Saturday August 18th, 2001
You can listen to the TV press conference at http://www.f1press.com
Q: Are you surprised how quickly you've gone in qualifying today?
Michael Schumacher: Yes, though we predicted certain lap times and we went much further than we thought, honestly. It was down to having a perfect lap, the car was sorted out in the morning just fantastically, 100 per cent and it couldn't have been better, honestly.
Q: You only did two runs, six laps, how important is it to save tyres for the race?
MS: It was not so much about saving tyres, honestly. It's simply that when you feel you have done the maximum and there's nothing you can do on the car and nothing you can do yourself, then you simply sit and wait, there's no point in wasting effort. That's what we did, just saved our energy.
Q: David, on both your final two runs you were faster in the first sector but in the second sector is just seemed to disappear. Did the track go off towards the end of the session?
David Coulthard: On the third run I ran a little bit wide with the tyre configuration that I ran, that picked up more understeer than I expected through the fast corner, I think it's turn nine, out at the back. So I pretty much lost that lap, and on the last lap I was just generally not quite as tidy throughout that mid section. I'm not sure if it was the track going off or just where I was at that time with the tyres.
Q: Your first run was lost when you came up against Heinz-Harald Frentzen again. Are you two magnetically attracted?
DC: No, it's been a long time. It was Belgium last year was the last time we came together. But I think it happens sometimes that you get traffic and one incident - you have to expect that on a track like this, but I was just a little frustrated because he went literally at cruising speed through the first corner and I feel that his team should be giving him the information. The team manager or his engineer should be able to tell him "OK, Heinz, a car has just passed the start/finish line." Other teams certainly do that and that's what's frustrating, that other people don't have the same level of professionalism.
Q: Rubens, disappointed to be third?
Rubens Barrichello: In a way yes, because I think the car felt very very good in the morning. My first run was quite good, the second one was coming even better and I had traffic and since then I lost the balance of the car, basically. I had too much understeer out there, and I couldn't set the time any more, together with the fact that the track was a little bit dirtier. It was just a plus. In the end, starting third in Hungary is not too bad, but I think the car was capable of doing better, even because I was much closer to Michael all through the sessions.
Q: Is your aim for tomorrow to secure the Constructors' championship for Ferrari?
RB: It is to drive as fast as I can. If I can win the race and Michael can secure his championship I think we are going to win both.
Q: Michael, that was a calm and collected qualifying; will you be as calm for the race when a win means you're World Champion again?
MS: Obviously we will try, but be sure, it will not be as calm as what we have seen in qualifying. We have seen very often this year in qualifying that we have got it together but the race was much tighter, so I do expect a very tight race, a very competitive race from Rubens, from DC, so I guess the spectators are going to see a good show tomorrow. Anyway, we want to secure the championship, if possible, down here but before we can do that we need the ten points.
Q: Michael, all the advantage seemed to come in the first two sectors - why should that be?
MS: I don't know any reason for it. It has been pretty much all weekend like that, honestly. We did actually struggle in the first and third sector yesterday, we were fast in the mid sector all the time, and today we got it together for all sectors.
Q: Can you maintain that advantage in race trim?
MS: I would be surprised honestly because I didn't come here and expect to have, whatever is the gap. We have seen often this year that when you get everything perfectly right you can do it and if, the other side, doesn't get everything perfectly right you can be quite a distance off. That's certainly bigger, this effect, than we have seen in the past sometimes. So I think that's where we are, we got everything perfectly together, I got a perfect lap in and that's what makes the difference and tomorrow over a long run distance it will be for sure tighter.
Q: You've been pretty much on top the entire weekend so far.
MS: Yes, but there's nothing else to expect - we have a good car and can be competitive at almost every circuit with the exception of the high speed circuits where Williams has the upper hand but other than that we are always good.
Q: David, new car today - does that contribute towards the 0.8s between you and Michael?
DC: No actually the car felt very similar to yesterday. Sometimes you get a slight difference In feeling when you go from chassis to chassis but I wouldn't have known had it not been for the mechanics telling me how late they were up last night. So, I think as Michael said he's pretty happy with his lap, I think that in the morning session I was closer to having a perfect lap when I had more fuel on board but in qualifying I had to fight the car a little bit more, it was more messy - of course it was quicker because we had less fuel but you're fighting against the car a little and I don't think it was possible to achieve the time he was doing but I think it's possible to be a couple of tenths quicker.
Q: Can you claw that back in race trim?
DC: I think generally we've been a bit better in the races this year, do working on that basis I would expect to be a little bit closer.
Q: But not necessarily ahead?
DC: I'm not ahead at the moment but if I make a better start then track position is worth a lot here as it is in Monaco so the strategies vary a little bit and we'll have to see if it's enough to make a difference. I've at least got a clear run down to the first corner and you rely now as a driver on your start systems. As we've seen occasionally this year they can go wrong so there's still hope that I can be leading at the first corner.
Q: Rubens, did you feel the conditions changed?
RB: I think so, the track got a little bit worse - just dirtier and the heat probably got up as well - for sure I couldn't get the balance anymore in the last two runs and for one reason or the other it was no good anymore.
Q: How physical a circuit is it?
RB: It's quite hot inside the car, I think it's all about accelerating and braking and it's not just physically: mentally it's tiring, this race, but I think even though we were three weeks off I think we do so many miles on the car that it should be all right. I think when you're on the top six you're just thinking of... 'let's have an easy ride and finish the race' because you might as well finish sixth. The cars that finish are most probably the ones that are in front already and so we have to keep our foot down.
Q: Michael and David, are you satisfied with the modifications to the kerb?
DC: Likewise: now you can run over it and I don't think it will damage your car, which is the way it should be.
Q: Verstappen damaged his this morning.
DC: Okay, well, yesterday when I damaged my car I actually went completely over the other side of my front wheel so obviously the chassis hit the underside. Today I didn't go that far so I didn't find that out but if it's still damaging chassis then I think it should be modified further but you can only go with your own experiences.
MS: I didn't know Verstappen broke his chassis, from my point of view it looked better but, as you say, if somebody broke the chassis then it's probably not quite right.
Q: Michael, did you take off any wing between the first and second runs?
Q: Did you change anything?
Q: David, what happened between you and Frentzen?
DC: I think he was on an out lap and obviously didn't know I was coming down on a timed lap and it was just a normal situation when a driver isn't paying attention. You should, I think, in qualifying try and respect the other drivers on a fast lap because otherwise it creates bad feeling and that's all.
Published at 14:57:00 GMT