Atlas F1 News Service

Post-Race Press Conference - British GP

Sunday July 15th, 2001

You can listen to the TV press conference at

Q: You've never won here before, indeed, you haven't won for over a year. How does it feel?

Mika Hakkinen: It feels really good. Obviously after all the trouble that's been going on this year, it feels good to win it obviously, and particularly here at Silverstone because I drive for an English team and in front of an English crowd. We made a great show.

Q: You seemed to be driving right to the final section of the final lap. Is that because you were thinking of the final lap of the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year where you pulled off?

MH: No. What I was planning to do, I was really wanting to push really hard to make a big gap so that when I came down I would park the car and have a cup of tea and then come back.

Q: Michael, earlier in the race, Mika was able to get passed you, or did you just let him by on the run to Becketts because you already knew David Coulthard was out of the race?

Michael Schumacher: Yes, certainly, I parked the car and waved him by. No, that's a joke obviously. No, my car wasn't really the way I would have liked to have it and particularly into Copse I had a lot of problems. I got sideways a couple of times on the entry and when it happened with Mika, that's what happened, I lost it at the entry. I managed to keep it on the track which was the only thing I was worried about at this moment and then Mika was beside and there was nothing I could do against that.

Q: Who decided at Ferrari that you would stop once in the race?

MS: It's always a team decision honestly.

Q: Rubens did you stay out for a long time because you had the Williams on your tail?

Rubens Barrichello: I think we certainly thought it was the best idea. I didn't have the balance I would have liked since Friday, to be honest, so I was having to drive it quite carefully although I was trying to be quite fast. I was lucky that my car was good exiting Becketts otherwise I wouldn't have been able to hold anybody but it was good to see Montoya coming into the pits and I had the chance to come in and still be in front of them. After that, the cars on new tyres were a little bit better so I was OK to drive away.

Q: Were you able to relax a little at end?

RB: I was told that I was a second faster than Montoya and that Mika was quite clear from Michael and there was nothing to gain any more so yes, I had a chance to relax.

Q: Mika, you seemed relax from the start of the weekend; are we now going to see more wins from you?

MH: Hopefully there will be more wins before the end of the season. Before this Grand Prix we had a very good test, we were able to get a good balance in the car and the tyres we were using here were suiting a lot my driving style so I was able to attack the corners and I was able to have a car which didn't understeer so much and gave me the opportunity to chose the line in the corners that I wanted to, so probably that can explain my speed here a little bit. Otherwise everything was at it has always been.

Q: Mika, how special is this win here at Silverstone?

Mika Hakkinen: It's probably difficult to understand 100 per cent how important it is for me, because first of all, I always wanted to win in Canada and I did that not last year but the year before. I always wanted to win that because it's a very special Grand Prix, as is the Silverstone Grand Prix and it happened today, so it's something incredible, something that's missing from my black book. I won quite a few times in Formula Three, but never in Formula One.

Q: Why did you slow so much at the end?

MH: I just wanted to see the crowd, just to slow down, I wasn't in any rush. There was a big gap to these guys, so I decided to take it easy.

Q: You weren't thinking of Spain?

MH: No, no, not at all, no. Of course I was thinking about that too! The last lap I was sure that something was going to happen, dear God don't. But it was OK.

Q: What's your version of the overtaking manoeuvre with Michael?

MH: Simply I was surprised what happened to Michael to be honest because he was reasonably quick in the first sector and not so quick on the last sector and the mid sector so I was surprised what happened to him. I don't know if it was a mistake or his car was difficult or something but it gave me the opportunity to overtake him and I got beside him and we continued like that in turn two and turn three. I even gave him a little bit of room in case he wanted to race for a couple of corners but he lifted so he doesn't a reason to race with me at the moment I think.

Q: How important was it for you to get past him?

MH: It was very important. I tell you what. If I had been stuck behind him for longer it would have been very difficult to get the distance and the gap that I needed because of my two stops.

Q: But in the end, that strategy was right.

MH: Absolutely. It was quicker to go two stops and to stop reasonably early and it worked fine. I was really surprised what these guys did, to be honest.

Q: Mika, this was a good Grand Prix for you; do you feel you are getting closer to Ferrari?

MH: I really cannot answer that question, no. We'll see what happens at Hockenheim. It's a different Grand Prix. Let's see what happens.

Q: Michael, you were also overtaken by Juan Pablo at Copse.

Michael Schumacher: It was simply a different strategy. I was a bit slow in the last sector, especially in terms of exiting the last corner and Juan Pablo just got the slipstream, very close and we know they are very fast in straight-line speed and he just overtook me, quite easily actually. But usually they run fairly low downforce so it's a bit easier for them compared to other guys. But I wasn't too concerned because seeing him driving so close to me and doing this speed I was pretty sure he was on a two stop so actually it was good that he overtook me. Initially, when Mika did his pit stop, he was behind him and so I thought that maybe it would help me a little bit but he was so fast, it wasn't enough.

Q: If you hadn't gone wide out of Copse, could you have kept Mika behind you?

MS: Yes. I had a pretty difficult day, actually, but it's very difficult to overtake unless somebody makes a mistake or something unusual happens. And that was the case today. Having done this once doesn't mean you do it twice, so if I knew that - because that is not normally an overtaken area, it was always important to get out of Becketts very well and I was doing that to keep him behind me but indeed, he was flying, he was much much faster, so it would have been very difficult anyway to win this Grand Prix, but I've normally done so well this year so far and Mika did an outstanding race. He was performing well and on our side, something was not perfectly right and that's the way you can't win and you have to accept this.

Q: What was the car doing that you didn't like?

MS: Pretty difficult to drive simply. I will have a long debrief later to explain the details.

Q: Do you think more testing - and McLaren test here quite a lot - would have sorted out the set-up earlier?

MS: Difficult to say.

Q: How big was your moment on the oil?

MS: One is good, it was more like two or three, actually, because at one stage I was doing something else, changing something, not really concentrating and going back on the normal line, and I almost lost it two times today. It's not really pleasant.

Q: Would you have changed your strategy, looking back?

MS: Maybe. It's sort of nonsense to talk about this now honestly because we had new tyres here, we didn't have great experience with them, especially myself because on Friday I punctured especially that type of tyre and I couldn't gain any experience except five laps, so it was sort of unknown what would happen to the tyre in the later stages. With all these unknowns, the difficulties with weather, it wasn't easy to find the right strategy. If you imagine I could have maybe kept Mika behind me, the race would have turned out differently honestly. It would have been me sitting in the middle and putting the questions the other way around. So sometimes it works in your favour, sometimes it doesn't.

Q: One of our commentators suggested you were having trouble with the traction control, that the car wasn't quite as stable as it seemed out at the back?

MS: It wasn't very stable, but it wasn't due to the traction control itself. The traction control controls certain things but not really as well as stability in certain areas.

Q: Rubens, would you have changed your one stop strategy?

Rubens Barrichello: Well, it's hard to say as Michael's just mentioned. We have less experience than McLaren here. We believed that the tyre wouldn't last for very long here but I think it did to be honest because we were still quite quick towards the end. I did 42 laps I think and the tyres were holding up quite well. I was never happy with the car since Friday and we're still investigating what's going on because the car felt quite different from the one that I tested here and so I don't think that if I had changed to two stops I would do any better today.

Q: The car must have been very heavy at the start with all that fuel in it.

RB: Yes, to be honest I was coping quite well with Ralf behind and Montoya was gaining on me at one stage by a second a lap and at one stage half a second. I was trying to be conservative but go for it because it looked like he was on two stops so I was generally happy at that point and when I saw him going into the pits, at that point we would have the decision to come in and stay in front.

Q: Given the car you must happy with third.

RB: I would say so. It's a couple of races that I ... once in Magny-Cours starting eighth and today starting sixth. Although I had different problems. Magny-Cours I was unhappy with the car and yesterday I just had traffic. Two podiums, I have to be not fantastically happy but I'm OK.

