Post-Race Press Conference - Canadian GP
Sunday June 18th, 2000
You can listen to the press conference at http://www.f1press.com
Q: Michael, many congratulations on your victory, and on breaking the jinx of pole position after 12 races. It was a race of many changing fortunes, which you had almost won before it started because of the stop-and-go penalty imposed on David Coulthard. Did the knowledge of David's penalty affect the way you drove today?
Michael Schumacher: I basically ... guessed that something was going on, because my team informed me that [McLaren] had whatever problem on the car, and they had stayed working on it in the last 15 seconds, which is obviously not allowed. But honestly it didn't affect the way I drove my race, and David wasn't close enough to attack me at all. So I just went for my style. Afterwards, when [David had] gone, I took it a bit easier, but just to make sure I didn't make any mistakes. I just took it easy, honestly, until Rubens was out, when I started going a little bit faster because obviously he was able to catch me much faster than Villeneuve would have been able to do.
Q: As you say, you were pulling away effortlessly in the first period of the race. But your first pit stop was out of synch with everyone else and some of your people were looking very carefully at the back of the car when you came in. Was that stop rather earlier than you had expected?
Michael Schumacher: Yes, we had some kind of worry going on throughout the race. We don't know what it is, and it may just have been a sensor failing and giving us the wrong information. But because I had such a [big] gap, we took things safe and I came in earlier. They couldn't see anything, so off we went. From that moment on I just drove a safe race without pushing too hard.
Q: Just after the rain fell, at a point when you were already on rain tyres, you had an 'off' at the first corner. Were the conditions very tricky at that point?
Michael Schumacher: Yes, due to the guess we had about a possible problem, and because we wanted to be safe, we had put the brake balance completely to the front. That meant that I locked up the front going into Turn 1 - and I couldn't stop the car anymore. It's such an easy run-off area there that I decided not to risk anything, not put the car into a spin, and come back [to the track by driving] through the gravel.
Q: Rubens, once again you got squeezed out of a position at the start. It looked as though you may even have allowed Jacques Villeneuve through in front of you. Was that the case - and did you regret it?
Rubens Barrichello: No, I am not here to let anyone by, it's just the case that [other] people seem to make such a good start, in fact a perfect start, because my own start wasn't bad at all. In fact, although Mika had a better start than me, I was able to run alongside him. In a way we were all going at the same speed, but then Jacques came on the outside and ran by. It was a strange feelings, although in a strange way it was better it was Villeneuve than Mika [who went through], because I knew he wouldn't be able to [keep on going] that fast, so I might have a chance to overtake. But it was only when it did start to rain a little bit that I got my chance to overtake.
Q: When you came in to change for wet tyres, you had to wait for the crew to finish Michael's tyre change. Did you know that was going to happen? Was it a gamble that you were prepared to take?
Barrichello: Because of what happened at the Nürburgring, where I missed my pit stop by one or two laps, there was a radio conversation between me and Ross [Brawn]. If I had put the wets on at the right moment [there], I would probably have won the race. Here it was very close and I was telling Ross that it was raining more and more, [in fact raining so hard] that I told him that even if it only rained for another ten laps it would still be quicker to make the extra stop. So they told me to come in and [wait my turn] behind Michael.
Q: Giancarlo, this must be another of your lucky tracks, because it is the fourth time you have appeared on the podium here. One of the factors was the perfect timing of your single pit stop when you made the change from dry tyres to wets. Was that luck or does Benetton have a very skilled weather forecaster?
Giancarlo Fisichella: The strategy was obviously for one pit stop and my car was carrying maximum fuel, a lot. At the beginning it was quite difficult, so I drove quite a safe race. When it started to rain quite heavily I called my engineers to ask them for wet tyres. They called me in one lap later, and that was the right moment.
Q: In the end of the race, in the wet, when you were being pressurised from behind by Mika Hakkinen, you had a slight 'off' at the first corner. Was that caused by the pressure, or by something else?
Fisichella: The problem was the downforce. We had started the race with very low downforce settings and in the wet conditions it was difficult to drive the car. So I drove very slowly. After the pit stop the gap between me and Mika was 18 seconds [which he reduced to 2.5 seconds with four laps to go]. At the end it was raining so heavily that it must have been difficult for him to be behind me.
Q: Michael, this is, in effect, the halfway point of the season. McLaren had a bad day, with only 4th and 7th places, and you have an advantage of 22 points over David and 23 points over Mika. Are you thinking about the world championship yet?
Michael Schumacher: No. There's no need to think about the championship, honestly. The golden rule is that you cannot think about being champion until there is no mathematical chance of you losing it. That's the way I see it. I have been in Formula 1 for almost ten years and I have lots of experience in this business, so I want to wait until it's final. Right now I want to say congratulations to all the team on doing a perfect job all weekend. I also want to mention my team mate, because he protected me at the end there when I was going slow to play safe. He's a good man and one day I will pay him back for it. Thanks for that.