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FIA post-race press conference - Germany 03 Aug 2003

(L to R): David Coulthard (GBR) McLaren, Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) Williams and Jarno Trulli (ITA) Renault in the press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, German Grand Prix, Race Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 3 August 2003

1. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1h28m48.769s
2. David COULTHARD (McLAREN), 1h29m54.228s (+ 65.459s)
3. Jarno TRULLI (RENAULT), 1h29m57.829s (+ 69.060s)


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

Q: Juan, it looked like a perfect day for you.
Juan Pablo MONTOYA:
Yeah. I think it went really well, the whole weekend went really well from Friday. Ralf was ahead of me on Friday but we made a different tyre choice and it seemed to pay for the rest of the weekend. We got a lot more work than yesterday and today the car was fantastic all day. We got a great start and just went from there. I don't know what happened to Ralf at the start, he may even have touched with somebody but from then I just pushed, pushed and I was amazed I couldn't pull away in the first few laps, but then I kept doing the same pace and they seemed to drop away. So I managed to get a bit more out of the car and make a faster lap.

Q: Everything perfect mechanically with the car?
JPM:
I had a bit of an issue about lap 15 or something where I lost a bit of top speed but it wasn't a big issue, it just stayed like that all day, and even like that, we had enough pace to pull away.

Q: Jarno's not with us at the moment; obviously it's a very very hot day, what were the conditions like from your point of view?
JPM:
For me it wasn't that bad. Physically I was pretty good all day. For me it was a completely different race than for Jarno. For me it was just keeping the pace all day long, trying not to make a mistake all day long, trying not to make a mistake whereas Jarno had pressure all day.

Q: You were on a three stop strategy, the guys behind were on a two stopper; are you surprised now the way it turned out?
JPM:
Yes and no. I think from our point of view three was the best way to go and I ended up about a minute in front of the second guy, so it seems to work.

Q: David, great job today from tenth on the grid. First of all, did you see anything of that first corner accident?David COULTHARD: Well, mostly I saw it on the big screen. It was being replayed while we were behind the safety car. From what I could see, it looked like Kimi was on the outside and there were some cars moving around, jockeying for position, they probably didn't see each other and it caused an incident.

Q: You got up to sixth as a result of that, then had a very very long second stint which enabled you to get in front of Alonso and then really be in touch with Trulli and Michael; take us on from there?
DC:
As you say, a long middle stint. I was struggling a little bit at the beginning of the stint because... my car when I pitted was really well balanced and I thought I was in for a really strong afternoon. After the pit stop, I picked up quite a bit of understeer and it took a good ten laps or so for that to dial out and that was the same on the third set, so that it made it quite difficult to carry the pace behind other cars that I could carry when I was alone. Obviously I was trying to size up Michael a lot to overtake when he had the manoeuvre on Jarno and then I managed to pass him as well. I overcooked a little bit on the brakes but then managed to get him at the next corner.

Q: Where were you quicker than Michael in the later stages of the race?
DC:
It was surprising, actually because it was inconsistent around the track. I tended to be much better on the brakes into the hairpin and much better into turn eight, which is in front of the Mercedes Benz grandstand. He was very good into the complex and that made it very difficult to be close to him as I started the lap to try and set him up for the hairpins. I thought it would take a long time to get into a position to pass him.

Q: It looked as though you more or less did the same manoeuvre as Michael on Jarno running wide out of the hairpin; was that a deliberate policy to try and do the same thing?
DC:
No, I just felt confident that I could brake just a bit shy of the hundred yard board. As it happens, because I followed him a little bit for the slipsteam, I think I picked up some dirt on the tyres, so I overshot slightly and then obviously he came along and held his line which didn't really let me get back onto the circuit, but he was on dirty tyres when he went into turn eight and he ran wide and I had better traction.

Q: You've had a lot of trouble this weekend in the build-up to the race and also, it appears, quite a lot of pressure from outside sources. Describe your feelings now after a race like that?
DC:
Well, obviously delighted to be back on the podium. It's been since Melbourne. It's obviously been a difficult season for me with having difficulty getting the car in the right position for qualifying. My race pace in every other session has been good and obviously that's the key for me having future success.

Q: Juan Pablo, the championship's looking pretty close now. You're in a pretty clear second place and Michael's certainly in touch.
JPM:
Yeah, I think things have come a long way now from where we were before Monaco but there are still four races to go and anything can happen, but we're definitely in a better position than we were in the beginning of the year and I think it's very important just to keep scoring points, even if you can't win. You've got to try to be second in all the races, because you never know when somebody's going to go out. Look at Michael today. He looked like a very strong second and with five laps to go he's only seventh. So anything can go wrong for anybody.

