Grand Prix of Monaco _________________________________________________________________ Saturday 23 May, 1998 Qualifying: 1.
Grand Prix of Monaco _________________________________________________________________ Saturday 23 May, 1998 Qualifying: 1. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren-Mercedes), 1:19.798s; 2. David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes), 1:20.137s; 3 Giancarlo Fisichella (Benetton Playlife), 1:20.368s. _________________________________________________________________ Q. MIKA, HOW MANY GOOD LAPS DID YOU HAVE THIS AFTERNOON? MH: I was able to put the car on the limit nearly all the time, but there were some cars coming who were slowing me down, so I was not able to maximise my runs completely. On my second last run I was sent out at the perfect time and I was able to run clean and that gave me pole position with a very good time. My last run was not as quick, and it is strange because the last run is always the most difficult and I thought this run would happen. One of the reasons was that I wanted to stay out of trouble, I didn't want to put it right on the limit because it would be a shame to damage the car on that run and end it in the wall. Then you have to set-up the car again and it would be difficult to check the car. Q. WHAT ARE THE TACTICS FOR A QUICK RUN HERE? MH: The most important thing here is the track. The engineers are always looking at what is going on and trying to understand what is possible because the traffic is always the biggest problem. Getting traffic makes you angry and it is difficult to keep your concentration all the way through the qualifying run. It is very, very challenging. Everyone has to do it right with no mistakes. Q. BUT IT'S MENTAL EFFORT RATHER THAN PHYSICAL EFFORT? MH: That's correct. Mental effort is probably higher here than anywhere else Q. YOU BRUSHED THE BARRIERS THIS MORNING, WERE YOU MORE CAREFUL THERE THIS AFTERNOON? MH: No. This morning I did not have the car as good on the exit of the corners and that is why I was touching the walls. We changed the set-up and that is why it got better. You don't touch the walls on purpose. You do it because the car is on the limit and it does something that you don't expect. That is the time when you hit the wall. It was spectacular but unpleasant for me and unpleasant for the mechanics. You have to understand what is going on all the time. Q. DAVID, YOU WERE FASTEST AT ONE POINT. ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED TO BE SECOND? DC: Yes I am because out of the four runs I got two event-free laps, which was my first run and my third run, which were both at the time the quickest. I had to abort because Barrichello crashed at Rascasse, so I had to come straight in and on my last run you always expect to catch some traffic, that is just part of Monaco, and on my last lap I came up against Jacques and I wondered why he was holding me up a little bit, but I saw his qualifying position and I don't feel quite so angry with him now. Sure I would have loved to be on pole here, it wasn't to be so the next best place is second. Q. ARE PIT-STOP TACTICS VITAL TOMORROW? DC: I think they have been for all of this year. For those who have been down to the pit-lane, a lot of people are having trouble with the tyres graining so I think tyres are more of an issue this year than they have been in previous years. That will open up the strategy a little bit more than we have seen in the past. Q. BUT AT THE SAME TIME IS NARROW AND HAS A LOW SPEED? DC: But everyone goes the same speed. What is more important is your in-lap, your pit-stop and your out-lap. That is probably more important than your pit-stop because if you come out of the pit-stop ahead of someone, you can be a couple of seconds quicker on your out-lap and it is unlikely that they will be able to overtake you. Q. WILL THE RACE BE A WAITING GAME? DC: It is only a waiting game in that you cannot overtake. You can, but it requires a mistake by someone else or you taking a higher risk than you would at other circuits. So I don't know if it is a waiting game because if you are behind someone it is probably because you cannot overtake them. I don't know anyone who would deliberately sit behind another car if you could overtake. Q. GIANCARLO, I WAS SURPRISED TO SEE YOU SAYING YOU WERE HAPPY TO BE BEHIND THE TWO MCLARENS. YOU'VE BEEN FASTEST FOR SOME OF THE WEEKEND, I THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE DISAPPOINTED TO BE THIRD? GF: No, I am very, very pleased. My aim today was to be on the first two rows and I am third. I understood this morning there was this possibility to do it. I am very pleased because the handling of the car is much better, my feeling with the team and car is much better, so I am very, very confident now. Q. YOU'VE BEEN BETTER HERE THAN ANYWHERE ELSE. WHAT HAS MADE THE DIFFERENCE? GF: Last weekend I was at Jerez to test and we have got a new front suspension and a new rear suspension. The grip of the car is much better and there is better stability under braking. In the last run I was a bit quicker, but from the traffic it was bad at Rascasse Corner, but it is okay. Q. AT ONE POINT WE SAW YOU STOPPED AT MIRABEAU, WHAT HAPPENED THERE? GF: It was the second corner and the brakes were very cold. I braked too late and I thought it was better I go straight on because if I turn I would have crashed the car. Q. WAS IT YOUR DECISION TO DO THE SECOND LAP? GF: It was my out-lap. Q. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TOMORROW. DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN WIN? GF: No. My target at the moment is just to get on the podium. I know the McLarens are too quick for us, I will try everything to win the race but it is really, really difficult. I am confident with my third position at the moment. Q. DAVID AND MIKA, DID YOU EXPECT SOMETHING MORE FROM SCHUMACHER AND FERRARI? DC: I was surprised about them losing the morning session, but I didn't think that they would cost them that much because he is already quick on the first day. And Michael doesn't take that long to get into the swing of the circuit, but he had ended up ahead of Eddie which is the norm so maybe he is at the maximum of the car. Q. HOW MUCH IS THE RACE GOING TO BE ABOUT OUTRIGHT SPEED AND HOW MUCH ABOUT STAYING OUT OF TROUBLE? DC: If you are in front, then you don't need to be the quickest guy because it is very difficult to overtake as we've seen in the past here. So being in front it doesn't really matter because you can run at a pace in which you feel comfortable. There is no point leading the race and setting fastest lap every single time unless it is well within your limits because one mistake you don't run over the kerbs and onto grass, you hit the barrier. MH: Anything can happen here in Monte Carlo I suppose. You have to maintain your consistent run to stop the problem, but we know like we saw today when cars spinning and stop in the middle of the track, then if that happens in the race with the yellow flags out you have to slow down. But how much to slow down is the question? There is always the risk because you have to be really careful in Monaco. If there are waved yellow flags in the race it means there is definitely someone in the middle of the track, so you have to slow down a lot. It is very, very difficult. Q. GIANCARLO DO YOU LIKE MONACO BECAUSE YOU WON HERE IN 1994? GF: Yes. I won the Formula Three race race and last year I was fourth on the grid. I feel confident on this circuit but I think now I am much more confident with the car and with the team. Q. GIANCARLO, HAS YOUR PERFORMANCE TODAY VINDICATED YOUR POSITION IN THE TEAM? GF: It is difficult to say. Alex is a very good driver and at the start of the season he did an excellent job. At the beginning maybe the feeling with the car was better for Alex and not very good for me. Now I feel confident and fortunately I am quite quick. Q. MIKA, WILL THERE BE ANY TEAM ORDERS? MH: Well all know, and I know, that two cars will not fit into one corner. There has to be only one car, so we will talk this afternoon about what we are going to do...maybe. Q. MIKA, WHO DO YOU FEAR WORST, FISICHELLA OR SCHUMACHER? MH: Why don't you ask David? It is nice to have me and David on the front row and I think things will be very nice. There is nothing to be frightened of. It is going to be a tough race, but there is no point to be scared about it. I think it will be great.