Malaysian GP: Winners' press conference

1. Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS), 1h34m12.912s 2. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), + 39.700s 3. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), + 61.795s Q: It seemed to have been almost a perfect race for you... Ralf SCHUMACHER: Yes, it was almost a perfect race....


1. Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS), 1h34m12.912s
2. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), + 39.700s
3. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), + 61.795s

Q: It seemed to have been almost a perfect race for you...

Ralf SCHUMACHER: Yes, it was almost a perfect race. But the team did a fantastic job, the car was just there, almost perfect the whole race, especially the second stint where there was even more rubber on the circuit. It was just an easy game. I was amazed at how quick the car was today. I still can't believe it to be honest. It's all down to the team, I must say..

Q: Some tyres came in almost slick; did that put the handling off, did the wear concern you?

RS: We were worried about the tyre wear before the beginning of this weekend and we had very high tyre wear. Towards the end of the stint the tyres went off a bit but it was never a problem because the car was so well balance, it could take it.

Q: Juan Pablo, talk us through the incident at the first corner?

Juan Pablo MONTOYA: We had to go around the outside of Michael because he moved to the right. We got to the corner. I gave him enough room. I talked to him already and he said he had quite a bit of under-steer. He touched me and that was it. To me it was a race incident. I was a bit pissed off because I thought he under-steered off into me, which is why I went like that to him, but that was it. It was a bit frustrating because the car was very good. I did the fastest lap of the race.

Q: Did you think the drive-through penalty was unfair?

JPM:I think it was very unfair. I gave him the room, he under-steered off a bit, he touched me and that was it. It was a racing incident. I think that after what happened at the first race they went a bit extreme and I had to take it. The stewards had everyone saying 'they should have done something' and they didn't' in Australia.

Q: Michael, how did you see the first corner incident?

Michael SCHUMACHER: You can see it from two ways. Obviously, if he had opened up more, we wouldn't have touched, but wasn't willing to do this so there wasn't any room for me and we touched. I didn't see a drama in that. It was a shame. I lost my front wing and had to come in for a pit stop and obviously lost a lot of time on that lap, plus the pit stop. But it was an exciting race in the end.

Q: Do you think Juan Pablo was dealt with harshly today?

MS: To be honest, yes. I think we've seen far more extreme situations where nothing has happened, and today, a little touch and something was done. We don't seem to have a very consistent situation. That's something we may all want to improve in future.

Q: How confident are you about the heat of Brazil?

RS: Last year, we were stronger than Ferrari there. Juan had bad luck there. He was winning the race and someone crashed into him, so I think we can be confident of being on the podium again and to give Michael and Rubens a hard time there.

Q: Ralf, could you have imagined this result?

RS: Didn't look like it yesterday, did it? I was six-tenths slower than Juan, and just didn't get it right in qualifying. Today, I was certainly a bit lucky with the two running into each other, but the car was simply perfect, the times were there and I could control it from there. I was slightly slower than Rubens on a two stop, which is perfect.

Q: How did you see the first lap incident?

RS: Michael did his usual come-over, to block his position, which is fine. Then they both went into the first corner and he made the line a bit tight. Therefore he came to the outside and couldn't go anywhere, with under-steer and then they crashed into each other. I think it was a normal racing incident and it was not fair to give him a penalty. There were other opportunities could have got fined, really.

Q: Were you pretty confident about a one-stop strategy? It must have pretty tiring for you?

RS: Yes, it is pretty difficult to drive a heavy car for such a long time, but when a car is so nicely balanced it's reasonable. In the years, I've only once tried a two stop and it didn't pay off for me, so my feelings were that at end of the day, if you have a clear road and your competitor is not a lot quicker than you are, then you will always win it. Theoretically, you have to pull out a second lap if you are to do that.

Q: Were the tyres fairly consistent?

RS: The tyres were good today. We got it spot on. Pressure, temperatures were fine, they were very consistent. They gave up a bit over the last three or four laps but the car was so nicely balanced that it wasn't a problem.

Q: Juan Pablo. How was the car after the incident?

JPM:A little bit in the front of the floor where Michael's wing went in but that was it. Nothing major. It didn't really affect the car at all.

Q: And then the climb, through the field, how was that?

JPM:It was going really well until they told me I had a penalty. Had a few words on the radio and then couldn't do anything; just drove through and had to do it again. It was quite good, with the strategy I had, I couldn't do anything about Ralf because I was already behind him so I think the best I could have done was second.

Q: So second is pretty good?

JPM:Yes. After the start, I thought my race was over. I will try to push and try to get one or two points and here I am with six. It's pretty good.

Q: Michael, your third place was pretty last minute; what happened with Jenson?

MS: Not much. He had a suspension problem, I would assume, because the car was out of balance quite a lot. He couldn't brake so he was very unfortunate. It must have happened on the last couple of laps. It was very fortunate for me, obviously. I'm very happy but that's the way things go.

Q: It didn't look as though you were going to make it with five laps to go.

MS: No, it's true. I kept on pushing. There are moments when you think 'let's try'; there's always an opportunity, sometimes, and it came up. It was very lucky, you can't foresee this, but if we had started to ease off some laps before the end, maybe it wouldn't have been enough to catch him up again. Thanks to that, and the car being reliable and very consistent, I was able to do it.

