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FIA Saturday press conference - Monaco, Pt 3 31 May 2003

(L to R): Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren and Ralf Schumacher (GER) Williams in the FIA press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 30 May 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.


Q: Can all the three drivers give some comments on the swimming pool area and the entrance to La Rascasse?
Juan Pablo MONTOYA: The entrance of the swimming pool is the same. The Rascasse is a bit different, it is safer...no, probably not safer, just cheaper for the teams!
Ralf SCHUMACHER: Well, yeah, it is a big effort for them to change the circuit like that and it is good because it was always easy to make a stupid mistake into Rascasse and that was it, end of story, and as Juan Pablo said it was very expensive at the same time as annoying. It is a good change and the swimming pool area was bumpy in some areas and the new tarmac seems to be good.

Q: What did you think when your brother Michael was out on track?
RS: I was surprised. When I saw the first sector I said 'whoops, it's going to be tight' but then he made a slight mistake into the corner that was called Loews corner, I don't know what it is called now, and I was very surprised that even in the second sector he seemed to lose somewhere else as well. It is great for us, certainly, but we expected him to out qualify us.

Q: Kimi, McLaren have said this car is not a qualifying car. How do you judge it in comparison to the others?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: I think it is still not a qualifying car, like they said, but it seems to be working well this year and it has always been better with more fuel in the car than how it was last year when we were qualifying on low fuel for one lap. We never really got the best out of it like the other teams and it is a bit the same situation now when we are running on the Fridays, or here Thursday, that we are a bit far away from the others but we know that and that is why we don't worry so much and once we and all the other guys put fuel in the car it seems to be going well.

Q: Because of the exit of the pit lane, Sainte Devote has changed a little with the new kerb now. Do you think it could influence the start tomorrow?
RS: Well, Charlie (Whiting) will watch it pretty carefully anyway and whoever cuts it and gains a position will be reported to the stewards and get a drive-through penalty so I think it is in nobody's interests to gain anything but at least there is a bit more space in case we need it. I think it is not a bad idea.

Q: We have eight Michelin cars in the top ten positions. Do you think if the weather is going to be the same tomorrow this is an indicator for the race?
KR: I hope so, but I don't know. I think the Michelin seems to be working a bit better in these hot conditions so hopefully it will be even hotter and we will have a bigger advantage.
RS: The conditions seemed to work for us. We did a lot of testing in the last two tests to be prepared for this race and they have done a great job. Last year we struggled a bit after our long runs and so I am pretty sure after what I have seen today and this morning that we are pretty well prepared, we made a good tyre choice and I am looking forward to tomorrow.

Q: Kimi, it is your third time here. Do you think just from a driving point of view that you have something to learn from this track and how do you like it?
KR: Yeah, I like the circuit but it is very difficult and the experience here makes it a much bigger difference than other places and really this morning I started to find a bit better lines around the circuit and we got the set-up working quite well and every year you will feel a bit better, more confident and quicker, but it is not too bad now and hopefully it is much better this year.

Q: Now you have a very good opportunity to keep Michael behind you in the world championship. Are you going to take risks to win the race or are you going to go cautiously to get some good points.
KR: We will try to win the race but we will see how it will go in the race and if you see that there is no chance to win then you need to take whatever is available. So I will take the best shot that I can to try to win it but so will all the other drivers so we will see.

Q: Kimi, both Rubens and Michael lost a lot of time in the last sector and that would suggest that they have problems with the tyres. But they are going to use the same tyre tomorrow that they did today and they are at the back of the grid. Do you think it is an advantage for you?
KR: Yes, for sure it is going to help us but we don't know how well they are doing on the longer runs and from what I have seen on my car when we did longer runs it seems to be very good and I am quite confident that we will be quite good tomorrow and hopefully we can have a bigger advantage in the points after this race.