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Post-qualifying press conference - Brazil 23 Oct 2004

(L to R): Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) Williams, Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren in the post qualifying press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Interlagos, Brazil, 23 October 2004

Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA

Drivers: 1st Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari); 2nd Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams); 3rd Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren).

Q: Rubens, immense pressure there as you went out last onto the circuit.
Rubens BARRICHELLO:
It’s so amazing how life is at this moment because I’ve lived here for thirty years or for twenty years and then it was just like racing the go-kart, just think the same and go for it and just try your best. That’s what I did, but as I went across the line and I saw that I was on pole, my legs were very numb because it was immense pressure, because if you make a mistake now, they would probably come down out of the grandstands and kill you! It’s not quite like that, but it’s good pressure and there’s good energy all around so… We are at the same place as we were last year so step by step, I’ve won one battle and I think that’s very important for the race tomorrow. We have a very very good car. I’m very serene. I think there’s a good chance of winning the race tomorrow but that’s the biggest step.

Q: Sensationally impressive accident your teammate Michael Schumacher had this morning; what sort of impact did that have on the team and your preparation in terms of set-up and maybe what caused his accident?
RB:
First of all, it was a shame because it was a biggy, big impact and luckily Michael was OK but he had to take his T-car and then he had no run at all and so he had to re-think a little bit. It was pretty much set, the way we were going to go for qualifying. I still think Michael’s going to have a really good race tomorrow but unfortunately the ten places really damaged his chances of being out there and fighting for pole.

Q: Juan Pablo, an all Latin-American front row, great qualifying lap from you too. Talk us through that, how was sector one, for example?
Juan Pablo MONTOYA:
I think the sector wasn’t brilliant. The first corner is a corner where you can gain a little bit or you can lose a lot and I decided just to take it a bit safer and lost a bit of time from what I could have done. But I’m very happy, the rest of the lap was very good. It would have been close with Rubens but it would have been hard to beat him anyway. I’m happy. It’s the last race for Williams and I really want to thank everybody back at the factory. Williams and BMW have done a great job for me in the last four years and this is the last race for them with me, and I’m going to just try to do my best tomorrow, like I always do.

Q: I’m sure there are a lot of Colombian fans coming to the race tomorrow. What are your thoughts on the atmosphere and how the race is going to go tomorrow with Rubens alongside you there?
JPM:
It’s going to be exciting. Hopefully I can get a good start and we can keep up with them. Normally they’re very quick, but my car has been feeling really good here and we should be really strong here. It would be nice to finish on a high note here.

Q: Kimi, it looked impressive yesterday and today; McLaren look to be in very good shape. Is that how it seems from your standpoint?
Kimi RAIKKONEN:
Yes, I’ve been happy with the car… OK, maybe not to start with because I spun off once but ever since that, the car has been very good and I was happy with the qualifying. In the corner one, the rear end got a little bit loose and in corner nine also, but otherwise it was a pretty good lap and I think we’re in good shape.

Q: Very very close between you and Juan Pablo and Rubens is only two tenths ahead; is that indicative of how the race is going to go, do you think?
KR:
Ah, it’s difficult to say what they are doing. We only know what we are doing and I think we have very good tactics so hopefully third place is a better place to start than second, maybe it’s more clean, I don’t know but we will see how it goes, but we are going to give our best and hopefully we can win.

Q: Rubens, I think most people in Formula One would love to see you win tomorrow. Can you just talk us through the next 12 hours from your point of view, the amount of pressure you’re going to have and what it means to you to be on the pole for this Brazilian Grand Prix?
RB:
To be very honest with you, I think the pressure is already gone. I’m going to sleep on my bed which I love so much, and the thing that’s going to take care of me is my son. I will get home and it will be just a normal day, playing with him, and it’s going to be nice. It’s just a normal day. Be here tomorrow… we have sold out of all the tickets and do what we did last year. I think last year I was very much prepared to win the race and I feel prepared to win it now. If that’s what’s reserved for me tomorrow that’s fine; otherwise we’re going to fight to get the best result out there, but I’m going to give it my best for the win.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: As you came across the line, it’s almost as though you knew at that moment you were on pole; how did you know?
RB:
Well, because I was the last car so basically they told me as Juan Pablo finished the lap that he was able to pip Kimi’s time and it was a 10.8s, so when I saw the 10.6s, even though sometimes that can be a 10.68s or a 10.71s, it was better than a 10.8s so at that time I was on pole.

Q: Could you see from the crowd’s reaction as well?
RB:
Yes, absolutely, because at the end of the day, everyone is trying to save a bit of fuel and so I was going quite slowly, looking at them, and I could see them shouting.

Q: It seems to be your most enjoyable pole ever…
RB:
Well, I tell you, last year was pretty much the same. It is almost as if I had my Saturday last year and I’m here again. I felt that last year we should have won the race and this year is just the same. I’m still trying. I tell my public that I’m there, I’m working my way and the emotions and the energy is so good that we keep on going. If it happens or not, we’re going to see tomorrow but I’m definitely trying to work for that.

Q: Two tenths is a pretty big margin for here.
RB:
Obviously the times here are so close. I had a good lap. I don’t know how much fuel they had, we’re going to see but the important thing is that number one, to start the race, the first big battle is won so that’s nice and then we have a second one, the huge one tomorrow which is going to be a long race, 71 laps, and so on. It’s physically quite hard. It’s going to be a long long battle.

