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Atlas F1 News Service

Post-Qualifying Press Conference - European GP

Saturday May 20th, 2000

You can listen to the press conference at

Q: Many congratulations, David, on your first pole position since Canada in 1998. Your fastest lap today looked to be very calm and well controlled, and you seemed to go out at exactly the correct moment before the rain came. Had you been forewarned about the weather conditions?

David Coulthard: Yes. Like all the teams, we have weather forecasts and people out there spotting for us, so we were told when to expect the rain. In fact the rain was running a little bit late. Nonetheless it was good to get out at that moment - and the rest of the session was taken care of by the rain.

Q: Had the track remained dry, how much faster would pole position have been?

Coulthard: It would definitely have been a quicker time, because it was spitting a bit (with rain) on my quick lap and, as you noticed, I was trying to stay away from the kerbs except at the chicane. Ultimately, that means you're not trying so hard. Sometimes it can also mean that you do a quicker time than when you're really going for it. But I felt that I was below the ultimate performance of the car on that lap, and it could have been a few tenths quicker. The car felt pretty good.

Q: Michael, at the end of the session you looked a little annoyed. Was this another pole position opportunity that has slipped away?

Michael Schumacher: Annoyed? No, not at all. We are on the first row. There was an opportunity to go a little faster, and I made a mistake when I locked up the brakes in turn 5 and ran wide. But I guess everyone had his little bits to carry in this session and couldn't get the maximum. I am quite happy.

Q: With weather conditions changing as much as they did this afternoon, how difficult is it for you to get into a rhythm?

Michael Schumacher: It's not too bad, honestly, because we have had it dry in most of the sessions here. We covered almost 40 laps in the dry today, and almost another 40 laps yesterday. That has given us enough dry running to be able to get into a rhythm.

Q: Mika, you've been quick in every session until this afternoon. But the car wasn't as quick today as it has been elsewhere this year: can you tell us why, please?

Mika Hakkinen: Well, I have not been 100 per cent happy with the free practices all weekend, to be honest, and qualifying proved that the car isn't at optimum performance for me at the moment. We weren't able to make changes quickly enough during the session to maximise it. So we just have to be satisfied with this third place result.

Q: You're performing in front of Mercedes' home crowd here in Germany. Are you aware of the support you're getting?

Hakkinen: There are definitely a lot of fans for McLaren-Mercedes here. It's a great team! But it's difficult to really feel it when you're out there driving because you don't look at the grandstand. When we are in the paddock, though, I am aware of how many fans we have. And I am really happy about that.

Q: David, to what extent has your preparation for this race been hampered by the three cracked ribs and other injuries?

Coulthard: I just haven't been able to train in the normal way. I can exercise on a static bike, but I am not able to do the usual amount of work on my upper body. Sometimes a forced holiday can be good for you, but for me it's been frustrating. Fortunately I think I have enough in reserve for it not to affect me here.

Q: Are you expecting the race result to be settled at the start?

Coulthard: No. It won't be over until the chequered flag. And while the start is obviously very important, a lot can happen at the pit stops. We've already seen the stops make a difference in all the previous races. Now I am hoping to become the first guy to win from pole this year, because so far no one else has been able to do it!

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