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Atlas F1 News Service

Post-Race Press Conference - Monaco GP

Sunday June 4th, 2000

Q: Welcome to the three top finishers in an incident-packed 2000 Monaco Grand Prix. Many congratulations, David Coulthard, on your eighth F1 victory, your second win of the year and the completion of what I believe is your personal grand slam.

David Coulthard: Absolutely. I have always said there was a handful of races that I wanted to win. Spa-Francorchamps, because it is my favourite track. The British Grand Prix, of course, because it is my home race. The Italian Grand Prix, because there is nothing quite like an Italian crowd for F1. And Monaco, because technically this is one of the most difficult and challenging tracks for any driver. OK, today I benefited from the problems which hit Michael Schumacher and Jarno Trulli. But that is Monaco and I have had my own fair share of bad luck here over the years, so I am more than happy to take this win here today.

Q: You had to follow Jarno, then Michael, for more than 50 laps. Did you ever think there would be a chance to get past either of them?

Coulthard: I thought there would be an opportunity to pass Jarno and it was just a matter of how far down the road it would be. My car felt good thanks to Pat and Paul, my engineers, who did a great job on the setup and then made an adjustment to it on the grid which really helped the balance. That meant I was able to run quick lap times as and when I wanted to. OK, Michael built up a big lead, but that obviously took its toll on his car. And at Monaco you've got to have a reliable car and keep it away from the barriers. Today I was able to do that, and McLaren gave me the car to be able to do it.

Q: We have learned that Michael went out with a suspension failure. In the past, McLaren has made tougher suspension components specifically for this circuit. Did the team do it again this year?

Coulthard: To be honest, I don't know, because since Barcelona I haven't done any of the recent testing. There may well have been some different suspension parts, but I didn't ask the question and maybe there was no need for me to know that because I don't try to hit barriers deliberately anyway. But clearly McLaren built a car that was more than strong enough to go the distance for me. I don't know what Mika's problem was today, but it's a great day for my side of the garage -- and for the whole of the West-McLaren-Mercedes team.

Q: You're now very firmly in second place in the drivers' championship, 12 points behind Michael and five seconds ahead of Mika Hakkinen. More important, over the last few races you seem to have gained the upper hand. Do you feel that you now have a psychological advantage over your team mate and do you think the time has now come when you deserve to receive the more focused attention inside the team that Mika got when he established a points lead?

Coulthard: First of all, Mika is a two-times world championship, and that must provide him with a fair boost to his confidence. But I have never been psyched by the achievements of Mika or Michael, or anybody against whom I am competing. Personally, I am just working towards achieving my maximum and on improving as a driver. I have always believed that I had more to give, and slowly, as my confidence grows, I am giving more and more all the time. So, as that happens, I will expect more from the team. But I have no complaints today. It is a great day for us.

Q: Rubens, congratulations on a hard-won second place. Both your starts this afternoon were very bad: was there a problem?

Rubens Barrichello: No, actually the [second] start wasn't too bad. I was just blocked by people in front and I had to brake. Ralf [Schumacher] made a really good start from the outside, so I had to back off and I lost time as a result. Unfortunately, that's been my story this weekend. I had such a bad qualifying because I took a wrong decision, then I was [handicapped] by my bad start as well. After that, the race was a matter of catching up the whole time. I was conserving tyres and fuel for much of the time, and it was unlucky that we didn't do one more lap after Frentzen [who came in on the same lap], because I think we were faster than him. [After the stops] I was catching up with him again, and once I almost went into the barriers before the tunnel. But I was still pushing hard, until in the end Ross [Brawn] told me to back off because there was a problem and I needed to stay at low revs. Apart from that it was a good race, catching up the whole time and proving that it was only qualifying that had gone wrong.

Q: Giancarlo, when I spoke to you a couple of hours ago, you said there was no way you could finish in a podium position. How do you feel now?

Giancarlo Fisichella: I was not optimistic, obviously, but now I am pleased with this result. The target was always to score some points, and my dream was to get on the podium. Now I am third and it is fantastic. We did a good job, especially in the warm-up this morning when we found a very good set-up for the race. The car had very good balance but around 45 laps I had a puncture in a rear tyre which forced me to make my pit stop about ten laps earlier than expected. That cost me seven or eight seconds. But at the end, on new tyres, I was quite confident again. There was good balance and I was pushing very hard, enough to be catching Rubens.

Q: David, we move now to Canada, where both Ferrari and McLaren have good records. What are your feelings about this next race?

Coulthard: I feel very positive going to Montreal. It is a track where I have gone particularly well in the past, although I do remember breaking down twice there while leading the race. I hope, though, that my luck is changing now. It is a good track for me personally and I expect it to be close with Ferrari again. In fact it's going to be close with Ferrari all year. So stay tuned!

Q: David, there must have been moments this afternoon when you didn't think you would be the first man to see the chequered flag ...

Coulthard: Yes, in the early stages of both races, because Michael, Jarno and I made virtually identical starts each time, there was no area to gain an advantage there. Michael was able to run clean out in front, while Jarno was much slower than I was able to go. Every lap, at the Grand Hotel hairpin, I was thinking, maybe I will have a look at him and see what happens.' But each time I decided it was better to wait until the pit stops, to be sure of staying safe, then risk the nose of the car after the pit stop. When Jarno stopped I was able to push, the car was quick ... and Michael also had a problem. I gladly take this win, though, and I don't feel sorry for Michael at all because I have had more than my fair share of reliability problems. I think it was time for him to have some problems too