Canadian GP: Winners' press conference

1. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1h33m36.111s 2. David Coulthard (McLaren Mercedes), 1h33m37.243s (+ 1.132s) 3. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), 1h33m43.193s (+ 7.082s) Q: You were lapping so fast in that race that we began to wonder if you were on...


1. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1h33m36.111s
2. David Coulthard (McLaren Mercedes), 1h33m37.243s (+ 1.132s)
3. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), 1h33m43.193s (+ 7.082s)

Q: You were lapping so fast in that race that we began to wonder if you were on a two-stop strategy. You never backed off in that race.

Michael Schumacher: No, we couldn't because the strategy was obviously after we knew Montoya was on a two stop, very tight, so I had to push until he made his second pit stop and I had to know that he was really behind me and only then did I consolidate my pace to keep the gap very consistent.

Q: It was a very strong race, but how good were your tyres today and you also talked about having a very strong engine for Montreal?

MS: Yeah. We had a very strong package all in all. On the other hand, it was obvious that we had some blisters on our rear left tyre in particular, which for sure cost us a bit of performance but then obviously it was still good enough to win the race. In normal circumstances, we would probably be in first and second, but that's the way it goes and we're pretty happy with the result so far and obviously with the package we've had here.

Q: Starting eighth, I don't suppose you expected to be sitting here. You started by passing two cars into the first corner, in spite of a heavy fuel load. Talk us through those first four hundred meters.

David Coulthard: Obviously we've seen recently that our launch system has been working very well so it was one of the discussions before the race as to whether starting with a lighter fuel load would help me pass people into the first corner but the engineers were confident that that wouldn't have much of an effect. Once again, like Monaco, their prediction was correct and I gained those two places quite easily.

Q: Talk us through the moments when you came up behind Takuma Sato and that allowed Rubens to attempt to overtake in the final chicane.

DC: Yes, obviously I thought Sato was going to let me through at the hairpin but he didn't so I was very slow coming out of there and then obviously in the run down to the last chicane, I know it was very marginal with Rubens and he's expressed that opinion and I've apologised for squeezing him, but I had to pull out of the slipstream from Sato and it was always going to be marginal for the last chicane. I took a gamble, didn't manage to make it, went through and was fully prepared to let Rubens past, had he made the chicane, but as he hadn't then neither of us had gained an advantage and that was it, it stayed that way to the chequered flag.

Q: What's your view of that incident?

Rubens Barrichello: There is no point in arguing right now. I think it's that right at that point, I was able to brake and make the corner, but when you see somebody going fast on the outside you want to let it happen, so you just naturally come off the brakes so basically I couldn't make the corner either. There's no point in going back over it. If you put a wall there, I'm sure we would both have made the corner.

Q: You lost a little time in the pits having gravel cleared from your side pods. Do you think that's the difference between you sitting in third place or having finished second?

RB: My view on this is not on the pit stop - maybe on the pit stop I lost a little bit of time but I don't know why they brought the safety car out because they could have rolled the (Villeneuve's) car backwards, the BAR. That was it. I really don't understand why they... they completely did my race there. I was on a two stop so I had only six or seven laps after the safety car came out. I see no reason why they brought out the safety car.

Q: Michael, today was Ferrari's 150th win, your sixth of the year. The next race is the first of two on your home ground; what are your hopes?

MS: Our expectations are obviously very high with the package we have. I would like to express a big compliment to our testing team because all the year, they stay in the shadows and they work very hard and we never have the opportunity to really thank in the proper way and I'm really happy we have such guys behind us who work so well. I was having some vacation, using the opportunity with them and they simply do a fantastic job with both our testing drivers, Badoer and Burti and all the test engineers, so a big compliment to them and we obviously look forward to having a good test next week and come prepared to Nürburgring.

Q: Michael, 150th Grand Prix win for Ferrari, your fifth here in Montreal, it's quite a day really.

MS: Yeah, yeah. You can obviously call it a very good day in all respects, in every way you look at it, very fortunate.

Q: At the start, did you expect Rubens to come past you quite the way he did?

