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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Post Australia FIA Press Conference 03 Mar 2002

1. Michael SCHUMACHER (Ferrari), 1h35m36.792
2. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (Williams), + 18.628s
3. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLaren), + 25.067s


Q: Michael, very, very frightening first corner accident. What did you see? You were right in the middle of it.
Michael Schumacher: Obviously I didn't see everything, only what happened in front of me, and that was Ralf had a collision with Rubens. I don't actually know what was going on, whether he had a problem or whatever, but I guess he would have told you in the meantime and then it was just cars flying everywhere, I was afraid to turn into the first corner because I saw suddenly cars flying next to me so I decided, same as Kimi, to go straight on and have a nice ride through the grass, which probably was a good decision otherwise I would have been hit, I guess.

Q: We lost David Coulthard at the second restart, he went for a ride over the grass, a longer one than yours, and then a big fight with Juan Pablo?
MS: It was quite an interesting one, especially with Juan, because we had a straight fight with Raikkonen's car, Juan was closing the doors basically everywhere and not giving any chance, which in a slower car I don't know whether that was sort of fair but it didn't seem to be appropriate at the situation, but I enjoyed the fight obviously with him, it was a bit back and forward. I think as well that the tyres played a little bit of a role in that; initially I struggled to get the temperature in where these guys seemed to get faster on top of temperatures but then it went the other way around, their tyres went off and my one came in so I had a nice chance to battle a little bit and finally got first position for us, which was ideal. It wasn't really thought to be before we came here, but we're obviously nicely surprised that we have been able to do this job this weekend.

Q: Very good job, too; thank you, Michael. Juan Pablo, talk me through your side of your battle with Michael.
Juan Pablo Montoya: I think it was pretty good. I managed to get by him in the restart and then for a couple of laps I thought we were going to be competitive and as soon as he got temperatures there is nothing to do, it's just way too fast, and it was a matter of time: I was holding him and holding him and holding him until he was going to point the way past, either I was protecting the line or giving him the line and it drove around the outside like I was parked there, and they just drove into the distance.

Q: Talking of tyres, on the grid we saw a shot of your front right-hand tyre. When they took the tyre blanket off, it looked as though it had been blistered; is that the case?
JPM: No, no. As far as I know, no.

Q: There seemed to be bubbles on the surface of the tyre?
JPM: No, problems as far as I remember.

Q: Thanks very much. Kimi, welcome to the press conference. Great race, third place on your debut for McLaren, but you had a very strange start to the race. Tell us about your first pit stop: you came in very unplanned. What happened?
Kimi Raikkonen: On the start something went under my car, on the front part of my car, and I just didn't have anything to do, it just went straight over the sand and luckily I got the turn around and came back on the circuit and then on this first lap, first corner accident, I got something also behind my back, between the back, and came in and take it away and start from the last place and end up in the third.

Q: Your second pit stop was rather more scheduled and ordinary but you came out and very nearly got in front of the man from Williams, Mr Montoya, but then you went off at the first corner, why was that? You just braked too late?
KR: I went a bit too quick and just went on, unfortunately, maybe lost the second place but that's racing and maybe better luck next time.

Q: Thank you very much. Back to you, Michael. Malaysia next time out. Is that going to suit you because I presume it's going to be rather hotter than it is here and people always seem to say: Bridgestone better in the cooler temperatures and Michelin in the warmer ones. What do you reckon?
MS: Certainly there was a stage last year that was the case but I would say that we can resolve this kind of situation on our side and improve quite a bit. I reckon anyway - and we have seen it last year, we have been very competitive here last year, and suddenly we started to battle in qualifying with Ralf so I would assume that it's going to be a much tighter battle from now on. Actually, if you remember in Brazil, he was giving me a very hard time and driving away so things can change very quickly around and I wouldn't see what we have seen today as a real measurement for what happens in the future. I like to say a word about my team mate. Obviously I am sorry for him because it could have been a nice race for him but unfortunately that's part of racing and I'm sure he is going to have better luck in future.


Q: Here What are the conclusions really from this race, Michael, it's the first race of the year, couldn't be a better start?
MS: Yes, it could have been a better start, honestly.

Q: For you in terms of points.
MS: I know, but just to make it clear. Obviously it's ideal from my point of view but Rubens' point of view it didn't go so well and would have been better to be one and two, to be honest, than just have one in the finish.

