FIA post-race press conference 20 Jul 2003
POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE - 20 JULY 2003
1. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1h28m37.554s
2. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1h28m43.016s (+ 5.462s)
3. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1h28m48.210s (+ 10.656s)
Published with permission from the Federation Internationale de l' Automobile.
Q: What was your reaction to the guy who jumped out on Hangar Straight, and how did that change the shape of the race?
Rubens BARRICHELLO: First of all, I knew I had a car that was fast enough for me to pull away. I was really confident on the Bridgestone tyres and thanks to the improvements that we made since last week, I was really looking good. But the only question mark was the start. There was a little bit of a problem on the warm-up lap, because, although I started very slow for the pack to be slow, when I accelerated a little bit to get some temperature on the brakes and on the tyres, Jarno didn't accelerate as much, so I opened up a gap, and as far as I am concerned, this is not the way it should be. We should keep the pack very close together. So he made me slow up a lot and when I got to the grid, I waited for so long and my tyres really dropped temperature and I had no grip at all when the start came. So I lost two positions and then I kept it cool. It was very difficult for the first two laps to maintain the position, but I knew it was going to be OK. When the tyres started to be OK, I had good speed on the straight. It was difficult to overtake Kimi because he was quick on the straight as well. I had nothing to lose. Today was make or break.
Q: You had just set fastest lap when the guy appeared and they put out the safety car, so talk us through the stages around that and how you felt when that happened?
RB: I was so concentrated, I wasn't thinking of anything else. The team did a fantastic job to bring me in, but because it was crowded in the pits, they took so long to actually let me go. So you think with these cars that it's going to be quite difficult to overtake but today there was a difference in tyres, and we were doing very well, very well, so I was able to really take the advantage of my car to pass people and it was fantastic.
Q: Great passing manoeuvres and you were very quick either side of that second pit stop and that unbelievable pass with Kimi just after your pit stop.
RB: I almost lost my nose because, to be honest, it was with a McLaren some time ago that I crashed into Abbey, so I was paying attention, because the guy who was on the inside protecting the line, he can brake a lot earlier than you think so I pulled away to the right at the right moment, but I almost lost my nose at that time. It was fair, but it was aggressive. We went into Bridge like it was one coming out. But it was fair, it was good.
Q: Briefly describe your emotions after winning this race so decisively?
RB: For me it's a fantastic feeling because I am never down. It's something that people think, OK, Michael this, Michael that. I love to be inside a team where they work like they worked last week to make this car better and like Bridgestone to make the tyres better. Of course, it is quite hard. But the last two weeks people have been saying to so many things about first lap crashing Rubens, this and that, so I hope they shut up now. I overtook a lot of people.
Q: Juan Pablo, a great drive from you. That second safety car dropped you way down in the midfield but you followed Rubens up through the field. Great racing.
Juan Pablo MONTOYA: Yeah, you can see it was a stuck pit stop. I was behind Ralf when we came into the pits. I just had to wait, wait until Ralf left, so it was pretty hard. I came out of the pits and I was 13th and Ralf was like P7 or P8, so it was pretty hard. But I managed to go by people really quick. After one lap I was two cars behind (him) and I think there was Firman, then Rubens, then Ralf, like bam, bam, bam and it was pretty good because when Rubens was fighting with somebody I was just behind so I was able to catch. When Rubens would pass, next lap I would pass, all the way to the top. The only mistake I made was when I think a Jaguar blew up on the back straight and I was on the inside on every lap so I wouldn't go on the oil and after the pit stop I thought it should be pretty good now and I braked on the oil and I just went straight. I think Kimi had the same problem when I passed him.
Q: How do you think Williams BMW compared against Ferrari today?
JPM: They looked a bit stronger, not that much stronger. From what I remember in testing and long runs they were a lot stronger. I was pretty pleased with my pace. I lost quite a bit of time with my mistake but apart from that he was only a couple of tenths quicker than me, that was all.
Q: Kimi, a spectacular race from you as well. How did you feel in those opening laps? It looked as if you could pass Jarno if you had the opportunity.
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Um, yeah. I was just maybe a little bit quicker at the beginning of the race but I was not able to get close enough on the back straight to try to overtake him. Then I started to lose the rear grip a little bit and Rubens was so much stronger out of Club that I wasn't able to hold him off. Then came the safety car, and after the re-start I got a really good re-start and overtook Trulli and got many places after that.
Q: At the second stop you actually stopped four laps earlier than Rubens. Was that because of the tyre situation or was that always planned?
KR: I don't know really, because all the plans went a bit different when the safety car came out and we decided to stop. I was just going as long they're going to tell me to come in but it worked out well. The first few laps were OK and then I dropped the rear tyres a little bit again and it was difficult.
Q: Just talk us through that incident at Bridge from your point of view?
KR: I knew that because he had overtaken me before after Club corner into the next braking and I knew that he had much better traction out of that long right-hander and I tried to hold him off and I was able to for two corners but then he was beside me in the Bridge and I just tried to go around the outside but got a little bit on the dirty track and ran slightly wide and he got past.
Q: And after that, the tyres or the grip went away...