Q: Did you change the car much between sessions?
RB:
I did a little bit and it worked nicely because I think the temperature went up so now it remains a mystery what the weather is going to do tomorrow. In the morning, it seems like we are in England, and then in the afternoon we’re back to Brazil, so it remains a mystery what’s up for tomorrow.

Q: Juan Pablo, front row of the grid. What are your feelings about that on your last race for the team?
JPM:
I’m very happy to be honest. The last race was a bit of a disaster. I think the conditions didn’t help. Here, the last race for Williams and being on the front row is really nice. The team have done a really good job with me for the last four years and it is nice…you know it has been a hard season for us and to do something good in the last race would be nice. If we could win here, it is not going to be easy with Rubens, but we are going to give it our best shot.

Q: Going into the first corner, the speed trap recorded you as being four kilometres down on what you were in pre-qualifying. Does that surprise you?
JPM:
I don’t know, yeah maybe. The top speed…the trap is right on the braking of the hairpin. You know, I don’t really care. What matters is how fast you do a lap and I’m pretty happy.

Q: What is going to be the main factor tomorrow?
JPM:
We can do very good consistency. We’ve a lot of laps and we did really good. But the main question is how quick are you. I think against the other Michelin runners we are very competitive and we should be pretty good. The question is Ferrari as always.

Q: Kimi, it seems almost as if it was the final sector that got you back competitive again because you lost a little bit in the first two. Was that the case?
KR:
Yeah I had a bit of a loose car into the first corner and then corner nine and maybe I lost some time, but I was pretty happy. The car has been good over the whole weekend so I think we will be competitive in the race.

Q: Your rivals earlier this weekend have been saying McLaren will be strong here. Do you see this performance, third, as being as strong as you can be?
KR:
I think it was so close I think we maybe could have been on pole. But it is easy to say afterwards. I’m happy with what we achieved today and we hope that we are in a strong position.

Q: Are you expecting wet weather tomorrow?
KR:
I don’t know. I don’t know what the weather forecast is. We’ll see what happens.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – Gazzetta dello Sport) Question for Rubens. About the next event, what do you think about it?
RB:
Let me win the race and I will tell you tomorrow. It is always good to give a little bit away from what we have to the fans and obviously the Italian fans are one of the most important ones even though in Brazil they are excited. Let’s think about that next week.

Q: (Dan Knutson – National Speed Sport News) Rubens, your good friend Tony Kanaan is here. What do you think about winning the Indy Racing League championship in America and since he has been here have you had the chance to hang out with him or talk with him?
RB:
Yes because he went home to get a pass. I think Tony is one of the talents that went to America. He won the championship in a nice way. He can turn both ways, not just left, and I do hope he can get a chance to drive in Formula One, at least test a car, because I’m pretty sure when he does that he is going to show his talent and people will recognise it.

Q: (Dan Knutson) The FIA has just announced that qualifying for next year will be one session on Saturday with light fuel, second session on Sunday with race fuel and the cars will be in parc ferme. What do you think of this system – the times will be added together from Saturday and Sunday?
RB:
Same for everyone I guess. New things come in and you have to learn all the things again. If we can have a qualifying without the fuel that is the one prefer, because that is when the car is fastest. I guess it is just the same for everyone.
KR: I think it would be nice to get some solution on the qualifying because it would be much easier for the spectators and they know what is going on and it is not changing every single race.
JPM: In a way it is nice. But in a way a lot of people are going to be confused with adding times and what is the average and things like that.

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) For Kimi, only four times in the top-three, what is the main reason for that?
KR:
I think since we have got the 19B, the new car, we have improved the speed and everything. We haven’t had that for a long time so I think we had to do a lot with the car.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi) A question for Rubens but also for the other guys. Michael is not here not only because he was penalised, but also because he was not in the top-three at the end. What do you think is the reason? Do you think it was the strategy of you guys or he wasn’t able to set up the car right?
JPM:
I’ll be honest with you. Looking at the lap he made quite a few mistakes and I think that was the problem. If you really think about if you have got a 10-place penalty and you have a fast car you probably put more fuel.
RB: Nothing to comment.

Q: (Jose Emilio Aguiar – Extra Newspaper) Do you think the place where Michael crashed is dangerous because of the bumps or it was just a mistake?
JPM:
I think the tyres did good actually. If those tyres were not there he would have been against the barrier.
RB: I think the bump for sure is not helping. Juan Pablo had one off some years ago in the wet and it was pretty similar. If you have an off you want to have it there because it is going upwards and you have the barriers which helps stopping the car. Michael was very unlucky that the car jinked to the other side and he didn’t lose as much speed as he should have. There is a big bump on entry so that probably doesn’t help.

Q: (Jose Emilio Aguiar) With the new rules about tyres, aerodynamics, do you think there is going to be more overtaking?
RB:
My feeling will be only after I have tested the car and drive behind people. That’s pretty much the only way to know.

Q: (Erica Hideshima – Jornal de Tarde) Are you going to keep cool tomorrow. People keep asking you how you are going to win?
RB:
Keeping the drink in a way and to go home and have my normal life. No Caipirinha’s tonight.