q: Fernando, what do you feel more, anger about losing the battle for victory, or joy about the two points you gained in the championship?
Fernando Alonso: Well, I think this weekend is a mix of feelings. I am disappointed a bit because at the beginning of the race, especially in all the traffic, as I said, because we had a little bit better strategy than Juan Pablo today in the second stint, especially, but I'm extremely happy, not for the points that I took from Kimi and Michael, because I'm happy we took second place here at Silverstone, because this was impossible to think two weeks ago, so I think this is the best news I have this weekend, and if in Silverstone we can do better, then at Hockenheim or Hungary, in the next two Grands Prix we can fight for the victory with them.