MS: No, honestly no. I was hoping I would jump into the lead but then it was pretty clear after the initial take-off that I was on the dirtier side and couldn't get the grip and then on the other hand, the two other guys were on lighter fuel and it seemed to help them for the later part of the acceleration. I knew that Rubens was on a two stop so I didn't want to make his life difficult and I let him go.

Q: Were you happy running in third place after that?

MS: Yeah, with the pace I was doing, with the gap we had it was sort being on schedule, I would say. The safety car worked out even more in my favour.

Q: Did you think there would be a safety car period because a lot of teams did?

MS: Yeah, no, you have to think about it here, yes, it is pretty common that it does happen. For this sort of reason, it was a bit difficult to understand why they had to bring out a trolley or whatever to remove the car. Obviously we don't know all the details.

Q: Would you say the Michelins and Bridgestones were pretty much on a par this weekend?

MS: I would probably have to study the data a little bit closer. From what I have seen, with different strategy I don't know what was the gaps and whether they were within being equal or not. We certainly had a very good tyre and we had nothing to complain about, but on the other hand, from what we have seen in Monte Carlo, in the race we were quite a bit stronger here, that wasn't so obvious.

Q: A lot of mention has been made of the engine; was it an improved development here?

MS: We always develop the engine. It was nothing specifically different from my point of view, from the last race, at least. But it was doing very well. The reason we put this emphasis was because our straight line speed this weekend was fantastically good and that is because of the engine and the aerodynamics and that's why some emphasis has been put on that, and some compliments have been made, but it hasn't been a different specification of engine compared to the last race.

Q: In the last 13 laps, your lead went down from 21s to one second...

MS: It's the usual story, there was nothing wrong, it was just driving it safely home. One tenth is enough to win the race, that's all we needed.

Q: Generally speaking, though, no problems during the race?

MS: No. Here it's tough for brakes so if you have the opportunity, you save them as much as you can, and that was it.

Q: David, were you expecting to be on the podium today after everyone said that Monaco was just a one-off result?

DC: Honestly, no, I didn't think in a straight fight we would be on the podium but obviously lots of things can happen in racing. I was pretty confident, even though I was eighth, that I was going to finish in the points and obviously the start was again a major help in that so obviously the boffins with all the numbers were doing a good job so thanks to them.

Q: Were you in sixth place, during the first stint, were you fairly confident then, given that two cars had made their first pit stops?

DC: Yes, I think that early on I was struggling a little bit with oversteer and I just thought there was no point to risk... just before the safety car came out I'd ran wide into turn two and ran off the circuit and lost a second, so I thought now is the time to be cautious because I was pulling away from I think it was Nick (Heidfeld) who was behind me and worst case scenario was that I would hold my position and that obviously gave me the opportunity to save the brakes a little bit and I think that was an issue late on in the race for some of the cars, so it benefited me before my stop because I was able to push for the last ten laps before my stop and gain some advantage.

Q: Was it pretty tough on the brakes early on, as you were on one of the heavier fuel loads?

DC: It was but because of the level of oversteer that also came from the weight of the car, then inevitably you end up braking less. As the car slides in, you have to back away, you have to brake earlier, so you do a slower lap time, but it preserves the brakes a little bit so it meant that once the car burned the fuel off, I could really push.

Q: Does this result give you a bit more hope for the races to come?

DC: I think our performance is about the third team at the moment. We've obviously working to try and improve on that but unless we have a major development, there's no reason for that to change in terms of qualifying pace but obviously you can, in racing, work strategies and have good fortune and reliability. So the race is always going to throw up new opportunities, but we know where our qualifying is at the moment.

Q: Rubens, what about that blinding start?

RB: Yeah, absolutely, I think being at the right place on the track helped but I had a good reaction time and everything worked fantastically. By the pace that Montoya was driving in the first few corners, it looked like he was on a two stop too but that didn't mean I wasn't going to push and obviously he ran a little bit wide, almost touched the wall on the exit of the last chicane, when he came to close the door, I was already beside him, I went a little bit on the grass but it was a moment when I had to take the opportunity because I knew I had a quick car. Unfortunately my race today was done by the safety car because basically I think there was no reason to bring it out. The car was parked there, we have the situation where you can roll the car backwards so you have problems and so on, but the car was parked. I don't think anybody would have run into that car. My race was pretty much done by that. I was trying to ask the team if I should come in. They didn't say anything so it was too risky for me just to come in without saying much, but I had the gap to everyone would have made the race a lot easier for me.

