Post-race press conference - Monaco 22 May 2005
Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers: 1st Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren); 2nd Nick Heidfeld (Williams); 3rd Mark Webber (Williams).
Q: Kimi, a win from pole on a one-stop strategy, from start to finish. It was a sweet day for you.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, it was very nice. Actually, I was a bit worried when the safety car came out because I missed the pit lane because I wasnt sure that the team was saying the safety car was not out even though the boards were there and then just after I came past the pit entry they told me to come in I said no, its too late but they just told me I needed to get a 20-second or something lead before my pit stop. I wasnt sure, so I pushed as hard as I could and about halfway before my pitstop I noticed I would have easily the lead, so I didnt need to go 100 percent, and then just after the pit stop I was just driving around and trying to keep some pace because if you slow down too much with the tyres we have now, when you lose the heat on the tyres it is more difficult so it is not so easy to drive slowly any more. It was a bit difficult in some places but quite easy in the end.
Q: You mentioned that you quite easily pulled out that 20-second lead, it was a devastating pace in the race, just demoralising for your opposition, just talk us through that. When the safety car came in you were just so quick.
KR: Yeah, it took the first two laps to try to get some heat because the pressure was so low the car was bottoming out all the time and it was not very easy. But I noticed I was pulling away already then I waited until the tyres warmed up and then I went as quickly as I could. That was actually the crucial point of the race and it went well for us. I think the car has been working well all weekend, we had a good tyre choice, the tyres worked pretty well. Looking afterwards at the other cars tyres I think we were a lot better than the rest. The team did a great job, everything worked well, and I am very happy to be here.
Q: So, what are your emotions and thoughts now you have won the Monaco Grand Prix?
KR: It is of course a special race. A few years ago I got so close but I couldnt get past Montoya at that time but now finally it happened so I am very happy. It is just the same, you get ten points from this race, but this is a special place and everyone looks in a slightly different way when you win in Monaco. For sure, we will have a good party tonight.
Q: Nick, your best-ever Formula One finish. Great pitwork from the team when you both came in when the safety car came out and, of course, you were behind Mark at that point.
Nick Heidfeld: Exactly, I got by a Renault at this stage. Actually, I saw the safety car board and I asked the team if I should pit but similar to what Kimi said, I had the answer to the question for that when I was past, so it was too late, and I had to wait slightly behind Mark but the team did a very good job.
Q: And your breakthrough came when you were able to come in just before Mark and do that lap to get ahead when Mark was stuck behind Fernando.
NH: Yeah, I think I was just lucky then. I mean, we decided to take me in a bit earlier, we were running into traffic and Alonso had big problems with his tyres and I had the advantage then.
Q: And your car, your package, it looked a very good race car today.
NH: Yeah, it was very good. I had a good start, nearly got by Mark, actually I think we just touched slightly but that is what racing is about, thankfully nothing was damaged later on when we were stuck behind people trying to save fuel, trying to save the engine, and just when Alonso got his problem I wound up the engine again and then when I was stuck behind him I thought I would wait a few laps because the tyres were going to just get worse and worse and just when he caught a backmarker I saw thats my chance and managed to overtake.
Q: Mark, congratulations to you, a podium finish, you have finally done it!
Mark Webber: Yeah, it is not a bad day for the team today. Both of us on the podium is a fantastic effort for BMW and Williams, considering the start of the season hasnt been easy. We set very hard goals on ourselves and we have come here, I did a lot of testing last week with Antonio (Pizzonia), I think we picked the right tyre, together with Michelin, a lot of other people were obviously kidding themselves in the race what they could probably run so luckily we have made the right decision. I think Kimi was the class of the field but we were definitely much stronger than everyone else. The start was a joke, it was very frustrating that I didnt get away at all, the clutch didnt really work at all, so that was a shame. Then I spent the first lap behind Jarno, but like everyone else the safety car was out and the guys said pit, and I was on the start-finish straight, so I had to do another lap, and I was sort of pacing myself behind Jarno whether to save fuel or to come into the pits, and I nearly jumped Fernando, the guys were fairly close but Fernando just got me, then he had massive warm-up problems with his tyres because he was pretty much gone already, so I just stayed behind him, it was very hard to keep the pressure on the tyres when it was slow. It was not easy to overtake, the tunnel today was very tricky and everyone was struggling for grip in the tunnel. But anyway, could have been better for me but great for the team.
Q: Spectacular passing moves with Fernando there, you got past in the end.
MW: Yeah, it is tricky to follow in the tunnel and, like Nick said, he had a backmarker and I was half thinking of having a look at Nick somewhere but it would have been very, very risky for both Fernando and us. Nick was doing his best to get past Fernando so of course both of us were miles faster than him but Fernando did a good job with the tyres he had to finish fourth, so it was a good drive from him.
Q: Kimi, it seems you have been pretty confident of this all weekend.
KR: I think so, after yesterday we were pretty happy how things went, but you dont know what is going to happen in the race, especially in Monaco, there might be someone spun in front of you and you end up in an accident. So many things can go wrong. We had some problems today but nothing major, the safety car, when we missed the pit at that time, but I was quick enough to build the gap so it was not a major problem.
Q: So you would have come in if you had got it right?
KR: Yeah, but the team got a bit confused and I was shouting a little bit back, you know, what the hell are they doing, but it was I think because they had the safety car boards out but on the computer or somewhere they didnt say the safety was out, so they just told me to pit after the pit lane entry, so they just said, well, its too late now, so we decided to stay out because we had got many laps to go still and I thought we would be able to pull enough lead before my pit stop.
Q: Now, in those early stages you must have been on very full tanks, the car must have felt pretty heavy.
KR: Yeah, it was pretty full, but it didnt feel heavy. This morning my lap was not really 100 percent, I wasnt really pushing too much. I think the car was very good yesterday with low fuel and very good today. At the start of the race I tried to look after the rear tyres because we knew there is going to be a major problem if we get any major problem, but in the end the tyres were fine and there were not really any problems at all.
Q: Nick, obviously a tremendous result for you. What does it feel like?
NH: It feels fantastic, it is the best result I have ever had in Formula One and it makes it even more special that it is here in Monaco. It is one of my favourite circuits, one of the most difficult circuits in the world, so it is very nice.
Q: When you were behind Mark did you feel you were quicker than him or were you just frustrated at Fernando holding you both up?
NH: Well, I was quicker than Mark because Mark was held up by Alonso and in the early stages by Trulli, so he was not running at the real speed for much of the way.
Q: And did the safety car work pretty much for you?
NH: No, I think we could have timed it better as I was quite far behind Kimi we had even more time to get me in. I went on the radio to say the safety car was out but I didnt get a call so I stayed out. Then I had to wait behind Mark but the boys did a really good job and I think I actually went past Fisichella in the stop and in the end it didnt cost us anything but probably could have gained us more.
Q: Now the last stop, was it just a case of whoever came in first was going to come out first?
NH: It looks like it because Alonso was just getting slower and slower and we were also getting into traffic, I think there was a Jordan, so the team decided to take me in earlier and in the end I was the luckier of the two of us.
Q: Was it a bit frustrating for you Mark, that if youd come in earlier?
MW: Not at all, I am happy to get beaten by him. Of course Im disappointed. Its not bad to get a podium, it is a great day for the team today, its a reasonable day for me but I could have had a better result.
Q: There was no problem at the pit stop anyway?
MW: No, it was good. The guys did a really good job at the stop. The problem with the safety car was that there was no safety car. There were boards but there was no safety car, so that was the problem, so thats why all the teams werent exactly sure what was happening. Sam (Michael, technical director) was talking to me constantly saying stay out, there is no safety car but there were five thousand safety car boards around the track. It was all a bit confusing for everyone. BMW, Williams, all the guys at Grove, aerodynamically, Michelin, everyone has done a really good job. And Im sure Williams can bounce back. We got both cars here, reliability is good and its a good day for the team.
Q: No problems with your tyres?
MW: No, but I didnt get to drive on my own all day really. If I had, it probably would have worn them out a little bit if we were running in free air, but It was very disappointing that we got away very poorly and Jarno got me off the start and that was very disappointing.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Gardmendia Laurentzi - Berria) Mark, were you afraid of a penalty because of the way you overtook Alonso?
MW: I knew the first one was, er I missed the chicane a little bit but Fernando went straight as well. Fernando was having trouble to stop there at all. The next lap I was just behind the kerb a little bit and Fernando went straight again, so I think he knew that he was having so much trouble stopping there, but its so difficult to follow in the tunnel, but I managed to get him the second time. No, not really. It was clear I was on the inside but it was not an absolutely perfect overtaking move but its not easy to do that here anyway.
Q: (Gardmendia Laurentzi - Berria) To both Williams drivers, on which part was Alonso slow; did he have a lot of wheelspin, lower speed?
MW: Well, when your tyres go you lose everywhere. Fernando had some massive moments after the safety car, because when you lose a lot of compound you cant warm the tyres up, so he was really really slow after that. He nearly crashed in front of me a few times but he did a really good job to hang on to the car for that period. But in this business, when you have no rear tyres you are going nowhere and Fernando was going nowhere today.
NH: Basically he was slow everywhere. I think he was trying to play the game as in Imola with Michael, going slow at the places where we couldnt overtake to save his tyres, but he just had to start with that so early, because his tyres were in such bad shape and I just thought I would stay behind for a few laps, because his tyres were so bad that they just got worse and worse, and when I got my chance I would take him. Thats how it works because as Mark says, I think he did a good job, but his tyres were gone far too early, they just made the wrong tyre choice.
Q: Kimi, this is a victory that is much more important, considering Alonso finished quite a way behind you, in terms of points.
KR: Yeah, definitely it helps, thanks to the two guys for passing him, because it is difficult to catch anyone on points now because you only get two points less if you finish second, so as long as someone else gets in the middle of us its always benefiting me. So I think its looking better now, but it is still a long season and many races, so its nothing really major. We are getting there and we just need to keep trying to win the races and see what happens.
Q: (Heikki Kulta Turun Sanomat) Kimi, when you have a bad result and you are able to get back very quickly, are you able to keep this happy feeling for all time?
KR: For sure, this night, maybe tomorrow, we see what happens.
Q: What will happen in the Nurburgring? Do you think you will have such an advantage or its going to be different, considering the track?
KR: I dont know really. Usually we have been pretty quick at Nurburgring. I like the place, last year we were reasonably okay with the old car, which wasnt very quick anywhere, so I think Im more confident going there than I was coming here so lets see what happens. But I think we might have a good weekend.
Q: (Dan Knutson National Speed Sport News) Mark, youve waited a long time for this podium. I know youre disappointed not to be second, but how does it feel to break your duck, especially at this track?
MW: Yeah, pretty good. It was going to come, I suppose, so its great to do it here in Monaco. Its been a good track for me here in the past but I didnt manage to do the maximum today, so disappointing.
Q: (Peter Windsor F1 Racing) Mark or Nick, did you guys know for sure that Fernando was not going to stop again, based on the fuel stops? Was that what Sam was saying?
NH: Actually I didnt know. Nobody told me, we didnt speak about it but I was quite sure about it and anyway, by the speed he was doing it didnt really matter because as we have seen after my stop, it just took a few laps and we were soon behind him again.
Q: (Peter Windsor F1 Racing) Mark, what actually happened off the line?
MW: On the formation lap I didnt get away at all well either. I radioed through to the guys and said I think were in a little bit of trouble with the clutch. We made a small adjustment but it was nowhere near enough. The start is 90 percent car so anyway that was frustrating, especially in Monaco. Its not exactly Monza.
Q: (Anthony Rowlinson Autosport) How much performance advantage did McLaren have today, and how quick would your car have been on a clear track, or in better conditions?
MW: I think that if you look at the tyre that McLaren were running it is quite a bit softer than probably what we had so it just goes to show they are in a different window in terms of what sort of compounds they can use. Kimis qualifying efforts were very, very quick considering in Q1 the track was not exactly fantastic through sector two. So in the race we definitely had a fast car but we couldnt extract anything out of it because of Jarno and then Fernando. We, of course, would have finished a lot closer to Kimi but Kimi was having a cigar anyway so he was waiting for the chequered flag. It is always hard to say but we were very fast in the race today, we definitely picked the right tyre and we wouldnt have got any more. Of course, if Kimi had retired it was the best result Williams could have got, first and second, but its second and third, so its not a bad its a bloody fantastic day for the team.
Q: (Dan Knutson National Speed Sport News) Mark and Nick, how much pressure were you under, because you were inches apart from Alonso, you wanted to pass him but at the same time, you didnt want to face Frank after taking your teammate out?
MW: I wasnt thinking about Frank I was thinking about Patrick. (Laughter) I wanted to get past both of them but it is so bloody difficult here, and of course Nick was frustrated by Fernando, I was frustrated by both of them considering that I felt that it obviously didnt go my way, so it was even more disappointing, but anyway, thats motor racing. Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesnt I knew for the team to get second and third is an incredible result for them, considering the start weve had. So its good Patrick can sleep well tomorrow.
NH: I was not worried because they are used to that from the last couple of years!
Q: Kimi, McLaren seem to use their tyres in a much better way than Renault. How much confidence does this give you? It must be a strong point in winning races?
KR: Yeah, its good for the races usually but here it was hurting a little bit in qualifying maybe, so we couldnt get the best out of the tyres, but here we had the softest tyres of all the cars, so we knew that we were going to be the easiest on the tyres so we could use them. Even Renault had a harder tyre and they ran out of rear tyres completely, whereas my rear tyres were pretty okay, so that definitely helps with the new rules, one set of tyres for the race. But this is good because we can run softer tyres in some places.
Q: Neither McLaren nor Williams were so brilliant last season. Do you think this is the new beginning of a revival, of a new challenge?
KR: So far, we didnt have a very good start to the season but now everything seems to get better. The car is fast and reliable, the Michelin tyres are working very well, we have a good engine package also and we are improving the car all the time. I think it could be a very good end of the season for us. I am looking forward to every race. I think the car felt quick here, quick in Barcelona, so I dont see any reason why it shouldnt be quick in every race. Lets see what happens, there are too many races to go and theres no point in worrying what happens in the championship. We will just take it race by race and win as much as we can.
Q: (Juha Paatalo Financial Times Deutschland) Kimi, you have won two races in a row now. How much does this give you confidence and how much does it help you in rivalling Alonso?
KR: Nothing really, it doesnt change my driving at all. We should have won three races but unfortunately we retired from Imola, so thats hurt us in the points a little bit, but thats racing, and we just need to keep working.
Q: (Tony Dodgins - Autosport) Nick, when you pulled your move on Fernando it was pretty clean by comparison. Was he distracted by the Toyota?
NH: Yes, I think he was distracted a bit. The laps before I tried, I wasnt trying too hard. OK, if he had made a big mistake, I would have tried it, but as I said before, I saw that his tyres were so bad that I thought I would just wait a few laps because they would get worse and worse. And then I saw that he was going to lap a Toyota and I think that cost him a bit of speed in the tunnel. I knew that before, so I tried to have a very good exit.
Q: (Tony Dodgins - Autosport) Mark, normally it is advantageous to stop later. This time, because he was so slow it didnt work out, but who actually called that, and were you sussing that out that that was going to happen? What was the situation there?
MW: Well, I asked the guys after our first stop if Nick was longer or shorter than me and Nick was shorter than me on fuel so I think it is just the guys on the perch really. Nick and I were doing our best behind Fernando and like I said, there was a Jordan coming which Fernando and I had to negotiate when Nick had a free lap so that was unfortunate. And with the passing move, I think Fernando was wise then, he was driving much more down the middle of the road after Nick passed him so it was a little bit more tricky.
Q: (Dieter Rencken The Citizen) Kimi, after your Spanish victory you said it doesnt change your life. Does this one change your life?
KR: No, at least, maybe a little. We have good reason to party, but thats all. I wouldnt say people look at you differently because youve won Monaco Grand Prix but in the end you get the same ten points from this race as any other. So its nice to win this race but in the end it really doesnt make much difference.