Q: Juan Pablo, fantastic performance, you absolutely dominated that race.
JPM:
Yeah, I think if Ralf hadn't gone out at the first corner it would have been a bit harder race than that. But I think the team would have dominated the race anyway. Just everything went really well. I had a minor glitch with a limiter in the car but apart from that everything went really well.

Q: During the opening stages you were just easing away, but later you were much much faster than everybody else?
JPM:
I couldn't believe it. They told me to back off, back off and I was still pulling away! I could do a really hard lap, a low 1m 15s and an easy lap, a 1m 15.8s and stuff like that. I think other people were running around 1m 17s. I couldn't believe it.

Q: You also looked so cool afterwards; what sort of cooling was in the car?
JPM:
Yeah. I've been working out quite hard over the last few races with a new trainer I've got and it seems to be paying off.

Q: But did you have cooling or was it just normal Colombian weather?
JPM:
No. You know Bogota's not that hot. Bogota's only about 18 degrees. I don't know. I've been living outside Colombia for I don't know how many years. In Monaco it was the same thing, I was pretty cool afterwards.

Q: Was there any problem with concentration? You didn't have anybody to race...
JPM:
Not really. I just paced myself. I knew what time I had to do in every sector and I have a screen and I just bang, bang, bang just kept them coming. Tried to be as consistent as possible and if you were slow in one, just push a bit more. If you're too quick, back off a little bit and just keep the pace coming.

Q: Are you allowing yourself to have a little think about the championship at this stage?
JPM:
No. I think it's turning out very good at the moment. There are still four races to go. As I said yesterday, anything can go wrong to Michael, to anybody and the championship could turn. You know I'm only six points behind him and anything can happen. We've still got to score good points in the next four races.

Q: David, from where you were starting on the grid, second place must have looked a long way away, so it must be fantastic to finish second.
DC:
Yeah, obviously assisted by the incident at the first corner which unfortunately for the team took out Kimi but nonetheless my race pace was strong, obviously two stopping like the others around me and then I didn't suffer the blistering that Jarno had at the end, and obviously Michael was struggling with his tyre, which probably led to his puncture so I was able to keep pushing.

Q: You made up a lot of places on the first lap, not just because of the retirements. You must have overtaken a few as well...
DC:
Well, actually in trying to overtake Michael before the safety car lap I lost a place to Mark and then I had to win that back again and then obviously overtake the Toyotas and other cars like that. But then it was pretty quiet for the middle part of the race, I was just racing against the clock to try and make sure I could get out ahead of Fernando and obviously try and get in amongst where Michael and Jarno were.

Q: How did you see the overtaking manoeuvre with Jarno?
DC:
Well, it was pretty much the same as when Michael overtook him. He defended the inside, so it pushes you to the outside. I tried to just brake at the same point I had braked at the lap before but I think I had a little dust on my tyres so I overshot slightly and then obviously we had to battle coming out of the corner. He held his line, which kept me a little bit half on the track, half on the grass, but then he ran wide at the next corner and the manoeuvre was over.

Q: How much were you able to have a go at Michael when he was just ahead of you?
DC:
Yeah. I was quicker over the lap than Michael but he was conveniently quick where it mattered for being able to overtake, which was out of the last corner onto the start/finish straight, which gave him the run through turn one and also turn two, but he was very slow at the hairpin and turn eight and in the complex, but there was very little I could do there.

Q: And you looked a little more red-faced than Juan Pablo at the end; was it exhausting out there?
DC:
You're not really aware of it being exhausting when you're doing the race but when you stop, you suddenly don't have something to concentrate on then. Clearly it's hot and when you're in the middle of a battle it's a different sort of pressure than when you're leading races. You know, that's why I think you have to work a little bit harder but the best place to be is at the front, no question!

Q: Jarno, nice to see you here. You obviously found it fairly exhausting.
Jarno TRULLI:
Let's say it wasn't very easy yesterday and today because I have had a fever so everything made my life a little bit more difficult. But despite that we did a very good job developing the car and we had a good qualifying so we built up a good starting position for the race and everything was working very well until 15 laps to go when I started really struggling with the rear tyres - that was my problem today.

Q: What was the problem, just no grip or were the blistering or what?
JT:
I must say that Michelin were really over Bridgestone on this circuit, they were much quicker, much more competitive but probably I didn't really get a right balance for the end of the race. It was strange because suddenly I started having a problem with the rear, I had to push more to keep Michael behind me, so I was pushing a bit more under traction and braking, so I was basically wearing off the tyres more and more and I ended up being very, very slow at the end and I had to fight the car and you see the result.