KR: Yeah. At the end of the race, the tyres were OK again but it took so many laps to come back that it was difficult and then I don't really know, maybe it was oil or something else and braking into corner seven, after the back straight, I touched the brakes and just lost the rear completely and I was quite lucky to get back on the circuit.
Q: Rubens, that seemed to be hard work but entertaining as well?
RB: When it's hard work, it's entertaining, isn't it. You would rather win a race like that than being on pole and being in front the whole time. Of course, I wish I'd had a race like that, it would have been much easier. But having said that, I had a great race today. It was unbelievable and it was a very good choice of tyres. Bridgestone did a phenomenal job and I think the test that I did last week improved so many things for us. We are on the right route to make the car even better. I'm delighted. I had a car that I was able to overtake with. I was able to be aggressive as always. In the last races, like Canada, I lost my nose on the first lap, so people said something, then I spun on the first lap in Magny-Cours, but I am a trier, I am someone who is not going to be behind and be happy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Today I had so many chances to overtake and I was quite happy that I could make it.
Q: Exactly, and it all seemed to be happening going into Abbey, how did you work all that out?
RB: It was something that... it's a work that we have inside the team. The guys in my team, not just the top guys that we know about, but Gabriele, Rudi, Zaccaria, we put a really good car together in terms of traction control, in terms of everything, and the car had phenomenal traction coming out of Club, the way I always dream of. And the tyres did behave really well for the whole race. There was a little bit of a time where there was a small drop and following people closely was quite difficult because obviously you put a lot of temperature on the tyres at that time so you could spin or not. It's something that you have to be careful of. But the car behaved fantastically and, as I was saying, the overtaking was possible because the time that I had to look after the tyres I did, and when I had to be aggressive it was good. I was in a good condition when I came by Kimi the last time because I had newer tyres, which were doing very well at that time. So then it was looking fantastic.
Q: What happened at the start?
RB: As I mentioned in the other room, I think that the warm-up lap onto the grid was too slow, it was slower than any other time before and I knew that we had to go slow to keep the pack together. But at some point, as far as I'm concerned, you have to follow the leader and I think Jarno dropped back too far and when he came onto the grid the pack wasn't close together. He accelerated but the pack was too far away and my temperatures were really down. So I had no grip whatsoever and he knew he could have a good start from his car. But I think we should pay attention to that, because I think the group has to go as fast as the guy in front goes.
Q: Did they give you a good reception at the end?
RB: Yeah, as always. I'm someone who believes and yesterday, started second in qualifying was a difficult moment because you never know if the track is going to improve or is going to get worse, but pole position was definitely halfway to get a victory today.
Q: And your emotions on the rostrum?
RB: It's always very, very hard to listen to the Brazilian anthem and not cry. I tell you, it's unbelievable. It's something that my father and my family and everyone comes to my mind and you know I'm a guy who lost a lot of emotions to keep him on the track and to do it right and when I'm driving, I'm not thinking of anything else. But when I'm on the podium in first place I still remember my father selling the car for me to be able to go to races, so it's just emotions going on.
Q: Juan Pablo, again you did a lot of overtaking, particularly after the second safety car period. Was the car excellent today?
JPM: Yeah, it was really good. As I said yesterday, I don't know what happened in qualifying, where we lost it, because the car was very difficult to drive. But we knew that from the morning the car was very competitive in the long runs. It was quite difficult because it was a tight pit stop and I was behind Ralf so I had to wait quite a long time. I came out of the pits in P13. It wasn't pretty, you know, and from then on I had to pass, pass, pass. It was good because Rubens was caught behind Ralf for a couple of laps and when I got to them then Rubens managed to go by Ralf, I went by Ralf, and we had quite a similar pace. He was slightly quicker but not much quicker than me. He made up ground when I made the mistake down in Abbey. I was always taking, after the blow-up engine, I was taking the inside line and after about ten laps I thought it has got to be pretty clean now. I went on it and the first time I braked I went straight and I had to go to the inside again.
Q: So are you pretty happy with second?
JPM: Oh, it's great. Rubens is behind me in the championship and he only took two points away from me and I am taking points from the guys in front. That is fantastic.
Q: So you are happy with that?
JPM: Hah, oh yeah!
Q: Kimi, I guess you are a little frustrated because it could have been second.
KR: Yeah, I don't really know what happened at that moment. I just went normally as always in the corner and touched the brake and lost the rear completely and ran wide. I lost one place but, okay, it was still lucky to get back on the circuit and score more points than Michael.
Q: When Rubens was behind you the second time having already overtaken you once at Abbey, what were your thoughts then?
RB: I knew where he was strong, out of Club or whatever you call the long right-hander, he just had much better traction than I had and I tried to keep him behind and let him go outside but the next corner he came a bit tight because I saw that he was inside and I just tried to keep him there and give him enough space and try to go around. But it was a bit too slippery and I just ran a little bit wide and lost the first place but he was just too quick today and I wasn't able to hold him off.
Q: You were right behind Cristiano for one stint. How quick was he?
