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Post-race press conference - Brazil 24 Oct 2004

(L to R): Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren, Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) Williams and Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari in the post race press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 24 October 2004

Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA

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

Q: Juan Pablo, a brilliant race, 16 laps to go, 1.6s in front of Kimi; take us through those closing stages.
Juan Pablo MONTOYA:
I think it’s unbelievable to be honest. It was a really hard race. Kimi was running a bit longer, so right before the stop I managed to do a couple of laps which I think gave me enough to stay ahead of Kimi. I came out of the pits and I made one mistake and Kimi got right behind me and I thought ‘whoa, don’t do anything stupid, just keep it on the road’ and I did and I managed to get some very good laps at the end and managed to open up a bit of a gap to Kimi. It’s fantastic, you know. It’s been four years with Williams, we’ve had ups, downs and everything and I think to close these four years with a win is unbelievable. I really want to thank Frank, I think I’ve thanked all the team except Frank, so thanks Frank.

Q: It was an amazing race from start to finish. Talk us through the early laps with the rain; a difficult opening lap for you but you recovered very well on laps two and three.
JPM:
Yeah, on the first lap it was difficult to get temperature in the tyres a little bit. I was sliding a little bit, the start wasn’t that good, but I started to find that I had a bit more grip than the rest of the people, so I started using the grip and it worked to my advantage. I think Sam Michael and the team did a fantastic job. They called me early enough to go for slick tyres and it really played into my hands. I managed to pass Kimi coming out of the pits and I think that was the race decided.

Q: Fernando Alonso was obviously very quick early on starting on dry tyres; was it a decision for you or did you just go intermediates, no choice?
JPM:
We knew the track was too wet from where we were. We needed track position before the stop and I think we made the right call, to be honest.

Q: It looked like it was a long hard race from your point of view, there was a little bit of rain at two thirds distance…
JPM:
It rained a little bit and I slowed down the pace a little bit but it wasn’t hard to drive. I think the hardest thing for all of us was the neck because we’re all used to turning right and this is only the circuit which goes the other way and it was really hard to be honest.

Q: Kimi, a fantastic race, as we said, 1.6s behind as you rejoined from your final pit stop, what were your thoughts then, did you think you could do it?
Kimi RAIKKONEN:
Yeah, I was trying. I got close but not close enough to try to do anything. But after the first pit stop he got past me and I was a bit too careful under braking in the first corner so maybe I lost it then, but anyway it’s good to finish the season in second place.

Q: But you did win the race out of the pit lane, but then he got you at the end of the straight. Tell us about that little race into the lefthander at the end of the pit lane?
KR:
Yeah, I wasn’t sure how much he could get there but then he got behind me and then got on the better side under braking but it was just a nice race, but when I pulled out of my pit stop I couldn’t see him at all so I didn’t know he was next to me, so we were driving side-by-side out of the pit but luckily we didn’t hit each other, so it was good.

Q: Rubens, you said yesterday that if the win was reserved for you you would take it but sadly it didn’t happen but you were very quick early on and you recovered well in those conditions but once you stopped for tyres you seemed to lose a lot of time.
Rubens BARRICHELLO:
Well, I think the conditions were not favourable in a way, because it was like raining, stopping and in those damp conditions, we are still not fantastic. I think if it stayed drive I think we would have had a completely different pace. If it stayed wet we would have as well but it was in an intermediate situation so it was very difficult to drive and it was hard to call for slicks because the car was all over the place and it still seemed too wet so we lost a lot of time at the beginning because of that.

Q: And therefore a hard race for you mentally and physically I guess, in traffic and racing hard to the podium.
RB:
Yeah, absolutely. With twenty laps to go, I put something in my neck just to try to hold it but it was actually doing something bad to the muscles so it was very bad. I guess everyone had a problem with their neck but I just had to let it go because it was very very difficult and I think the whole week, all the stress and everything, I feel very tired. I want to thank the whole team and all the public that came here to see me, I guess. If we deserved to win the race, we would win it but it was a difficult situation today. I’m happy that we finished on the podium, but the race is still there to be won.

Q: Juan Pablo, final thoughts from you: an emotional day, a Colombian winning a Brazilian Grand Prix, and, as you say, your last ever race for the BMW Williams team.
JPM:
I think it’s great, you know. My first F1 race that I did was here in Brazil in 2001, it was the third race of the year and I thought I could win it, and I thought it was a problem, I think it’s best to win it to be honest. It’s awesome to finish the season like that, it really pumps me up for next year and I’m really looking forward to working with Kimi next year and I think the position we are in for next year we could be really strong.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Juan Pablo, is that a preview for next year?
JPM:
Ho, hopefully (laughs). No I think it was great. I think it was good for Williams, I think it was really good for everybody. I think it was a tough race. I will be honest with you, I came into the race thinking Kimi was going to be the guy that had the chance to win the race. Before the race there are always rumours as to who’s got more fuel than who and when I hear how much fuel – supposedly - how much fuel Kimi had I thought ‘phew, he will be hard to beat.’ But I think the rain in the first part really played into my hands because I was planning three stops from the beginning and it just worked perfectly.

Q: You had a little pit lane race with Kimi as well. We just heard how he saw it, what about you?
JPM:
Ah it was great. I went and I saw him starting to move and I thought ‘come on, come on, come on’ you can get him and it wasn’t enough. When we were going down to the lefthander, I was just looking at his tyres waiting to see when he was going to move and he wasn’t moving, so I was just trying to go a little bit faster to get the momentum down the straight.

Q: Were you worried about Fernando Alonso?
JPM:
A little bit at the beginning but then I started to think that in all the running he did, he wasn’t that competitive during the weekend, so I thought we were going to be fast enough to be able to get him. My biggest concern was for the last stop when they told me Kimi was going longer and I came out of the pits behind him and I thought ’no it can’t be’, but he was fair enough to move over, to be honest.

Q: There was just one incident: lap 33 you lost over two and a half seconds to him.
JPM:
Yeah, I was trying to pass a Minardi and I think I braked just a little bit where it was a bit damper, it was starting to drizzle and I nearly lost it, to be honest.

Q: That was the time that it started to drizzle?
JPM:
Yeah.

Q: What about at the end?
JPM:
No, the end was fine. The pace at the end was pretty good. I think everyone was just hanging out with the neck because the circuit goes the other way, because every time you turn right there’s nothing, but you turn left and it goes ooww. It was fun.

Q: Kimi are you a bit disappointed?
KR:
Of course always when you can’t win you are disappointed. We did what we could today and unfortunately we were not able to win.

Q: What about those opening laps…you just streaked away?
KR:
Yeah the car was good and the Michelin tyre is very competitive now. They are very good in these types of conditions. Unfortunately I would rather have had a dry race from the beginning because Michelin would have had a better chance.

Q: And then when you came out so close behind him at the end.
KR:
Yeah not close enough. We needed to be in front of him but it didn’t happen and I could still close the gap. But that is it I couldn’t do anything else. I tried to get close enough to do something but I was not able to do it.

Q: If you could go back to do something different is there anything?
KR:
I think so when he passed after the pit-stop I took it a bit too careful into the first corner so I think the race was pretty much decided then. I think we were a little bit lacking in the speed in some parts of the race so I couldn’t stay with him. It is always easy to say afterwards that we would have done this.

Q: Rubens, well at least you have got rid of the jinx haven’t you…and yet you fifth in the opening stint and here you are on the podium.
RB:
I guess it worked OK. Obviously it is disappointing I have not won the race because we dominated the whole weekend in terms of pace and everything and I had quite, maybe not more than Kimi, but quite an amount of fuel in qualifying. Everything went fantastically well. But if we had any weak points it is when it is damp. If it is wet we are the best, if it is dry we are the best. In these conditions we do have to improve a bit, but that is how the race was. It was drizzling and then drying out and drizzling again and just took off all the rubber off the track. It was difficult.

Q: And yet you were leading after five laps by two seconds and then by lap eight you back in fifth, sixth place…
RB:
As I said the conditions were quite difficult. It was the same thing as in Monza. In Monza it dried out a very fast and it went into our hands. Like I said I couldn’t have done anything better. I feel very proud of myself and the whole team for what we have done. I was knackered on the podium because of the stress of the whole weekend and the neck because it was really hard for neck. I had to sit down for a little bit. Then they knocked me off with the champagne. But I can go out of here with my head pointing high. I think it has been a good season. I wish I could have won the race that is all.

QUESTIONS FROM FLOOR

Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de S. Paulo) Your pace after the first pit-stop was much slower compared to the other times. Can you explain that?
RB:
I don’t think to have the good pace from the damp situation. We are good on the dry and good on the wet but we seem to struggle on the damp and that is it. If you look, everyone who had a Michelin seemed to have the pace and we took some time before we were going fast.

Q: (Eggers Moraes – Agora Sao Paulo) Rubens, why did you last so long to do the first pit-stop?
JPM:
Hello, anybody home.
RB: It is the same answer again.
JPM: He can’t put the slick tyres as early as the Michelin. The Michelin works better in damp conditions and they can get away longer.
RB: Next time I will answer in Portuguese.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Sport Auto) Did you think to start on slicks like Alonso did?
JPM:
No from where we were we couldn’t afford to go on slicks because if we are on slicks we just fall back into the grid. Especially with my strategy we needed track position early in the race. In Monza last time there was a dry line but here it was soaked, not soaked but it was wet all across the track. It was pointless.