Sunday April 15th, 2001
You can listen to the TV press conference at http://www.f1press.com
Q: Ralf, Tell us about the start. Last year you got on the grass, this year the same?
Ralf Schumacher: Yes, it was the same situation but this year I was in third and luckily David gave me the space. I think it was a clean start apart from that. From there on I was in front. I couldn't even believe it to be honest. I pulled the gap out, but after a few laps, I thought he was going to go quicker so I had to push again although I had to watch out for my brakes a bit. From there on it was a pretty long race, I must say. It took ages, to be honest.
Q: After your first and second pit stop, you were very quick straight out of the pits. Did your tyres heat up super fast?
RS: As we saw in previous races, we were just caught out by a bit of bad luck. The Michelins is a great tyre especially in race conditions, it's doing a great job. We saw that today. Everything went perfectly. The car setting was great, the engine obviously, that's why we have the result.
Q: Is this the start of something big for the team?
RS: It might be a bit early ( to say) but we have been pretty strong the whole season. Obviously we've been caught by some bad luck up to know. But obviously we have to keep working, we have a great package, we just need to improve it bit by bit and it might be possible. We just have to try our best.
Q: David, could we have your version of the start?
David Coulthard: I moved a little bit just before the start and had to stop the car, and that's when the lights changed, so I then got too much wheelspin. To be honest I thought that I was going to be swamped at the start, but I presume Mika must have made a bad start as well. I sensed Ralf was on the inside. I was getting ready to move that way but obviously I had to move to make sure there was enough space for us all. Then I was interested to know just how quick he would be in the race and obviously, to my great disappointment, I found out he was quicker than I was so congratulations to Ralf on his first victory and to Williams BMW.
Q: Your second set of tyres didn't seem to be as competitive as your first and third sets?
DC: I had a little bit of inconsistency, set to set which made it difficult for me to be really pushing the whole race, so in actual fact I would say that this is probably the most difficult Grand Prix for me this season in terms of balance. So to pick up six points in this situation all helps in the championship.
Q: Rubens, Were you carrying a lot of fuel at the start?
Rubens Barrichello: I think we had a great strategy to be honest. I had a slow start, I had too much wheelspin, but then I could follow everyone, but I didn't know how many times they would stop and I was just trying to overtake. Imola is very difficult to do that. I was losing time behind Mika but luckily I had three more laps when he came into the pits, so I could go fast and my race was decided then. It was a great race for me because I started from so far back, it was good to come up and do some fast laps and finish on the podium.
Q: Was Michael's problem relayed to you?
RB: I didn't know what was going on with Michael. I saw that he had a problem with the balance and he probably wasn't very good on braking so when I saw him going wide I took my chance. I was quite fast. I was quite happy with the balance of the car throughout the weekend. The traffic took us by surprise in qualifying and the start, falling back to eighth place, but otherwise we could have fought with the big guys.
Q: Well Ralf, now you know why your brother's been making such a fuss about winning all these years, how does it feel for you?
Ralf Schumacher: Well obviously it's a great experience and I hope for it to be one of many. I've waited long enough for it I guess. Since I joined Williams we've had a lot of work to see that and it paid off today.
Q: That start was really something, it may not be possible with new regulations.
RS: Well I know one thing for sure, for us in the future the starts will be easier than they are now. It was a very good start, it was just right and I think it was lucky to get David right there, and the same was for Mika and I just tried it the same way I did here last year and this time there was space enough - or David gave me a little space - and from there on it worked out. It was a pretty long race afterwards I must say. We did it on the start today.
Q: And the car was good all the way through?
RS: Yes it was perfect, for the first ten laps I had to be careful and save the brakes a bit but from there on I pushed a bit and then backed off again and it was perfect.
Q: What we did see was a sign being held out to you saying 'oil pump' and from there on you slowed down a bit - were the two connected?
RS: No no, not connected. Normal procedure.
