German GP winners' press conference

1. Ralf Schumacher (Williams), 1:18:17.873 2. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), +46.117 3. Jacques Villeneuve (BAR), +62.806 Q: Ralf, what does it feel like to win at home? Ralf SCHUMACHER: It's a great feeling. I've always had a bit of bad ...

1. Ralf Schumacher (Williams), 1:18:17.873
2. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), +46.117
3. Jacques Villeneuve (BAR), +62.806

Q: Ralf, what does it feel like to win at home?

Ralf SCHUMACHER: It's a great feeling. I've always had a bit of bad luck here. I've never really finished in a good position and to be here today in a German package to win the race in Germany is a great feeling.

Q: After Juan Pablo's engine problem, did the team then tell you that this had happened and to watch everything and perhaps slow?

RS: Already before the weekend, we knew that we were on the tight side with the engines so when, after start of the race, when Pablo pulled away, I thought OK, you do whatever you want to and I already started to save the engine because I know how long and how hard that race is. It paid off at the end. After this, the team told me as well to slow down even more, and that was easy because Rubens couldn't push any more so it was a perfect scenario.

Q: Rubens, could your two stop strategy have produced a race win here today?

Rubens BARRICHELLO: Well, thinking that the two Williamses were on another level, I think that the best I was hoping for or could achieve was third basically because they were really fast, so I think it paid off to be honest, because I was the only one on their pace to start with and I took a long time to overtake David. It was a fair race but I think it was a little bit too close. He was losing time as well so I don't know what he was playing at, because we both wanted to go forward and we were losing like three seconds a lap. So I was hoping to finish well. If Michael was there, then I would have done it but in any case I think it was everything I could hope for.

Q: Talking of your overtaking manoeuvres on David, you passed him twice and both times around the outside into the stadium. How confident were you that you could take that line and still get through the corner.

RB: Well, we've known each other since the Formula Three times, so I think we have respect for one another. It isn't the fact of going round the outside, it's that he left that side for me, because in a way he was one up on me because of Silverstone last year, so I needed to go on the outside.

Q: Jacques, your second podium of 2001, but you started outside the top ten today, are you completely surprised?

Jacques VILLENEUVE: I am surprised to be on the podium. I was hoping to get into the points and I felt we needed a bit of luck to get into the points but to get on the podium today is great. We weren't very competitive all weekend but this morning, surprisingly, in the warm-up, after a few changes on the car, it was really really competitive with fuel on board, so we knew we had a chance to do a good race and the two starts went well, but then Olivier being on a different strategy than us was going a lot faster and when he got close to me I let him by so he could play with Jarno a little bit and what I was hoping happened: Jarno went off so then I was just trying to stay in Olivier's tow so he could carry me along.

Q: What did you see of the incident at the first start?

JV: I didn't see what happened, but I was surprised when there was a red flag, because we already went through the debris once. By then the track was clean so the most dangerous moment of the race is actually the start so I was really really surprised.

Q: Ralf, you won here today at Hockenheim, the next race is at Hungaroring, a very different sort of circuit, what chances?

RS: I'm not going for the championship, I guess, so that's not so important. But still, we try to be competitive in Hungary but it's going to be very difficult for us, a high downforce circuit and usually we struggle a bit on these circuits. We have two and a half weeks to develop stuff and to bring new stuff for Hungary and then see how it pays off.

Q: Ralf, this is the one you really wanted to win, wasn't it?

Ralf SCHUMACHER: It's obviously to win here, especially, with a German package, German driver in Germany, it's the perfect scenario.

Q: You were on your own a lot, were you being told to slow down, was it difficult to concentrate?

RS: Yes, I always asked how quick Rubens was and it was obvious that he slowed down as well so they just told me the pace I was supposed to do to stay ahead of him, which is not too difficult with 50 seconds gap anyway but you never want to risk too much. As you saw with Juan, we had an engine failure, and already before we went into this race we knew Hockenheim was going to be very tough on our engines and that's why fairly early in the race I started to save it anyway.

Q: Was that your decision, or was it planned with the engine guys?

RS: It was my own decision. I must say that Juan today was quicker. I had a few problems with brakes in the beginning. My first set of tyres wasn't really as good because we planned to start on a new set, but obviously with the re-start we couldn't so we had to go to an old set which didn't work, so as Juan pulled away I was just trying to do my race and save my engine.

Q: Jacques suggested that perhaps the race shouldn't have been stopped.

RS: You know sometimes Jacques has his own opinion, sometimes, but personally everywhere else I would agree. But here, with all the debris on the circuit, you don't want to have a puncture or cut tyre which might explode on the straight. I think it was quite a good decision actually.

Q: You also said earlier on that you had bad luck here. In fact you've finished every race here.

RS: Did I? I can't remember that actually but as I remember, I've never really finished where I wanted to finish until today, so maybe that's why I thought I had bad luck here.

