Q. Congratulations, Jacques, on your seventh victory of the season. The McLarens looked very fast today, but you managed to hold the gap to David Coulthard right past the first pit stops. Was that difficult? JV: I managed to...
Q. Congratulations, Jacques, on your seventh victory of the season. The McLarens looked very fast today, but you managed to hold the gap to David Coulthard right past the first pit stops. Was that difficult?
JV: I managed to hold the gap, but I was surprised because we had a good pit stop and even though he had to put in a lot more fuel than we did, somehow he still had a big gap after the stops. I don't know what happened there. We are going to have to figure out why they are so quick. Their car seemed to be flying on this track with its long corners: this is a track where you normally have a lot of understeer, and their car seemed to be handling very well. We are going to have to figure something out.
Q. Tell us more about what happened at the start.
JV: It is very wide going into Turn 1 and I think we were just too many cars running abreast. My start was average and I was very surprised to see David coming through next to me even before I got into second gear. Even with extra fuel on board, both he and Mika seem to be taking amazing starts lately: we have to find something on our car to make sure we have good starts also. Going into Turn 1 there were at least three of us abreast, maybe more, and I was a little behind Heinz and David. But I hit the brakes later than they did, and it was OK until I banged wheels. I ended up running wide and because of that I could not stay in front of David. But if the two McLarens had finished today they would have beaten us anyway.
Q. Any problems passing back markers?
JV: I spent a lot of time behind Damon, But even when I was close to him, nobody showed him the blue flag. I don't why, because there were several times when I was close enough to him to make [the marshals] show blue flags and they never came out. Damon's team must have told him to move out of the way, because there wasn't one blue flag.
Q. You were losing time in the closing laps, but then you got a radio message from your crew?
JV: Yes, they woke me up! So I started pushing and on the next lap my engineer Jock Clear came on the radio and said, 'OK, point taken, you can relax again now.' I had a huge gap, but when you start slowing down there is a danger of losing concentration and falling asleep. I started pushing again when I got bored: the faster you go, the sooner the race will be over.
Q. Jean, you were behind Barrichello for more than 40 laps today. Could you have been much quicker than him?
JA: I think I was quicker than him, but it was really impossible to overtake him without taking a risk. He had already been nice to me by being 5th on the first lap, so I was waiting for the pit stops. But the first one wasn't really quick and I started losing position.
Q. Were you under a lot of pressure from Heinz Harald in the closing stages?
JA: Yes, of course. But I had already spent so much time behind slower cars that I knew it would be impossible for him to overtake. I just tried not to make any mistakes or to destroy my front tyres which has been our problem here this weekend and everything finished well. But I was still driving flat out.
Q. You must be encouraged with this unexpected 2nd place.
JA: It is very good, especially because at the moment the team has been giving up a little. And it is nice to remind everybody that the championship is not finished.
Q. Heinz, what happened at the first corner?
HHF: It was pretty tight. I had a better start than Jacques and I was alongside him and a nose ahead. But I was on the outside line and I didn't want to take any risks going into that corner, and take somebody off, especially Jacques. I had a lot of pressure around me and I tried to be tight on the inside but I touched with my front wheel his rear wheel, but only side by side, and in that maneouver my hand banged into the dashboard and I switched the ignition off. I didn't know what had happened. I was slowing down and was looking quickly at my instruments (to see) what happened. I saw the ignition was switched off and I managed to switch it on again. Then I had to wait for a second until everything was running, and then found myself in 15th place.
Q. Was there damage to your car from the collision?
HHF: No, the wheels were side by side. It was alright. I was only worried that my inboard camera would be broken.
Q. How did Gerhard overtook you?
HHF: It was a manoeuvre with Eddie Irvine. I was on the inside of Eddie and I was hoping and praying to God that he wouldn't make any mistake at that moment. He tried to close the door and put me on the dirt because there was one car a lap before putting a lot of dirt there and I had no grip at all. I had to go straight. At least I had Eddie next to me. I was opening the gap, but then Gerhard went to the inside.
Q. Later on you overtook Diniz.
HHF: Yes. I think they were on one stop. And they were in a little bit of trouble on the uphill, and I could manage to overtake him through the slow speed chicane.
For this and the other press conferences see: http://www.fia.com/presse/f1conf-en
--- David Goodwin