Post-race press conference (TV unilaterals) 1. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren-Mercedes), 1:34:13.665 (195.608 km/h) 2. David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes), +6.238 3. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), +10.845 excerpts from TV unilaterals and press ...
Post-race press conference (TV unilaterals)
1. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren-Mercedes), 1:34:13.665 (195.608 km/h) 2. David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes), +6.238 3. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), +10.845
excerpts from TV unilaterals and press conference
Q. Mika, that looked like an effortless drive to victory today. Was it as easy as it looked?
Mika Hakkinen: No, obviously not. I guess it's never easy, although sometimes it looks as though it is. But you need enormous concentration all the way through the race, especially when you are in the lead. I had a big advantage over David and Michael through the race, which made it difficult to maintain maximum concentration all the way. I also had to be careful with the back markers and sometimes also with oil on the track, which was the cause of the situation I had at Monaco when I ran wide on someone's oil and lost a place. Things like that can happen at any time through the race, and when you are in the lead you have to double your concentration. Otherwise, though, it was a fantastic race.
Q. How close were you to driving the car at 100 per cent?
MH: I was always at 100 per cent.
Q. In speed?
MH: Also ...
Q. David, a great start put you into 2nd place at the first corner and you were happily following Mika from close behind. But you seemed to lose some of that pace in the middle section. Was there something wrong?
David Coulthard: When I was still on the first set I seemed to have a bit of oversteer, so I called in [by radio] to tell my crew, and they made an adjustment to the pressures of the second set of tyres. Unfortunately, that gave me understeer in the high speed corners while I still had oversteer in the slower corners. In fact it made the problem even worse, which made it very difficult for me to push. Obviously I could see that Michael was catching me, and then I seemed to find a lot of traffic, again. Every time I came up behind a group of cars I was losing at least one second per lap, which helped Michael to close up. I had already made things difficult for myself by running too long into my pit at my first stop. Nonetheless, we managed to get back again still in front of Michael. Then on the last set of tyres the balance was much better after another adjustment.
Q. Were the backmarkers as obstructive here as they were at Imola?
DC: It was nothing like as bad as it was at Imola. I did spend over a lap behind Damon Hill, though, and I was just beginning to think he should know better than that when he moved over. This didn't really fit with the agreement that we have between us all as drivers, and I realise that he was involved in a battle with someone else, but Michael was still able to catch up towards the end, and that is never a comfortable situation.
Q. Michael, at Monaco it appeared that you won the race in the first 50 metres after the start, while here you lost it in the first 50 metres. What happened to you there?
MS: Actually I took off quite well. But then I found myself blocked between Eddie [Irvine] and David [Coulthard] and I couldn't go anywhere. I actually had to brake, to avoid driving into them. That gave Villeneuve the chance to pass me -- and that was it, really. I could have caught him in turn 5 on the first lap, but it would have involved a lot of risk. I thought to myself, 'don't do it, wait for the later stages.' Then the race started to get interesting, because I was only 15 seconds or so behind David and I was able to catch up before the second pit stops. Unfortunately I came in at the same time as someone in an Arrows, and he took a very slow entry to the pits. That cost me the necessary time, for sure, to be able to pass David. Nevertheless, we had a good race and I got four useful championship points.
Q. After the race you spent a long time in parc ferme examining the back end of the McLaren. What were you looking for?
MH: He wanted to see how beautiful it is. I am not surprised!
MS: Obviously these guys have a good car, and you always want to look out for anything that might be interesting. You always find something interesting. I was just looking at details ...
Q. Mika, the next race is in Canada, on a circuit which is artificial like Melbourne. How do you rate your chances there?
MH: Well, our car is definitely not yet at its optimum performance. We still have a lot of work to do, to make it faster. The engineers are working very hard, they are closely studying all of the data from the tests and races, and there is still a lot of performance to come, from both the chassis and the engine. I believe they will find it, and although it may take a while, we are going to get there. Let's see what happens and how fast we can go by the end of the year. But there is a lot more to come, I guarantee it.