Turkish Grand Prix FIA winners' press conference transcript with 1. Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren), 1h24m34.454s 2. Fernando Alonso (Renault), 1h24m53.063s 3. Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren), 1h24m54.089s Q: Kimi, it was also your third start to finish...
Turkish Grand Prix FIA winners' press conference transcript with
Q: Kimi, it was also your third start to finish of the year but you didn't actually lead from the pole. Tell us about the start first of all?
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I didn't get exactly the best start, I got a bit of wheelspin and then Fisichella got past me and Alonso got alongside me but I was hoping and then on the first lap Fisichella ran wide at the exit of turn nine I think and I got beside him and I didn't pass him because they were much faster on the straight line so I was actually behind both of them braking into turn 12 but then from the middle I could brake later and got the first place.
Q: What were your thoughts at that point in the race, you had to be aggressive, you were out for the win?
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I was quite confident that we would have the speed and we would have enough fuel in the car but of course you never know so you have to go for it if you have the chance and not trust your feelings and in the end it paid off well.
Q: In that first stage of the race Fernando was very near you, what was the thinking at McLaren? Did you think they were going to come in earlier than you?
Kimi Raikkonen: We thought they would be similar to us but now, afterwards, I think we have been very quick all weekend and we had quite a big advantage on speed so the only place where they could have got us at the start of the race was at the end of the back straight. They seemed a bit quicker there, but as long as I had a big enough gap to hold them back I thought I would be okay and just waited for the pit stop. Luckily enough we could run much longer and that was enough.
Q: And how was the circuit from a physical point of view?
Kimi Raikkonen: Not too bad, we had some padding on the headrest and I even didn't try to hold my head on the corner exit because that is a much easier way to make life more difficult if you have a chance to take it easy. Otherwise it was not very hot actually, it was pretty easy.
Q: Fernando, a great second place but right at the end of the race?
Fernando Alonso: Yeah, it was a nice surprise at the end. I saw the yellow flags on the straight but you cannot see the corner because it is a little bit uphill. It surprised me when I saw Montoya and the Jordan there and they had spun. It was two laps from the end. I nearly overtook Montoya but it was not possible and then it came to turn eight and I think he had damage in his car, he didn't have the perfect car in turn eight so went wide and I overtook him, so it was a nice surprise at the end but it is a little bit disappointing because we were not fighting with the McLarens, we were a bit slower than them, but this result is much better.
Q: It was an exciting early phase of the race to watch, you were right behind Kimi but as we now know you did come in earlier. What were your thoughts at that point in the race, did you think it was going to be difficult given your fuel load?
Fernando Alonso: Yes, I think the first lap was okay with Fisi (Giancarlo Fisichella) in P1. We knew that we were going to be quicker maybe than Kimi in the first stint because we were lighter so we tried to do our best in the first corners and we did it but in turn 12 Kimi was in front of us again so everything started again and I was able to follow Kimi but it was not possible to overtake in the first ten laps.
Q: And how was the circuit in the race distance, a physical test?
Fernando Alonso: It was okay. I think for the neck it is one of the hardest, as Brazil, because we run anticlockwise so we need to be a little bit more concentrated on these types of corners, and it was not too hot so it was okay and because it was quite an exciting race it didn't seem too long to me.
Q: Juan Pablo, a great qualifying lap as it turns out, you were out early yesterday when the track was slow but you had a lot of fuel on board and you were looking like a very strong second place there when you came up to lap Tiago Monteiro at the end of the race.
Juan Pablo Montoya: Yeah, it is a bit disappointing. I was in a difficult position yesterday in qualifying and even like that with the fuel the car had the speed for it I thought it was looking really good for today, I had too much graining at the start of the race so I couldn't really push because it was just wearing the front. When the front came up the car was very quick, I managed to set the fastest lap of the race and we were looking quite good. At the end we were just cruising to the end, passed Monteiro and he did just a bit like what Verstappen did to me a few years back. I did the first few corners fine then went into turn eight and had no rear grip and I could not keep on line.
Q: So he actually hit you when he locked up his brakes going into the hairpin.
Juan Pablo Montoya: Yeah, he just hit me completely and broke all the diffuser. He hit me right in the middle so all the diffuser was broken. It was a bit of a shame because we were looking really good for the constructors' championship with a one-two but we still scored good points.
Q: And you were playing a strong team role today, backing up Kimi ahead of the Renaults there.
Juan Pablo Montoya: Well, I managed to catch up quite a bit on Kimi in the second stint but it was seven seconds and the car was pretty much racing to the second pit stop. I got to that and it was still too far and I just bailed out completely.
Q: Kimi, what are your thoughts on the championship? It is two points less now, the gap between you and Fernando. Hard work but a two point margin gained today.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I think we were a bit unlucky as a team. It would have been nice to have a one-two but what can you do? Sometimes it goes on like this. It also would have helped me and the team, but anyhow, two points are two points and they can make a big difference at the end of the season. We did the best we could do and we just need to keep working hard and win more races and see where we end up.
