Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers: 1st Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren); 2nd Michael Schumacher (Ferrari); 3rd Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari).
Q: Kimi, a great drive, qualified seventh, it all changed when the safety car came out just before your second pit stop.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, the team called me in on that lap and then just before I came into the pitlane the safety car was out so I was in one way quite lucky that the timing was right. I had a small problem with the car that came on the first pit stop or just after, the steering wheel was turning left all the time, more and more, and I didnt know what was going on with the steering, but at least it lasted. The team did a great job and everything worked well so I am more than happy.
Q: Did that problem persist to the end of the race, even when Michael was pushing you to the end?
KR: Yeah, the team told me to look after the car because they could see there was a problem but didnt know what it was. I was telling them the steering was too much on the left, it wasnt straight any more, and we were a bit worried but at least everything went well and nothing happened, like in the last race. And the bonus is that Renault did not score so it was a good win for us.
Q: How near the limit were you in the closing stages, then, with Michael behind you?
KR: In one way I think I was going as quick as I could but I didnt want to push too hard and I was relaxing a bit too much and went straight on the chicane so I tried to go pushing more because otherwise I might end up somewhere in the wall. Sometimes it happens when you are not putting in 100 percent, so I thought it was safer to go fast.
Q: And what about the other mechanical parts of the car, brakes, engine?
KR: Everything worked well, the brakes were superb, no problems at all, we had new brakes for this race and they were perfect, so thanks for them. And the engine was also very good.
Q: Michael, you must be delighted with your drive, but so near yet so far. Swamped away from the line and side-by-side with Kimi there at the first corner. As it turned out, that was quite significant, that.
Michael Schumacher: Yeah, true, but there was not much I could do. There is no reason to do crazy things in the early stages of the race. Unfortunately, both Jenson and me had a poor take-off from the grid. It was interesting we both had the same problem and everyone behind us seemed not to have that problem. So, that meant the race was very compromised for us.
Q: Well, maybe something to do with the track surface there. It was interesting that you were both on light fuel, so it was even more reason to have perhaps been quicker away from the line?
MS: You would think so. Maybe the answer is that the cars behind were on a more clean line than we were. We were the first cars, we had to put the line for everyone and then everyone can follow in the good one. Maybe that was the difference, who knows, but it came as it came and it turned out, finally, to be very good for us.
Q: It turned out to be a great race for you - a three-stop strategy, safety car just on time and great closing phase of the race. How did Kimi compare with you in those closing laps?
MS: I guess I was about the same if not a bit quicker but it is not really enough to then go by in a normal situation. Obviously, I was hoping for something odd and he gave me a favour but he did not wait long enough until I was close enough to use it. Anyway, we are quite happy with our result and particularly Rubens having an unfortunate qualifying and making his way to third is a great result for us this weekend.
Q: And what does this mean for you and the team in the races ahead?
MS: You see, if you look through the race, at certain stages we had the performance to follow and to go a reasonable pace. That was not so obvious on Friday, not at all actually, and we developed the car very well. We just still have to work on the package to get it right at every moment in track condition.
Q: Rubens, a superb drive from the back of the grid. Not the first time you have had to do that, from the pitlane indeed.
Rubens Barrichello: Well, that is the very first time, after 200-and-something Grands Prix, the first time I started from the pitlane. So I guess I am still quite young and quite enjoying the racing because it is still something new after 200 Grands Prix. I had a fantastic race. It was actually difficult at the beginning to overtake one of the Minardi cars, which was quite fast on the straight, because I was very, very heavy. Eventually I managed to overtake and then I was catching up all the time. I was pushing the whole time, I had good overtaking, the pit crew did a fantastic job to call me in as soon as possible. I didnt have a radio from the very first lap and I didnt have the water working, so that was my only problem throughout the race.
Q: And what was the car like to drive with that heavy fuel load early on?
RB: Well, I guess with that amount of fuel in the car I used my rear tyres quite a bit, because the car was a bit oversteery and I was locking up the rear brakes a bit too much. That compromised my race a little bit forward but I was still good to overtake people and I was lucky that on the restart Webber went in too fast into turn one, he ran wide and Massa had to stop to take avoiding action and I overtook both on the inside, so that was quite a good run.
Q: And, despite the two transmission problems in practice, it was great reliability from Ferrari with Felipe Massas engine also going well.
RB: Yeah, absolutely. In a way I am just sorry we had quite a bit of a problem in qualifying because we could have hoped for even more. But saying that I am quite happy today because from dead last to first is a good achievement.
Q: Kimi, just returning to you, the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis just a week away, great momentum now for you with neither Renault finishing the race, and that looks good for you in terms of qualifying as well at Indy.
KR: Yeah, it is going to help us there. I think Indy should suit our car better than this place so I think we should be stronger there than here. I think we were pretty strong in the race anyhow here and hopefully we can get both cars to the finish at the next race and try to catch up more on the Renaults, that would be good.
Q: Kimi, after what happened last weekend this must be especially sweet.
KR: Yeah, it was very good, I think so. At one point we were a bit lucky maybe to win today, but it doesnt matter because we were a bit unlucky in the last race, so it made something back. I am more than happy to win and we got those ten points back on Renault that we lost at the last race and we are firmly back in the championship, back and fighting again.
Q: What about the early stages, fifth place, did you feel you were in contention for winning then?
KR: I think so. We had a fast car but then I had a small problem with the steering wheel turning left and it was getting more and more all the time and it wasnt straight in a straight line any more, so I asked the team what was going on and they said they could see the problem but didnt know what it was, so they asked me to look over the car a bit, but I was really wanting to win the race and pushed as hard as I could and in the end it paid off.
Q: Just at the end there, when you were being chased by Michael, suddenly your lead halved from 2.4 seconds to 1.3. What happened there, do you remember?
KR: Ha, ha. No, I went through the first chicane, I went a bit too quick, maybe I was looking at something else. I went through the grass and lost some time but at least I had enough time to come back and it didnt cost me too much.
Q: And what happened in the pitlane at the end of the race. Why did you stop there?
KR: I dont know. I thought we were stopping earlier so switched the engine off and then they showed me to go straight on. The first time I am here on the podium, so I didnt really know!
Q: Michael, obviously a tremendous result for you as well. You mentioned a problem at the start that you and Jenson had, did you mean the grip on the track, or what did you mean?
MS: Simply that we went backwards and the others forwards. There was no grip for us. It was a great start for everybody except us, I think. Everybody just came flying past us. I dont think it was just the Renaults in particular, from my point of view at least, but you have a better vision
Q: What about the cars brakes and tyres in particular during the race?
MS: We had no problems whatsoever: tyres were good, brakes as well.
Q: Chasing Kimi at the end there, you got so close but not quite close enough
MS: Yeah, I lost a little bit of time with some backmarkers and I was obviously trying to go for it, hoping that after his little excursion in turn four who knows what can happen. But he didnt give another favour.
Q: But you seem really happy with the result anyway.
MS: Yeah, we have to be. We started off very well but after the first lap, where we had been, to end up second wasnt supposed to be with our strategy anyway, so in this respect we can be very happy.
Q: Rubens, you told me before the race Ive won from 18th on the grid so anything can happen from 20th. Here you are on the rostrum, but still not to be expected perhaps.
MS: I think in life you have to expect everything. If I didnt expect to be on the podium today I might as well have gone home yesterday. Life is there to experiment everything and yesterday it was very depressing in a way because I had my problem but there is still one more chance. If that thing had happened on the first lap of the race it would have been even worse, so it happened at a time when I was still able to recover and I guess third place today is a really good compliment.
Q: You started in the pit lane, was there a big change of strategy after the problems yesterday?
MS: Yeah, I had to put in a little bit more fuel, to change the strategy a little bit because there was no point in stopping when everybody would stop just behind because it would have made my race a bit more difficult so I was able to do that. The beginning of the race was quite hard and I lost my radio very early on. I could see that I was talking to them, and they never replied. All of a sudden I saw that they replied to me, but they couldnt hear me, so in a way it was just trying to make gestures and accepting that one press was yes, two presses was no so it was actually a good race from that point of view.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Dan Knutson National Speed Sport News) Michael and Rubens, how do you think the Ferrari will go at Indianapolis next weekend, and a question to all three of you: could you please comment on the atmosphere at Indy and the enthusiasm of the fans there please?
RB: I think we will go very well, we have always been quite fast there. This year we still think that we are catching McLaren and Renault. But we have to see. Its a big decision to chose the tyres for Indy and we shall go quite well. Theres going to be a fantastic atmosphere at Indy because over the last few years it has been quite good already, and I guess everybody is going to go to see Scott Speed driving the Red Bull car on Friday practice, so I guess this is good motivation to see the Americans come out and check it out.
KR: Im not at Ferrari, so I cannot answer that. I think we will see how it is, its so difficult to say beforehand, but I think last year there were already more people than before so I think its going to pick up every year, more and more people are coming and getting more interested, so I think its going to be OK.
MS: I think we have great enthusiasm at Indy, sometimes more than at some European races honestly, because you find that there are a lot of spectators who are foreigners living in the States who dont have a chance to go to European races and they are so hot to come to that race that its sometimes more difficult to get into the circuit than elsewhere, so I look forward to it, the atmosphere. It has been going well in the past and I hope for a good race as well this year.
Q: (Heikki Kulta Turun Sanomat) Kimi, how was your fight with your teammate, as long as it lasted?
KR: I must say that he was a little bit quicker than me at some points in the race. I had that problem so I didnt know how much it cost, really. But in the end, it doesnt make any difference. I won the race, so that is the main point. I came here to try to get the 10 points and I got them so that is all that counts.
Q: (Juha Paatalo Financial Times Deutschland) Kimi, you pitted on the same lap as Fernando, which showed that your qualifying performance was not so good. What position did you think was possible today?
KR: I thought that everything is possible. This race is very hard for the cars, for the brakes, everything is always on the limit here. We knew that we have a good race car so we just went into the race and thought that we were going to finish on the podium and try to win if possible, and that is what happened, so I am more than happy for that.
Q: (Juha Paatalo Financial Times Deutschland) You already said Indy should be very good for you. But from the championship point of view, what do you think? How confident are you going to Indy?
KR: I think Indy will suit our car better than this circuit. This has not been our strongest circuit ever. Indianapolis has usually been good, they have won there in the past, I came second, so it should be much better for us than here.
Q: (Bill Beacon The Canadian Press) Kimi, when did the problem with the steering start? Did it last the whole race? And how did you deal with it?
KR: It started at some point just before the first pitstop or afterwards, Im not 100 percent sure. I couldnt do anything. I just drove as fast as I could. The steering wheel just turned left when it was in a straight line, just all the time left so they just told me that it was a problem that they could see on the data, but they didnt know what it was, so they were a bit worried that something would break but everything went well and they will tell me afterwards what it was.
Q: (Tony Marinaro - The Team 990) Michael, as the race went on how did your tyres respond?
MS: Actually, as the race went on the tyres became better and better in comparison. We struggled a bit at the very beginning when the track was still greenish but then it went quite well.
Q: (Tony Marinaro - The Team 990) Were you hoping for rain?
MS: In a way yes. We know we are quite strong in the rain. We had some rain at some part of the end of the race, around the safety car. It was drizzling, at least, so I was dancing in the car. (Laughter)
Q: (Tony Marinaro - The Team 990) Was the progress encouraging for between now and the end of the year? The progress that Bridgestone made as compared to the last race?
MS: Oh yes, we do constant progress and we are pretty confident that we will arrive there at some stage to be competitive at all stages.
Q: (Matthias Brunner Motor Sport Aktuell) Michael, how did the repaired parts of the circuit hold up during the race?
MS: No problem, the track was in good condition.
Q: (Juha Paatalo Financial Times Deutschland) Michael, obviously it helped you here that Renault had to retire, but where do you see Ferrari after this race?
MS: It is difficult to really precisely comment on this because I drove my race but I dont know how the others were doing. As I said, at the beginning of the race, we were clearly not competitive considering the level of fuel we had but then after the first stop I thought my pace was quite good. But compared to the others I dont know, so I should look into that.
Q: (Niki Takeda Formula PA) Kimi, with the problem that you were experiencing, what was going through you mind when you started your last lap?
KR: Nothing. That I am not going to let Michael past and just pushed the last lap. I was not worried at all because this time it had lasted so long that I knew I should be okay. I dont usually worry about those sort of things. If it breaks, it breaks.
Q: (Alberto Antonini - Autosprint) Michael, was there any second during the race when you thought you could win it?
MS: Yes, there was. Kimi obviously went off in turn four and I was thinking great, its going to be my turn now but he recovered.