Post-race press conference - Canada 13 Jun 2004
Drivers: 1st Michael Schumacher (Ferrari); 2nd Ralf Schumacher (Williams); 3rd Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari).
Q: Michael, you made history today by becoming the first man to win the same Grand Prix seven times. That was a great drive, one second in it in the end, two stops against the three stops of Ralf.
Michael SCHUMACHER: Yes, it sort of worked out to plan from our side. I cannot judge whether our competitors had problems that helped our situation but we had a strong car for the race and we knew that from the beginning. We thought we had no chance for pole position so we rather went for strategy that worked for the race and that worked out fantastic. The pit stop was great, the engineers, mechanics, everybody just did a superb job. The car preparation was fantastic although I have to say that my team-mate Rubens just pushed me very hard and I think he got the better deal of his car and his drive this weekend. He was very strong in the second stint in particular but we managed it, we managed it another time and it is just fabulous.
Q: You squeezed through the first corner from P6 on the grid and there was a lot of pressure at one point from Juan Pablo Montoya, as well as Rubens.
MS: Yes, there was pressure but obviously due to the different strategies with Montoya it sort of became tight but it was not really worrying, if he had overtaken me I would not have really worried too much, honestly. He had a couple more laps and would have come in anyway, so that wasnt a big deal. With Rubens, obviously, it was a lot more critical had he overtaken me and pulled out a gap, although I had a lot more fuel on board to stay out longer. Knowing that, who knows what would have worked out? We had a hard fight, it was very tight into the last corner but I just managed to keep in front.
Q: Ralf, this is the third time you Schumacher brothers have been on the podium here in Canada and it was very close. It was great to see the BMW Williams doing so well today and being so reliable.
RS: It was clearly better than expected, honestly, but still disappointing because if you start from pole and you finish second it is not where you wish to be but still from where we came and the problems we had so far I think to split the Ferraris is a rather good success. Obviously it is a clear sign that we have still some chances to be up front and it is just now down to really improving our package and start again to win races.
Q: Rubens, as Michael said, you did push him very hard there.
Rubens BARRICHELLO: It was a great race. It was fun fighting him and at the end of the day he got a win for Ferrari, I think it was a good result. You know, the only chance I had of beating him was overtaking him on the racetrack or going a bit longer and unfortunately I had a little bit less fuel than him and when I went out to the track again I had a lot of fuel compared to him and my brake pedal started to really go down. I pushed like hell that out lap because I wanted desperately to get in front of him and my brake disks cooked on that lap and I went straight in to turn eight. And I lost the second position as well because I may have been close to Ralf and may have had a chance to overtake.
Q: Do you think running close to Michael might have had some factor on the brakes?
RB: Well, obviously, I was running very close and there was no time for the brakes to cool down. The point is I think we enjoyed ourselves very much, he got another win and I wish I could have it but it was a lot of fun out there and I really enjoyed myself.
Q: Michael, seven times a winner here, what is it between you and Montreal?
MS: I dont know but certainly something good.
Q: Is it a circuit you enjoy?
MS: Obviously you enjoy any race you win. I have no special reason why I have won so often here, there is no particular reason for it. I have always had a good package and this little bit of luck you need sometimes.
Q: Why didnt you think you were going to be good in qualifying?
MS: We saw the first lap times, the Renaults, the BARs in particular, didnt see much of Williams at that stage, we were not putting out the times for whatever reason, and that sort of indicated that we wouldnt have been able to do that pace.
Q: It is a remarkable capability to be able to change the strategy and still win.
MS: Yeah, I mean, the remarkable thing is that we had a consistent package and that is the reason. We knew we had a consistent race pace and just in qualifying we were lacking. We were clearly fast in the race pace otherwise we couldnt have won and we just played it the way it worked out for us.
Q: The margin came down quite substantially towards the end of the race. Were there any problems in the race?
MS: No, actually, no, there was no problem, just bring it safely home without risking anything. No, brakes were very safe this year.
Q: And how hard was Rubens pushing you during that stint?
MS: Very hard. I mean, the two of us had different tyres on and I thought I think he made the right decision and I have the wrong one! and he was pushing me very hard. He was obviously going very well, had his car sorted out very well for him and there was not much I could do. I was really pushing because I had to look forward as well as I looked backward and I just stayed in front. With the third set I sort of got on a little bit better, the second set I had some trouble with but I dont think it was that huge, it was just very good.
Q: Ralf, as you mentioned, it was a little bit disappointing having started on second.
RS: Yeah, I think we did all we could with the package and it worked out perfectly. It is not a real surprise Ferrari being a second quicker than everyone else in the race at the moment, no doubt it happens again they even could win on a two-stop. I thought had they got held up more there could have been a chance for us and it was actually very close but unfortunately not good enough.
Q: Now, was the car as good as it was in qualifying, was it consistent.
RS: Oh yes, all weekend. After the first qualifying, or in the first qualifying, it started to be brilliant. As I said before we simply did a great job and Michelin supplied us with a great tyre this weekend, it had a little dip in the middle of the stint but it came back strongly so it was a very good tyre.
Q: So, can you be on the podium a few more times?
RS: I must say I think it will take another two or three races until we really see an improvement in our car and at the moment it is basically the same car we used to race two or three races ago. It is simply down to the fact that on low downforce, in Montreal, for whatever reason it has been reasonable with our package. I think even in Indianapolis it could be reasonable. It is a bit more difficult because there is more downforce needed there for the tiny infield. We will try our best and see what the outcome is.
Q: Rubens, when you had that little off, was there any damage to the car, did you feel differently afterwards?
RB: I dont think there was any damage, the problem was when I was running really close to Michael I didnt feel that the brakes were getting worse. Obviously they were hot, very hot, and sometimes I felt the pedal very spongy but when I went out on the heavy fuel load I just felt that the first brake, when I went for it, it was very much of a problem and not stopping. I thought Michael was going to be in any time so I had to keep on pushing to see if I could do anything but unfortunately at that turn it is very bumpy and I couldnt stop the car so I lost five seconds in that corner and that was it.
Q: Then, when you were pushing him, presumably you were pushing him as hard as you possibly could?
RB: Well, I was pushing, yeah. I had a better set-up, a better car at that time and when everyone says I sit behind and am happy and they can see that, I am not, I am fighting as hard as anybody to win. It was a good fight, I thought I had him and I was taking him and he managed to brake even later and go around the outside and I had some years ago with David some sort of a fight that he didnt manage to do the corner but I didnt need it. So when he was on the outside I was in control, I could have done the corner and I said ooh, go straight, go straight but he managed to do the corner, so there was the only chance I had at that time.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Alex Freedman CBC) I want to know your thoughts on todays race as well as the future of racing Formula One in Montreal.
RB: We should never stop racing here. Its probably one of the best places that we come to. People are very nice, the city is fantastic, there is a lot of racing on this sort of track, even though we could make changes to make it safer. The racing track is fantastic, we do have overtaking. In a difficult Formula One, we do still have overtaking here, so its one of the best places to come to.
MS: All of us, or most of us are quite happy to come here. So am I. Its a nice country, nice city and a lot of emotional fans out there. Its a great place to be.
RS: Nothing to add to that.
Q: (Curt Cavin The Indianapolis Star) Michael, when was your two stop strategy decision made, by whom and how does this set you up for next week?
MS: The good thing about us is that we are a team and we discuss things together and we decide things together amongst ourselves. The main responsibility, in this case, is down to Ross because he is the master of strategy, and whenever we are not sure then he will call the shots, but it was pretty straightforward, honestly, for us.
For next week, we will have to experience it, we will have to drive on the circuit because each time you come with a new package, with new tyres and so on, and you have to experience what that means, how that works out and for the weekend how that would change the strategy.
Q: (Dan Knutson National Speed Sport News) How do you think your packages will work next weekend at the United States Grand Prix?
MS: Good. (Laughter)
Q: (Dan Knutson) Oh, come on Michael
MS: Very good. (Laughter)
RS: Obviously, its going to be difficult when we try it out. We will see. We are not as consistent so far as the Ferraris obviously. We have seen that, thats the reason they have won the championship, or on the way to winning the championship and we are not. Its a different circuit, as Michael said, different tyres, different cars, so we dont know.
Q: (Mark Fogarty Auto Action Magazine) Michael, seven wins from eight starts, why are you going to tell me its not 2002 all over again?
MS: Because its a different year and its a different competition in a way. All the time you have a different person challenging us and I think that in 2002 there was sort of more domination in some of the races but I dont recall every one of the races, its difficult for me to make a fair comparison.
Q: (Mark Fogarty) But youre on such a roll, you even overcame difficulties this weekend to win this race, so you must be looking at winning a lot more races this year.
MS: I definitely dont look back, how it used to be, I just look forward and enjoy the moment, and I do enjoy whenever the next moment comes.
Q: (Tony Marinaro The Team 990) Rubens, you just said you wish the track was a bit safer. I wonder, if you could have your way, what suggestions you would make to make it safer and Im wondering if the other two think that safety is probably something that needs to be worked on here at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?
RB: Theres nothing specific. You can improve every racing track so its nothing that I can specifically mention. Every driver mentions that we probably would like the track to have a new asphalt because its getting a little bit bumpy. That would make it safer already. So theres no specific thing. As I said, everything you try to improve makes it better, a better show, anyway.
Q: (Bill Beacon The Canadian Press) Michael and Ralf, you had a one-two again this year, the same as last year. How different was it this year and was it more of a straightforward win this time for you?
MS: I dont think this year is comparable to last year, because last year we were on the same strategy, just slightly longer on my part, which gave us the edge and allowed us to overtake. This year we were on different strategies so we didnt even see one another, for the whole race almost. I dont remember that we were close until the final moment in the race. So it was a different way of fighting this year. Last year was obviously a very tight business until the finish, whether we would keep it or not.
Q: (Ricardo Romani Corriera della Serra) Michael, 77 wins, do you remember each of them, even a detail of each of them or do they start to blur?
MS: Its not about forgetting about them, but I live in the now and in the future and not too much in the past, honestly. I dont have a memory of each of them.
Q: (Tony Dodgins Tony Dodgins Associates) Michael, you were pushed pretty hard at one stage by Juan Pablo when you were relatively heavy and he was quite light. Were you concerned about the brakes at that time or that he might have made a move? Did you ever think about letting him go?
MS: No. If he would have been beside me, yeah, fine, but he was never really that close or beside me. I kept my pace, just worrying about myself and looking forward and not looking at him much, though looking out for him, because with his tyres and so on, it wasnt clear how he would have gone, so if he would have gone by, I dont know how good or bad it would have been for me so I tried the maximum to keep him behind me but without slowing myself down.
Q: (Tony Dodgins) You didnt figure he was going to slow down and help your brother?
MS: No, I dont think thats to be expected from someone, because he was driving his own race.
Q: (Massimo Lopez La Gazzetta dello Sport) Ralf, did you ever think during the race that you had a chance to win?
RS: We knew that it was close, so when I was in front, I was able to go away a bit and I thought yes, there might be a chance, but then I saw Juan and Michael and I thought well, if Juan could get past them that would help but obviously that didnt happen unfortunately, it was a shame. But no, at the end of the day, they obviously had a very clear race and with a two stop, with this car, the package they have, they eventually were going to beat us. That was pretty clear.
Q: (Livio Oricchio O Estado de Sao Paulo) Michael, on lap 10, the gap between you and Ralf was about nine seconds. Did you understand at that moment that your strategy would be interesting?
MS: It was sort of clear, that at a certain situation, especially when Juan went in, what sort of pace I had to drive to make our strategy work and I was pushing hard and it was just enough, obviously.
Q: (James Allen ITV) Rubens, when you were close to Michael, coming down the straight, you had one look, it looked like you had a decent run on him, but then you backed out of it. Why?
RB: I went for it, but I went for it badly, it wasnt that I was backing off. There was a certain moment that I had to make the corner, so I couldnt just go on the inside and then that was it. On the other hand, there are so many occasions that when you go on the inside, if your brakes are working good its OK but my pedal was a little long. So I went on the inside, hoping that he wouldnt manage to make the corner, and I had good speed for the next straight, because if you dont have it here, you have it there, so I was trying. Unfortunately the bollard in that chicane just came out completely and there were pieces flying everywhere. It was difficult to know which part of the corner you should take because at that time there were still little pieces there, and its very dangerous for you to put the car in the middle of those kerbs, just like I did on the Saturday morning when my car was damaged, so I thought I had a run on him, he eventually braked a little bit later and it seemed like I backed off, but I was just trying to keep my car on the track and give him another run on the next straight.
Q: (Tony Dodgins) To Michael and Rubens, you said you took different tyres for the race, could you both say a little bit about the factors involved in that choice and then was it to do with the brakes?
MS: No, it was just a personal decision. Rubens liked one choice and I liked the other choice. I dont think it was affected by the brakes too much.
RB: Nothing to add. We had the same strategy. It wasnt that I took another tyre to change the strategy. It just felt that the tyre was quite good and eventually I think it worked out with the set-up quite well.