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FIA Saturday press conference - Monaco, Pt 2 31 May 2003

(L to R): Ralf Schumacher (GER) Williams and Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) Williams in the FIA press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 30 May 2003

POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE - MAY 31, 2003
1. Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS), 1m15.259s
2. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1m15.295s (+ 0.036s)
3. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1m15.415s (+ 0.156s)

Published with permission from the Federation Internationale de l' Automobile.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Given your problems in qualifying so far this year, and your love affair with Monaco, do you like it a bit more now, Ralf?
Ralf SCHUMACHER: It's a great place to drive, that's for sure, but only if the car is good anyway. If it's not, and you have balance problems, then you're in deep problems here. But I've always complained a bit about the safety side, nothing else. Driving here is great.

Q: Were you a bit alarmed at that time by McLaren this morning?
RS: Oh yes, I was very much surprised. I obviously knew that Kimi didn't have a good qualifying on Thursday, but looking at the times this morning we didn't think we would be that strong to be honest. But we made quite a few changes in the morning and then just gradually built up to it.

Q: How much of a margin do you leave around here?
RS: It's a difficult decision to take since we've had this one lap qualifying. You can't really leave a lot of margin, and that's why I spun in Austria and you do the same here.

Q: What about the start tomorrow? Last year David Coulthard out-accelerated Juan Pablo off the line. What do you reckon?
RS: Well, the two cars do have a good starting history. Let's wait and see what happens. It will be exciting into the first corner, I guess. I hope all of us come around without any stupid mistakes or accidents and go into the race from there.

Q: Kimi, what sort of margin have you been leaving around here? You went fairly early in qualifying as well...
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Yeah, but I think it's more important here to go as quick as possible because one place can make a big difference in the race. Okay, you want to keep the car out of the walls and try to do a good lap. So I got quite a good lap, not quick enough for pole but I'm quite happy with that.

Q: Remembering what David did from second on the grid last year, does that give you hope?
KR: Yeah, but it's a different year and everything is different, but you never know. It all depends on how the launch control works and if it's good, as we hope, then maybe we can get the first place. But like Ralf said, we will see tomorrow.

Q: There's a new pit lane this year. How much does that enter into the strategy of things?
KR: I don't think it makes very much difference. I think it's much safer as it is now, because last year you just came and there would easily have been some accidents and now it's much, much better.

Q: Did you think you had pole position after you set the time?
KR: I hoped but it was pretty much the same situation as it was at the last race and maybe next time?

Q: Juan, is it going to be an advantage starting behind Ralf?
Juan Pablo MONTOYA: Erm...why?

Q: Just with the two of you on that side of the grid...
JPM: Well, no. When Michael went out I said to my engineer it would be good in a way if Michael was ahead of us because basically last year the left-hand side was a lot quicker. I was a bit surprised at Michael being so slow.

Q: Have you been surprised by Ferrari in that they were quickest in the first sector and then relatively slow in the others?
JPM: The first sector is three corners - it is really nothing. Where you really can make the time is in the second sector, that is where you can make a big difference. The first sector and last sector is very little time and if you do a good second sector you will be pretty competitive.

Q: Now Michelin were first to fourth in that session. How important do you think that was to the three of you up there?
JPM: Well, it seemed that Bridgestone had pretty soft tyres for the first day and a harder tyre for the race and in a way it is good for us that they couldn't run the soft tyre, I would imagine.

Q: You were on pole last year, so third this year. Happy?
JPM: In a way I am amazed. I thought I was going to be P6 or P7. In the morning the car felt a lot better than it did in qualifying and I am certain I have got a good car for the race and it will be a matter of time to see what happens.

Q: The temperature went up quite sharply in the 15 minutes before the start of qualifying. Did that make a big difference?
JPM: Not really. I think the level of grip on the car was good. The second sector was not as good as it could have been and that was it.