German GP Saturday press conference

1. Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams), 1:38.117 2. Ralf Schumacher (Williams), 1:38.136 3. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren), 1:38.811 Q: It seemed you really had to take a risk to take pole, you were right on the limit out of the final corner. Juan Pablo ...

1. Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams), 1:38.117
2. Ralf Schumacher (Williams), 1:38.136
3. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren), 1:38.811

Q: It seemed you really had to take a risk to take pole, you were right on the limit out of the final corner.

Juan Pablo MONTOYA: Yes, just about, it was pretty good. I've been very pleased with it, the car has been working very well, we made a change for the last run and it was coming good.

Q: Ralf , how does it feel to have been deprived of pole position on your home circuit?

Ralf SCHUMACHER: I've never been anywhere close to the first row at Hockenheim so I'm pretty pleased. I think the two of us were quicker than anyone else so I think we have problems in the race in front of us tomorrow, that's what counts. I am on the first row so I have every chance.

Q: Mika it seems that this morning McLaren were having all sorts of problems. What did you do to turn it around?

Mika HAKKINEN: Indeed. We had some problems in the morning. I lost some running time but not too much and the team was able to solve those problems. At the track we did improve the balance all the way through this morning and the engineers did a fantastic job with the car and I think the car is handling better than ever here in Hockenheim.

Q: The gap seems huge to the Williamses, but quite close behind you. Is it really going to be a two-part race, the Williamses and then you leading the rest?

MH: It's obviously impossible to say if that is going to happen, but if these guys can maintain the speed that they've had in qualifying for tomorrow, I could say we have no chance, so let's hope something goes a little bit wrong for them tomorrow.

Q: Juan Pablo, how confident are you that you can lead after the start?

JPM: You know, we have exactly the same car and the same launch control and everything, so it should be OK. It's a long straight, it's important to go well through the first corner. We'll see what happens. If I'm in a position to lead, I will. If something goes wrong at the start and I need to be second, then I will be second. You don't win the race in the first corner. I'll give it a good go tomorrow.

Q: Juan Pablo, what does it feel like, your first Grand Prix pole?

JPM: It feels really good. We worked really hard. Everything went really well. I'm very pleased for myself, for all my mechanics and everybody in the team, engineers and everybody who worked so hard for this. It feels really good.

Q: The two of you completed dominated the session; does it feel that dominant?

JPM: The car is really good and it's surprising Michael didn't go quicker, because he went really quick in the first session and really surprised me. So I'm really surprised how much quicker we went in qualifying. We were pushing really hard. I was really pleased because on the last run I was coming two tenths off from my second sector and they told me to back off because Ralf had already crossed the line, so it was really good.

Q: Have you changed much since this morning?

JPM: Yes, a little bit. We did a lot of changes from overnight and we played around a bit with the car to try and make it go well in the curves and it's working really well.

Q: So were you expecting to be that dominant?

JPM: Not dominant but we knew we would be really competitive.

Q: What about race performance?

JPM: It should be alright. We are looking quite good for tomorrow. We haven't had any problems during the weekend, so we should have a strong race.

Q: What are you most worried about?

JPM: Well, the last few races we had some reliability problems but I think we took some precautions for this race and we will see how it pays off. It's going to be really hot and that's going to count a bit.

Q: Ralf, what do you think of your team-mate's pole and where do you think you lost out?

RS: I lost out a bit in the stadium today, but the last two rounds one I had traffic the other I had a yellow flag so for sure it was tough qualifying between us today. We have the first row for the team so everything is possible for the two of us.

Q: How crucial is it to be on pole?

RS: It's difficult, from all the races I did here it turned out to be different. Anything can happen but usually if you're on pole you are first into the first corner and if you're on second you go second. We'll find out tomorrow how it is. The race is pretty long so anything can happen.

Q: You were saying that the timing was crucial when you went out.

RS: For the first run we thought that we didn't have the time in case we needed to go to the scales or whatever and that was a wrong decision by us. For the yellow flag nobody could do much about it.

Q: How similar are the set ups?

RS: Very similar.

Q: So the potential was basically between the two of you as drivers?

RS: Well... yeah, whatever, I don't know the exact set up because I did change a few little things during the qualifying but yes, that's the way it is.

Q: Mika, what did you think of this performance today?

MH: It was definitely very impressive what these guys did. So obviously it's difficult to understand which are the reasons why they're so much quicker than us. And of course you can put a lot of things on the table and say 'it could be this, could be this, could be that' but it's no point to start pointing out one certain thing, we just have to concentrate on our own problems and try to get our own car quicker.

Q: It almost seemed as though David gave up.

MH: David wanted to save the tyres because he was not able to improve his time - it would be very difficult to catch Michael and so he decided to save the tyres. I thought it was the right thing to do.

Q: After the problems you had today how good was your car?

MH: I'm very pleased indeed, the engineers have just done fantastic work this weekend. We're getting the best out of the car at the moment, and it's good.

Q: You aborted one run?

MH: Indeed, just because the lap time wasn't looking quick enough and I wasn't improving so what's the point to waste the run? The team called me in and that was it.

Q: Do the drivers feel that, with lap records falling, it could be time to go back to slick tyres instead of grooved tyres?

JPM: I drove the car once, my first test ever in Formula One was on slicks, and since then I never drove the car on slicks so I don't know. It's the same for everybody.

RS: It's not really down to us anyway - ask Max!

MH: If we could choose what we prefer, slicks or grooves, I think what they have done with development of grooved tyres I think they feel pretty good.

Q: Ralf, you and Juan Pablo aren't close friends, is it better to have a slight edge against you team-mate? And how do you think his development has been this year?

RS: Well first of all I think it's pretty difficult to be good friends with your team-mate anyway - I have had five and things have been similar. It has been better with Jenson but these were different circumstances. I think he has had a bit of bad luck at the beginning of the season with a lot of technical failures, he has been new to Formula One and new to a couple of circuits so things have changed obviously and he has developed in the right direction. It's good for him and good for the team.

Q: Juan Pablo, the Williams normally goes fastest through the speed traps but today Mika was faster - does it mean top speed won't be a factor in the race?

JPM: I don't know. We have to wait and see what we decide to race tomorrow. We choose today what we thought was going to be best downforce-wise for qualifying and we stayed with that. We tried a few different levels this morning and which one was better we picked and when it comes to tomorrow we'll see.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams McLaren , Williams