German GP: Winners' press conference

1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1h27m52.078s 2. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1h28m02.581s (+ 10.503s) 3. Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS), 1h28.06.544s (+ 14.466s) Q: You said that you really wanted to win the German Grand Prix for Ferrari. Now ...

1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1h27m52.078s
2. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1h28m02.581s (+ 10.503s)
3. Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS), 1h28.06.544s (+ 14.466s)

Q: You said that you really wanted to win the German Grand Prix for Ferrari. Now you've done it.

Michael Schumacher: Yes, everybody knows that hasn't been the case so far, in the seven years that I've been driving for Ferrari. It's without words honestly, because we have achieved so much in this year that it's amazing. I only thank God that he was giving me this opportunity. The team, again, did a fantastic job. It was a very tight battle today between Ralf and myself but I think the German fans really loved that. It's obviously a shame what happened to Ralf. It would have been nice to have two Schumachers in first and second position but I'm sure we will get more opportunities in the future maybe. Anyway, I'm more than thankful to have been able to achieve this result. Thank you.

Q: It looked as though you had to push incredibly hard in that first stint.

MS: I think all of us struggled a little bit with temperatures today. The tyres started to blister, I had quite a lot, especially in the first stint, so I really had to fight very hard to keep this advantage that we had. We started to lose it, actually, towards the end, so we were a bit concerned what would happen with the next set of tyres and so on. But thank God the tyres stayed together with the second and third set and that was the base for the victory in the end.

Q: Juan Pablo, your fight with Kimi Raikkonen was one of the most exciting of the race. How did you enjoy that?

Juan Pablo Montoya: It was really good. I think that had cost me most of my race. At the start, we went off the line really well but then the car just bogged down and Rubens pulled away and Kimi went by me and I think that really cost me. It took me quite a few laps to go by him and then I went by him and I was still on the same pace as the guys in front of me. But it was just way too far back and sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

Q: It was looking as though you wouldn't get second, but here you are, thanks to Ralf having disappointment right at the end.

JPM: Yeah, at the end of the day it's racing. As I said, I've been on pole for the last five races and out of the last six races, this is my best result - and I wasn't on pole.

Q: Ralf, Michael said you were chasing really hard and then you had to make that extra stop right at the end. Why?

Ralf Schumacher: It has been a disappointing day for all of us, I think. The team, myself, everything went wrong which could have done. I was held up by some guys, I couldn't do my pit stop because someone in front of me was so slow and then, at the end, we had to come in. It was just a safety stop because we were having a problem with the engine.

Q: It also looked as though you had a problem on your second stop when you tried to leave. There seemed to be a two-part movement with the lollipop stick.

RS: Yeah, that was a misunderstanding. Simply the lollipop wasn't quick enough so I had to go without the lollipop being up. That's why I stopped again. But anyway, here we are being second and third. It's good for the team. We have had worse weekends, I would say.

Q: Michael, an extra week between this Grand Prix and the next one. Are you looking forward to that?

MS: Yes, certainly, because I think we have good reasons to celebrate and I really look forward to having that time for my family, to take some time off and then just relax and recharge my batteries for the last part of the season. We still have to win the constructors' championship although we are in a very comfortable position but still we have to do this. Whatever the points position, racing is still a big enjoyment and I look forward to this, to have some more battles and fights.

Q: Did you enjoy that?

MS: Yes certainly.

Q: The first stint, it was interesting the way the gap went up and down. What was causing the fluctuations?

MS: I noticed that I got in trouble a little bit with tyres so I started to try to preserve them. It wasn't very successful, but at one stage I just pushed again very heavily plus we went through traffic and maybe I went through better than Ralf did in that stint. I don't know whether that was the issue he was referring to before, probably that was later in the race. Anyway, it got a bit tighter in the end because he really picked up pace and I couldn't.

Q: Then in the second stint you seemed to just pull away fairly progressively.

MS: Yes, the second stint was very good, the tyres stayed together and I was able to attack consistently for the last 10 laps and I had a nice clean run.

