POST QUALIFING PRESS CONFERENCE - 02.08.2003
1. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1m15.167s
2. Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS), 1m15.185s (+ 0.018)
3. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1m15.488s (+ 0.321)
Published with permission from the Federation Internationale de l' Automobile.
Q: It's remarkable to think that this is your first pole this year.
Juan Pablo MONTOYA: I know, it's amazing. It's taken quite a long time to get it. I'm very pleased with it. The car has been working good all weekend. Yesterday the strategy in my car was really good. Today we got more running on the tyres we're going to race and it really paid off. We did a lot of development in the car and I think we've got a really good race car.
Q: It was very, very hot out there. Talk about the race tomorrow - tyre wear and, of course, the effect on you as a human being?
JPM: I think it's going to be pretty interesting. It's going to be hard physically and mentally because you're going to be sweating a lot and the car's going to be having a hard time and I think it's going to show. I think reliability is going to be a big factor. I think we've been pretty strong this year on that and if we can keep it up it's going to be really good for the championship.
Q: Ralf, they started cheering, lots of noise two thirds of the way round your lap but it all fell slightly away towards the end there.
Ralf SCHUMACHER: Yeah, in the last two corners I simply had a bit too much understeer and I just lost it there. But even then it was very close and I'm pleased with the lap, I must say. I wasn't so happy in the beginning of yesterday, even this morning we were still trying to find the balance so the team did a good job. First row - it's brilliant.
Q: What are your thoughts going into the race tomorrow? This could be a critical race in the championship?
RS: Try to take it from the start and hopefully get through the first few corners alright and then see. Last year, I was a bit unlucky, so I hope I have a bit more luck with reliability this year and see where it ends up.
Q: Rubens, Ferrari looked to be in a bit of trouble on Friday but made a great recovery this morning. You were second quickest this morning and it was a great qualifying lap from you.
Rubens BARRICHELLO: Yeah, absolutely, I think the car in actual fact is a lot better than yesterday so thanks to the team, the engineers, the mechanics. In fact we improved the car a hell of a lot. I was very close to the pole but I think that the time that the guys from Williams did was quite difficult to beat, but that's the limit. It was a really good lap from my side. I'm looking forward - whatever comes tomorrow, it's an open mind. I have to have a good start and see if I can go for the top step.
Q: Where do you think BMW Williams have the edge at the moment?
RB: That's difficult to know. You should ask them. On the first sector we pretty much matched, the second sector is where they can do a good time as well as on the third, but I made a lot of improvements on the third sector since yesterday. My tyres are lasting very well up to there, but the most important thing is this morning running a lot of laps, the tyres were surviving very well and I'm quite optimistic for that. Tomorrow we have to see. It looks like we're in Malaysia; it's so hot, so we will have to see who is the most consistent one doing the good times.
Q: Juan Pablo, you have been on pole before here.
JPM: Yeah, '01, I was on pole, leading the race and we had an engine failure. Actually, it was through the pit stop, it wasn't actually the engine.
Q: What sort of memories do you have from that?
JPM: It was good because it was the big track.
Q: Rubens just suggested you might be able to answer the question where you think you, BMW Williams, have the edge.
JPM: I think aerodynamically we are very close to them now; we are equal with them, that is a big thing. The Michelin tyres are working very well and that is helping us. I think mechanically we understand the car a lot better. Every track we go to we are going in straight away with a good set-up and it seems to be paying off.
Q: Are you fairly confident of the consistency of the tyres tomorrow, though?
JPM: Yeah, I think we are getting better and better as the weekend goes on. I think the temperature is going to help us out a bit. We will see how the Bridgestone works but I think we are looking quite strong.
Q: And what about tyre wear?
JPM: Well, we will have to wait and see. It is a long race.
Q: What about the temperature. How demanding is that for a Colombian?
JPM: I think it is the same for everybody. It is going to be hard, but I don't think it will be as hard as Malaysia or something like that. But we will make it as interesting as possible.
Q: How do you feel about the temperature Ralf?
RS: It's nice and warm. Not a problem at all.
Q: Are you a little disappointed not to be on pole?
RS: Well, when it is that close, as always. But then being on the front row is great for the two of us anyway I just didn't get the last sector due to understeer and that was it. But that is the way it is sometimes. Still I think second, you can accept that, can't you, two hundredths?
Q: So, how do you see the race panning out?
RS: It is going to be a tough one. The Ferraris seem to be very consistent this morning. I mean, we have seen in previous races that they are pretty strong on Saturdays and we seem to have the upper hand in the races. But still, with about 50 degrees track temperature everything can happen tomorrow, unexpected tyre blistering or whatever. So it is going to be a very interesting race.
Q: Rubens, were you a little surprised to be third?
RB: Not really. I mean, Williams yesterday were really quick and in order to beat them we had to do something on a low 15 although it is a little bit hotter, and I think I took the best out of my car. A 15.4 is what I could do, I couldn't manage anything better. I didn't want to compromise my race tomorrow so I took the chances of a good lap and it worked on the limit. When I saw the first sector I was still looking okay and when they both went through the second sector it looked like they had to just cruise the final stage to be able to beat me so I wasn't surprised at all.
Q: What sort of changes or improvements have you made since yesterday?
RB: Everything a little bit. To be honest we didn't have a good car yesterday, as simple as that, and this morning, since yesterday night with all the work, you know, it was quite okay. I kept it quite cool, my car improved really a lot and I am just happy.
Q: Are you quite confident of the tyres tomorrow in the heat?
RB: Yeah, we have been quite consistent in the morning. The race is going to be different because it is going to be even hotter, but I know what I have to do to make it survive and hopefully with a good tyre I can just be with them. See how the race will develop, but I am very confident. Not as good as Silverstone, but it is still on the good side.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Rubens, this is the second race in a row you have beaten Michael. Is this a trend?
RB: In actual fact it is the first time that I have done that. You know, this year I think I have gone through two difficult races, which were Magny-Cours and Canada, but having said that I had some other problems that I think caused me to be slower. I made an improvement on car, on set-up and I was much happier. Since the testing we have done in Barcelona I was happier with the car, whether it has gone my way or not I don't know. But it is not a question of beating Michael really; it is a question of beating everyone, like in Silverstone.
FIA post-qualifying press conference 02 Aug 2003
POST QUALIFING PRESS CONFERENCE - 02.08.2003