San Marino Winners Press Conference

Sunday 26 April 1998 Post race winners' press conference: 1. David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes), 1hr 34:24.593s (194.117 km/h); 2. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 4.5 seconds behind; 3. Eddie Irvine (Ferrari), 51.8 seconds behind ...

Sunday 26 April 1998 Post race winners' press conference: 1. David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes), 1hr 34:24.593s (194.117 km/h); 2. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 4.5 seconds behind; 3. Eddie Irvine (Ferrari), 51.8 seconds behind Q. Congratulations, David, on your first win of the year. For the last 15 laps Michael Schumacher was hauling you in quite significantly: were you at all worried about being caught? DC: I wanted to run at a pace that wasn't too hard on the brakes or the engine, so I was just trying to maintain the gap to Michael. I was perfectly comfortable to let that gap be reduced, because I knew that I could have gone a little faster if necessary. The only worry in doing something like that is that you don't have as much time in hand to cope with any problems that might come up. Q. Were you worried when Mika suddenly retired to the pits? Did you ask the pits why he had retired? DC: I knew Mika had stopped, but I didn't ask why because I didn't want to be worrying about it for the rest of the race! Obviously that's a setback for the team, nevertheless I am very happy to have given them another win, especially as Mika was unable to finish. Q. If Michael had caught you at the end, would you have been able to increase your speed? DC: Today I think our car was running quicker [than the Ferraris], and this was shown by the large gap that we were able to open up before the first pit stop. We were never going to be as quick in the final stint as we were at the beginning because the final set of tyres were not new, they were part used. But I think we had enough in hand to make it very difficult for Michael to have got close to us. Q. Michael, you were second here last year, and second here again today. We saw how hard you were pushing at the end: did you really believe that you could win? MS: As David said it was very obvious that he was just cruising and driving it home. I was pushing, because you never know what might happen. I don't ever want to give anything away until the chequered flag falls, and that is what I did. But there wasn't anything I could do about him. Q. The fans here at Imola must be happy to see two Ferrari drivers on the podium. Do you think this is going to be happening again regularly now? MS: There is no reason why we should not be consistently on the podium. I would rather be in the centre position than on the outside, and we will be able to do that again fairly soon. Otherwise, we obviously satisfied some of the expectations of the tifosi, which makes me glad, and we hope to be doing better again soon. Q. After winning the last race in Argentina, were you perhaps hoping for another victory in Ferrari's home GP? MS: To be honest, it would have been third position under normal circumstances. We are lucky that one McLaren stopped. That gave us second place instead of third. Q. Would you expect to be closer in Spain? MS: I don't know. We have already done some testing at Barcelona which improved the car at the end. We will have some new items on the car when we go testing next week. I hope that those things are going to be promising, but we are looking for quite a step forward to be really competitive down there. Now we have to make quite a step forward, and the most actually has to come from the tyres on such a particular circuit. We know what we will do with the car, but on the tyre side it's going to be a major step. Q. Are you testing new tyres? MS: We have and we will. I don't know what the programme on the tyre side is [for our testing next week]. Q. Eddie, you had several tough fights, especially the one with Jacques that eventually rewarded you with 3rd place. Did you think you would be able to take a podium finish? EI: Yes. After the first pit stops I was able to pull away from him quite quickly, and I even built up quite a large gap. Then I made a mistake in the first chicane which cost me four seconds in one lap. Then of course Jacques was back with me again. Then I came up behind one of the Jordans, so I decided to come in early for my second to fill up with fuel again. I got a great stop and managed to get ahead of Jacques again. After that I was able to maintain the gap until we ran into traffic. Someone had thrown down some oil, and I backed off just to be cautious, but although he was catching me again there was very little chance of him coming past me because of my straight line speed. I was running quite low on downforce, which gave me the advantage. Q. At the start, Jacques simply drove round the outside of you. Did you have a problem? EI: No, he just beat me off the line. I couldn't get any power down and I just lit up the rear tyres, just like I did in Argentina, and sat there with the rear wheels spinning while everyone drove past. But I managed to get up to 5th, and that became 3rd when Mika dropped out and I was able to get past Jacques.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Michael Schumacher , David Coulthard
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , Jordan