Q: Does this victory makes it a three way fight for the championship?
RS: Well it might be the beginning of it. We've been competitive for the last three races but had a bit of bad luck I must say. It's still in the early stages, we have to continue working out to keep the level. There are still areas to work on definitely but if we work hard and try our best we may be able to keep up with them. There's some development needed on the aerodynamic side, that's the same for all of us, the engine is strong but will always need development and I think that the biggest problem we have at the moment are the wet tyres although to be fair with Michelin I think they're doing amazingly well in the dry.
Q: David, six points - are you happy with that?
David Coulthard: Yes I think so in terms of it being quite a quiet race here compared to some of the others this season but it was definitely the most difficult to try to achieve a balance with respect to the tyres, there was quite a big variation. It was quite clear Ralf was the quickest combination today and I think even if I'd managed to make a good pit stop he was obviously able to run longer to the pit stops but it keeps me in with a shout. In the first few laps I thought he (Ralf) was on a five stop strategy, he can't be that quick, and then reality started to sink in and he was getting past lap 20 and I thought 'Mmmm, this must be one stop. This is not looking good at all!'
Q: You were tracking him in the later staged of the race was there still hope?
DC: I'm sure he was just cruising it, I wasn't actually trying particularly hard at the end I was using it as a test session, trying to understand what's happening with the car and the tyres so obviously I was trying to drive quickly but I didn't want to make a mistake because there was still quite a gap back to Rubens.
Q: Rubens, Mika was really closing on you in the closing stages, did you have it all under control?
Rubens Barrichello: I think so, yes. There was nothing to be gained anymore, I mean I was 25 seconds from David and I was just taking everything home.
Q: The early stages were very exciting for you, you were right in a bunch of cars and you overtook Olivier Panis and your team mate as well - tell us how that was.
RB: It's a pity that it's still quite difficult to overtake because like that it was, could have been, quite good racing but there is no space, you follow the other car, the track is narrow and makes it very difficult but you have to be there. I was close to Montoya when he was close to Mika and because on the braking he was in difficulties it was possible to get close on the exit again and I was just taking care of the brakes and the tyres. It was a really good race for me.
Q: It was an interesting strategy to go all the way through to half distance.
RB: We had chances to go either way and I think it was quite a good strategy because from where we were we had to gamble a little bit.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Rubens, can you tell us what the strategy was based on? Was Michael on the same as you?
RB: You've got to ask Michael that. It could go either way like I said and I ended up doing two stops.
Q: Do you think that the choice of tyres was the right one for you and Ferrari?
RB: Well it's a good question because at the end of the day we had a good tyre for the race but we may have been slow a little bit in qualifying and that was probably a mistake. Looking at the times Coulthard was able to do on the softer tyre maybe that was the better thing to do but I think it was one of my best races in terms of consistent times and overtaking. At the end of the day we both tried both types of tyres and we both chose to go one direction.
Q: Ralf, on your last lap, firstly could you keep up your concentration, second what were your precise emotions crossing the line and third who spoke to you first in the team?
RS: So many things at once! At 20 laps to go I started thinking about winning but then I remembered last year when it was 16 laps to go and I thought 'okay let's wait'. Then the last three laps I was taking it pretty easy, I knew David was six or seven seconds behind me and I just tried to finish. I was pretty relaxed really, although the pressure is on us to continue like this now. Over the radio my engineer spoke to me first, then Patrick, then Frank. They said 'good job' because while it might be a long time ago but they're used to winning races.
Q: Ralf, what did your brother say to you - just 'good job?'
RS: He said well done and that it was time, that I've waited long enough basically.
Q: David, how do you feel about Ferrari, was it a bad weekend or are Williams the nearest challenger to you?
DC: I don't think I said enough to you yesterday about being in Italy and the Ferrari challenge and all the rest of it. I'm really sorry, I don't even think about Ferrari, I haven't got an answer for you.