1. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1h16m19.982s 2. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1h16m20.237s (+ 0.255s) 3. Eddie IRVINE (JAGUAR), 1h17m12.561s (+ 52.579s) Q: Rubens, fantastic race, but what was it like out there on that podium? Rubens ...
Q: Rubens, fantastic race, but what was it like out there on that podium?
Rubens Barrichello: Michael called my attention to it. It was such a feeling. I don't think we're ever going to experience something like that again. We were seeing people coming in, it was just unbelievable. As far as my eyes could go I saw only people, it was amazing.
Q: In the race itself, the key point for you seemed to be when you managed to get the lead when Ralf Schumacher had an engine problem. Can you talk us through that because it seemed Juan Pablo was momentarily confused?
RB: Well, to be honest, I was confused as well because I didn't know what was happening. I just saw a moment there and all of a sudden I saw Ralf slowing down a little bit and I dived on the inside and I was able to get the slipstream off Montoya as well so I had a perfect lap when I went up from third to first. The car was getting better and better, so I was really able to push fast and do my race.
Q: And the two-stop strategy appeared to be the way to go?
RB: Fortunately we could say today it was the way to go and the car felt good. I must thank everyone, especially the test team today because we were here last week and we were able to really chose the right tyres and Bridgestone did a fantastic job to bring the right tyres. I have no words for them because it was really the tyre to have. It was unbelievable. From the test last week to now it was just the tyre to have.
Q: Michael, you may have been second today, but you seem to have been enjoying it even more out there on the podium than Rubens was?
Michael Schumacher: I don't think so, but anyway I did enjoy it because this was the ideal result we dreamed of. I didn't want to go that far and wish myself such a result because we've had so much luck this year and so many good results that I thought whatever comes is going to be fine but this is obviously a dream result. If you, as we said before, look out from the podium, it's all the way down the straight and this is by far the longest straight, you see full of people, full of the tifosi and that's an amazing emotion that went through me and Rubens. We can only thank our guys out there who support us and hopefully we gave something back today.
Q: And obviously it wouldn't be a Grand Prix without you breaking a record. This week you've broken the all-time points in a season record - you've raised that to 128 pts.
MS: Well, that was anyway my record before so it's not such a big thing, especially after the year we've had so far. It was more or less clear that we were going to break this one and anyway we had a dream result at the end of the day, first and second. What more could we wish for? We can just be happy and proud of what we have achieved, this year in particular.
Q: Eddie, you're probably as happy as any of those on the rostrum, and a real up turn in the performance of the team.
Eddie Irvine: Yeah, it's like Rory was saying, it must be great to be back but to be on the podium here, when you've been away for so long, you know, whenever I was at Ferrari it was like podium, podium, podium. There's nothing like being away for a while. I think you appreciate them, especially here with the Italian crowd. It's incredible. People keep asking why I like to spend so much time in Italy. Well, I think if you look outside, I think you'll see the reason.
Q: Before the race, you were worried about brake wear. How did it go during the race?
EI: In the first stint I pushed like crazy. I couldn't quite hold onto Raikkonen...we decided to pit a bit early because there were no issues really. And then it was just a matter of going as slow as possible to get the finish in front of the guy... I think Trulli was pushing me there at the end but I was just trying to back up as little as I could just because the brakes were marginal, we think. We'll know whenever we take the car apart and see how marginal they were, but the last part of the race, you know, I was changing gear early and lifting off and cruising into the corners just to try and save everything because it was just matter of getting to the finish.
Q: Rubens, third win of the season. Big party?
RB: Well, I guess so. It's our home Grand Prix, everyone is here, we have our test drivers here, we have everyone here, so it's nice to be home and it's nice to be able to just give it back to everyone who works so hard for us to be here. So, as Michael said, we couldn't ask for more so tonight I guess there's going to be a lot of partying going on.
Q: Rubens, Michael, this was really the one you wanted to celebrate with here at Monza.
RB: I guess so. As you've just heard, it was such a feeling. Once, back in '93, I went to Indianapolis to see the Indy 500 and I saw a lot of people and the feeling that I had there was the same one because I could see at the chicane, a lot of people celebrating the podium here. They couldn't come any closer because there were people in front. It was amazing, just a feeling. And with this new podium it was just a way to be with them, and the next thing would have been to be a rock and roll star and jump in the middle of them.
Q: What about the start?
