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FIA Press Conference, Sunday, Brazil 07 Apr 2003

(L to R): Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Jordan and Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren celebrate on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 6 April 2003

POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE - APRIL 6 2003
1. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN MERCEDES), 1h29m53.179s

2. Giancarlo FISICHELLA (JORDAN FORD), 1h29m54.010s (+0.831s)

3. Fernando ALONSO (RENAULT), 1h29m59.874s (+6.695s) - absent

Reproduced with kind permission of Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

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Q: Kimi, what about your start, brilliant, taking the lead when you did?

Kimi RAIKKONEN: Yes, I think so. The first two laps were quite difficult - what were the conditions? - and so... after that I got past the other cars and it was much easier to drive, because in the first place there was no spray from the other cars. Things were going well, and then there was a safety car and afterwards it was a good decision that we didn't come in at the first safety car. Things went quite well, the whole race. Maybe we were a little bit lucky but a win is a win and that's all that matters.


Q: Can you just explain why you didn't come in at that first safety car period?
KR: I think that it came so quickly that we didn't make the decision quickly enough but in the end it was the right decision, so thanks to the team. It was a difficult race because the conditions were so bad and the safety car was out so often, but I'm pretty happy.



Q: You were losing time to David towards the end there, what was the problem?
KR: I think so because I came in later and the tyres were newer than his and they then were graining more and they were almost slicks and I wasn't able to push so hard.


Q: Moving to Giancarlo, on a circuit you love and Jordan's 200th Grand Prix, so nearly a fairytale ending for you....

Giancarlo FISICHELLA: Yes, it was a great day anyway. First of all I have to say that I am very disappointed for two reasons, first of all for Fernando, I hope that he's alright and then also because I won the race but the rules say that when there is a red flag, the result is taken from one lap before (two laps in fact) so I am very sorry about that but I never thought I would finish in second position so it's a great day anyway.


Q: Was there a moment when Eddie Jordan and the team were saying 'Giancarlo, you've won?'

GF: Well yes, we really believed that just after the race, it was an amazing moment but unfortunately I finished second, but anyway, as I told you, it's a fantastic result. I would like to say thanks to the team, we did a fantastic strategy and it's a very important result for us and we will keep going for the future which is very important.


Q: A lot of drivers went off in that section after turn two; tell us about the water there and what the problem was?

GF: Yeah, it was very difficult, driving in those conditions, especially for us with intermediate tyres, there were a few rivers in turn three. It was very very scary. You know lots of cars spun off there. But I drove very safely, I think I did a fantastic race and I'm happy.


PRESS CONFERENCE


Q: Kimi, tell us about the conditions, especially at the start. Give us some idea of how difficult it was?

KR: Of course, the start is always difficult because you don't know how the circuit is, but the first few laps were extremely difficult, especially when you're behind someone, because you don't see the corners and the cars in front of you and you're guessing all the time. After I got into first place it was much easier because I saw the corners and things were going much better then.


Q: Did the safety car come in at about the right time after the start? Did you feel that there was a drying line?
KR: No. I think it was still OK, but in the end it all worked well for me because I didn't come in at the first safety car period and it was a good decision.


Q: Did you change onto dry tyres?
KR: No, no. When I came in we just put more fuel in, new tyres. I think we dropped a couple of places but we were still behind the leaders and I was able to overtake a couple of cars after that and gain places but then the circuit started to dry up and I had some difficulties with tyres. It took quite a few laps before they started to get quicker and quicker and David was pulling away, but just before all these things happened I was catching him a little bit and I was quite happy.


Q: When Giancarlo overtook you, what happened there?
KR: Actually the tyres, after I had problems with them, they came back and then they went off again and it was a bit too slippery and I lost the rear grip in the middle of the corner and I just ran wide and Giancarlo got past me. OK, we were a bit lucky that we won the race but anyhow first place is what counts and I'm not complaining.


Q: It might seem strange that you won again after your first win two weeks ago, but history actually relates that a number of drivers have won again after their debut win but this was a little bit luckier, wasn't it?

KR: Oh yes, but I've also been quite unlucky in some places and I know how it feels to lose a race with a couple of laps to go. But that's racing and it's the same for everyone and we were slightly more lucky than maybe some others. It was good, I'm very happy and the team did a great job and the car was working perfectly. The Michelins were very good when it was very wet.


