Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers: 1st Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren), 1h37m25.552s; 2nd Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1h38m01.133s; 3rd Ralf Schumacher (Toyota), 1h38m01.681s.
Q: Kimi, from where you started yesterday in terms of your qualifying, in terms of what happened in Hockenheim, a great result today.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, it was good. We did a little gamble yesterday with the fuel loads because we knew we would be penalised a lot starting first and it paid off. I am pretty happy, we had a very good car, I was stuck behind Michael halfway through the race then I had one lap longer and passed him and then we were away and that was it, but it was a bit disappointing for the team because it would have been one-two but anyway I am very happy.
Q: You say you were stuck behind Michael but it was a very impressive show in the early laps, you and Michael out there racing together, how did the cars compare?
KR: He just always pulled away in the last corner so I couldnt get close to him on the straight line. At the start of the race I was maybe a similar speed but after the first stops I was a bit quicker so I got closer but I couldnt get past. I got close but then some traffic came but it wasnt that bad and luckily we chose different tactics and from that point on there came the difference.
Q: On the second stop you took on much less fuel, was that a decision taken during the race?
KR: No. We stopped the first time then we changed it to what they thought was the best time to stop the second time. They made a great decision on that.
Q: You set fastest lap on lap 40, just before your team-mate Juan Pablo retired with a driveshaft, I believe. At that point you were seven seconds behind him, did you think the win was there for you if he remained in the race?
KR: I dont know and nobody will ever know. I had a very good car and after we stopped the last time I knew we had plenty of space and I didnt push, the car could have gone quite a bit quicker still but there was no point risking anything.
Q: Michael, a lot of pressure in those early laps, indeed right at the end from Ralf, talk through those early laps.
Michael Schumacher: Well, actually I was pretty happy with the pace we were able to run, there wasnt that much between us considering that he stopped earlier so he was lighter at that stage. It seemed pretty similar but with time our tyres sort of went slower. Staying in front after the first pit stop I saw he was coming and he was then quicker but not quick enough to get by us and it was only about who would stop when and we were obviously hoping they would stop in front of us but they managed to stay out one more lap and that moved the race towards them. I think if we would have been able to stay in front after the pit stops, because it is so difficult to pass, we might have had a chance but we will never find out. It was a good race, anyway, for us. From where we came, to finish second, we are pretty happy on that, we had a good weekend and to finish second is a good motivation for everyone in the team. Hard work for all of them in the last few months and a little payback.
Q: In that second stop you took on a lot more fuel thank Kimi, so when Juan Pablo was out of the race and it was you and Kimi fighting for the lead he had an advantage of a lighter car.
MS: After the second stop. Yes, but he was in front and he had enough of a gap and his pace was anyway too fast, there was no chance. There was only one chance, that at the second pit stop I had to come in at the same time or one lap later. That could have given us an opportunity to try and stay ahead but one it was done no matter what we did it wasnt quick enough.
Q: Then your younger brother made things interesting for you in the last couple of laps of the race.
MS: Yeah, he got closer. Obviously our tyres started to get slower and I watched out for the tyres as soon as I knew I couldnt do anything against Juan and Kimi, at that stage I just preserved the tyres and drove as quickly as I needed to drive. As I said it is so difficult to overtake and by the end of the race everybodys tyres are a bit down and it is even more difficult so I just went as quickly as I had to, Ralf was quicker but not quick enough to pass here.
Q: Ralf, congratulations on your first podium for Toyota. A great drive, a three-stop strategy and running strong all afternoon.
Ralf Schumacher: Yeah, I mean I must say the team did a great job over the weekend. I must admit that I was not 100 percent positive about our strategy we chose, but the chief engineer was right to take it, so thanks to him! It was a great weekend for us, being third and fifth in qualifying, the car went great, the pit stops were perfect, so it was all good.
Q: What were your queries? To do with how you qualify with different fuel loads or how you split the race after you had opted for a three-stop strategy?
RS: Again, it is a difficult task here. For the tyre, we expected such a high temperature and you never know, it was a balance of looking after the tyre but not being first in the pits and still having a reasonable qualifying position. We have had a lot of comments about us being good in qualifying and not able to maintain position in the race but I think we shocked people today that we are able to go as fast as anyone else except maybe McLaren. But they are driving in a different world at the moment anyway.
Q: And how was that Ferrari in the closing laps?
RS: Well, you could see he was doing the pace he needed to and out of the final corner he had a really good exit so there was no chance to really get him on the straight and I was waiting for a mistake, which he didnt do.
Q: Kimi, a big ten-point chunk out of Fernando Alonsos championship lead in this race. What are your thoughts now?
KR: Yeah, for sure it looks better now than after the last race but it is just unlucky that we always seem to throw away ten points and he gets it then at the next race we get it back. We are just going backwards and forwards all the time, but it definitely looks better again and there are still six races to go and if we can do these kinds of results and maybe something happens to him we can definitely still fight for the championship and that is what we are going to do.
Q: Kimi, the first stint was quite a short one. Obviously you were hoping to get out in front of Michael and it finally happened at the second stop really.
KR: Yes, we chose a different tactic on Saturday for qualifying because we knew we were going to be penalised a lot in the position that we started.
Q: So it was the second stop that made the difference?
KR: Yes, we stopped one lap later. We didnt know when they were going to stop so we were waiting and waiting and luckily enough we could go one lap longer and we changed our tactics and then push as hard as we could and make a gap big.
Q: Do you feel you had the quickest car out there you won the race.
KR: We won the race, but of course Montoya was unlucky, but I dont know what would have happened and nobody does.
Q: You spent a lot of time behind Michael in those first laps of the race, was there just no way to get by him?
KR: Yes, pretty much, otherwise I would have tried. I would say that before the first pit stop I was not quick enough even but then up to the second stop, just before I was quicker, but every time I got close he was very quick through the last corner so I couldnt do anything and some places I was catching but it is so narrow here that it is not really possible to overtake.
Q: So this means you still have a bit of a chance in the championship.
KR: Yes, much better than before the start of this race, so we are going to do the best we can and hopefully we can close the gap in the next two races then push as hard as we can and try to catch them.
Q: Michael, quite a lively afternoon for you. You like racing, did you enjoy it today?
MS: Yeah, but honestly it wasnt that tight. Ask Kimi. He was following but there wasnt much of an opportunity. At the end I was getting closer to Rubens, lapping him, and coming into a certain distance he just looked so fast it is almost impossible, you need to be a lot quicker to have an opportunity, especially at the last corner, it is pretty fast and you lose so much air that you cannot overtake and then at the first corner you naturally dont think it is a chance for anyone. So, I just drove my pace as good as I could and in the early stages we were more actually looking for Juan because we knew we were out longer than Kimi, so we were a bit surprised that he stayed out one lap longer than we could.
Q: Looking at that second stop, you were leading by less than a second before your second stops, then after the second stops you were 7.1 seconds behind. Was that literally because of the more fuel you had taken onboard?
MS: It was a combination. I guess at this stage he was at least a second quicker. He came in and made a shorter pit stop, he then had a good lap, I guess, I think I had some traffic when I came out but I knew when he was out one lap longer there was not much I could do, it was just drive it home as much as I could from there and try to think of a podium, that was the only opportunity.
Q: Looking at the race as a whole, is it encouraging for the future, do you feel you have discovered this new type of tyre that is going to serve you well for the other races?
MS: Well, for here it was certainly a step in the right direction. We have to confirm that it is the case at different places, but nevertheless it is very clear where we have to improve and we will keep on working, but it is obviously good that we seem to be alright in qualifying and the initial performance whereas before we were not. So it is going in the right direction.
Q: Ralf, third and fourth, a good afternoon for Toyota.
RS: Oh, yes, very good. I think we made the best out of this whole situation, the whole weekend, basically. It was a great qualifying, good finish so it was a good weekend for us.
Q: You were hit by Rubens in the first corner; were there any lasting effects of that?
RS: No, luckily not. The very tight first turn, everybody tries to get in first and go out first, so things sometimes happen.
Q: Then you overtook Jarno at the first stop; how did that happen?
RS: Simply because he pitted a lap earlier. I knew we were on slightly different strategies, I mean, one lap, actually I think it was two laps. Thats why. If you pit early, I could go the pace, had no traffic, thats why I got him.
Q: Looking back at that first corner incident, there must have been quite a lot of debris all over the circuit after the first lap; was that a problem for you, Michael?
MS: No, it wasnt too bad.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Heikki Kulta Turun Sanomat) Kimi, you have your first anniversary today. Was this the best gift you could give to Jenni?
KR: Yes, I think so. Maybe I could give something else. Well see what happens this evening.
Q: (Juha Päätalo - Financial Times Germany) Kimi, you seem to be really relieved today. Tell me about your feelings, standing up there and seeing your wife and family down there, waiting for you, your Mum and Dad are here as well.
KR: Yes, of course I was happy, because when we came for this weekend, we knew that it was going to be very difficult to have a good result and we came out with a win, so Im more than happy, and then its the best way to go on holiday so why not be happy.
Q: Kimi, did your team ever consider doing four pit stops?
KR: No, we were considering two or three pit stops. We chose to do three in the end.
Q: (Frank Schneider Abendzeitung) Question to all three of you: What will you do for the few days before the next race, holidays or what?
KR: I dont know yet. We will see what happens but something fun.
MS: Prepare myself for Turkey.
RS: Yes, just a few days off with the family, thats all.
Q: (Juha Päätalo Financial Times Germany) Michael, how was the feeling to be able to fight for the win for the first time for a long time? At Imola, and now again?
MS: Good. It wasnt long enough to enjoy the feeling. Honestly speaking, when you fight, you dont think very much as to whether you are fighting for a win, for second or for third position. You just concentrate on what you do and on the fight itself. Then, at some stage, if you are maybe sure what position you are in, then the feeling is obviously different. I was only concentrating on that.
Q: (Mike Doodson Auto Action) Its a question for Michael. Yesterday Ross Brawn said that during the testing of the tyres, sometimes this year youve felt youve found a tyre in testing but when youve come to a race it hasnt been as good as you expected it to be. Im interesting to know how long it took to develop this tyre, is it the tyre to look at for the future, and do you feel that having unlimited tyre testing helps you to develop tyres sooner than you would have done otherwise?
MS: The fact is that we have had tyres at some races which didnt seem to suit the circuit and we have been able to find a direction to at least suit here and now we have to find out whether its going to suit the other circuits too, whether its a direction or not. Its not about the quantity or quality of testing.
Q: (Mike Doodson Auto Action) Did this tyre come up suddenly in one test or is it a process of development that produced the tyre you used today?
MS: Its a process.
Q: (Peter Farkas Auto Motor) Michael, did you make your tyre selection yesterday thinking that it would be colder today than it actually was? And did you have a problem with your rear tyres as in Hockenheim a week ago?
MS: You have, naturally, to make a (tyre) decision by Saturday morning, eight o clock, I think, which means basically you already decide on Friday which, after the work Rubens had done, it was pretty clear what we wanted to do on the tyres, and the tyres mainly didnt have enough grip at the end. No, the weather didnt have anything to do with it. It was clear it was going to be like that.
Q: (Frank Schneider Abendzeitung) Is it something special to have a brother on the podium?
MS: It always is, yes. We have been celebrating plenty of podiums together. I think its the first time weve been on the rostrum together since hes been with Toyota, so its obviously more special for him now.
RS: Nothing to add.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti Corriere della Sera) Kimi, can we consider this victory as a compensation for the bad luck you had in Hockenheim or at the Nürburgring?
KR: Not really. Of course it always seems to be that when we have a bad race we stop from leading a race and we seem to win the next race and Alonso is giving the ten points back to us. Its the way were going forwards and backwards, but I wouldnt say that theres any feeling that weve got something back. We worked hard for the win, maybe in one way we were lucky as a team, we were unlucky anyhow because we should have had two cars in the first two places. We worked hard and we got a good result for it.
Q: (Jose Maria Rubio RV Racing Press) Ralf, what happened with Fernando in the first corner, did you see Fernando when you closed in?
RS: I what?
Q: What happened with Fernando?
RS: Nothing happened. I turned into the first corner. Was he there?
Q: You touched Alonsos front wing.
RS: Did I? I didnt realise that. Sorry.