Q: Early on you were fourth and you had a tremendous battle with Juan Pablo, particularly at the end of each of the safety car periods and then a little later on. Perhaps you could just talk us through those overtaking manoeuvres.
MS: Basically in the first safety car, nothing really happened, I didn't make up anything, actually when I was behind Juan at the time I lost out quite a bit because the traction initially wasn't there for me and then he gave me a favour of braking a bit on the oil, in turn three, which allowed me to pass and then I was battling with Trulli, which he was basically closing everywhere the door and didn't allow any overtaking, which then made it tricky because I saw Juan coming again so I thought I have to watch out. Next safety car, Trulli obviously was gone by then, David gave us a favour in going wide - it almost happened to me as well, I went wide too - and I think this was one of the reasons he had a good ride at me because I didn't have the right exit of the last corner, couldn't take the speed because the line was wrong in the corner before so it meant that the last corner was wrong, and he easily passed me. I couldn't do anything about that, honestly, I tried to go to the inside and I gave him the outside and he, well, overtook me easily there, but then it was a nice battle. Initially, obviously, he was going away a little bit and I was thinking hopefully he is on two stops, but then it seemed to be a tyre situation where initially our ones didn't work so well and theirs did work very well and then it turned around to our favour afterwards and I was all over him but it was difficult to find the space.

Q: That was interesting, the overtaking manoeuvre, did it just happen?
MS: No, he obviously saw me being very close and he didn't like me to pass him inside in the first corner so naturally you close the door, so what you do is then you go to the outside to take the better exit and him being so far inside it means that the corner gets very tight and he doesn't have the speed out of the corner so things worked out for me.

Q: And then after that, you seemed to pull away very easily.
MS: Yeah. We have been very quick all weekend, surprisingly quick, but in all honesty it seemed to be stronger in the race in a certain period than either qualifying or the last laps - I think Kimi actually did the fastest lap time - which shows that in certain areas they are very fast, mostly competitive, but then overall we are better off.

Q: Is this going to encourage to you keep this car for Malaysia or rush the other one?
MS: Obviously we would like to take the car, the new car, as soon as possible, as soon as we find out it is better and as soon as we find out it is reliable and both of the situations yet we cannot judge when that's going to be the case, honestly. Further tests next week, all next week we will be testing, and from there on we can judge what is happening in future.

Q: Thank you very much, Michael. Juan Pablo, as I say, the end of the both safety periods, they worked out differently for you. What was your angle on it?
JPM: I thought it was pretty good. At the time when Michael got by me I didn't really see that oil coming and I came into the radio and I said: I think we have got a puncture or something, and then I said just try a little better and it felt quite good and out of turn one, when you turn left, I could see some oil there as well and I thought: I got it. It was a bit too late. As Michael said, as soon as we get temperature in the tyres and against them, seem to have a lot more speed and really it was going to happen sooner or later.

386 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Q: And then you had quite a long battle with Kimi really, which only faded sort of halfway through the race.
JPM: I think he was there all the time. I managed to pull away a little bit right before the stop and that was enough to get ahead of Kimi. When we were going down the straight and he was leaving the pits, when we got to braking we were basically side by side and when I saw him braking later I said: he's not going to make it, he's not going to make it. Yes! That was quite good.

Q: And then you pulled away a comfortable second place.
JPM: Yeah, we pulled away like five seconds and he got it down to four and then stayed around there. It was hard because we were pushing the thing, both of us were pushing really hard.

Q: Thanks very much, Juan Pablo. Kimi, are you surprised to be on the podium today?
KR: Yeah, for sure, after the start because I think I was on the last place after the couple of laps in the safety car and from there the third place is not bad.

Q: And then, as you mentioned earlier on, you had your long pit stop. What were things like from then?
KR: Before the first pit stop the car was pretty good to drive home and we got quite a lot of vibration on tyres and that makes it more difficult. Then when I came out of the first pit stop I went a bit too quick for the first corner and just ran wide and lost the second place. That's racing and I'm not worried about those things because I am still a bit learning and just need to make a better job next time.

Q: You were way back - admittedly there weren't all that many cars - but you were way back after your first pit stop, the long one, when they were looking for things in the cockpit. Was it easy just carving your way through the field?
KR: Yes, it was quite easy to overtake some cars. Some cars was more difficult and then it was helping me a lot big time because the safety car came out second time and I got behind the leaders and that was the main reason that I catch them, but it was quite a difficult and interesting race. Q: When you were behind Juan Pablo, was it easy enough to stay there?
KR: Yeah, I tried to save (indistinct) the pit stop that I can run a bit longer and we made one lap but it wasn't enough, but it was quite easy to stay behind him.

Q: So happy with today's position?
KR: Yes.

Q: Could you have taken the fight to Juan Pablo in the closing stages; you seemed to steadily drop back?
KR: No, I don't think so, I was going full speed. Of course the last couple of laps I slowed down because I saw that I don't have any more chance to catch up with him but I think we were doing pretty similar lap times and that's it.


Q: Kimi, your team mate seemed to be struggling with what seem to be a very undriveable car in the early part and you too cut through the grass a few times. What was the trouble with that?
Were you finding it difficult to drive the car?
KR: No, not really, I was pushing very hard and that's why I did a couple of mistakes but the car was pretty good, good to drive.