Q: This is the really quick circuit that we've been to this year and the reliability has been a big issue. Is it going to be the same elsewhere?

RS: Monza and America, I think we are going to have the same problems, if not Spa as well which is quite quick as well.

Q: Rubens, have you been surprised by the retirement rate?

RB: Yes a little bit, I think we knew how tough it was going to be, in actual fact we were hoping for it to be a little hotter than it was. To see the two McLarens and Michael drop out of the race I must admit I was a bit surprised.

Q: You had some fantastic battles with David, even before the restart.

RB: I was sad that I saw the red flag because I was third already. I was a little bit worried because I overtook Mika into the second chicane and he hit me from behind very hard and he came to apologise and said that he misjudged the braking point but we didn't know if it would affect the car, then we had a chance to change the rear wing at the restart so it played pretty well to me. But the battles were quite good - it was a little bit too close with DC and in fact I was thinking that we both had to think forward, instead of losing three seconds a lap I thought we were looking to finish forward, not fifth or sixth. It would have been better to - not help each other because we're not in the same team - but we were losing too much time.

Q: So what's the secret to overtaking round the outside of the stadium, which you did three times?

RB: I don't know, I guess a good car, you have to be a bit audacious or something like this! He had done it on the outside as well at Stowe (in the British Grand Prix), so we've raced against each other since Formula 3 and you have to believe that he's going to be fair to you and that's the way it was.

Q: So you're pretty happy?

RB: On the podium I was almost crying already just thinking of last year here! So I feel happy today just because they were on a different league and we couldn't really achieve more and if they had a reliability problem we could only achieve that so I'm quite happy.

Q: Jacques, a battle with Olivier and Jarno that seemed to go on and on.

JV: Yeah, I was quicker than Jarno but he was quicker down the straight, I guess we had different aero set-ups on the car, and when Olivier was catching me up I knew he was on a different fuel strategy so when got close I let him by because I knew he would have a close fight with Jarno. Hopefully Jarno would go off and that's what happened! I knew Olivier would be behind me in the race with the strategy so I had to try and stay with him so he could pull me down the straights until his pit stop.

Q: You mentioned before that you didn't want the race to be stopped - did you have a particularly good start?

JV: It didn't make a difference, I was in the same position on the second start. It just was very surprising to do a full lap behind the Safety Car and then have the red flag, that's what I found very surprising.

Q: A bit of a surprise to be on the rostrum today?

JV: Yes, because we had a hard time all weekend and we changed the car from day to day and session to session massively, it's not the same car we're driving now that we were on Friday. New suspension and everything. This morning in warm-up the car was really quick with all the fuel on board so we knew we could have a good race but we weren't very quick down the straights so the question was the strategy.

Q: The Benettons got quite close at the end didn't they?

JV: Two laps from the end when I heard Giancarlo did a mistake and went off, then I did one lap lifting down the straight just to save fuel so I was probably going 50km/h slower down the straight and he got closer again so I kept looking in my mirrors to keep the distance.

Q: Jacques, how does this podium compare with Spain earlier in the year?

JV: I think that this one was more work into it than in Spain: in Spain we were not very quick and then Hakkinen broke down on the last lap so that was just pure luck and the car wasn't very driveable. Here today the whole weekend we worked really hard, we improved session after session and we knew that the car would be competitive so this one was more pleasurable.

Q: Ralf, were you aware that Michael was waiting for somebody to pick him up?

RS: No I didn't see it! Was he waiting for me? I didn't see it actually otherwise I would have stopped... but I think it's not allowed any more, is it? It's forbidden to take someone on board. No? Well, sorry, I didn't see him and he came back at the right time so...

Q: Ralf, were you aware that your team mate had big problems in the refuelling stop?

RS: They said it to me after the stop, they said 'okay you are P1 now, just go your race' then later they said that he had an engine problem and to slow down.

Q: Rubens, what happened in the second pit stop?

RS: I think they were just taking care of everything, it seems we had a problem with refuelling but Ross was on the radio telling me just to cool down, there was no panic, everything was okay. Because I had 50 seconds on Jacques he said cool down, it's going to be fine. We couldn't really fight with Ralf and after Michael had his problem Ross told me he didn't know what had happened and he would like me to slow down a lot. I slowed down four seconds - I slowed down one, he wasn't happy, I slowed down two, three, four and then it was okay so we were playing safe for the last part of the race.

Q: Jacques, was there a chance to overtake a few cars on that race?

JV: No, I was a good spectator today, just kept my nose clean. I was close when Jarno spun and saw a lot of action, which was good.

Q: Ralf, what were your feelings when you were slowing down and waving at the end?

RS: I'm not really a person to express my feelings to the outside usually but straight away after I slowed down I realised the crowd, you know, I realised everything. My team was obviously happy as well on the radio, it was just the perfect day.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Jacques Villeneuve
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams , Benetton