European GP winner's press conference

Drivers: 1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1h29m42.724 2. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), +4.217 3. David COULTHARD (McLAREN), + 24.993 Q: Your fifth win of the season, your second here at home; you must be absolutely delighted... Michael ...

1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1h29m42.724
2. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), +4.217
3. David COULTHARD (McLAREN), + 24.993

Q: Your fifth win of the season, your second here at home; you must be absolutely delighted...

Michael SCHUMACHER: Yes, certainly I am. Nothing better can happen than winning your home Grand Prix. We have had a superb weekend, we got pole position, we got the win, we had a nice race again together, Ralf and myself, until the stop and go, so it was quite an entertaining weekend - a tough weekend as well. Because in the end Juan Pablo was coming and pushing, so in this respect, we are very delighted to have finished where we did.

Q: What happened with the T-car on the warm-up lap?

MS: We had a problem in the warm-up. Precaution-wise, we changed some parts and we just wanted to do an installation lap. During the installation lap, something failed, I don't know what it was, and I had to stop. And it was at the worst point, obviously, because it was very far away from the pits, so I was wondering how to get back. I didn't see a scooter, just this scooter without a key, so I was lucky, suddenly a man appeared and gave me the key so I got going. Obviously, at this moment I thought that I should have enough time but you never know. You don't have time to watch on your watch. It's a strange feeling, stopping down there, and seeing your chances slipping away.

Q: It was a much tougher battle with Ralf this week, do you feel you can harder with Ralf because he's your brother?

MS: No, it's not more tough. No, we drive very close to the edge as you have to do. I would do this to anyone, honestly, and he doesn't give presents to me either, because we both work for different teams. If you look back to past races, we made it very difficult for each other. That's the way it is. We always leave room to survive for the other one. So I always look forward to some degree to fight against my brother because then, to be honest, it doesn't matter who wins in the end, to some degree. It was obviously a hard decision for Ralf to get this stop and go penalty, for, as I heard, just half the car passing the white line. It's quite a strong decision, which destroyed his race. Honestly, we struggled with the first set of tyres, we were a bit slow but then when we got the second set of tyres, things were sorted, we changed the balance of the car and I was much faster. So I think under normal circumstances, we should have been able to do it, but it would have been a very close battle.

Q: Juan Pablo, your second place and fastest lap of the race. Does this silence the critics?

Juan Pablo MONTOYA: You know the critics don't matter me to be honest. We have been trying very hard. The car was very competitive. Yesterday I was good in qualifying, I got a third, and today things started to turn my way. I had pretty good luck. The first few laps of the race I took it really steady. I knew Ralf and Michael were going to go, and I said 'take a couple of laps, get into it and just build up the pace slowly' and the car was really quick.

Q: Before the second stop, you went a lot quick. Why?

JPM: Just pushing you know. There was room in the car to go quick. The car was very positive, but I got it to handle so that I could drive it really smoothly and started to make up time. It was amazing.

Q: Was third the best you could hope for, David?

David COULTHARD: Yes, I think so. I think under normal race pace circumstances we would have been fourth if Ralf hadn't have got his penalty, so to gain an extra place through that is obviously fortunate for me.

Q: Do you feel one stop was the right way to go, given that everyone ahead of you was on two?

DC: From where I was on the grid I think it was the right thing to do. Hindsight is a wonderful thing when you can look back on a race and say 'oh well, I didn't get traffic or this happened'. But we have to make our decisions based on experience from before, and from that grid position, it was the right thing.

Q: It's the second race in a row where we have seen the race contested between Williams and Ferrari. Do you feel that McLaren is still a match for these two or have they got ahead of you?

DC: Well, I think the performance in the last two races is an answer to that question. We haven't just sat back because we couldn't be bothered. We haven't been as competitive as we would have liked in the last two races. Clearly in Canada, we don't know how fast I could have run because I had the problem with the suspension right from the green flag lap. We weren't very quick here in qualifying and clearly in the race we weren't a match for them either, so it was really recovery position this weekend and try and understand how we can improve for Magny Cours.

Q: Michael, do you now consider the boys in white and blue your main rivals for race wins?

MS: Yes, it looks like it. Especially at Magny Cours, because that's quite a special circuit concerning tyres. I know Bridgestone is working very hard, and so it Michelin, so it's something which is on the edge, and whoever gets it just right is up front. That's the situation at the moment. This time we seemed to have the better end. Maybe next time we will be the other way around. But David just mentioned that somewhere they are losing out a bit and we don't know when they're going to fix it, but until then it is probably a white/blue/red battle.


Q: Michael, how much pressure was Ralf giving you? Were you in charge of the situation?