Q: Kimi, that seemed like an almost perfect race.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, it was not too difficult. On the first lap there was some action going on but after that it was pretty good. I was pushing as long as I knew we should be safe and then we were looking good for a one-two but it was a bit unlucky. It could have been better for the team but anyhow it is a good result.
Q: There seemed to be fewer mistakes than in practice, what was the grip level like, particularly after the rain this morning?
Kimi Raikkonen: It was surprisingly good straight from the start of the race. I was expecting it to be more slippery but it seems that even though it rained a bit it didn't matter and the circuit was getting better all the time during the weekend, so it was very good.
Q: So would that explain why there seemed to be fewer mistakes?
Kimi Raikkonen: I don't know, maybe, or maybe people learned from their mistakes.
Q: But for you it was near perfect?
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I didn't have any problems really. After the first pit stop we knew that we had a very good position. Of course I had some problems lapping people, maybe more here than anywhere else and I was not too happy with some of the people, but otherwise it was a good race.
Q: Fernando, I think you thought you would be more competitive, even though you were second.
Fernando Alonso: Not really. I think the McLarens are difficult to beat these days and we were in a bad position for qualifying -- I started ninth - so our race was a little bit different this weekend. We learned from Hungary so we prepared our race and our strategy to have no traffic in the race, to have a clean race, starting from the front of the grid and to do a normal race alone. This paid off at the end. I think this second place is much better than we expected.
Q: You were challenging Juan Pablo during the second stint, after the first pit stop. How close were you to getting past him?
Fernando Alonso: Not really enough to try to overtake him. We knew they were longer in the second stint as well so there was no chance to really overtake so I just tried to take a good pace, a good timed lap, to be constant with no mistakes because off line it was quite dirty and difficult to drive the car in some parts of the race, so I tried to concentrate myself with no mistakes and finish this race.
Q: And no major mechanical problems, obviously.
Fernando Alonso: Again, the car felt perfect from Friday to Sunday, so thanks to the team again for giving me this car.
Q: Juan Pablo, what happened in the first pit stop?
Juan Pablo Montoya: Ah! Normal. They lifted the lollypop and they brought it back down. (Laughs) It was good that when I Ieft I didn't take my hands completely off the clutch and I was able to bring it back in straight away so that was quite good. I don't know what happened really. I think that as soon as the lollypop went up, I just dropped the clutch. You know I used to look in the mirror and I used to go nearly before they were pulling it (the fuel nozzle) up and they told me just to look at the lollypop and I do that. It was better looking in the mirror. (More laughter)
Q: What about the last eight laps, from lap 50 you were losing a lot of time?
Juan Pablo Montoya: I was cruising. I knew what the gap was. I was just getting it to the end. I knew I didn't have to push, I had three laps to go and I had six seconds. I could lose two seconds a lap and still finished second. It wasn't a problem. I passed Monteiro and under braking he just... I don't know, braked too late? He did what Verstappen did to me a few years ago. I was shocked, but, you know, I looked in the mirror the rear wing was there, I went through the first few corners and the car felt alright so I went as I did every lap into turn eight and just went off. It's the only fast corner here. I came into the pits afterwards and all the rear diffuser was completely broken, so what could you do?
Q: So a little bit disappointed?
Juan Pablo Montoya: It was disappointing because it would have been an easy one-two for the team and we were looking quite strong. At the beginning of the race I had way too much graining. My front tyre wore down completely. That was a big surprise because it was good all weekend. I was expecting to have graining for maybe five laps but it was lap 20 and I still had graining. I don't know what happened.
Q: Fernando, yesterday you said you wouldn't mind second position, it wouldn't be bad, it would be a good one if you just lost two points. How happy are you now, and second question is do you think the rest of the season, with five races to go, the scenario will be the same, with McLarens and Renault in front, and Kimi attacking you, or will you be OK just finishing on the podium or are you looking for more victories?
Fernando Alonso: Too many questions! Yeah, yesterday I said that second place was not really signed because anything could happen in the race, the races are long. We saw with Juan Pablo today that until the last lap you can never be sure about your position so my only job in the races is to push from the beginning to the end, to push the McLarens, to keep them crazy and pushing as well and I think today we did it again. We did it in Nurburgring, we did it here and we overtook them on the last laps so I'm happy, I'm lucky but also I try to find this luck sometimes and I think that for the rest of the season, I think that McLaren and Renault will be competitive and probably BAR and Toyota will be competitive again in some races, so we need to make sure we beat McLaren for both the Constructors' and Drivers' championships and if somebody else is fighting with us, like Button this weekend, make sure that they are not between McLaren and us.
Q: Kimi, are you surprised to win two races with the same engine? (Laughter)
Kimi Raikkonen: No, this has happened before, this year already: in Barcelona and Monaco, so it's nothing surprising.
Q: Kimi, what kind of advice did Mike Tyson give you before the race?
Kimi Raikkonen: Nothing. It was nice to see him. No, he just said good luck and that's all.
Q: Kimi, thinking about the championship, how is your approach now. Two points is not a lot, how worried are you about that?
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, it's not perfect but I couldn't do anything more. I did the best I could. There's no way to score any more points if Alonso keeps finishing second so we just need to do the best we can and you never know what happens in the races, so two points are better than nothing.