RB: We had a fairly good start. I was never able to overtake the two Williams but Michael went to the outside and I was just talking to him because we wanted to really take care in the first corner because there was no point and the brakes were quite cold so we had to take care and we were able to go through. I saw Ralf went straight and I thought he would get a penalty for that because Montoya cut across but at least he came back. But then the race was going quite well. At the beginning of the race the Williams were running quite fast, so it was difficult to know which strategy they were on, but all of a sudden the pace dropped a bit and my one was only getting better. I saw some confusion with the two drivers and I took my chance and went from third to first.
Q: Whose decision was it that one of you would be on a one stop and one on two stop?
RB: Hey, I mean we have a team that is able to produce those strategies. Behind that is Ross, he's the one that is always on the case. We discuss these things together, we are a big family together and we just took the right option. Michael had a chance of being in front of Ralf, he didn't know where Ralf was in terms of strategy so I thought for me to overtake him, I have to go for the two.
Q: At the end, you eased up by five seconds in one lap and we thought there was possibly some problem.
RB: To be fairly honest, if it wasn't for that battle going on behind me, I saw Fisichella and Coulthard, bits flying everywhere, so Ross was on the radio the whole time saying 'be careful, be careful'. I just let them by and let them fire up. They really entertained me, because there was really a lot going on.
Q: In fact there were about four or five of them unlapped themselves.
RB: I think Panis and I don't know who went by and then Fisichella and Coulthard.
Q: And the new tyres from Bridgestone?
RB: Like I said before, we have the car working together with the new parts, the new engine and everything. The engine that we had for qualifying was working fantastically but this tyre was really the one to have for the race. What a tyre. Last week we were a little bit worried with what we could have in hot weather. This tyre was just fantastic. It was just getting better and better the whole time and I think I could prove that. The car was just getting faster and faster all the way through. It was really well balanced, really good under braking and I must thank Bridgestone because it was just a fantastic victory.
Q: Michael, you went from second to fourth at the start, what happened?
MS: Basically, I got a reasonable start whereas Juan had a problem at the start initially. He dropped back a little bit. He then went in front of me, Ralf went by on the left, I was sort of in the middle of the two but they closed this door so I had to come off the throttle a bit which meant I lost the momentum. Then with these two next to each other, there isn't space for a third one in there so I thought just take it easy and give Rubens the opportunity to go with his strategy and that worked out very well. I was just very careful because at any moment, if you brake a little bit later than them, it might be too late and you crash into them. And in such long race, I didn't want anything like that to happen.
Q: And it was a bit like the Hungaroring when Rubens came out of his second pit stop and you were coming up on him fast.
Q: Presumably you weren't tempted, what it the same situation?
MS: I was told that it would be very tight and Ross informed me so we dealt with it appropriately.
Q: And you also got past Montoya, what happened there?
MS: Honestly, as Rubens said before, they had a very good pace initially but I believe that here, with the tyre we brought, the temperatures going up has actually been in our favour. We've had a very consistent pace, a very good tyre and they seemed to struggle. They were initially fast and then they sort of went slower and slower and really struggled with acceleration out of corners and that's why it was so easy for me to overtake - unless they had a problem which I don't know. Ralf obviously had a problem, but I don't think Juan had a problem until he had this suspension failure later but that is my assumption of what was going on and that's why we were so good this weekend and basically so fast.
Q: And your car perfect?
MS: No problem. I was maybe a little bit slowish on the first set of tyres, but the second set was really very good.
Q: Eddie, it's very good to see you. It's been too long, hasn't it?
EI: It's just over a year, isn't it, a year and a bit actually.
Q: And was it good to be out on that rostrum?
EI: Oh, that was fantastic. If you are going to get a podium, Monaco and here are the two to get and I have got both of them now with Jaguar, which is...we were a bit fortunate but we have been unfortunate the way the R3 was born, to be honest.
Q: Now, you thought you may have some problems in the race. Did those manifest themselves?
EI: Well, the first part of the race I just pushed like crazy, trying to hold on to Raikkonen. I kind of held on but he was edging away and edging away and then we did the pit stop a little bit early and I was so far ahead of the guys behind that they (the team) just said back off. So I just looked after the brakes, took it easy and really drove as slow as I could. I let them get a bit close at one stage and I had to push a bit little more and then backed off. I was just trying to judge it but their pace, I think it was Trulli, was up and down a little bit so it was quite difficult to see how quick he was to make sure I got a line with him as close to me as possible.
