Italian GP winners' press conference

Q Well Michael congratulations. There hasn't been a Ferrari victory here in Monza since 1988. How does it feel? MS I mean to stay in front of those guys, in such a crowd, is just unbelievable. I never have seen so many emotions, so...

Q Well Michael congratulations. There hasn't been a Ferrari victory here in Monza since 1988. How does it feel?

MS I mean to stay in front of those guys, in such a crowd, is just unbelievable. I never have seen so many emotions, so many people enjoying themselves it's fantastic, you can only see that in Italy. I've just said before I think we should allow everywhere the people to come in front of the podium to let them celebrate with us, but as they celebrate, it's only possible in Italy.

Q You had a long hard battle with Jean for the first half of the race. Do you think you could have overtaken him or were you waiting for the pit stops where you've got a proven record of being very good?

MS We had the only possibility to wait for the pit stop as Jean had a very good top speed, I was not able to overtake him to be honest. My car wasn't that good on the first set of tyres, on the second set it behaved better. Maybe then I had a better opportunity, but to be honest, it was the safe strategy to try through the pit stop. I knew I have a lot of fuel to stay out very long. I knew Benetton would go for the same strategy, I just hoped I had a little bit more fuel which apparently worked out, so I was very pleased about that situation coming out in front and then just taking off.

Q You set the fastest lap on lap 50, only 3 laps from the end. You seemed to be enjoying yourself out there towards the end of the race.

MS Yeah I mean I was enjoying but to be honest I didn't push that hard. I was driving I would say 90% almost all the time. When I was behind Jean I couldn't do anything else anyway. I tried to save my brakes my tyres and then after, it was quite easy with the car, I have to say. As I said, the second set of tyre worked a lot better and therefore it was pretty easy to do those times.

Q There seemed to be just one hairy moment for you when you clipped one of the tyres going into the chicane. What happened there?

MS Yeah that was a stupid moment. I knew I had a lot of time advantage and I got told by the pits 'take it easy for the brakes' and as I started to take it even easier as compared to before, I got a little bit unconcentrated and hit this tyre and I was very surprised that I did. I didn't think I would. I thought there would be enough space but apparently it wasn't the case so I was quite happy that nothing got damaged and could finish.

Q Jean you had a fantastic start and you went from 6th to 1st. Can you talk us through that?

JA At the end I speak a little bit with Michael and I said I have no idea what is going on but the start is just magic for me at this moment. It's a shame the championship is nearly finished because qualifying, it looks like it is not so important because in the first corner I with them again.

Q You too were going very hard towards the end of the race and set your fastest lap towards the end. Did you have a better set of tyres at the end, what happened?

JA No I was just pushing a lot because I knew it was a tough race for the brakes for everyone so that's why I was trying to push Michael to continue to have a kind of high speed, so that's why I was trying even the last laps.

Q You've now been on the podium eight times this season. Are you just a little bit disappointed not to have won today?

JA Today, honestly, to be on the podium with Michael and see these fans waving and screaming like that for this Ferrari win is just magic. Today I'm really happy and really pleased Ferrari win.

Q Mika, you were fastest this morning in warm up and you were 3rd on the first lap. What happened because we saw you come in for a new nose cone?

MH Yeah it was tyres lying in the middle of the second chicane. I just couldn't avoid it. I just hit one of the tyres and it clipped the left side of the wing flap off basically and naturally I had a huge understeer after that and I still continue one lap and Michael was still following me very closely. I wasn't exactly sure how big the damage is because you cannot really see your front wing when you sit in the car. I have to come in the pits and they change the nose and the tyres at the same time and went out again and basically I was last that time.

Q You were 3rd here last year and 3rd here today you obviously enjoy this circuit and caught up quite well once you'd dropped back after your pit stop. Is this one of your favourite circuits?

MH It's not really my favourite circuit but it seems to go always well. I was 2nd here last year and it was great to be 3rd again but I had unfortunate luck because of the front wing, otherwise I could have been able to go flat out very early at the start of the race and go really well, but these things happen I'm not too upset about it.

Q Can we expect good things for the rest of the season from you?

MH Oh definitely.

Q Michael, you've now won three times this season, it's once more than Ferrari promised. What can we expect for the next two races?

MS If we're again as lucky as we have been today, we have to say that because with Damon going into the tyre barrier or snapped a tyre, it would have been a lot more difficult even. I believe we have been competitive for the race as I see the times I think we could have fight with the Williams together. Whether we would have taken them or not is a different question. This circuit we had a lot of testing going on. We were quite well prepared but the other circuit we are coming to is going to be a lot more difficult, particularly Estoril. The surface is very slippery and tyres going to be used very hard over there and they will be very difficult to keep the tyres together, our car in particular, so I don't think it's going to be very good to us to be honest. Suzuka, I don't know. I like Suzuka very much. I hope that the car will suit Suzuka and hopefully we can do maybe another one.

Q Gentlemen, thank you.

During the race BBC's Tony Jardine interviewed Damon Hill and David Coulthard...

TJ Damon, catastrophic Italian grand prix for you. What happened?

DH I made a mistake, just no explanation, I just hit the tyres. I had it all under control, I made a very, very good start and was looking good. I did one of those things that, there's no way out of, I have to just admit to making a mistake so there's no one to blame except myself.

TJ Do you think previous cars might have dislodged the tyres?

DH No, as far as I was concerned I went through the chicane and just got too close to the tyres and hit it with my right front and that was it. I hit it too hard. They're bolted down, they don't move.

DJ Up until that point you looked very strong indeed.

DH Yeah well, it's gone now I'm afraid. That was probably quite an easy race victory but I threw it away.

TJ The championship position - if Villeneuve stays outside of the points, that's what you're hoping for?

DH Well it's ideal for me, yes if he stays out of the points. I've just seen Irvine's gone out of the race so he's moved up one place already. I think if I escape from this weekend still with 10 points advantage over Villeneuve then I can consider myself a very lucky man indeed.

TJ Damon, any thoughts now looking ahead to the last two races?

DH It's all to play for again. I have to finish ahead of Jacques, that's all I have to do. If I go to Estoril I have to finish ahead of Jacques but today was a big blow to me and I have to live with that.

TJ And to console yourself tonight as well?

DH Well I won't be thinking back too long. I'll be getting on with progress and going testing in Austria and getting prepared for Estoril.

TJ Thank you for talking to us Damon.

TJ David it's been a grand prix of decimation so far, you went out early, what happened to you?

DC Well I got caught up in the tyres at the second chicane. I was following Jacques quite closely through the corner, he hit the tyres and because they're bolted down with wires they moved in and then they bounced out again and just as they came out they hit my front wheel and that was it, my track rod was broken. It's crazy really that I should pay that price for someone else hitting the tyres.

TJ It's exactly the situation we discussed on the start line as well about the tyres and you weren't happy about it.

DC No I don't think it's a good solution because it's something there to hit. If you hit, don't damage your car immediately, go through a fast corner and then it fails, it's dangerous. That's exactly what we'll be campaigning against. Really I'm as much to blame as the other drivers for allowing them to be put there for the race, we really need to think about it for the next one.

-- David Goodwin

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Damon Hill , Tony Jardine
Teams Ferrari , Williams , Benetton