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Brazilian Grand Prix - driver preview quotes 17 Oct 2007

Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Friday, 5 October 2007 Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari celebrates 200 GP wins for Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 7 October 2007 Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 22 October 2006 Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 7 October 2007 Jenson Button (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 7 October 2007

Honda’s Rubens Barrichello on his hopes of scoring his first world championship point of the season in front of his home crowd; McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton on attempting to forget his Shanghai woes; and Ralf Schumacher on his desire to end his three years of labour at Toyota on a high note.

The drivers looks ahead to this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix and predict how they may perform on the notoriously bumpy Interlagos circuit...

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA

“China was another valuable lesson for me this season, and an incident I will take from and try to develop as a driver. I moved on from the disappointment pretty quickly and since leaving Shanghai, my sole focus has been on Brazil. Interlagos is one of those circuits that everybody talks about. I understand it has a fantastic atmosphere, the fans are crazy for the sport, and the track lends itself to great racing. It is another new circuit for me, and there has been a lot of talk by other people about how it is tricky to drive. That’s why I see it as a special challenge and when I arrive at the track on Wednesday I will study it hard with my engineers and start to get an understanding of it. I’ve had some great races with the team this year, and I hope to have another one in Interlagos. Whilst I might be ahead by four points, this championship is still very open. I will do what I can to score the points I need, and the rest is out of our hands.”

Fernando Alonso, McLaren
2006 Qualifying - 4th, 2006 Race - 2nd

“Interlagos has a lot of great memories for me, having won both of my two world championships at the circuit. They were both quite different races, but that is a characteristic of the track. It is very bumpy, you have to have suspension that allows you to drive hard whilst not being too uncomfortable. There are some great corners that you really get to attack, and all the elevation changes make it interesting for the drivers. I am sure we are going to Brazil with full equality across the team and two cars capable of fighting for victory in the race and the championship. Although I am now only four points away from Lewis (Hamilton), I still need for there to be a lot of circumstances in my favour for me to win the drivers’ title that are out of my control, but for sure I will be doing everything that is under my control to make it happen. I have to do my bit and then hope everything else falls into place.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2006 Qualifying - 1st, 2006 Race - 1st

“The fact I will not be fighting for the title does not really change anything for me about my home race. It is a very important race for me on a personal level and we need to do the best we can to win, as I do in every race. But this is my home race and the final one of the year which adds something to it.

“At Interlagos, I will be trying to win the race. For sure, Kimi (Raikkonen) still has a chance of winning the championship, even if it is a small one and it will be difficult. My personal target is victory, but if we see any possibility of helping the team to win the Driver's title, then of course I will be doing what I can. But this is not the way to approach the race weekend. The best way to approach it is to do what I have done at every race which is to think in terms of winning the race.

“Between now and the Grand Prix at Interlagos, I actually have a free weekend coming up, but then, as from Monday I have a lot of promotional, sponsor and media work as part of the build-up to the Brazilian GP. It's going to be a tough week, ending with all my family and friends coming to the track over the weekend. I'm looking forward to it: it should be a very nice way to end the racing year.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
2006 Qualifying - 2nd, 2006 Race - 5th

“We go to Brazil in position three. So I'm not really the favourite for the title. But as we saw at Shanghai two weeks ago anything can happen. Whatever will happen, it's going to be a very exciting race. We will give it all. There's lots of pressure on both sides. They have two drivers in the race for the title and they also fight each other. Hopefully we can benefit from that. At Interlagos we need a strong package, especially the engine is very important for the long rising main straight. I will start into this race the same way as into the last two. My aim is to win and the rest is not up to me.

“I've been reading stories that the supersoft tyres should be better for our competitors. That might have been true early in the season. But then things improved for us in terms of the setup. So we just have to wait and see how it goes in Brazil. I have been close to winning at Interlagos, but it has never quite paid off. I've finished three times second, which is not that bad at all. Once I already had the trophy back home for a couple of days. But I had to give it back later because the FIA had checked the classification again. Two weeks ago I said the same about Shanghai and then, this year, I won: let's hope history repeats itself!”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault
2006 Qualifying - 6th, 2006 Race - 6th

“This is one of the special circuits in Formula One, and I am really excited to be going back there again. We have won championships there in the past two years, and for me it was the venue for my first ever F1 win in 2003. I enjoy the country, I enjoy the city and I like the circuit: it is challenging, and there is always an amazing atmosphere there. Hopefully, we can have another good experience there in 2007.

“It is a very challenging circuit. It is twisty, with a good mix of slow and medium speed corners. There is a lot of gradient change as well, and of course the anti-clockwise direction that makes it hard physically. It is never easy to find the right set-up, because the two halves of the circuit need opposite things from the car: you want good speed on the long main straight, but lots of grip in the slow-speed infield section with the hairpins. Add in the bumpy surface as well, and you have a real challenge for the engineers to find the best compromise. We tend to run with quite light wing levels, and then work hard to get good mechanical grip, especially under traction.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Renault
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA

“It is a very physical circuit for the drivers: the surface is bumpy, and it runs anti-clockwise which means it is hard for the whole body but especially the neck. So I have been training hard to prepare for it, and I will be in peak condition for the final race. I think the suspension is one of the most important factors. The cars needs to ride the bumps well, and also the kerbs in the slow middle sector, which we use quite a lot. If you can find a good suspension compromise to give smooth ride and good mechanical grip, then it is a big plus in terms of lap-time.

“This is our last chance of the year to show what we can do. You are only as good as your last race in Formula One, so it is important to score a good result to take into the winter, and hopefully give the team some momentum too. This has been a tough year for everybody at Renault, but we have made progress in the last few weeks and not been able to show it in dry race conditions. Brazil is a circuit where the team has had a lot of success in recent years and while that doesn't mean anything for 2007, maybe it can bring us a bit of luck. I hope we can have a normal race, take the fight to BMW and finish the season with a strong, aggressive drive.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota
2006 Qualifying - 7th, 2006 Race - DNF

“I am coming to the end of my time at Toyota after three seasons. It has been an enjoyable and interesting time in my career, even if I would like to have had better results. It has been a hard season for me and the team but I am really motivated to get a good result in Brazil so we can end on a high note. I enjoy racing at Interlagos but it is a very demanding circuit. For the drivers it is a challenge because of the bumps, but from a technical side it is interesting as it is important to have mechanical grip in the tight infield, particularly from Turn Eight to Turn 11, but there is also a long flat-out section through the final corners and onto the main straight. We will work hard to find the best set-up to deal with this, as well as the bumps, when practice starts on Friday. After two troubled races in Japan and China, I hope we can bounce back in Brazil.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2006 Qualifying - 3rd, 2006 Race - DNF

“I enjoy the challenge of racing at Interlagos so I am looking forward to this race. It is one of the trickiest tracks in Formula One, with an enjoyable mix of high and low speed corners. But there are other factors as well to consider, for example the track is anti-clockwise so it puts extra strain on your neck, although I have trained for this so it will not be a problem. And then there are the bumps, which make life difficult with set-up, particularly on a Friday. It’s been a really hard few races for me and the team so I am keen to end the season with an improved result before we focus all our energies on 2008. We have the potential to score points but we have to push hard and not make any mistakes.”

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
2006 Qualifying - 8th, 2006 Race - 17th

“For me, the circuit in Sao Paulo is one of the best of all. It is challenging - both in terms of driving skill and physically. It's an anti-clockwise track and the straight is actually a long sweeping curve that puts your neck muscles under real strain. Then there's the bumpy surface. The best sections come after Turn Three. Turn Five, which is an uphill double right-hander, is one of my favourites. I took my first podium finish in Interlagos in 2001 after coming third. That's something you never forget.”

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
2006 Qualifying - 9th, 2006 Race - 9th

“Of course we are looking forward to Brazil. We will try our best, and then everything we do once we get back to Europe will be new as we will be working for next year. The track itself is very bumpy and quite tricky. There is a big uphill section after the last corner where last year we were losing a lot of speed, especially in the race, so I hope we can do better this year. Though the 2006 race was not bad, I only finished ninth, and this year I want to score points in the season's finale.”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda
2006 Qualifying - 5th, 2006 Race - 7th

“I was born very close to Interlagos so the Brazilian Grand Prix means a great deal to me and it is always a very special weekend. However I really enjoy the circuit not just because it is my home race but also because Interlagos has some great corners and allows good overtaking. My favourite corner is the Curva do Laranjinha which is the most challenging corner of the lap. It's also the corner which I used to cycle to as a child and watch the races from. The bumpy surface of the track is also quite tricky meaning that the mechanical set-up of the car has to be very good. We have had a tough year in 2007 but I am looking forward to the race in Brazil and we will be hoping to end the season in a positive way.”

Jenson Button, Honda
2006 Qualifying - 14th, 2006 Race - 3rd

“Interlagos is a particularly challenging circuit for the drivers as it is one of only two anti-clockwise tracks on the calendar this year. This takes a big toll, using muscles in the neck which aren't used to such an extent on other F1 circuits. The track is also notoriously bumpy and the key to getting a good lap is having total confidence in your car and understanding where all the bumps are and doing your best to minimise their impact. You can overtake at Turn One, which I did in last year's race, and also into Bico de Pato. The race is often wet and then without doubt the biggest challenge is the long left-hand Turn Three. I had a really good race at Interlagos last year and it would be great for everybody at Honda if we could round off this season on an upbeat note, however in a dry race it remains difficult for us to finish in the points.”

Sakon Yamamoto, Spyker
2006 Qualifying - 21st, 2006 Race - 16th

“Brazil is one of my favourite circuits, and I want to do a really good race there. Last year my car wasn’t really great, so in that kind of situation it was an amazing result that we could be seventh quickest in the race, and also I was second quickest in the second sector. So I’m really looking forward to driving there.

“I like the layout, especially Sector Two of course! It’s very complicated, just right, left, right. As an F1 circuit it is a bit tight, but if you’ve got the rhythm, it’s really good fun. It’s good if you have a low downforce car there, and for sure your straightline speed is going to be quicker. Then the problem is how you manage Sector Two, the twisty section. But as I said I like it, and I think I can do a good job there.”

Adrian Sutil, Spyker
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA

“It’s the first time I’ll be there, and I’m looking forward to seeing another new track after China. Hopefully it will be a better weekend! I only know the circuit from TV. Obviously it has a really long straight and it’s very bumpy, so for sure it won’t be easy to set the car up. We’ve seen already in other tracks that the car is a better in low downforce spec, so we will run as little as possible.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams
2006 Qualifying - 13th, 2006 Race - DNF

“Interlagos is a great circuit and I am looking forward to it. It’s a cool track, with a variety of corners and surface undulations. The past two races have been difficult, so I hope to finish the season well and to hold on to my present position in the drivers’ championship. São Paulo is also a place where you can have some fun in the evenings, so I would imagine it’s going to be a good weekend. I am going to Rio de Janeiro first for a PR day with Petrobras, so I’ll get to Sao Paulo early on in the week. It’s fantastic for Formula One to have a three-way battle for the championship going into the last race of the season, which is not a situation that happens very often. Personally, I hope Lewis (Hamilton) manages to win because he deserves it.”

Kazuki Nakajima, Williams
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA

“I’m obviously feeling really excited about my first Formula One race. I’ve never driven at Interlagos before, so I’ve been doing lots of preparation work in the team’s simulator at Grove. I’ve also ramped up my training in the gym to help me cope with the pressures on my neck because it’s an anti-clockwise track. It looks like it’s going to rain over the weekend, so the weather is going to make the whole process quite tricky. I’m trying not to put any pressure on myself though. I’m going to take it at my own pace, work through each session step by and step and, above all, just enjoy it.”