Q: So that was the reason both Michael and David were able to pass then?
JT:
Basically yes, because at one stage I was pulling away from them, I was comfortably second and I was also taking care of the rear tyres because I knew they could have gone off. Then suddenly I had this problem, so it is really a shame and we knew that once they get behind us they are going to overtake us because they are much quicker on the straight. Plus, if you are struggling with the rear tyres normally we have also bad traction out of the corner, struggling going out of the corner so the straight speed is even lower. There was a couple of things that worked out not perfectly well for me but I must say today I have been lucky because otherwise I couldn't get the third position.

Q: What was your view of the start and the first corner?
JT:
Honestly I didn't because everything happened really next to me, behind me, on my left-hand side. I hardly saw, I think McLaren hitting probably Ralf and I have just seen really Kimi getting away very quickly but nothing else.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: Jarno, there was someone with garlic under the podium. Can you explain this history?
JT:
Well, I spent some days in the south of Italy and they really believe in these sorts of things. I went there, I have a lot of friends, had a dinner in one of the best restaurants in the world with Don Alfonso Iaccarino and he introduced me to some people who were very good friends of Jean Alesi. And apparently they gave this garlic a few years ago to Jean and straight away he went on the podium and this time I get it, I am on the podium, so I must say that it really works. I don't know, but it seems to work.

Q: Juan, there is talk about the relationship between you and the team cooling a bit. Is that true and has this victory changed anything?
JPM:
You know, we had a couple of problems a few races ago but after that things have gone pretty well. Last race I finished second, I won this race so there is not many issues at the moment, I don't think there are.

Q: Jarno, were you always going to do a two-stop race because I think you did something like 29 laps on the last set of tyres. Is that the problem?
JT:
No, I don't think so, because with the first set I didn't really have this kind of problem and everything worked out pretty well. It just suddenly happened with the second set while I was pulling away comfortably from the McLaren, I don't know if David was there but definitely I was really looking good and then I was surprised and we have to investigate. Maybe the track rubbed in eventually towards the end and the set-up was not quite right for the last 15 laps but I don't know, we have to investigate because everything worked out pretty well until the last 15 laps. I cannot really blame the tyres because they have been really, really strong this weekend and in general we did a lot of tests on the set-up over the weekend with the engineers and we came out with quite a good set-up even on the long race and I was looking pretty consistent and quick and then suddenly the last 15 laps it was given away.

Q: Juan Pablo, what did you think when the team advised you Michael had a tyre problem?
JPM:
They told me Michael has a tyre problem, watch out for any red debris. I looked around, Michael was quite close already because when I was coming out the hairpin they were going into the stadium so I knew he wasn't going to be too far in front. I passed him and didn't have any problems really. Until then I thought, you know, he is so lucky, always getting second and even from nowhere, but some day his luck ran out and it was today so it was good.

Q: Jarno, you said that when Michael came up to pass you your car was slower at that stage but you made him work very hard to get round you. Did you have in mind a similar incident which involved Fernando when Michael was tough with him at the British Grand Prix two weeks ago. What were you thinking at that moment? Did you deliberately make things tough for Michael?
JT:
We were fighting, just fighting. It was a normal race and I was really trying hard to keep him behind but once he got in the tow it was really hard to keep him behind me, especially on the straight, and I was struggling with the rear tyres. And as you probably saw under braking I was losing such a lot of time - and on traction. So I knew the last 10 or 15 laps would be really hard for me and when I saw Michael I said 'well, now I don't know if I can keep him behind' because his straight line speed was much higher than mine. I think the manoeuvre was pretty much on the limit because he put all four wheels on the green side of the circuit but basically got an advantage running wide and outside of the circuit so I think this manoeuvre wasn't probably right.

Q: Juan, I believe in the unilaterals you said you lost some speed from about lap 15 or so. Can you run us through the problem? Did it go away?
JPM:
It didn't go away. It happened for the first time when I was going into the stadium. I accelerated and it didn't accelerate and I am like, 'oh no, not again here'. They told me to keep going and they said you know, see if you can keep pushing and we will see what happens. I could still push away and get a gap, even like that. I lost about 10km/h in the top speed but even like that we had enough speed to pull away.

Q: There are four races to the end of the season, considering you almost lapped the second person in this race can you analyse the performance we can expect from your team for the rest of the season?
JPM:
I think we should have a good performance. The next few races are going to be quite interesting. We have been pretty strong everywhere. We have to wait and see how it pans out but I think Michelin have come a long way, and Williams, and I think we should be very strong. The next race is going to be a big challenge for me, I have struggled the last few years there but hopefully this year, because they have changed the track a little bit, it is a different story. If I can't win I will try to finish second, just get the points.