Spanish GP winners' press conference

Q Congratulations, Jacques, on your third victory of the season and on retrieving the lead of the drivers' championship. JV: It's a pleasing result because although the team has worked very hard, with the speed we have there have...

Q Congratulations, Jacques, on your third victory of the season and on retrieving the lead of the drivers' championship.

JV: It's a pleasing result because although the team has worked very hard, with the speed we have there have been too many races that we threw away. After the stupidity of Monaco, it is especially good to have won here. Barcelona is where we did almost all of our winter testing, but when we came here for the race we had different tyres and the car didn't feel as good as it did during the winter. When the heat picked up in the middle of the race it became very difficult. But being in front, with Michael [Schumacher] in 2nd place and blocking everyone else gave us a good help.

Q. You pitted twice rather than three times. Was that your planned strategy?

JV: Yes, we were planning on two. We knew it was risky on the tyres. We did three [pitstops] at one race so far this year, and usually there is more chance of something going wrong when you do three.

Q. Were you worried towards the end of the race, because Panis seemed to be catching you?

JV: I was not worried, because we had a big gap and I knew that there was no point in pushing because the tyres are on the limit here. As soon as [Panis] went quicker, we could keep up, so I wasn't really worried unless we had some traffic or tyre problems. He did a great race because he didn't start from the front and he finished 2nd. That was pretty impressive.

Q. Olivier, you must be satisfied with 2nd place, especially after having to start from 12th place on the grid.

OP: The qualifying here was difficult because the tyres we had were too hard. The two stop strategy was just right for me: in the warm-up we found we were getting fantastically good tyre wear, and that made the difference. I am very happy for the team, because they gave us a very good performance today.

Q. Can you and the Prost team hope to improve your qualifying performances in future?

OP: There are two solutions. If you are quick in qualifying, the tyres may make things difficult for the race. But the tyres are improving all the time and maybe we can have better performance in qualifying. But the race is still more important ...

Q. You are now 3rd in the championship. What are your hopes for the rest of the season?

OP: I would like to finish in the first five of the drivers'

championship: that would be fantastic for he team and also for me. It will still be very difficult to achieve, but the car is very good and we will also have a new engine for the French Grand Prix.

Q. Jean, this is your first podium appearance of the season. What does it mean for you?

JA: Of course I am very happy. I can tell you that the beginning of the season was a nightmare for us because we did not [anticipate] what has been happening to us. But we worked hard here and we managed to find a setup which was good with both low fuel and full fuel. To finish on the podium is great and it means a lot of oxygen for everyone on the team.

Q. It was a hard race for you, too. Were you worried that Michael Schumacher might catch you at the end?

JA: No, I was worried about Irvine because I know what a strange driver he can be. Overtaking him was quite tough -- much more difficult than having to hold Michael behind me.

Q. Does this result mean that we can now expect better results from Benetton?

JA: I would like to say that things are improving but I think we should wait until the next Grand Prix before we can say whether we are going the right way. I really believe in the abilities of the technical staff and probably we will have some very good new parts for the coming races I am quite confident, really.

Q. Jacques, it was very close in the first corner after the start between you and Coulthard. What happened?

JV: I didn't have a great start -- and the white line seemed to be slippery. David was on the inside and I tried to block him, but he didn't lift. Then I left him room because there was no point in crashing there. I know he is a tough fighter, so we went into turn 1 and I decided where I was going to brake and got fixed on that. He braked just a little bit earlier. When he saw that I was braking later than him, he let the brakes go and we got side by side into turn 1. After that, Michael [Schumacher] managed to get in front of him and that allowed me to pull away.

Q. You must have been delighted to see that gap open up by huge amounts.

JV: Yes, I knew that Michael was going to have troubles because in testing here he had a hard time to keep his tyres [in one piece] for more than five laps. I knew that after three or four laps in which he would be very quick, he would just go very slowly and blister his tyres.

Taken from

--- David Goodwin

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher
Teams Benetton