Q: That was in the closing stages with Jarno.
EI: That was basically from the pit stop, after that I never really pushed.
Q: And then you weren't worried about Panis because he was on a different strategy?
EI: He was on a different strategy, obviously. The pace that he was catching me at it was obvious whenever he came in, on lap 20, that race never existed.
Q: Is this just going to be here or will it manifest itself elsewhere in the next few races?
EI: Getting a podium, obviously, we were a bit fortunate about the Williams, but I think America we can do pretty good. We have got a very strong engine and our tyres, I think, are pretty good also. If you can qualify in the top ten you can get points and that is really all we are going to look for. We might be lucky and get a podium again but really we have got to just aim at getting one or two points.
Q: Did you have the same problems that Michael mentioned the Williams' were having?
EI: Yeah, I think Michelin came with a perfect tyre for us in a way. The thing is their car is just too damned quick. If you put them on our tyres they are probably going to qualify a hell of a lot faster, so if we were going on their tyres we would have qualified a few places back and when you are a few places back it is very difficult to do something in the race. So it's swings and roundabouts.
Q: Rubens and Michael, can we expect this sort of domination in the United States Grand Prix at Indy?
RB: I don't think we can answer that because in a way we saw the performance of Williams in testing and we saw how quick they were going. Testing last week they were quite fast, qualifying they were quite fast, Friday they were quite fast, so we didn't know what to expect. But like Michael said, this time the weather really came out in our favour and everything worked out. In Indy it could be different all over again. We must say we have a fantastic car that works everywhere, but it depends pretty much on the tyre thing.
Q: Eddie, somebody said this is a Jaguar miracle. You don't believe in miracles in Formula One, so how do you explain the evolution of the car?
EI: This is not the car we started the season with. We have changed the front suspension, rear suspension, front uprights, rear uprights, floor, front wing, turning vanes, erm, rear wing, erm...
MS: Tell us what is old.
EI: The bit I sit in the chassis is the same. The engine we have changed, we have modified...there is nothing the same. Bobby can't claim: 'judge me on this car'.
Q: Eddie, how tense were those last laps for you?
EI: To be honest I didn't know I was third for quite a while. The last time I looked I had seen fourth so I though okay, just back it up, back it up, back it up. You know, fourth is nice, it is good for the team, but third is good for me and the team. To get up there on the podium is something very special. Three points won't make any more difference to me but getting on the podium is something I really enjoy and once I realised I was in third there was a big step in pressure because all of a sudden I wasn't just doing a job for the team I was wanting to get up there for myself. So there was a lot of pressure on and I had problems with the breaks and I was just backing it up, backing it up, and then Trulli took a couple of big lumps of time so I though I better push again so I pushed and held him and thought: 'okay, if I need to hold him I can hold him'. Once I did that it was pretty much just back it up, back it up, back it up and we got there, so everyone's happy - except for Trulli, I guess.
Q: You have a lot of friends in Italy. Do you see this as your home Grand Prix?
EI: It is the one race I do stay at home at. My apartment is only 20 minutes from here on a motorino, three hours by car! It's great. On the slowing down lap the tifosi were great. They were going bananas shouting and screaming for me. The reason I spend so much time in Italy is because Italians know how to have fun and I like to join in.
Q: Eddie, you said you were a bit worried by the brakes. Was there ever any hint of a problem from the engine at all during the race?
EI: No, I started changing up manually as well but it was just an extra precaution. Cosworth this year have done a tremendous job. This engine here was a really nice step forward in driveability and power, very impressive. And at Monza, a lot of performance is due purely to the engine and for us to go as well as we have gone says a lot for Cosworth.
Q: Michael, could I get your thoughts on Indianapolis.
MS: I was going to say the same (as Barrichello). There is not much more to say because we have seen last year that for us in particular we were not as good as Williams were with their tyres and we do not know what to expect this year. It is so different, the circumstance last year. Whenever it got hot it was difficult for us. This race it was the other way around, so it is unpredictable.
Q: So is the idea in the next couple of races just to swap results - one of you wins the next one and then the other wins the final one?
MS: I think the points situation we have now we just keep on concentrating for racing - he is already 17 points ahead (in second place). That is what we have done to some degree today. I really gave it all, he gave it all and he came in front after the pit stop so the race was decided in Rubens' favour because he did a very good race and we are going to do the next two races the same.