Q: Given the circumstances, four points isn't bad today.

MS: All you can say is that we came with the old car to the first two races and we weren't expecting to have 14 points in our account, plus what happened today, to get four points, so that's pretty much fine. I'm quite happy and relaxed with that situation and not too unhappy.

Q: Do you think two stops were right, in retrospect?

MS: From where I came, probably yes. With a one-stopper, I wouldn't have been able to go through the field so we really had to have an attacking strategy. And we did. As well as when you're up front, a two stopper is normally faster and I haven't had a look at the lap times but at one stage I noticed that I was a little bit faster than Rubens, so maybe I would have made it, but it's one of those questions to which you never get an answer. The way it is, that's what counts.

Let me say one word. I have never done this before, but I said to a question the wrong answer yesterday. I was asked if there was any talk in the drivers' briefing (about behaviour at the first corner) and not to cause any fuss within the media, I purposely wanted to save my team-mate a little bit and calm down the issue, which is why I said no, to answering about discussions. After this, I noticed that some drivers spoke to the press, so I apologise for that.

Q: How has the situation changed from Australia to this Grand Prix and how is it that Williams are now so quick? (long question, abbreviated).

RS: Basically, I said in Australia already no worries when last year it all started the same. Ferrari had a huge advantage in Australia, and all of a sudden we came here and we nearly out-qualified them. Similarly, yesterday. And there was a chance. A lot of credit goes to the tyre which worked perfectly as well, but it was the whole package. We can take more advantage out of a strong engine here, we have a good efficient car, (but) whether our total downforce is enough or not, we don't know. But it is efficient and that pays off here.

Q: For Michael and Juan Pablo, please. Did you change your strategy after the accident?

MS: Yeah, I took out the fuel at the pit stop! No, obviously, you cannot take out the fuel so I must have had a two-stop from the beginning.

Q: Michael, could you choose the one-stop strategy. Do your tyres give you this option?

MS: I think it was Villeneuve doing a one-stop strategy, and who else? Yes, I think there is that possibility, yes. It depends from where you are. Maybe you would think about it.

Q: Michael and Juan Pablo, we have seen the video several times over and I realise it is difficult for you to comment on the first lap incident, but Michael you did move a very long way to the right and it was in coming back that I think Juan Pablo may have been confused. Do you think you went too far to the right and this led to some confusion?

JPM:No, I don't think there was any confusion. He has done that plenty of times and I knew he was going to do that - it was quite predictable. He always does it. So, it was just a matter of getting a good start with him, getting to brake with him, you know, beside him, and then I knew if I could stay around the outside then when we come to the next corner I am going to be on the inside. I was not going to give him a lot of room. I gave him enough room to get around the corner and he understeered a little bit, we touched and that was it. It was a racing incident. Very simple. What can you do? I was fairly pissed off, you know, when they gave me the penalty, but, you know, I had to pay the penalty.

Q: I was wondering if you were expecting him to brake a little sooner, given that he had so little room in which to slow down?

JPM:Not really. We are racing here.

Q: Juan Pablo is it difficult to accept the fact that sometimes you depend so much on someone's judgement?

JPM:No, it is racing. I think we are all intelligent enough to behave ourselves and I gave him room, he has the room, he under-steered a little bit and we touched and that was it. You can't expect everything to go your way. No. We were racing and accidents will happen. That was the first one and it probably won't be the last one.

Q: I was not referring to you two on the track, but the stewards who took the decision to give you a penalty.

JPM:Yeah, I think the penalty came, basically, from what happened in the first race. I think the stewards wanted to show they are really strong and if anybody does anything we are going to give you a penalty. Bullshit like that.

Q: You got second place - what do you think about that?

JPM:I think it's pretty good. I think today I was a bit unlucky. But you know it's racing. At the same time as I think I was unlucky at the start, I was very lucky to get some points and at the end of the day I am only two points behind Michael, Ralf is four and the team is leading the constructors' championship. I think they have been waiting a long time. I think it is really good. It shows that we have the potential to fight with Ferrari. We shall see when they come out with the new car. They might surprise us or they might not.

Q: Michael, do you accept that the Williams' were faster today?

MS: You have the chance to watch all the lap times and to have a point of view and I do not. I have been racing. So I should really check the lap times. Sometimes one lap time does not count for the whole race, at the end of the day, at the end of the day they have been faster because Ralf won the race and they were first and second, but whether they have been really faster or it is all down to the first corner accident and whether my car was completely right afterwards and all this, I think it matters a little bit. You don't know that and I don't know yet the full picture.

Q: Michael, does this change plans for the new Ferrari car? Does it put you under more pressure?

MS: No, I don't think so honestly. The season is 17 races long and even if the car is not ready for Brazil, we are going to take points from Brazil for sure and the championship is not going to be decided after the first three races.

Q: Michael and Juan Pablo, does getting punished like that alter your approach for the next race?

MS: I don' think so. As we both describe it as a racing accident, what should we do?

Q: Michael, after what happened to Rubens, were you concerned for the rest of the race?

MS: No, not really. We don't normally have these problems. It must have been a one-off problem, honestly.

-fia-

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Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari , Williams