Q: Who decided your strategy? Some teams said that you have to build in the likelihood of a safety car period?

RB: You have to take a risk. I was quite comfortable with a two stop because I wanted to push and see if I could try to win the race, basically. It was risky because we know the safety car can come out here, but it could work either way. If the car is in the wall, that's one thing, but if the car is parked, I don't think there's a reason for that (to bring the safety car out). It's down to the driver to stop earlier or to stop into a... We all have to be sensible. I really don't know what happened, I have to see. But it really screwed the race.

Q: David. Since you and Rubens had something related to this, had you been briefed about running over the chicane?

DC: Quite clearly it is the same as it has been in previous years in that you shouldn't gain an advantage in terms of time or position and I think also if I were to miss a chicane and Rubens was to make a chicane that is questionable whether I gained an advantage. In the situation the question in my mind would be that I would have to let him past and I did ask the question of the team but when they informed me that he had missed the chicane as well neither of us gained an advantage.

Q: So phew, what a relief?

DC: But that is racing. It is always phew if you stay in front or if you pull a move or something works in your favour, it is always going to be close.

Q: Question to Michael. You got a 43-point lead with nine races to go. You could win your first world title as early as the month of July this year. How do you feel about it?

MS: It is no point in thinking about it. We know we have a comfortable lead, we know we have the points we have right now but there is no point in thinking when we can win it, but just make sure we do win it.

Q: Rubens. Can you tell us about the decision over strategy, why you set up two stops instead of one stop?

RB: It was a group decision and I was really comfortable with that. I like it when I fight for my position, I like it when I am going into a battle, overtaking and so on. There was a good reason for that, I had quite good tyres for the beginning of the race, so I should just push the whole time and I was happy with that. But it is a group decision, you know, we make the decision together.

Q: Michael. Do you think that it is normal that almost all drivers did not respect the chicane as we saw today?

MS: It is pretty normal if you have a problem, yes. If you cannot make it then you go straight on and then you slow down to make sure you don't get an advantage. If somebody takes and advantage and overtakes somebody or is not overtaken because of this then you have to pull back. I think it is better that they have a wall there.

Q: Any further comment?

RB: I just think it is a corner that should be modified because it is the only place you can overtake on the circuit. If, for example, if I had the in my mind the feeling that I just push and I go straight and see what happens then I would have pushed him (Coulthard) with me, I am sure, because he was willing to do that with me, so when I saw the car going a little faster I had to just let it go a little bit more and just see if I could be in a position to block him. Obviously at that point you can see on the data that I was completely on the brakes and I let it go and braked again, so obviously I didn't make the thing, so it is within the rules to say that both crossed the thing. But if the chicane is used like that then everyone is going to cross it. It is very dirty, people touch the grass, they are always so close and there is no point in it. They should change the corner completely.

Q: Could you take us through the whole situation again at the hairpin with Sato before Rubens' attempt to overtake. What exactly transpired, it all happened very quickly.

DC: I think I explained it already, so at the risk of being repetitive...Sato didn't move over, held me up at the hairpin and so I was slow coming out and that gave Rubens a run on me, and I used the slipstream of Sato and then had to move out and you are always uncomfortable to think there is going to be three cars abreast, but obviously Rubens had enough space and we ran side by side into the corner, tried to brake as late as I could, realised I was not going to make the corner, came out thinking that Rubens had and went onto the radio to ask 'do I have to let Rubens through because I have gained an advantage by not making the chicane. They told me he hadn't made the chicane either so that's it, game over.

Q: Michael. Would you at least agree that from this position now it is going to be really, really difficult to lost the championship?

MS: I haven't disagreed before. I know that winning this race and having the points makes me obviously quite a step closer to it, but as you said before nine races to go, ninety points to give away and only 43 points advance. So, admittedly it is very good, but it is still not done.