Q: Was the car set up for full wet or was there more you would have liked to have done?
KR: No, actually we don't need to change the set-up too much from wet to dry. It seems to be pretty good in both conditions and that's a good thing because if we have races like this and also especially with the new regulations where you are not allowed to change anything, it's very good.


Q. Giancarlo you must have gone through all the emotions in the last 20 minutes of that?

GF: Yes. It not so good conditions especially for us with intermediate tyres, but we managed to keep the car on the road. The car was so nervous, and there was a lot of aquaplaning but anyway I think I did a good job and I am very pleased about that. It is fantastic and I would like to say thanks to the team. I am a little bit disappointed because I could have won the race, but for the rules.


Q. You came in on the last lap of the safety car, or virtually the last lap of the safety car. What was the thinking behind that?

GF: Well I was talking a lot with the team and we decided to refuel and try to the end. It was the right shape and I'm very pleased about that.


Q. So you could have got right through to the end with only one stop...

GF: Honestly it was on the limit. At the beginning we had a lot of fuel and then at the end the intermediate tyre was good so...


Q. Do you think you might have been on the top step?

GF: It is fantastic now. We are already did well on Friday and Saturday with the car set-up and it wasn't too bad. We didn't believe we could get onto the podium today so it is fantastic.


QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR


Q. Giancarlo, did you think you had won the race when it was stopped?

GF: Yeah. I ask many times 'who won the race' so it was magic moment.


Q. When did you find out you hadn't?

GF: I think for a couple of minutes.


Q. Kimi did you think you had finished runner-up?

KR: Yeah. We were not sure if the race had been stopped completely or if we were going to restart. I went to the FIA and they told me I had won the race and I am really happy.


Q. Giancarlo in my opinion you should be really happy. Did you notice what happened when your car caught fire?

GF: Because the safety car was going too slow.


Q. It caught fire at the end of the race...

GF: Yes, because I was behind the safety car and it was so slow that it was no good for the engine.


Q. How did you get to avoid the tyres in the middle of the track at the end of the race?

GF: The team called me and said to slow down, a driver has had a bad crash around the circuit.


Q. To both drivers after the discussions on Friday afternoon and there was so much rain and we see so many cars crash in the race. Should we have had a race in these circumstances?

KR: I think it was the right decision to start behind the safety car and when the race started the conditions were much better. We were able to race safely. Really it is difficult with the water on the circuit and I think it was more difficult that on a rain tyre. It was safe enough and it is good that nobody has been hurt.


Q. Giancarlo do you think it should have been started?

GF: Yeah I do. In the end probably check the rules but you cannot do the race in the wet conditions with just one type of tyres. We need wet tyres and intermediate tyres.


Q. Giancarlo, are you happy or disappointed?

GF: I'm not disappointed now. I didn't believe I could get on the podium today, I thought we could score some points, but it is a great, great result. It is fantastic.


Q. Kimi you have a great advantage in the championship...would you like to be world champion?

KR: If things keep going at this rate yes, but sometimes you are lucky and sometimes less lucky. We will do our best and our goal at the start of the race was to score as many points as possible. If we keep scoring points it is good for the championship and it was good because the drivers did not score so many points. As long as keep scoring points with the old car, we are looking good for the championship. We will do our best.


Q. Giancarlo, how close did you get to being involved in Ralph's accident?

GF: Quite close. I was just checking in the mirrors very quick and I turned into the corner. You know like Takuma Sato in Monaco last year it could have been very dangerous.


Q. You are just 23 years old and after three races you lead the championship. What is your personal feeling?

KR: It is great. It is very similar to the last race but it is better because I have won two in a row, leading the championship with more points. It looks good for the championship but it is too early to say where we are going to finish, but so far things are good.


Q. Giancarlo if you compare the last three races of last season and the first three of this season and the changes of rules. Do you notice any difference?

GF: I think the rules are more interesting for people, the sponsors and you have the possibility to see a car or a team go to the front in the qualifying session.


Q. Kimi, were you going to stop again?

KR: I thought that I was coming in but...


Q. Did your team know Giancarlo might be running low?

KR: I was too busy doing my best on the circuit.


Q. Kimi when you lost the position to Giancarlo, you have understeer. Were your tyres gone?

KR: Yeah the tyres were starting to give up a little but. I got a bit out of shape with understeer.