Michael SCHUMACHER: Except for one moment, yes. I ran wide in turn five because I locked up rears and then fronts. I couldn't see where he was at this moment, so I tried to leave a little bit of space, although not making it too easy for him to overtake. But other than that, I was pretty much in charge. I was in trouble in general in that first stint, the car handling wasn't so good, a lot of oversteer, so we made some corrections and after that I got going very well and when I needed to push, I was able to do quite good lap times.

Q: Corrections in the car, or at the pit stop?

MS: No, corrections on the car, physically. During the pit stop.

Q: Was your pit stop a decision on that very lap?

MS: No. We knew we were going in, and then I was told on the radio that Ralf was coming in the same lap so I was aware of that.

Q: He gave you quite a hard time at the start, too, but you seemed to cope with it. Tell us about it.

MS: Yeah. The start wasn't as perfect as it was supposed to be. Again I had a little dip where I lost out a couple of meters and then I saw Ralf on the inside and obviously I knew the strategy I was on, not knowing what strategy they were on, thinking they may be only on, so I had to make sure I would be first in the first corner, otherwise I would be in trouble. So I used the maximum that the rules allow you, to move over once, and tighten up the line. I think that's the way you have to work unfortunately.

Q: Juan Pablo, a certain amount of relief to finish second?

JPM: Yeah, the last two races I made pretty silly mistakes and gave away quite a lot of points and we had quite a lot of reliability problems in the beginning of the year but things are getting much better now. I lost quite a bit at the beginning of the race, the car was very positive and I was getting a lot of hassle with it so I thought 'just take it easy and get to the end'.

Q: I think you had a little off at half distance, what happened then?

JPM: I was trying to pass David and got really close behind but when I hit the brake I just locked the front tyres and didn't even try to turn. Just go straight and it's safer. That was the only moment.

Q: David, after starting the weekend fastest what was wrong in the race.

DC: From a balance point of view we were using up the rear tyres quite quickly so we had a lot of oversteer early in the race which is a little bit different to what we were struggling with in qualifying so there are two separate issues. Friday we were working to understand how to improve the car in qualifying so that's probably why there was such a big gap between ourselves and the others but obviously the reality is what happened at the end of qualifying. As you could see we were quite bit adrift and in the race probably a half second a lap off as well.

Q: Is that situation going to continue at Magny Cours?

DC: We hope to be only four tenths off the pace at Magny Cours... I don't know! Let's wait and see but it's a track that with the nature of the corners can be quite hard on the tyres so in qualifying, again, unless the tyre that we have available to us works well on our car there I don't think we have something in the setup that we can change. So it's probably something a bit more fundamental.

Q: A 24-point deficit now in the championship, how worried are you?

DC: As I said before I wasn't looking at points and there's no point looking now because the championship isn't decided until it's decided. I'll keep doing the best that I can and sometimes you can be driving well but not quite have the machinery and other times you have the machinery and don't drive so well so I've got to make sure I get both the elements together at the right time.

Q: Where do you stand against the Williamses?

DC: Well they clearly have reasonable acceleration - whether it's low drag on the car or maybe their rubber's not quite so sticky out of the corners. It can't possibly be the engine because we have the best engine!


Q: Juan Pablo, how do you rate your car against the Williams and McLaren?

JPM: I think we're a bit ahead of the McLaren a little bit at the moment, it's a bit surprising to be honest. With the Ferraris very similar I would think, we're slightly quicker them but we've still got to do a little bit more work because it's a little bit and a little bit but we're getting consistently up at the front so it's definitely getting better.

Q: Michael, do you miss battling Ralf to the end?

MS: To some degree yes because it would have meant David would be another place behind! Anyway it's natural that I would rather see my brother there than anyone else, it's normal.

Q: Michael, was the initial plan to race with the T-car.

MS: No. We had a doubt over a little part so we changed it and I was supposed to do one lap.

Q: Michael, do you think it was fair to push your brother near the wall at the start?

MS: I don't think he touched the wall. It's tight and maybe for the person who has to lift off it seems unfair but on the other side that's the way the rules are written. You're allowed to do this and you have to make sure that you stay up front so we had this discussion at length some time ago and I think it's clear what is allowed and what isn't allowed.

Q: What were the emotions like on the slow-down lap with the crowd?

MS: Beautiful. It's always something special being at home. It always is a big pleasure, especially if you win the race, to go slow and absorb everything the people give to you and to some degree celebrate with them and have a bit of contact.

Q: How easy is it to miss the white line in the pits in the heat of the race like your brother did?

MS: It is something you need to watch. I heard it was very close in terms of how much he actually crossed but I remember some other things which have happened to me in the past and I remember thinking that they were a bit hard but these things are done sometimes. On the other side if you know about it you should watch out just like not hitting a wall or something else but a stop and go is a pretty hard decision.


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Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams