Post-Race Press Conference - US GP
Sunday September 24th, 2000
You can listen to the press conference at http://www.f1press.com
Q. Michael, congratulations on a dream result for you and for Ferrari. After the emotions of Monza, how do you feel to have won in front of the biggest-ever Formula 1 crowd?
Michael Schumacher: Oh, it's something really, really nice. It's the first time we've been here and I guess none of us expected to have such a great welcome from the American fans ... although it's probably not only Americans because there are people here from all over the world. To see so many people here celebrating this 1-2 victory for Ferrari with us is ... well, it's the best.
Q. You seemed to be having pretty much a perfect race, apart from that incident about five laps from the end when you had a spin. Had you gone to sleep?
MS: (laughs) It looks like it ... honestly, I mean, I wasn't concentrating anymore. I was cruising and I had such a big gap that the team asked me all the time to go slower and slower. So I did ... and I just caught a bit of grass which was still damp - and it spun me around These things so happen if you are not concentrating properly. Afterwards, Ross [Brawn] mentioned to me that I should keep my concentration. I said, 'don't worry, I am awake now!'
Q. Going back to the first few laps of the race, you had a battle with David Coulthard which ended for you wish an excellent overtaking movement going into the first corner. Did you know at that moment that he was going to have to pay a ten second stop-and-go penalty for jumping the start?
MS: We re aware that he might get one. But even so he was slowing me down enough to [allow] Hakkinen to have a go at me. That was his purpose, the two of them are team mates and it is perfectly legal [for him to have done] this. On the overtaking side, [even] although he is not really in the championship, in my view he really tried too hard to push me wide, and actually touched me. He will probably [refer] back to [our duel at] Magny-Cours and say that this was like that. But on the other side he isn't really in the championship [anymore] and in my view he was doing something for his team, and for his team mate. I am not sure whether that [is something] that should be done or not. Anyway, we won it. We overtook the [McLaren] guys and beat them fair and square. That's all that counts. [Now] we are up there with eight points [advantage] and two races to go. Let's have another 1-2 finish for Ferrari, that would simply be great.
Q. Rubens, well done on your second place. Early in the race, I think perhaps that you would never have imagined this could happen. Do you thin you came in too early for your dry tyres?
Rubens Barrichello: Yes, definitely. This morning when Michael had tried the [dry weather] tyre [in the damp warm-up session] he said it was a bit too difficult to drive [in those conditions]. But basically I was having far too much oversteer from the car in the wet, so I called for [dry weather tyres]. I thought it was the right moment, the team decided to put quite a lot of fuel into the car, and I had quite a difficult time during that period because it was difficult to maintain the car on the race track. As soon as I saw that I [realised] that I had come in too early, I had to concentrate to keep the car on the track. I was going long and I knew I would have my chance later on.
Q. In fact your chance came when you went past Heinz-Harald as he made his pit stop. After that the car looked perfect: was it?
RB: Well, the car was really good. The set-up was really nice and the only downside of the race was that I stopped maybe four or five laps too early. Even though I was struggling with the wet tyres, I was probably [lapping] at least two seconds faster on the wets than I was on the dries. That was the only downside. The car had a bit too much wing, which made it a bit difficult to overtake. But it was quick. So I knew when Frentzen came into the pits that I had my chance ... so I had to drive it fast.
Q. Heinz-Harald, this is only your second podium of the year. But the race lasted for 73 laps and you must have been fighting hard on every single one of them. Did you enjoy it?
Heinz-Harald Frentzen: First of all, there was not a lot of time [in which] to enjoy it because I had to go flat out. Near the end, when Jacques [Villeneuve] was coming up close, he tried to overtake me once, going down into the first corner. Luckily he didn't make it. But I had a really hard race, I was fighting for every tenth today, and I had my car set up to be quick on the straight. But I was struggling a bit in the infield, where [is where] all the competitors behind were catching up with me. I could manage to stay in front of them on the straight, but Jacques got close enough in the tow, which gave him a chance. Today has been a great result for us. This year we have been struggling with our car from the aspect of reliability. We had many chances to finish on the podiums, but for obvious reasons we didn't make it. I am glad we made it here today. I am very glad for the team, which has been through a difficult period of time this year, and this will give us another boost and more motivation to meet our high expectations.
Q. Michael, this season has swung both ways between Ferrari and McLaren. With just two races to go, do you think today's win is the decisive swing in your favour?
MS: Naturally, from my point of view I hope so. But on the other side I know that with an advantage of eight points everything is still open mathematically, even though it is a good advantage. But I will start to believe in the championship once it is finished, not before. You saw what happened earlier this year and you never know what will happen in the last two races. We will be very concentrated, working hard for this last two races, and we hope to have more opportunities.