Q: Then in the third stint you seemed just to stabilise it.

MS: Yeah, I just settled down and didn't push too hard, still trying to keep the gap down to the level I thought was necessary.

Q: And the end of it?

MS: The end, obviously, I could take it even more easily because Ralf had to come in and Juan Pablo was a little further behind, so that allowed me to slow down even further and drive very safely home. You never know with traffic and so on it could have been a little tighter.

Q: So, no worries?

MS: No, not really, with the exception of the blistering issue - but I saw the Michelin tyres and they seemed to struggle for the same reason. Maybe less effect, I don't know honestly, I never saw the full picture. I just saw Juan's tyres, they didn't look much better than mine. And sure, there were no particular worries except for this.

Q: Juan Pablo, was Kimi holding you up a bit before you passed him?

JPM: Yeah, it took quite a few laps to go by him and from then on I was just...I was 15 seconds behind when I passed Kimi.

Q: It wasn't all that easy getting past him, was it?

JPM: No, I think the team backed up the revs when I was stuck behind him and we discussed it and we decided we were losing too much time behind Kimi, we needed to go by him, so they pumped up the revs and I went past him.

Q: It still took a while.

JPM: Yeah, it was very difficult to pass him because they seemed to get good acceleration out of turn two and the only place to pass him was the hairpin.

Q: But even then you didn't get past him, you were side-by-side.

JPM: Yeah, It was very interesting!

Q: And when you got to the Sachskurve you thought well this has been going on quite enough actually!

JPM: No, you know, we came out of the hairpin and he was holding me back a little bit even though I got up beside him and he put a car length in front ahead of me again and he made a mistake going out of the new bit going into the stadium and I got him there. He was trying to run around the outside there and there is not too much room up there.

Q: Michael was talking about tyres. How were yours in the race?

JPM: They were good actually. I didn't seem to get any blistering. They were consistently quick all day long.

Q: Ralf, you were pushed by Rubens quite hard early on. Was he challenging you?

RS: No. He came close to me when Trulli held me up quite a bit, but that was the only time I was looking out for Rubens. Mainly I was concentrating on catching up to Michael and not looking behind me.

Q: You mentioned the problem with the engine and that you came in. How was that affecting you?

RS: In that I had to come in and lost second place?

Q: But you were pulling away from Juan Pablo at the time.

RS: Yeah, well, the race was perfect, I just had a bit of bad luck with the new track and then I had a technical problem. That's the way it is in racing sometimes.

Q: Can you tell us what the technical problem was?

RS: No, you will have to ask the team that.

Q: Apart from that, do you think you could have had a go at Michael a little bit more?

RS: In the first stint I would have said yes. After the first pit stop, for a few laps it was brilliant then I struggled with understeer and had some traffic, then I came back at the end again and it was reasonable, but by that time Michael was too far away.

Q: What about the tyres on the third stint?

RS: Yeah, they did a good job. As you might have seen we didn't change tyres so that was perfect. The tyres stayed on, so Michelin provided us with a great tyre today.

Q: Michael, possibly not the brightest question, but do you think you could have won on the old circuit with this car?

MS: We shall never find out, but I think we have a very good car for all circumstances. You're going to see that at Monza maybe.

Q: Michael, tell us about the cool-down lap. You seemed to be really enjoying it.

MS: Yeah. You can imagine how much I was dreaming for this result because we have been so successful in the past three years that this particular race, here in Germany, in Hockenheim, wasn't supposed to mine so far. Finally being able to win it means a lot to me and seeing the people, the crowd, after we won the championship last weekend - it's really a dream come true.

Q: Ralf, what was the advantage of not changing tyres during this race?

RS: Well, there wasn't a necessity for us there to change tyres, since the car would understeer in the first stint and second stint, after the first pit stop. We didn't want to hurt the balance by putting on another new set. The tyre wear was so good that there wasn't a need, basically.

Q: What happened that you made a splash and go at the end?

RS: It was an engine problem, something to do with the engine.


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari