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FIA post-race press conference 29 Jun 2003

Race winner Ralf Schumacher (GER) Williams BMW FW25 celebrates his first win of the season.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Nurburgring, Germany, 29 June 2003

POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE - JUNE 29, 2003
1. Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS), 1h34m43.622s
2. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1h35m00.443s (+ 16.821s)
3. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1h35m23.295s (+ 39.673s)


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

TV UNILATERALS

Q: That was a great victory, the first ever BMW Williams one-two finish and here on home soil as well...
Ralf SCHUMACHER:
Second one-two finish, we had one in Malaysia I think. Still, it's great. It has been a long time. I've had a couple of pole positions but I couldn't turn them into victory. I got a bit of criticism but, you see, even a bad driver can win a race, so...

Q: You made a great start there ahead of your brother into turn one...
RS:
Yeah. I simply had a good start. For whatever reason he didn't and that's why I took the chance. I don't know, maybe it looked more spectacular from the outside than it actually was.

Q: You had a very long first stint. By the time you came out of that, how do you think you fared against Kimi? Do you think you could have got him towards the end of the race?
RS:
We gained half of the time back. They were pretty strong. It would have been a very difficult one. I don't know but I have to guess yes, obviously. We were pushing very hard. The car was perfect today, tyres were perfect, so the team did a great job.

Q: Juan Pablo, tell us what happened in that first stop - you changed only one set of tyres?
Juan Pablo MONTOYA:
Yeah, I only changed the rear tyres because when I was following Rubens and Michael and Ralf, when we were all quite together, I was having a little graining on the front and I decided the best thing to do was to leave the fronts on. It didn't seem to pay off and I actually lost my time. I didn't manage to get by Rubens or anything, so for the last stop I put on new tyres and I went by both of the Ferraris.

Q: Well, you were right behind Michael. Tell us about that incident.
JPM:
I don't know what was wrong with Michael on the straight. He had pretty good straight (line speed) and it was just in the cornering he was very slow. I went down into the hairpin, he blocked the inside, I went for the outside and we touched.

Q: And? Did he run wide, do you think, or do you think...
JPM:
Well, I thought I gave him plenty of room. I wasn't going to give him all the track but I gave him enough room to, you know, to go round the corner somehow.

Q: Rubens a good start?
Rubens BARRICHELLO:
Yep, a good start. I went by Juan Pablo and then although it was very difficult to pass, it was OK to keep the pace. I was saving a little bit of fuel and at that stage everything was running OK but then we put in a little bit more fuel and the car started to be a bit more difficult to drive compared to the speeds that Williams' were going. I was disappointed that Juan Pablo went by (while I was) in the pits but that was all I could do. I was catching Michael when they were fighting - I don't know what was happening to Michael at that time - but I was catching quite rapidly. But then I went through a phase in the race when the balance was no good at all. When the fuel came down the car was better but there was no gain. I couldn't go forward any more so I had to just pace myself.

Q: Ralf, you came in for some criticism after the Canadian Grand Prix for not being aggressive enough, for not being a winner. Can you tell us your thoughts now?
RS:
I don't know. It's down to the experts, those who call themselves experts after the race. This was far more important. For the team, we took an amazing step, if you remember where we started. I can't remember a team turning it around so much from start of the season. Again, it's amazing what a job the team has done this year.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Ralf, a nice early birthday present to yourself!
RS:
Yep. Usually I never get the timing right, but this time, yeah, a perfect opportunity, especially here, after '99, I was very close. Last year it looked very promising, so it's a good feeling.

Q: How does this stand in terms of the wins you've had so far?
RS:
Well, it's great to win in front of the home crowd, especially here or in Hockenheim, obviously, but even here the crowd was amazing today. The reception for all of us, and then being one and two for Williams again is really good for the Constructors' championship at the same time.

Q: Particularly given there's another race in a week's time with very little time to react between the two. Maybe it will be fairly similar conditions?
RS:
Well, as I said before in the press conference, it's really great what we've achieved this year. The car is definitely on the right way. Magny-Cours, last year, wasn't that bad for us. I think we both like the circuit anyway, so yeah, it's looking promising for that one as well.

Q: In the early stages how hard were you pushed by your brother?
RS:
Not really. In the first few laps I had a bit of graining so I couldn't really do anything. Then I tried to disappear a bit but it just worked by a couple of tenths or a tenth sometimes but then after the first pit stop the car, the new tyres, went perfect and there was no problem at all. But always keep in mind we had about ten kilos, at least, more fuel in the car so it showed we had the right strategy.

Q: So, no problems with the car at all. It was absolutely perfect?
RS:
The car was absolutely perfect today as it usually is when you win a race. But it is true to say last year we struggled with a bit of tyre problems but here this year, except for the first run, everything was perfect.

Q: Juan Pablo, you had the two Renaults behind you in the early stages. Were they pushing hard or not?
JPM:
No, I was more focussed trying to stay with Rubens. I had really bad graining and then the rears started going off really bad and towards the end of the stint I couldn't even really keep the rear behind me. I kind of struggled a little bit and because I had so much oversteer I decided to put on the new rears and it went from massive oversteer to massive understeer. Probably going all round new tyres would have been better but at the time I thought it was better to just stay with the old fronts and I think I lost most of the time to Ralf there. Then for the last stop we went for new tyres and we went by the two Ferraris, that was really good.

Q: So really pleased with the second place?
JPM:
Yeah, going into the last stop I was fourth and did Rubens in the pit stop and then getting Michael on the track was pretty good fun...especially at home!

Q: I was told to say that is still under investigation by the stewards, but you are quite happy about your position?
JPM:
Yeah, I braked pretty late and I gave him plenty of room and, you know, we touched...and he spun...I continued.

Q: Where do you see the team's position in the world championship now?
JPM:
I think it is very good. I think the team has done a fantastic job. The last four races, since Austria, we have been very quick. In Austria I was leading until I blew up, then Monaco we won, the last race we were very strong, finished second and third, and now first and second. The way it looks we can probably keep the ball rolling to the end of the year.

Q: Rubens, that seemed pretty tough today. Are you happy with third?
RB:
Well, you are never happy with third but I think, you know, considering everything I was going through, the balance of the car was a little bit difficult...I think it is a fairly good result. After the start, the car was running quite well but then after the pit stops the car never felt as good again and I was running into balance problems really.

Q: Because you were right up behind Michael after about seven laps and then just dropped back quite substantially...
RB:
I think I lost more to Michael after my first pit stop. He gained a little bit on me in the pitstop, a couple of seconds, and then he was opening like three to four tenths (of a second) a lap, but I couldn't do anything with the balance, I was really struggling. But then on the second set I was much happier, especially compared to him because I was catching quite rapidly as well so I don't know if he had any problems or what, but I have just been fighting against the balance for the whole race and trying to sort it out in the pitstops with pressures and front wings and things.

Q: Do you see yourselves being better off in Magny Cours?
RB:
Well, definitely. I think it is a racetrack where we went well in the last couple of years or even more. Williams have done quite well there as well, expect McLaren to do well, so it is going to be close again. We just need to see what we can do.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: Juan Pablo, you had problems with engines and gearboxes in the last two Grands Prix and you kept quiet about them. Apart from the graining on the tyres, did you have any other problems during the race?
JPM:
From yesterday to today they had to change something on the engine, a little piece on the engine, and they didn't seem to have any problems today. It was fine. I decided myself to drop the pace and at the end I pushed pretty hard and that was it.

Q: With the move on Michael, which we all enjoyed, you seemed to attack very quickly. Were you trying to take him by surprise and were you yourself surprised when he seemed to come back to you?
JPM:
To be honest I knew I had new tyres and if I wanted to pass him it had to be straight away, to use the extra grip. So that's what I did, I used the extra grip and I came out of the corner, put the nose in and he blocked me so I went straight to the other side and went around the outside.

Q: So, can we be clear about this? If you were to have a little talk with Michael now you would point out to him that it was his initiative and he was at fault, not you?
JPM:
Well, when I went to the corner I wasn't going to give him all the track but I gave him enough room on the inside to go around the inside. I didn't go for the kerb or anything. I was pretty wide, I braked really late and actually Rubens gave me a hand there because when I was following Rubens he was taking the corner pretty wide and I thought ah, there has got to be plenty of grip out there and I went and it was fine. When we touched, Michael probably went in too fast and when he touched it spun the car around.