Q.Mika, during this hard period, were you worried that you would never win again?

MH: I suppose it's a fear for every Grand Prix driver who has won a Grand Prix that you think that you're never going to win again. That's why I kept pushing very hard to win again because you know it's a great feeling. I feel that way, the car that we have, the team that we have, we have all the great possibilities to do that. So I'm confident. In these six Grands Prix I'm sure there will be a McLaren winning.

Q. How does your win affect your negotiations with Ron for extending your contract?

MH: As you all know, I have an option, the team has an option for me in the future, so we'll see.

Q. Michael, what's your opinion about the situation in the championship and was your strategy worked out with the possibility of bad weather?

MS: Yes, I did. Six points to Coulthard. I need to look on the list to see how big that makes the gap now but obviously it works in my favour, but on the other hand, there were seventy points still available and now it's sixty points. Now I have 37 points in my pocket with six races to go. It's nice to know but still, I would rather sit here and tell you it's over but it's not. We have to keep fighting. But on the other hand, despite it being maybe over or not over, I want to continue winning races. That's what I'm here for. The championship is one thing, but race by race is another thing. The little fight we've had with Mika, I hope we can have a little more closer fighting where we keep a bit more together and he doesn't just disappear in the far distance. But we've plenty of races to go together and we'll see.

Q. Michael, was your problem today with set-up or did it develop during the race?

MS: No, nothing wrong with the car physically. Just difficult to drive. You see Rubens had some troubles and I had some troubles. Certain things don't fit perfectly well together, you go about half a second slower per lap. And if you look at my fastest time compared to Mika, that's about the gap we had. Strategy and all this works out into his favour and obviously gives the amount we see. On the other side, after some stage of the race it was clear that I couldn't catch him up front so I drove a conservative race just to bring home the points. There's no particular need to protect anything because we simply weren't fast enough this weekend. Other weekends we were fast enough so I don't we are in a difficult situation in general. We just didn't get it together, but the next race, as Mika said, I know it's difficult to judge this in advance, but it can be different again.

Q. Was there a moment when you said this car isn't right, or was it a gradual thing? Did it feel completely different to qualifying?

MS: Yes, but I guess there's about 100 kilo difference in weight, something like that. It certainly feels different and you prepare the car slightly differently for the race anyway because you know you have to keep the tyres together. But again, there wasn't anything wrong in particular. It was just a little bit too slow, it wasn't balanced well enough and probably the amount of testing we've had wasn't enough to really get the maximum out of it because normally, as we are seeing, the car in qualifying is capable of being better but it's always this fine tuning, especially here with all the high speed stuff. When it isn't right, you don't just lose out a couple of hundredths, it goes into tenths per corner maybe.

Q. To follow on, are you surprised to hear Mika say that he was surprised that you didn't go for two stops?

MS: Well, I'm not sure what David was on, but initially it seemed that Mika was on two stops and David was on a one, but then I heard he had a problem with his rear suspension, so I don't know how much this affected him. But everybody calculates their strategy with the knowledge that they have, and again, if I would have been capable of having a better car and not having such trouble, I would be pretty sure that I would have kept him behind me and then it worked out in our favour. It's not really correct just to overview it from your point of view and say 'two stops was clearly the right strategy.' You really need to consider a lot of information and then you find out it isn't so clear.

Q.Michael, when did you hear that David had gone off and what went through your mind?

MS: He (Mika) was still behind me at this stage? I was pretty busy watching my mirrors actually, so... I saw at one stage on the big monitors David in the gravel but on the other hand, I was concerned with trying to win the race. It's certainly not that I was yelling inside the car, 'wow, he's out,' for sure that's not the case. On the other hand, knowing the way he(Mika) was pushing and after he passed me, I wasn't so concerned.

Q. I repeat my second question for Michael, about the weather forecast, if you expected showers and that affected your strategy?

MS: We didn't.

Published at 16:42:10 GMT

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