An interview with Bruno Junqueira Scott Dixon Cristiano da Matta Pat 2 of 2 Q: Yeah, for all three guys, are you guys really surprised how clean this race was, one full-course yellow and really not too many incidents? Bruno Junqueira: I...
An interview with
Cristiano da Matta
Pat 2 of 2
Q: Yeah, for all three guys, are you guys really surprised how clean this race was, one full-course yellow and really not too many incidents?
Bruno Junqueira: I was very surprised. We were discussing the race strategy today, we were counting on lots of yellows, and we never thought it was going to go like this. I mean usually you can count on a lot of yellows considering the practice sessions, but I'm happy that it went like this because then it makes the opportunity more difficult for whoever is not running fast to try to win the race with some strategy game, so I think it's always better when it's green because then the faster guys win the race.
Q: Scott, did you have any thoughts on the relatively clean race?
Scott Dixon: I just thought that it was going to be a lot of yellows, especially at the start. You know, guys like (Paul) Tracy were back up, going to be side booming somebody. I don't know, yeah, I was happy to see it caution free. We only had one there I think that was with Tora (Takagi) or something. So I thought it was a good race. It's nice to have clean races when you got a fast car.
Q: In the future is this race going to be decided on Saturday every year?
Cristiano da Matta: I don't think so. Saturday is very important. Because there is such a long straight and not -- it's not wide enough then to try to make passes and it makes it each want to pass someone in this race. I think that's the key, but also I think it's not a race that you're going to see some guy that is low in the deck win. CART races are never like that, especially the way they've been this year, won on strategy. Very, very little opportunity for the slow guy to win. I think today the race was between Bruno and Scott, and nobody else had a chance anymore, not because the track doesn't have a place to pass, but just because nobody could keep up with their speed. It was not a matter, I think on the back there was a lot more passing, and it's just a matter of car performance. We have a car who can come to the front, whatever is passing in the racetrack or using the sides or passing in the pits. If you're slow, you're dead. It's just a proper sport. Who is slow, it's a race. Right. Who is slow finishes on the back. Who is fast finishes on the front.
Q: Thank you. Question for the three of you. Your lead obviously at one point was over 10 seconds and then at the end was nothing. Was the car better at some stages of the race than others or was it just that once Scott got by, Adrian got clear. How comfortable were you?
BRUNO JUNQUERIA: I always thought my car was good throughout the race. At one point they put in the way that Scott got by Adrian, and the difference was seven seconds. Then I made some really fast laps and some laps later that were nine seconds. And then came the error. This is why Scott got in front of me and on the fifth lap really fast, and the second lap I was pushing and I made a mistake, and then I said, oh, I will not push anymore, two laps to go and let's slow down, and then Scott catch me up, but as I said, I tried just to keep in front of him, make sure that I do the turn that the one before the back really fast. Then he couldn't get the chance on turn five, and that's what I did. And I didn't push that fast. It was important in the end because I know that last year that they had to pass me, someone had to pass me and make a mistake. Then I just got to the end.
Cristiano da Matta: I think we all have the same answer. Right. I think the whole track has to be repaved and with some proper Tarmac, because what they have out there it's very slippery and it makes racing very difficult because everybody has to use a lot more caution than you normally would in a race situation. I think the layout of the track is very good. I have no complaints about the track layout. I think it's just a matter of putting the good surface together, which I don't think is any rocket science. It just takes a little bit of effort, but it's no big deal. I think for the first year this is not bad. Of course, we wanted to see better, but it's a good start.
Scott Dixon: I think fairly similar throughout the week I think you have the same guys complaining that always complain. But you know, I think the track obviously had problems, but it's the first year. The cars sort of tip the track out. You know, you haven't raced here before. You know, I'm sure they'll make huge improvements next year, and they'll have another good race here.
BRUNO JUNQUERIA: I agree, and I think the problem is that half of the track is kind of bumpy. It's like concrete, and the other half wasn't asphalt, it's very slippery. They have to repave it, make it good, and it's not good and especially because he is very high they have really low bounces. The cars already light because of that, and when you got asphalt that's not good together makes it really slippery. But as Christiano and Scott said, I think it would be great, and I think the place, or the city, I think Denver is a very nice city and very good for a race. And it's in a good location, very close to downtown, very good stadium and Six Flags, you know. It's a clean, nice place. I think you're going to have some pretty nice pictures. They would love this place. And I think there are some bad things, but a lot of good things about this race as well. And then I think you can improve for next year.
Q: If this track is resurfaced, does it make it any more possible to be more aggressive in terms of passing?
Scott Dixon: Yeah. I think it's very difficult just because of the grip level, and at the end of the race it's pretty bad, so I wasn't going to take the pass.
Q: Cristiano, you said last week in Montreal that you were thinking about points now, and maybe that you and the team are coming close to races we're thinking about and being conservative. Did you run a really conservative race today?
Cristiano da Matta: No. On the first lap I was a little conservative, but my car also was not handling very well and I couldn't keep up with (Kenny) Brack and Christian (Fittipaldi). They were ahead of me. On the second seat on good tires coming out of the pit stop, I closed the gap and I got really close to them and I was able to then on the second set my car was better and I was able to keep up the pace of everybody else. There was like just a line from I think Nakano -- Fernandez, Nakano, Christian, Brack and me, and I was able to keep up the pace with this group. And my car was improving.
I wasn't running conservative. I was just running as fast as I could, trying to maintain myself close to those guys in a position that if anything could happen, I could attack, but I just didn't have enough performance to really attack hard anybody. I was feeling like I wasn't strong enough. I had my weaknesses today, and I drove as hard as I could on the last three starts. I was driving as hard as I could to try to pull away from Fernandez, but those guys drew with a huge lead on me only like in seven or six laps. They opened like more than three seconds. And I was driving. The car was just very good, good tires and just very good, on every part. It's not because we're playing anything more conservative or less conservative than these last two races. We finished second and third these last two weekends. We were trying to win the same way, but it's a tough series, lots of other teams. People catch up to you. It has to be really sweet, you know.
Top three press conference, part I