Saturday 6 June 1998 -- Qualifying press conference Qualifying: 1. David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes), 1:18.213 2. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren-Mercedes), 1:18.282 3. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1:18.497 Sunday 7 June 1998...
Saturday 6 June 1998 -- Qualifying press conference Qualifying: 1. David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes), 1:18.213 2. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren-Mercedes), 1:18.282 3. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1:18.497
Sunday 7 June 1998 -- Post-race winners' press conference: Results: 1. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1:40:57.355 (181.296 km/h) 2. Giancarlo Fisichella (Benetton-Playlife), +16.6 seconds 3. Eddie Irvine (Ferrari), +60.0 seconds
Q. Congratulations, Michael, on a victory which has opened up the world championship. After the second start, when Mika had retired and you were close to David Coulthard, did you think you might have been able to challenge for the lead? MS: I had a good race with him until the moment he retired. I don't know what strategy he was on, but I was definitely faster. Unfortunately there was no way for me to get by, and the moment his car broke down it was obviously a good situation for me, to score points and to catch up with him in the championship. Now my situation in the championship looks much better than it did before this race.
Q. Coming out of the pits after your first refuelling stop, you almost touched Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who went off the road at the first corner. That moment eventually cost you a 10-second penalty: do have any reflections on it now? MS: I haven't seen it [on video yet] and I can only imagine what happened. If [what you say] is what happened, then I really will have to make my excuses to him. I looked to my right when I came out of the pit lane, to see if there was anyone [on the track], and I didn't see anyone. So I pulled over to get on to the line. In the mirrors it is almost impossible to see things, and I really don't know what happened, I will have to look at the video. But if I have done anything wrong I want to excuse myself.
Q. You also had a difficult few moments trying to lap Damon Hill ... MS: Yes. You wouldn't want to hear the words that I was thinking at that moment, because that was purely dangerous [driving]. If someone wants to kill you, he should do it in a different way. We are doing 320 km/h down there, and for someone to move off the line three times is simply [unacceptable]. You can do it once, moving from one side to the other, that is OK, it's what we usually do. But to do it three times is impossible, you cannot have a situation where [you come so close] to touching each other. I was so angry with that situation and I wonder why he didn't get a penalty for what he did. I know I cut the chicane, but I had almost lost my car avoiding that circumstance and I was lucky even to get through the chicane anyway. It is impossible for such an experienced man to do such things. I can't handle that and I will be having big words with him.
Q. Giancarlo, congratulations on your second 2nd place in two weeks. How hard was Michael pushing you when you were ahead of him? GF: From the beginning the race for me was very difficult because our strategy was to do just one pitstop, which made it too difficult. When Michael was behind me, about 20 laps after the start, the behaviour of the car was much better. Also my lap times were quite good, even though I had been having a problem with third gear from the beginning of the race.
Q. Did you think at one time you might have been able to win? GF: Hmmmm ... we are getting better and better, race after race. Today the victory was very close. Anyway, it's important to be in front, it's important to be quick and I hope soon I will have a victory.
Q. What happened when Villeneuve tried to pass you after the safety car was withdrawn? GF: I made a mistake in the last corner, and he was quicker than me as the start line. In the end I went on the inside: I saw him brake too late and he spun.
Q. Eddie, this is your fourth third place of the season. Are you getting a bit fed up with third? EI: It's better than fourth, or fifth, or sixth. At one stage I was 17th so I can't exactly complain, can I? I was stuck behind a Minardi for 20 or 30 laps, so that wasn't particularly impressive. To end up here [on the podium] is a bit of a surprise.
Q. After going nearly a whole lap on a flat tyre after the first start, was your car's handling still okay? EI: I thought I had damaged the suspension because immediately after I was tapped up the rear the car felt strange to drive. But something had sliced the tyre, it was probably someone's front wing end plate. The tyre went flat immediately and I thought it was the suspension which was damaged. I was thinking 'should I keep going?' because there was [bits of] tyre flying all over the place and I thought I might get in trouble for putting so much rubber on the track. But I just kept going, [my crew] put a set of fresh tyres on and there was no problem. The most important thing was that I had not lost a lap.
Q. You were behind Wurz for several laps. Was his car slower than yours? EI: I felt that I was quicker than him, but the two of us would sometimes drop back from whoever it was in the Minardi ahead of us. Whenever I was able to trouble him, the two of us would catch up with the Minardi and [Wurz] would then get a tow from the Minardi. That meant I had no chance, because he was quick on the exit of corners and I wasn't. It was a stalemate. Also, during the safety car periods we didn't know what to do about our strategy. But it worked out well and we did the two short stints at the end.
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