Q: What are you worried about? What could happen, really?

MS: Let me think if I can give you a good example so you can understand it. In the end you do understand what I mean. It is not being pessimistic, it is realistic that it is not over and until it is over it is not. We have to wait for that.

Q: Michael. Do you ever find yourself after this race being too comfortable with your lead and taking fewer risks? How do you think this race will affect your strategy for future races?

MS: You always look at that situation. In Monte Carlo there wasn't that opportunity so you back off. If I have an opportunity I will go for it. I mean, I am racing for the pleasure of racing, for the pleasure of fighting, and I will use my opportunities.

Q: So you will keep taking risks even though you are comfortable?

MS: Yeah. I said in 2000 that from now on I just race for the pleasure. I mean whether I am going to win so many races or not, or a championship that is not really the drive of motivation for me, it's the pleasure of the racing itself.

Q: For David. Your appearance of you on the podium in the last couple of races in a way is it a vindication for teams instigating team orders when they have the opportunity?

DC: I have to say that it is much too an intelligent question for me to understand. You might have to break it down into racing driver speak.

Q: People have been characterising the Ferrari dominance as being just that, dominance, but over the last couple of races we have seen that one or both can certainly be beaten. Is that uncertainty a reason that team orders should be a part of Formula One?

DC: Well, I think that it shows that, in certain circumstances, a dominant team can still be beaten and I recall back to when McLaren were a lot more competitive than they are now, and there was the odd race where we were comprehensively beaten where in other races we were very strong. So I think it just shows that nothing can be taken for granted in a Grand Prix season. Lots of things can go on at different tracks and the whole team order thing, nothing has changed there for many, many years, so it is more about the public being educated about what is allowed rather than anything the team should be doing. That's down, I guess, to the governing body to inform people what the rules are and for you all to inform the public what they are watching.

Q: This is the 150th victory for Ferrari, but at the same time, before the race, there was some booing and a Ferrari flag barred. Can you reflect on that?

MS: I think they just make a sport out of it. When you look at it from our point of view there's a competition between our supporters and our enemies. It's always been like this. You can't always have 100 percent supporters and honestly, when I see the people who do it and you give them a smile or a kiss, they actually start to laugh. They're just joking around, I don't think they are too serious. I think we have reacted in a proper way to tell our fans which are very important to us, that we will not do that again, for them. It is always a little bit more in Montreal - I guess there's a good reason for it, that obviously my past competitor, being Canadian, is obviously not my best friend, and the Canadians do sort of know that, I guess.

Q: Any feelings or explanation about having so much success in one venue?

MS: I think I've won five times in Monte Carlo too, so it's not only the case in Canada. Why at certain races and not other races, I don't know. Sometimes it's down to luck a bit, sometimes you work for your luck, but there's no specific reason to it honestly. Probably the reason is that I'm already into my twelfth year in Formula One.

Q: Michael, with this advantage, is the next race going to be extra special?

MS: No. Not necessarily. It makes me another little step more comfortable but it took me pushing as much as before. My testing schedule is planned for next week. It is not like, now I have won I can ease off, stay home and take holidays. That is not going to be the case.

Q: I meant more to being in Germany.

MS: Obviously I think whether we do well or not so well, our German supporters are always happy for us to come there and drive in front of them. I haven't realised a big difference in all honesty, over the years I have come down there.

Q: Michael. Do you wish the competition were closer, that you were winning these races more with a fight to the death, a wheel-to-wheel battle right to the finish. Would that be more satisfying?

MS: It is not my fault that Juan breaks down because it would have been a very close battle to the end, I am quite sure. But that is racing, and I think I have had very close battling in some races and I had other races when it wasn't so close but it has always been like this and as long as I am in Formula One that is the way the game is. It is not a sort of go-kart competition any more.

Q: No, but with all due respect what I wasn't arguing about how it has happened...

MS: Yeah, but what I am saying is that I do enjoy, and I have always said that I do enjoy that, but there is not every race like that.

-fia-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , David Coulthard
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren