Spanish GP: Saturday press conference

1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1m 16.364s 2. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1m 16.690s (+ 0.326s) 3. Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS), 1m 17.277s (+ 0.913s) Q: How much did you change the car for your third and final run? Michael SCHUMACHER: It's...

1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1m 16.364s
2. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1m 16.690s (+ 0.326s)
3. Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS), 1m 17.277s (+ 0.913s)

Q: How much did you change the car for your third and final run?

Michael SCHUMACHER: It's true. We certainly have done modifications to the car. We went a little bit closer to what Rubens was doing. He seemed to have the better solution and I got into the run very well, whereas in the first two runs I did two mistakes on each, which cost me a bit of time, naturally. But sometimes you have to be out at the right moment with the wind - and the wind was gusting around a bit.

Q: In between those runs, when you were sitting in the garage looking at the screen, how much can you gain from watching your team-mate's flying laps?

MS: You can simply compare where he is faster and where you can, maybe, pick up some time, where you, maybe, have to push a little bit harder. Although you think you are on the limit, sometimes your team-mate shows you that you are not and you have to push a bit harder. So I did. That's why it's good to be working together.

Q: Rubens, how do you feel about being pipped for pole for the second race running?

Rubens BARRICHELLO: Obviously, again, just like the last time, I wish I could have been on pole but it's like Michael said, it's been a fair fight, it's wonderful just to push each other. The car became a little bit better towards the end in terms of set-up and everything, but on the last run he was better on his lap.

Q: You were clearly pushing hard, but you ran wide at the end of your first two runs. How much did that compromise the lap?

RB: That compromised it a little bit. It was at turn 12. I didn't get it right for the first two runs so I was sure that I could manage a better time, but the problems in the first two runs were at turn 13 and basically, on the last run I made a mistake on turn 12 and then I lost a little bit of time. But in all honesty, it's been quite nice. Michael's having a harder time this year and I'm enjoying that -- and I think he's enjoying it too because we are pushing each other quite a bit. I think the car is working perfectly so that's the way it is. We're going to be fighting tomorrow for the better.

Q: Ralf, you seemed to be struggling but then you got it together in qualifying...

Ralf SCHUMACHER: That was all part of the plan. Honestly, the team did a great job overnight. They changed a lot of things on the car, which seemed to be improving the whole situation and that's the reason why we are third here. We didn't expect it yesterday to be honest, but it worked out.

Q: How good is the Michelin here? People are saying it's graining quite a lot.

RS: I'm certainly pretty happy with the tyre we have and I have no doubt that it should be the reason why we are in a good shape for tomorrow. I'm sure we have a good tyre.

Q: Michael, a little historical fact, every time you've started on pole for the Spanish Grand Prix you've gone on to win the World Championship. Any chance of the same this year?

MS: Well, there are so many statistics like this: if you win the Brazilian Grand Prix, you win the championship and if you do this and that... At the end of the day, it counts what you do in the end and not what the statistics may say. You know, I'm not a big fan of these kind of statistics. Let's go ahead and do a fine race.

Q: You made a major improvement on the last run...

MS: Yes. They weren't the best runs before. I made a mistake in the first and second runs but then the wind sort of plays quite a big effect and we have seen it in practice and just at the right moment it can give you a couple of tenths if you are the wrong moment it goes the other way. And at the last run I seemed to be at the right spot.

Q: Rubens said perhaps you are enjoying being pushed by him. Is that the case?

MS: I have enjoyed it as well in the past and especially as you have seen in the first two runs he, sort of, was going faster and you have to look around on how to improve and that is what is the business. I like the challenge and when he is putting in quicker sectors, quicker corners, and it is obviously good for me to watch that and see where I have to improve and where I can improve. Sometimes you think you have done it right and you prove it is not right so I quite enjoy it.

Q: Both of you did just three runs. Is it a case of just saving tyres here?

MS: We have traditionally done three runs. There was only one exception in Imola for myself, but I think all the other qualifying we have done three runs to my knowledge.

Q: Rubens. The second run seemed to be slower on the straight and yet you seemed to be playing with the aerodynamics. It was a slower straight-line speed and ultimately when you got to the end of the second sector you were slower. Why?

RB: The second run wasn't good at all. I mean I have got the worst out of turn nine because I think someone had run wide and brought the dirt onto the track so I just lost it there completely. As Michael said, the wind was getting better and we were sure we could get better and better so the third run would be a faster one for us if we got everything right. But I chose a window, a different one, and instead of going right at the end I went a little bit earlier and I think I had to go a little bit faster to overtake the two cars in front and at the end I didn't do it, with the Jordans, so I had to back off. I think the temperature wasn't completely right because when I got to turn one it was a bit strange, but overall I think I still improved and it was a good feeling, the same as San Marino. The car feels good and it is going quite fast, but sure, I would like to have kept first place but I am knocking on the door.

Q: Are you going to be doing a lot of cleaning up of the right hand side of the grid tomorrow?

RB: Yeah because I hope I am not here tomorrow saying 'oh, the story could have been different if I was at the right side', just like it was in Imola. I hope that we can have a good start even though it is quite dirty on the side. I hope the 3000s can do some cleaning as well with some overtaking.

Q: There is a Brazilian second on the grid in the F3000 to help you...

RB: I have no idea, but I hope he leaves a lot of rubber on the track!

Q: Are you quite confident for the race tomorrow?

RB: I am generally confident every time I am out, to be honest with you. I think the car is running the way I like it is just Michael, we know how fast he is, but I am just there pushing and I will definitely get more pole positions this year.

Q: Ralf. After yesterday, third must be a bit of a surprise...

RS: Well, it is definitely a slight surprise, but certainly it was not as bad as it looked yesterday. A lot of journalists came up and started to panic and were asking why it was so bad, but yesterday we simply worked for Sunday and we did a lot this morning and that is why we jumped so much in the qualifying. But we expected to be somewhere between third and fifth I would say.

Q: How much did they improve the car?

RS: We did quite a few changes overnight. We basically went from one end to the other and we had to because as it usually is with Barcelona you sometimes come here and everything is different. You simply can't test here enough it seems, and we found the right set-up. I think as more rubber came onto the circuit the better it was for us.

Q: Do you think you will be in better shape for the race than you were at Imola?

RS: I am honestly not in a position now to answer that question. I don't know we will find out. I don't want to be too optimistic about it, let's see how it goes. Ferrari are nearly a second quicker so there is really not a lot of hope for tomorrow. The best we can do is stay where we are, have a good strategy, and then go home with points from here. That is all we can do for the moment.

Q: A question for Ralf. Two races ago you and your team-mate were fighting with Ferrari, now you are one second slower. What has happened and what are you doing to come back?

RS: Two races ago one (driver) was still in the old car, one in the new car. Now they are both in the new car and we were pretty sure that Barcelona was going to be the most difficult one for us. When we did the test, before Brazil I think, Ferrari were a second quicker than we were and we haven't changed the car, so it is what we had expected.


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Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari , Jordan