US Grand Prix FIA winners' press conference transcript with 1. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 1h34m35.199s 2. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1h34m43.183s 3. Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) 1h34m51.794s Moderator: Here they are, ladies and gentlemen, ...
US Grand Prix FIA winners' press conference transcript with
Moderator: Here they are, ladies and gentlemen, Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella.
Michael, you always enjoy podiums, but you seem to enjoy this one in particular.
Michael Schumacher: Yeah, I did. I definitely did. Many reasons for it. A while ago, been out there, important moment, Germany winning on Friday, yesterday pole, today victory. If time, five important points in the championship, many reasons.
Q: The crowd seems to enjoy you being up there, as well. There seems to be a passion about Ferrari, a passion about Indianapolis that sort of match one another.
Michael Schumacher: Yeah, I'm not surprised about that. Ferrari creating passion is no wonder. It's beautiful, and in a way we have to be thankful to our fans coming here after in a way last year, still believing in us and supporting us the way they did this weekend. I'm just very happy that we have been able to achieve what we did achieve. I hope it was still interesting enough. I don't know what happened behind me, but I saw loads of action after the start in the first two corners. Even myself, I was involved a little bit, and then we had a first great, Felipe and myself, pushing each other. From then on, we obviously decided the race pace.
Q: Let's go back to the start because the people on the right-hand side aren't meant to make very fast starts here, are they?
Michael Schumacher: In the past, it was a disadvantage to stay on the right side, you're absolutely right. But taking off from the grid to the parade lap didn't look very well, I have to say. Something didn't function properly in a way. Clutch was slipping too much the way I was operating it. Tried to do a better job but just couldn't. Felipe had a good reaction time on top, plus did a good start. Everything worked out. I was lucky to sort of know, not lose a place, I was expecting actually one of those Renaults next to me right away but only happened at braking into the first corner.
Q: It was very close with the Renault, wasn't it?
Michael Schumacher: Yeah, there wasn't much room between Fernando and myself, but it was a nice battle, fair and square.
Q: The big question is can you continue this run?
Michael Schumacher: Yeah, it's a big question. It's a big question, I mean why haven't we been looking stronger in a way in Canada, which in a way we should have? We looked extremely strong here, particular in qualifying, in a way. The race pace, yes, was quick, but in respect to qualifying, not that big a margin, which wasn't a surprise, all we could see already in free practice. So we hope to carry over some of that trend into the next races and keep on gaining important points for the championship.
Q: Congratulations, well done.
Michael Schumacher: Thank you.
Q: Felipe, your best ever position, as well. And a great start as you mentioned just now. Was it much better grip, did you feel good grip there?
Felipe Massa: Yeah, it was great grip. I managed to be very concentrate on the light, and I think I have a very quick reaction time straight away. I managed to put alongside Michael, and I had a little bit better jump, so I managed to pass him by the end of the straight. So it was a good start, but it was also very, very good first, which the car was very great, concentrate on the Renault space, you know, just try to push as hard as I can to increase the gap. And Michael just follow me. And I had a lot of slipping in the clutch going out of the box, which makes me lost a lot of time. Plus Michael had, also, new tires and he was a little bit too quick in the out lap as well; managed to pass me. So, anyway, I think it's very, very great result for us. Looking for the situation of the championship, I think it came in a good time. Still open, and hopefully I can do my best to help the team to win the championship.
Q: What were your thoughts when Michael emerged ahead of you?
Felipe Massa: Sorry?
Q: What were your thoughts when Michael emerged from the pits ahead of you?
Felipe Massa: Well, I mean, for sure I would like to stay in the front, but the race, you know, he managed to pass me, and I think second is also a great result for us. Also thinking about the championship. I have no possibilities to win the championship, so for sure, help him is the best way we can, we need to be clever sometimes. And I think, you know, just growing every race and learning to bring to get the best experience I can for my future.
Q: Well done, congratulations. Giancarlo, again Renault challenging in the first corner. What was your view of that?
Giancarlo Fisichella: It was normal, normal race challenging. I was just behind Michael, and then Fernando came from the outside, and he brake quite late and he go through. But then I was just quicker than him. I been able to be quicker than him in the last corner and overtake him at the end of the straight. After that I did my pace, which was much stronger than his pace, but not strong enough to catch them. I think I did the best job I could do today. I'm happy for that. We are looking ready forward for next race.
Q: Where were you far faster than Fernando? Was it on the straight line or grip or what?
Everywhere, honestly. When I was behind him, he was struggling with the grip, with the understeering, I think. And it was just -- I was just more consistent than him. As soon as I overtake him, I left seconds quicker than him.
Q: That was your problem yesterday, was lack of grip. Was it better today?
Giancarlo Fisichella: Yeah, yeah. That's the main problem, was for us, just the grip, lack of grip. Because the car balance wasn't too bad. And, you know, Jarno started from the pit lane and with one stop finished fourth. That means maybe Bridgestone tires today were working a little bit better than us.
Moderator: OK. Well done. Congratulations. Some questions from the floor, please.
Q: If it wasn't for Mika Hakkinen and Rubens a couple years ago, you would have a perfect record here. What is it about this place that has done so well for you?
Michael Schumacher: I don't know. I mean there's no obvious reason why here I should do better than elsewhere. It's just coincidence, probably. But it's a very welcome coincidence. That's what I can say. But, no, there's no specific reason in a way.
Q: This is for Michael. In Canada, Ferrari was behind the Renault. I think here you have the same car, the same tires, the same configuration. Can you explain your improvement, your big improvement?
Michael Schumacher: No. (Laughter)
Q: For Michael, you said over the last couple days you hadn't had a chance to reflect on being a four-time winner. After the emotions you showed after the victory lap, did it sink in that you were the first man to win five races at Indianapolis?
Michael Schumacher: I had very little time for it to sink in, from the podium to here. But I knew about the situation beforehand. As I said at the beginning, there's many reasons to feel very, very excited right now, and I am. I mean, I'm really thrilled, and on the podium there were a lot of emotions, due to one of the reason is that and obviously the championship and great weekend. It's just many, many reasons they play into coming into effect and make it a special weekend.
Q: Michael, when you say you don't know the reason for the improvement, does it also mean that you don't yet know if this improvement is from general character, I mean coming back to Europe, are you expecting the same improvement or you don't know yet?
Michael Schumacher: Naturally, as I'm not really aware of why we, it didn't work out in Canada, and it did work here. So I'm not able to be precise why if might or might not work out at the next race. The most obvious thing would be probably to look at the tire situation because in Canada, all Bridgestone runners were really in the back, and here all Bridgestone runners looked fairly competitive. We obviously the most extreme competitive. So it plays big effect because on the car, the aerodynamics and the engine, you can only do so much. But tire, when they grip or not grip, they can have a big effect, which sometimes you may not be able to compensate.
Q: Michael, when is the last time, though, you picked up a teammate after a race near the podium like you did Felipe and; No. 2, when is the last time you did feel this excited?
Michael Schumacher: It's a long time ago I picked up a teammate and threw him up in the air. There's many reasons for that. First of all, we're getting on very well together. He's really a special teammate, I have to say, for many ways, for his speed, for his character and the way we work together in the team. Plus he's so light, it's easy. (Laughter) Last year, I would have struggled to pick up Rubens. (Laughter)
Q: Michael, gaining six points on Fernando is, for sure, makes the victory even sweeter. But looking mentally, do you think it will mentally help the team like a mental turning point?
Michael Schumacher: You know, we are very strong. We have been through much more difficult periods in the '90s, not to suffer mental strains, no. It's obviously welcome, a result like that, and it may release some extra power, which in a way I would doubt because we always try. But it certainly makes it easier sometimes to motivate everybody to sacrifice maybe extra time elsewhere and stay in the factory and work hard.
Q: Question to Michael and Felipe. Michael, today Italy and Germany celebrate together, next Tuesday will be a fight in the World Cup. How is the environment inside the team? And Felipe, which side will you choose, Italy or Germany?
Felipe Massa: I am more to Italy, I have to say.
Michael Schumacher: Yeah, we look forward to it, and we'll cross fingers to each part. I mean, it's natural my heart what it is going for, although it's mixed up a little bit but the majority sticks to the German side.
Q: This is for Felipe. On the first stop, both Ferraris were in pit lane for 24 seconds. Does that mean because you lost three seconds on the out lap the difference between the tires is that much?
Felipe Massa: No, I lost time going out of the pit stop with my clutch. And I mean, I don't know what to say. I just go out of the pit, Michael was passing the straight, so...
Q: Michael, you hold every significant record in Formula One, and today you established a very unique record in American motorsports. How does it feel to leave your mark in the United States?
Michael Schumacher: I mean, what else can I say? It's difficult to find more words than I have been putting -- giving before because it's special, fantastic. What word can you say? It's something extraordinary. The States exists in 2000 for us, we race there, at least in my racing period of Formula One, and it's very historic this place. Come winning here the first time, winning it made it very special. And now win it I think four times in a row, if I'm correct, and yeah, then the fifth time. It's, yeah, it's obviously just great. One day sitting home I will remember that, I guess.
Q: The question is to Michael. Do the emotions that you experience here this weekend interfere with your decision to stay or retire from Formula One?
Michael Schumacher: Again, I've made this comment very often. It's not one singular event that will decide my future.
Moderator: Some more.
Q: This is for all three of you. How important was it to have a clean race today, a good race?
Michael Schumacher: Well, I mean -- yeah, in a way you always try to aim for that, but then in Formula One history every so often you have an awkward moment. Wherever that happens, you don't feel happy about it, but then that's the way it goes. Whether it was very especially important? I don't know. For us it is nice and we're happy to have had a good race and put a good show on.
Felipe Massa: I think for the people it's very nice. They came here last year, and they didn't see really a proper race. They just saw four cars in the track, maybe six cars in the track and then not really fantastic race. So this year they saw the show, and for sure, they are really happy. I mean, last year was not the fault of the drivers; it was just a safety issue. And this year we don't have any more, and we can show the people that Formula One is a nice sport and they really love, otherwise they would not be here.
Michael Schumacher: Let me just say one thing. The funny thing is last year we started six cars, and we finished six cars. Today we started all cars and only nine finished, so only three more.
Giancarlo Fisichella: Yeah, it was important for the American fans to give them the show this year. And last year was a special race because, you know, we had a problem with the tires and we couldn't run. Anyway, today I think we did a good show to them, and unfortunately we had quite a big accident in the first corner on the first lap. But apart from that, it was good.
Moderator: Some more questions?
Q: Giancarlo, how worried are you and your team seeing Ferrari that strong today?
Giancarlo Fisichella: Well, yeah, the pace, Ferrari's pace today and especially yesterday was really, really strong. It was stronger than us. But I think was a particular race. They've been able to be much quicker than us just in this kind of circuit. I think until Canada we were equal, sometimes quicker -- we were quicker, sometimes they were quicker. Obviously, the Ferrari team is a strong team, and they are able to push all the time. But like Renault, I'm not really worrying too much. We need just to keep going and on the development, which is really important for the rest of the season.
Moderator: Final question from this gentleman in the front row.
Q: This is for Giancarlo. Michael's had a chance to talk about Germany's prospects in the World Cup. What about your passion for the Azzuri in Italy? I feel like you need a little equal time here.
Giancarlo Fisichella: Myself and Michael, I think we are really big fan of football. We play together with the drivers' team for charity games. I think both of us we play quite well. Apart from that --
Felipe Massa: I don't think so, no.
Michael Schumacher: You better be quiet. (Laughter)
Giancarlo Fisichella: He's Brazilian but he doesn't play very well. (Laughter)
Anyway, it's going to be a very interesting game. I got on my helmet "Force Azzuri," which means how important it is for me the World Cup and to see them in the final and win the final, of course.
Moderator: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Well done.