Q: Kimi, what was it that the team had to take out which you had on the back?
KR: I don't know what was there, I think a piece of the front wings or something from the cars that shunted in the first corner.

Q: Michael, a lot of cars went out of the race at the first corner. At a time when Formula 1 is trying to control costs, that was quite an expensive corner there. Do you think there are any controls that can be brought to bear on the drivers to ensure that that kind of thing is less likely to happen?
MS: I don't think so. You remember we talked about this at the Thursday press conference. It needs really everybody just to be a little bit more calm at the first race to avoid that, but then you can't control it. That's part of racing, that's part of emotions, and part of the reason you write for it, I guess, because it's so interesting. It's costly and not really nice that things like that happen but it has always been part of it.

Q: Juan Pablo and Kimi. To be honest, is possible for you to fight against the Ferrari for the victory at this point, at this state of the art, because you fight between us, you made a little bit fight with Michael but for some situations and circumstances but then he went alone?
JPM: I think Ferrari definitely had the edge on us here: from Friday onwards they were clearly the quickest car. I think the conditions were not the best for the tyres. Hopefully in Malaysia it is going to be hotter, it could play into our hands a little bit. I think we have shown, especially the wet and intermediate needs to be a lot more competitive and I think that's a really good thing but I think we still need to do quite a lot of work because, I don't know, Kimi did the fastest lap, when the car was good we were as fast as Michael but when we go through the same thing as last year there is no chance, and I think in hotter temperatures the tyre will behave a lot better.
KR: It's difficult right now, especially in this race, for Michael was better also that they start with the old car, they know much more about the set-ups and things and the weather was very difficult to get the set-up right but I'm quite happy how things went in the end. If I look beginning of testing and qualifying, I was much more sad what I'm now so we only can improve things and just looking forward for the next race. Q: Michael, it's the inevitable Australian question: Mark Webber has come home fifth today, can you say some words for us, for the kind Australian fans?
MS: Honestly, I was thinking in the car, I was actually very delighted for them. You see Minardi they are so long around and it's not happening very often for them to have the occasion to get points, and I was told by my team that he drove a very good race and he scored really the fifth place, he really earned it, he had a good battle with Salo so I'm more than happy for them. I guess it's going to be a big, big party happening tonight for them. Maybe we are going to join them and have some fun together, but it's really pleasant to see these guys, I really - how you say - I feel just happy for them that they achieved that.

Q: To all drivers: we had in the first corner eight or nine drivers out of the race. Don't you think it could be better even to the show to have a red flag and all of them again in the race?
MS: From my point of view you would say yes, especially if we would have been involved in this situation, we would have preferred to have a red flag and start the race again but obviously we are not the persons to decide this and probably we are not the right persons to be asked.

Q: Your personal opinion?
MS: Yes, my personal opinion is this but then the question should really go to some other people why it is like this, why it has to be like this because, as I said, from my point of view I would have preferred to see a red flag.

Q: Michael, on the same sort of question, we saw last season, noticeably Hockenheim when something like this happened and there was a safety issue because of the shards of carbon fibre left on the track. In this case there wasn't a restart. Do you think there should have been, for safety reasons, leaving aside anything else?
MS: I think there was far less debris on the circuit than there was in Hockenheim. In Hockenheim I remember the whole straight was covered in pieces, if I'm right, and that was the reason. Here there was room to avoid the pieces. There is a certain rule and they follow the rule. We maybe could argue whether we can improve that for everybody, or whether it is an improvement, but obviously somebody has made that decision, to the best knowledge and to the best of Formula 1, and maybe you should ask them whether it would be nicer and better to improve or change that.

Q: Michael, how did you feel when you saw your brother on the collision with Rubens?
MS: Very frightened, obviously, because when you touch a rear wheel and the car is launched into the air, if you go into the wrong area you hurt yourself badly so I was very concerned and I was going on the radio immediately to check out what is going on with him but I was told he was fine and I saw him running down the straight so he was obviously lucky but it's not something you wish to happen.

Q: Michael, what did you see from the accident actually? Both Rubens and Ralf seemed to change the line more than once?
MS: Obviously the car behind is allowed to change more than once, the car in front is not supposed to but I haven't really seen whether he did or he didn't. So simply that's the answer to changing lane: one car is, one car is not but I don't know who has done what precisely; I just had a quick look and I don't want to comment too much on that before I have properly seen everything.

Q: You just said you had a quick look. I would have thought in your position you'd have a grandstand view of what went on, so what are you looking at?
MS: No, what you see in the car, you are so busy with yourself and you look around in the mirrors what come next, it is not really fair to ask what we see from in board. You guys have much better vision with 10 times repetition, you see much better than what we can see.

Q: I'm just asking you because I'm not sitting there, I wanted to know want you are looking at, so you are basically looking ahead through what's happening, if you know what I mean?
MS: You don't see everything in detail, you see a certain amount of it but not everything in detail.
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