1. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 1:18.439 2. David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes) 1:18.537 3. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) 1:18.801 Q. Congratulations, Michael, on taking a very exciting pole position. You only snatched it back from David...
Q. Congratulations, Michael, on taking a very exciting pole position. You only snatched it back from David Coulthard at the very end: did you do that deliberately?
Michael Schumacher: You want to leave it until as late as possible here, naturally, because the circuit is fastest then. I went out only a matter of seconds behind David -and also, I think, behind Mika -but that wasn't done on purpose. You just calculate the moment when you want to go.
Q. On the in-car TV we could see you punch the air when you learned that Mika was only 4th fastest. Do you still consider him your main rival for the championship? Or do you think it is David?
MS: I thought I punched my hand in the air because I had taken pole position! That was all I cared about -and the only thing that made it nicer was to hear that Rubens was 3rd. That was another big matter. Obviously David is getting stronger and stronger, so I have to keep worrying about him as well. After the past two years I have to think more about Hakkinen, because he has won two championships -and David was slightly behind. Now David is giving Mika a big challenge, and it might turn around.
Q. David, you very nearly took pole position this afternoon. Michael has suggested that the important thing is not pole but to be on the front row. Do you agree with that?
David Coulthard: Well, what's important is to win the race. So [we take] whatever strategy allows us to do that. I don't think that anyone would [deny] that it's always an advantage to be the closest [driver] to the first corner. For whatever reason, it's a long time since anyone has won from pole, but ultimately that doesn't matter, making small talk about what position you start from [is irrelevant] and it's the race results that count.
Q. This is the third consecutive race for which you have qualified in front of Mika. Do you now consider that you have the upper hand?
DC: I am not even looking at that, I am looking at what's in front of me. Ultimately I want to see a clear track in front - that's always my goal - and whether it's Mika or Michael or Rubens or whoever, I don't care. It's all about trying to get the best out of myself.
Q. Rubens, well done on a very good third place today. Did you expect to be able to do better [than that], or was it the maximum?
Rubens Barrichello: No, it could have been better. I thought I was quite unlucky today because I seemed to get all the [red and yellow] flags. In the end I had traffic, too, so it was really unlucky. The car has not often been better, and I had already done the 18.8s - so I really thought I had a good shot at pole position today. I have been quite close to it all weekend, and in a way I am happy that it's P1 and P3 for Ferrari. But I think I could have done better.
Q. You mention the red flags that came out for the Verstappen smash. We saw some of the debris hit your car: did that affect its handling in any way?
RB: No, not at all. [It may have hit] the tyre that I was running, but when I came in they changed the tyre anyway, so it wasn't a problem at all.
Q. Looking to tomorrow, Michael, we have mentioned the so-called curse of pole position. Does it play on your mind in any way that for 12 races now nobody has managed to win from pole?
MS: There are so many people talking about it that you can't dismiss the thought. But when you're racing and you go for the start, you hope it's not going to be a factor [in the race]. We obviously hope that 13 will be our lucky number. Number 12 wasn't lucky.