Post-race press conference 1. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren-Mercedes), 1:41:35.727 (180.155 km/h) 2. Giancarlo Fisichella (Benetton-Playlife), +0.781 3. Eddie Irvine (Ferrari), +1.796 Q. Congratulations, gentlemen, at the end of a remarkable Canadian...
Post-race press conference 1. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren-Mercedes), 1:41:35.727 (180.155 km/h) 2. Giancarlo Fisichella (Benetton-Playlife), +0.781 3. Eddie Irvine (Ferrari), +1.796
Q. Congratulations, gentlemen, at the end of a remarkable Canadian GP, the first ever world championship race to have finished under a Safety Car. Mika, this is your first win and only your second-ever finish here in Canada: how do you feel?
Mika Hakkinen: I feel ... incredible. It was definitely an excellent race. I was very pleased about the way the race was going anyway, when Michael [Schumacher] was leading, because I was comfortable with the car and capable of going quicker if I had wanted. But there was no reason for doing so, because of the level of risk and what could have happened. Then I saw Michael going off. I don't know what happened [to him], but it turned out to be very good for me. That's racing -- and here I am. I won the race and it's a great feeling.
Q. When you saw Michael in the wall, did you think back to the similar incident that put you out at Imola?
MH: I did, actually, yes. Before Barcelona I also remember saying how difficult our car was to drive. It is better now, it is definitely a more consistent car. You can push it more on the limit and keep it on the limit for a longer time. But obviously it has turned the other way round for other people: it looks like these guys are now the ones who are having difficulties ...
Q. Giancarlo, you must love Canada because this is your third podium in three races here in Montreal and you have finished 2nd here again. You had a race-long battle with Heinz-Harald Frentzen until he crashed. Tell us about your day.
GF: Yes, this place is maybe very lucky for me. I am really pleased about the result today. My target was to score some points, but I got on the podium, too, with this 2nd position. That is great. The strategy was perfect, too. At the beginning of the race, with a lot of fuel, the car was very difficult to drive because there was a lot of understeering. But then with low tanks it was much better. When I lost my second place [to Frentzen] with [the interference] of Panis and Badoer, I was very upset because they were both a full lap behind me, and because of them I lost my position. But then Heinz-Harald spun off and I regained my position. It is a great result for me.
Q. Eddie, you probably had the most eventful afternoon of anyone today. After the first Safety Car period you were involved in an incident with David Coulthard. How did you see it?
Eddie Irvine: At the start of the race I was looking after the brakes and trying to go as fast as I could without pushing the car too much. Then when I started to push the Safety Car came out. There were two backmarkers directly in front of me and one of them went really badly through the chicane and threw dirt on to my tyres. When I tried to turn left coming on to the straight, my car kept going straight towards the wall, so I had to back off. That allowed DC to get a run on me and when we got to the first corner we were running side by side. But he went very wide there, so I turned into the next corner [alongside him], where he clipped my rear wheel and spun me off the road. Then it got to be fun!
Q. Things got quite controversial then, especially the way you went past Johnny Herbert's Stewart. How do you remember that?
EI: It's good to have a bit of controversy in F1 isn't it? Johnny was much slower than me and I went down the inside of him. We both braked right on the limit and I was on the dirt on the inside. I could have tried to make corner, but I might have lost control so I went straight on. I don't know what happened to Johnny, except that he seemed to lose a lot of time too. I don't know whether he made the corner [correctly] or followed me through [on the grass].
Q. Mika, the next race takes place at Magny-Cours, with you back in the lead of the world championship, but on a circuit where Ferrari has also won in the last two years. What is the programme at McLaren to continue bringing your car forward?
MH: We will be testing at the end of next week, concentrating on developing the car. As you have seen, the car is now stronger and more reliable, so now we don't have to worry about the car breaking down all the time and we are able to concentrate on developing it instead. That's the reality. Now we have got it strong we can make it stronger and more consistent. I am really looking forward to it.