FIA post-race press conference - Brazil 02 Nov 2008
Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
1st Felipe Massa (Ferrari), 1h34m11.435s; 2nd Fernando Alonso (Renault), 1h34m24.733s; 3rd Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), 1h34m27.670s.
Q: Felipe, tell us your feelings about the race?
Felipe Massa: It was such difficult weather in the beginning and then the rain came at the end. I am so proud about that race, I am so proud about the team and so proud about the people around who supported me more than ever, more than 100 percent. Much more than I expected. Its really an emotional day for me because you get here and you have almost done everything perfectly even with the championship at the end but then we saw Lewis passing Glock again and thats really mixed a lot of my emotions. But thats racing. The race finishes with the chequered flag. We finished in the front and we have to be very proud about that and unfortunately we missed one point but thats racing. We need to be proud of our job and our race and our championship and thats why I am here. I know how to win and I know how to lose. It is one more day of my life and we are going to learn a lot from this day. Thats the way it is but for sure I am very emotional.
Q: Fernando, a great call early on with the terrible conditions and from then on you were always in a strong position.
Fernando Alonso: Yeah, I think the start was difficult for everybody. It was wet obviously but especially turns one, two and three, so there were some problems there and then the safety car. But then when we restarted basically two laps after the restart I pitted for dry tyres. The team saw one BMW with dry tyres already quite quick, so they called me in. It was a very good decision as I was running P6 and suddenly I saw myself P3 with Vettel a little bit shorter than me on fuel load. At that point I think the race was quite good for us. I kept second place and a good fight with Kimi in the last couple of laps at the end. A fantastic result starting P6 and finishing again on the podium is much more than we expected.
Q: We heard one radio transmission saying your race was with Massa. How did you feel at that point?
FA: I was surprised about that comment from the pits, so obviously they tried to motivate me. They tried to push me to the limits and they didnt want me to relax at any part of the race. But I think Massa was a little bit too quick today and I was more concerned about the gap with Kimi and tried to keep the second place. The race victory, I knew that was impossible.
Q: Kimi, talk us through the race from your point of view.
Kimi Raikkonen: I knew what I was supposed to do and it wasnt the best race ever. The car was quite difficult, I dont know why. The tyres felt quite tricky, especially the front tyres on the first set. The second set was a bit difficult at the beginning. It started to be a bit better in the end and I was catching up Fernando but then came the rain and I was right behind him and I got some instruction not to risk anything for Felipe and I decided to stay in third place. For us we won at least the team championship. It was unlucky for Felipe but that was one of our aims. I mean we got that at least and it was what we wanted and we could do it. It was not the easiest year for the team and for both of us but we got good results for the team and we must be happy. It was Stefanos (Domenicali) first year as team boss and it has not been easy all the way through, so I am very happy for him.
Q: Felipe, reflect on the season in your own words given your emotions today?
FM: Well, I think as Kimi said, we did everything perfect today and unfortunately it was not enough. I think we did a great championship, we had some up and downs and we paid for that and we are also paying now a little bit but racing is like that. Sometimes you just have a perfect year with so many victories, a very reliable car, and sometimes you have some ups and downs and thats racing. From one year to the other things change. That was our championship but even if we had some ups and downs I think everybody did a great job. Everybody worked really hard to achieve our goals with the heart and sometimes things dont happen in the way we want. But thats racing. Thats the sport, sometimes it is a little bit different than we expect. We need to be happy with our Constructors' championship. It is very important and I am sure our President, everybody inside the team is very, very proud and very happy like me as we need to be. The second thing is we need to congratulate Lewis because he did a great championship and he scored more points than us, so he deserves to be champion. I know how to lose and I know how to win and as I said before it is another day of my life from which I am going to learn a lot. Hopefully we come back here with the title but anyway I think it is part of our experience, part of our life. I am sure everybody here, me, Fernando, Kimi, knows how tough it is to be a driver. Sometimes things are very easy and something happens you dont expect. Sometimes things are very difficult and you win without expecting, so we know a lot about that and that is another day. But as I said I am very happy and I am leaving the track with my head completely up as I think we did everything we could.
Q: What a rollercoaster of emotions you must have gone through. Youd done everything you had to do, what was happening on that last lap, even after youd taken the chequered flag?
FM: I had completely mixed emotions because by the time I had crossed the line, I was still the champion and then suddenly my engineer was telling me everything on the radio and then he told me when I was already in turn three, he told me that Lewis had passed Glock. It was a completely mixed emotion because I was still waiting to hear the confirmation and then we didnt have (what we wanted), we had the opposite of the confirmation. Im still proud, Im still happy. I think we did a great job today. Its not every day you can win your home Grand Prix. Its the second time that I won and Im very proud of the job done today, of my team. We won the Constructors championship and for me thats a big, big achievement. Thats racing. The race finished at the chequered flag, today was big proof of that. When you cannot win (the championship) and you win the race, its still a big show that you can be proud of. Thats why Im very happy. I would have been much, much happier if it had been true when I crossed the line but God knows what to do and in life you always have explanations. So if these things happened today, its because it has to be like that. We need to learn from this and we need to grow because of this moment. Thats why I think we need to lift our heads and be very, very proud today when we leave the track. Weve had some ups and downs but thats racing. Sometimes we try to do everything perfectly and things go in the other direction. Some days things look very, very difficult but then you win the race and you dont know why. Thats racing and we need to learn about that and its not the first time that these things have happened to me. I had a lot of experience in other categories, even positive experiences as well and today is another day and we need to learn. But I was really, really happy to see the support I had here today.
Q: Apart from the weather, what was the biggest problem out there for you? Sebastian Vettel during the early stages?
FM: No, I dont think so. He was very, very quick but I knew he was much lighter than me. I think he had low fuel, so he was very, very quick but when I came back with grooved tyres and he was behind me, my engineer told me that he had maybe ten laps less fuel than me. After my second stop, when he was again behind me, he caught me up and the difference was even bigger, so I dont think he was really a problem today. The biggest problem was the rain. You never know whats happening. The rain helps but also at the end, it didnt help a lot.
Q: If you look back at the championship, is this one race that you would remember most?
FM: Yeah, for sure, in terms of emotion, I think it was the most incredible race I ever saw in my life. So many things happened. When you cross the line and I was just waiting to hear the confirmation, then suddenly it changed, that was a big crazy race. But anyway, I had some fantastic races, some bad racing, thats racing, thats the sport.
Q: Is there any one race you regret, looking back at the championship this year?
FM: I think every race where we didnt score points. It doesnt matter which race. One point today would have been enough.
Q: Fernando, very competitive in the early stages; what was it like?
FA: I think it was dominated by the track conditions. It was wet in turns two and three and also wet in turn eight, so I was losing a little bit ground on the dry part of the circuit and in those damp parts I was taking much more risk than Sebastian and Felipe and that was it. When the track was completely dry, towards the end, I was slower than Felipe and slower than Kimi as well.
Q: And a late challenge from Kimi.
FA: I think more at the end when we put on the intermediate tyres because the track was not wet enough for the intermediates and because we were the first ones to fit the intermediates, on the last two laps they were in quite a bad condition. Kimi was quite close but I think he didnt risk too much because it was not the ideal situation for Ferrari to risk with Kimi and I took the advantage to keep second.
Q: And this second place caps a great end of season for you.
FA: Yeah, unbelievable. I think the last half of the season someone told me yesterday that I was the driver who had scored more points in the last half but unfortunately the championship started in Australia and we were not at a good level there, so I think, again, as always, at the end of the championship you have to learn things and this year we learned that we need to arrive at the first race 100 percent if you want to fight for the championship. If you want to win races, its OK, but if you want to be champion you need to be 100 percent all the way through the championship and we were not, this year. But this podium, as you said, is the perfect end of a good recovery from us, and again, starting sixth, finishing second is much better than we expected two hours ago.
Q: Kimi, obviously you were catching hard at the end, was it that the tyres really came to you? Was it a struggle early on?
KR: The first set, especially, was quite difficult. The car didnt want to turn but it was slightly better at the beginning of the second one, the second set of dry tyres, and then it got better all the time, so I was able to catch up. As Fernando said, when the rain came and I got close to him, they told me not to risk anything because if I went off, it would not be good for the team, for Felipes situation at that moment. For myself it was no difference and the team would have won the championship anyhow, so we just came home third.
Q: What were the conditions like out there?
KR: Of course, it was wet at the start but the grip was not too bad, actually. It was trickier on dry tyres when there were some wet patches and I took it very easily at those places. My only mission was to get points for the team. Not the nicest race in the end but we got what we wanted, so that was the most important thing.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Fulvio Solms Corriere dello Sport) Felipe, how do you now consider this cruel day; is it a day to remember, to forget or to cancel with another better day?
FM: To remember. I think it was a great day. As I said, we won the race, we did a perfect job, for a Brazilian to win the race in Brazil is already very special, so its a day to remember. You always need to remember the difficult moments. Today was a great moment but at the same time it was a difficult one, so it was a fantastic day to remember and to learn even more on this day.
Q: (Rodrigo Gini - O Estado de Minas) Felipe, you ended the season with more wins than Lewis, so does it make you regret more the points that you lost during the season or does it bring you any kind of consolation on that fact?
FM: Well, it shows that we were very strong this season, we could have won even more races but it shows that we did a great championship. But at the end of the day you need the points. I would easily exchange one win with a point today. But anyway, Im very proud of my victories, about the championship and it shows that we are very strong.
Q: (Adam Hay-Nicholls - Metro) What do you think you are going to do tonight? Are you in the mood for a few drinks?
FM: Yeah, for sure, a few drinks, some caipirinhas, to enjoy the moment. Nevertheless, I won at home and thats a great thing. We won the Constructors championship, its a great day. As I said, now we need to think about the next step which is the beginning of the next season and think about the next championship. But today we need to celebrate with our friends, my family, my wife, my manager, my team, so everybody who did a great job today, the sponsors.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi La Gazetta dello Sport) Felipe, I was there in the pits and of course your family was upset. What are you going to say to them, to console them and then, how did you know that you were winning the championship, because the last few laps were so confusing? Was it from the people in the grandstand?
FM: No, by radio. You can see the people (in the grandstands) are very happy, already, if you win the race, and if you win the championship even more. But they were very happy, the people on the side of the track and I was not sure but by radio I was informed about everything, every metre.
Q: (Rodrigo Franca VIP Magazine) Felipe, talking about the information on the radio, when was the first time your engineer said you would be champion if the race
FM: He never said that, he never said that because I think Hamilton was not far away from Glock, so when I crossed the line, Rob (Smedley race engineer) was telling me calm down, calm down because now I need to check Lewis. And then I was going into turn one, it was taking forever to know the result and then when I got to turn two, it was still wait a second because hes fighting with Glock. And then when I was getting to turn three, he said OK, he passed Glock, so well done anyway, you did a good job and so on and so on
Q: (Rodrigo Franca VIP Magazine) So no information about Lewis during the race?
FM: During the race? Yes, but he was fourth, he was fifth, he was fourth, he didnt explain to me everything during the race, just maybe after five or six laps he was telling me where Lewis was but by that time I was looking after my own race. The big information was when the rain came at the end which mixed up the result a little bit.
Q: (Heikki Kulta Turun Sanomat) Kimi, you just lost your championship title to Hamilton. How do you feel about that?
KR: You can always lose some points. OK, I lost it this year, so well done to him, he deserves it in the end. He got the most points from this year, so I dont feel bad. Of course, my season was not what I wanted in the end but thats racing. Sometimes you have bad moments during the season and it cost too many points for me this year but I will try to come back next year and its a completely different story again. I won it once and for sure I want to win it more times but this year didnt happen and we will come back stronger next year and try to get it back.
Q: (Alessandro Locetti Diario de Sao Paulo) Massa, what can you say to the people who didnt believe that you could do better than Räikkönen and that you could be fired and wouldnt race in 2009? What can you say to the people who didnt believe in you?
FM: I have nothing to say. I just do my job, try to do the best I can. I think last year Kimi did a better championship than me. This year, I did a better championship than him. So many things change from one year to the next. We just need to do our best, what we can. I dont have to say anything, just do my job. People write things, sometimes you write things and the day after you change your mind, so I think these people will change their minds a little bit. I dont care. But to be honest, I hear much more good things about me than bad things, so Im quite happy.
Q: (Rodrigo Franca VIP Magazine) Felipe, you are the first person to say that you dont cry a lot but today it was almost impossible on the podium. How can you tell, what mixed emotions were in your mind?
FM: Im not normally the kind of guy who cries a lot, but I think today it was quite difficult; it was quite difficult to hold back your emotions. Maybe with my age, Im becoming older and getting more and crying a little bit more as well, so were becoming a little bit older. Today I think it was impossible. It was such a mix of emotions, Im so proud of the Brazilian people here and it was not possible to hold back and I just let it go because it was better.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi La Gazetta dello Sport) Felipe, when you meet Timo Glock the next time what are you going to say to him?
FM: At the end of the day, he (didnt have) had wet tyres, the rain was getting heavier, so Im sure he didnt do it on purpose, I think he just missed the braking point, it was wet, so I cannot say anything. We just need to celebrate what we did today and think about next year.