KR: He was pretty quick on that point but he was on less fuel and he wasn't really holding me off too much and I was not able to overtake him, but all the rest before him I was able to overtake quite easily and got quite a big lead at that point but unfortunately it wasn't enough today.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Did any of you guys see the crazy guy running on the track and what did your team tell you on the radio?
JPM: I was going on the straight, I was drafting, I think, Michael and I moved a little bit to the left and when I saw this guy coming across, oofh, I was going to, you know, the first thing that came into my head was I was going to lift and lift my hand, but I said no, nobody is going to lift so I just went straight on the radio and said, you know, there is a guy running around on the track! Hah!
RB: If I tell you I never saw him would you believe me? I just saw that somebody said 'safety car, safety, car' and I was so concentrated I never saw anyone, to be honest. So it is the second race I win with somebody going on the racetrack. They are going to say it was a Brazilian for sure, and I still never saw him.
KR: Yeah, I saw him, but he just jumped over the fence and started running to the circuit but I passed him at that point.
Q: Rubens, I want to understand why the second pitstop of Michael was so long because he stopped behind you...could you see that?
RB: You are asking me? How would I know? How would I know? I just got out of the car, did an interview in the room there, came straight up here. How would I know? I checked now and Michael was fourth. That is the first thing I know from him.
JPM: It was the same as me. He had a fast pit stop and as Ralf came out in front Rubens, I came out in front of Michael. That was all.
Q: Kimi, do you think the pace you had today was the maximum for the car. Was it perfect today?
KR: For sure I would have gone quicker if I had been able to but that was what I got out of the car today. With the new tyres it is really good and once the tyres get quite old it was good, they came back, but in the middle point I was suffering a bit with the rear tyres and I was not able to go so quickly. But, you know, it is still points more than the guy in front of me in the championship and one point can make a big difference.
Q: Juan, you are up to third in the championship. How do you rate your chances?
JPM: Well, probably better than last weekend but, you know, anything can happen. If the next race I win and Michael DNFs I am four points behind and if he wins and I DNF he is 24 ahead, so, I don't know. Just wait and see what happens.
Q: Rubens, now the world championship is open for you.
RB: The championship is always open. You know, now, let me put it this way, if I say okay, yeah, I am looking good for the championship and so on, people are going to start to say oh, Rubens wants to beat Michael in this and this. I don't want that to happen. I just want to enjoy myself today. I am so proud of what the team has done into this weekend and I am proud of myself to be honest. The last two races have been quite difficult and Friday has been quite difficult as well. To come back from the spin to win today is fantastic, so just think of today. I knew I had to do quite well to come out of today with 49 points. That is all I know, the rest is the rest.
Q: We have all laughed about the guy coming onto the track but it is a pretty serious safety issue as well. Do you think that is something the Silverstone authorities have to look at to improve security here?
RB: In a way, if I may say, I am sorry that that happened, even though I didn't know it was happening. I think Silverstone has come into a lot of blame here, people have been saying a lot of things, and I think it is a lot safer now, in terms of traffic jams, in terms of whatever. It is just a better situation than any other time. I love the track. I think it can be safer always but I think it is a really good racing track. Becketts for me is phenomenal, it is one of the best corners and, if it is not, after Eau Rouge in Spa, it could be the best one. So with this happening it might be under a lot of situation but I hope it will be okay because I think we should be coming back here. It was good racing today anyway.
JPM: It was probably one of the best races of the year for the spectators and everything if you really think about it. For me it was so much fun today. I really did enjoy myself.
KR: I think so it can happen anywhere. Any circuit, always some idiot can jump over the fence and run on the circuit. It has just happened here, it has happened in Germany. I wouldn't say they should blame Silverstone but it just happens there was just a guy who decided to do it just right today and it was bad luck.
Q: Rubens, you talked about the things that happened in the last two or three races and you had setbacks on Friday. Do you feel you respond well to that sort of thing?
RB: I think we have talked about it so many other times. I think I have gone through bad periods in my career but I have learned from it. When I started my career with Stewart I definitely was a changed man so we all have bad times in our lives. We just have to believe in ourselves. The other day there was a Brazilian asking me: 'So, How are you going to respond to people being critical to you?' I don't have to respond. I have to believe in myself and it is what I take to bed that counts. I have to respond to my wife and to the guys who pay me. That is all. And that is why I believe so much in my talent and when the time is right you have to grab it with both hands, the way I did today.
Q: Kimi, with five races left do you still think you can win the championship given the scoring system doesn't help?
KR: Yeah, it is still open. We still have a good chance and the seven points now is one less than before this race and you never know what happens in the races and it can turn around completely very quickly in the next race. We are pushing hard as a team and we are serious and we will see if we can manage, but we do our best and hopefully we can get it back before the end of the season.
Q: Rubens, how does this victory compare to your victories in the past?
RB: Er, the most recent one is always the best one. Hockenheim is going to be unbeatable because of the way it was. Monza last year was quite good but I think this one, with the overtaking. And as I said, I think I had a car to win the race today since the very beginning of the race but through so many other points I did not manage to be in front at the first corner so it was much more difficult but at the end much more pleasing, so it ranks highly.