Monaco GP: Saturday press conference

1. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1m16.676s 2. David COULTHARD (McLAREN), 1m17.068s (+0.392s) 3. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1M17.118s (+0.442s) Q: 0.4s ahead of the next driver, talk us through it? Juan Pablo MONTOYA: I've got a feeling...


1. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1m16.676s
2. David COULTHARD (McLAREN), 1m17.068s (+0.392s)
3. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1M17.118s (+0.442s)

Q: 0.4s ahead of the next driver, talk us through it?

Juan Pablo MONTOYA: I've got a feeling it's really good. The car's been behaving really well. We did some changes through the morning and everything we've done has been in the right direction so it makes things a lot easier. We did a couple of changes in qualifying and picked up a massive amount of time right at the end. The time was there since the beginning. It's a matter of putting it together and I did.

Q: Was the fact that you got a clear run a big factor in your time?

JPM: It was a big help. Right at the end is when you want to push harder than you normally do, when most of the action happens. I've got to say that I was very lucky about that.

Q: David, is this the return to form for McLaren?

David COULTHARD: I think the nature of the track suits the car a bit better and obviously the Michelin tyres are working very well on this track. We always felt that, given the performance of the car when we first tested it pre-season, that we had a bit more downforce and obviously that would be beneficial on tracks where you are running full downforce.

Q: Talking of traffic, what do you know about McLaren e-mailing the FIA during the session?

DC: It's just that at the beginning there was a lot of traffic and I was getting held up and I know that I actually ended up holding up some other drivers as well. We're all jostling for position and you're trying to listen to your radio and as much as possible to get out of the way of the guys who are on a hot lap and clearly I wasn't aware of a couple of them behind me. Massa was one of them. He passed me before the last corner and then went slow into the first corner so I that's why I didn't do my last run. So I guess it's fair enough because I screwed his lap. It certainly was not intentional. You're just trying to do the best job you can.

Q: Michael, you appeared to be in trouble with your eyes, what's caused the irritation?

Michael SCHUMACHER: I picked something up the second time I went out and haven't got it out yet.

Q: Also looking at the way your car was handling it looks as though front tyres might be as big a problem as your eyes today.

MS: At the end of the day, we have been a little behind probably all weekend. You see a lot of Michelin drivers at the top whereas normally there are a few Bridgestones there. It's the nature of the situation. We've said many times it will not continue like it has been in previous races. It will turn around and it has happened and that's what we have to face. But we're not too worried. We're not miles off, we still have an opportunity in third position. It's a long race in front of us.

Q: Back to Juan Pablo. So far this year we've had six races, all of them won by the Schumacher family, five for Michael and one for Ralf. Any chance of you changing that tomorrow?

JPM: It would be nice to get the first one of the year here. It didn't quite work out in some of the races when I had a chance to win but it's a matter of time, I think. The car looks really good, the tyres are working really well. Hopefully we can have a good day tomorrow.

Q: Juan Pablo, I thought you didn't like this circuit?

JPM: I never said I didn't like it. Last year was a disaster from every point you can think of. The car wasn't working well, I shunted the car in practice, I shunted the car in the race as well. I've got to say so far so good. When the car is behaving well, every circuit feels good.

Q: Did you like street circuits when you were in CART, for instance?

JPM: Yes, most of my wins came on street circuits and I did one in F3000 as well. It's just a matter of getting it together. Formula One on a street circuit is pretty difficult. It's a lot different than anything else because the speed is so much higher. You start getting used to it, you learn to work with the engineer better and you can maximise your performance.

Q: This advantage of four tenths of a second is quite a lot isn't it?

JPM: It's pretty much but DC didn't have his last run so it could have been a tenth of even less or he could have been in front. I've got to say I was very lucky in that perspective. We'll see. If those four tenths will stay that way tomorrow it will be very nice but it's a difficult race here.

Q: The tyres are obviously working well in qualifying trim, what about in race trim?

JPM: They should be OK. They've been working very well so far. They seem to be fairly consistent so no problems.

Q: And no problems on that fast lap either?

JPM: No, no problems. One or two little mistakes but they didn't really cost me much time.

Q: David, is it really your best chance at this circuit on Sunday?

DC: Well there is a long way to go in the season and you never know how the car will develop. But certainly if you look at the first few races we haven't been that competitive that we could genuinely be going for the front spot and I think today, obviously, we were very competitive all the way through qualifying so yeah, you have got to say that so far this is the best chance we have of victory.

Q: And after last year you want the revenge I suppose?

DC: Yeah. I was watching the highlights, as I do before all the races, of last year's race and all the frustration came flooding back to me so I should have fast-forwarded the start but it is just one race in your career so thankfully I had the opportunity to win here before. I know how good that feels and it would be great to be able to do that tomorrow.

Q: Do you think you have got a good chance?

DC: Absolutely. I think we have a great chance.

Q: How much did the track change during the session?

DC: I didn't actually feel that it changed that much in the session. I think that had I done the last run maybe I could have commented more, but I just felt that each of the runs...the first run I got traffic, so that wasn't so good, the next two runs were just building and you hope to be able to do your best lap right at the end. Unfortunately I had a bit of traffic on that and held up some people and got held up. It is always a bit messy here, but that's the way the cookie crumbles in Monaco.

Q: Michael, you seem to have had a fairly action-packed day in some ways, with the problem in the morning, you aborted the first lap this afternoon, then there was a problem with your eye. It is a little bit worrying. What was this morning's problem?

MS: I guess it was an electronic problem, which simply didn't allow us to finish this morning's session. But I wouldn't say it hindered us a lot. The first run I aborted because some car lost a lot of oil, or there was a big oil cloud in the tunnel so I was a little bit worried that there might be oil on the circuit. Otherwise I had one lap in traffic with Juan, otherwise I had clean laps and that was it.

Q: Are you a bit worried about tomorrow with the fact that the Michelin runners seem to be better off?

MS: You have to be, yes. We kept saying that it can turn around very quickly, and it has made us prove a bit now, unfortunately. Anyway, we are not miles away, in my view, in race condition, we haven't got it together in qualifying, but I think we can be reasonably competitive tomorrow, we hope at least that will be the case, and if not then we have to simply drive home and see how many points we can score.

Q: Did you get whatever was in your eye out, or is it still there?

MS: There is still some irritation. I don't know whether there is still something inside or it is just a follow-up from what was there, I don't know. I have to check later.

Q: Juan. Two years ago you won the Indy 500. Who do you predict will win tomorrow?

JPM: Don't know. I hope Bruno (Junqueira) could do a good job. He has been working really hard through last year and this year so it would be nice if he could do a good job and I think he has got the team and he has got the car to do it so hopefully he can win.

Q: Michael. What happened with you and Montoya at Loews?

MS: He obviously didn't see me...that's the nature of the circuit.

Q: Did you have the thing in your eye from the beginning of practice or when?

MS: It happened after, I think, the second run.

Q: For David and Juan Pablo. Before you said first row was for Ferrari. Could you explain if you underestimated the task or your car, or are you a little bit surprised?

DC: What it confirms is what I have said before and that is that racing drivers have balls but none of them are crystal. We are not very good at seeing what the future is going to bring.

Q: Juan Pablo. You are very regular but you seem to have one or two very frustrating races behind you. How hungry are you for victory?

JPM: Always. You always want to win, but when the time comes it will come. Last year, some races I thought I had them in my pocket. When you always think you are done, you are going to win it, something happens, so you better just drive on and see what happens at the end.

-fia-

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Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari , McLaren