Saturday June 9th, 2001
You can listen to the press conference at F1 Press.
Q: Michael this is your sixth pole this season, your sixth pole here and this is a circuit you don't like but obviously it likes you.
Michael Schumacher: I don't know who put out this rumour that I don't like this circuit because this is completely false. I only said that I love Spa, which doesn't mean I dislike the others I have one favourite and that's the way it is.
Q: It obviously suits your driving style, what is it about you that makes you so suited to the combination of straights and hard braking?
MS: I don't think that is actually true, it's not my style of circuit. I can put a particular effort in, it's a braking and acceleration circuit like Monza, like Hockenheim, I'm favouring more circuits like Monte Carlo and Spa that are technical so it's not a particular thing here.
Q: You set a very, very fast time here and then had the confidence not to go out for that last sprint. How was that?
MS: I knew it would have been a mess and as you saw it was so I thought I'd rather save that and watch it, it would be much more interesting to watch and so it was.
Q: Ralf, you made up a huge amount of time since this morning, what have you done to the car?
Ralf Schumacher: We had some problems the whole weekend especially with tyres, to get them to work, and we had a change before qualifying that seemed to help us quite a bit and the temperature increased over ten degrees from this morning so the balance was a lot better and it was actually relatively easy to do the time.
Q: Does this mean you've got a lot of work to do to get a good race set-up?
RS: I guess so but we've got the right tyre choice for the race, I don't really fear that, and it has shown even if we are a bit off the pace we have been consistent.
Q: David, with one minute and 35 to go you weren't in the top three, can you talk us through?
DC: I think that I've under performed to day and that there's more speed in the car but the session didn't go in a way that allowed me to explore the limits of the car so in the circumstances we were fortunate to get third because it was just right on that last run. I was able to get out first, because I knew it would be tight to get the lap in, and I found a bit of time in the last sector where I wasn't very good in the first and second sectors so I think we'll be stronger in the race than we have been in qualifying but obviously disappointed not to be on the front row.
Q: It seems McLaren are in a similar situation to Austria where all through the weekend you've been fastest, we've had a change of conditions and both of you have floundered - is that true?
DC: Even though we were maybe topping the times I wasn't happy with the balance of the car and I knew there was going to be a little lot of work to do and I think we still have some work to do although obviously race conditions are less of an issue than a single lap and it's more about getting consistency in the tyres. I think we don't have as big a difficulty with the brakes as maybe some of the other teams so that may play into our situation but obviously the goal is to try and move forward.
Q: Michael the infamous first corner in Canada almost always seems to produce some kind of an accident - do you think that's going to be more of a problem or less of a problem with traction control? Is it something you've talked about in the briefings?
MS: No honestly if you look I think at least 70% of the circuits there is an opportunity to have a crash if some drivers don't behave and that's what it comes down to: you have to behave, you have to watch and you to be a little bit extra careful when it is a tight first corner. Everybody knows that and we'll find out how they behave
DC: I'm behind you, it's your brother beside you.
MS: It's normally the people who are behind!
Q: Looked as though you quite enjoyed that pit lane 'race'?
Michael Schumacher: It was probably more enjoyable to watch it from outside than to be inside it. Certainly, the preparation for us to get ready and get out again in time after some of the FIA hold Ralf and myself back because they thought the session was finished, didn't allow us to get ready and go out again, so I thought there was no reason to try and waste maybe...whatever.
Q: Was this morning's huge margin over everyone else a big surprise?
MS: Yes. After yesterday and after the way it was this morning, I didn't expect that. What I saw this morning was that these guys didn't seem to take advantage of the new tyres and we did, so it doesn't mean that this will continue like that because in the race we won't have new tyres all the time, so that will be a different picture in my view.
Q: Is the faster lap time a surprise?
MS: No, it's not a surprise. We have better cars, the tyre competition. That's normal.
Q: Are you happy with the car in race conditions? Did you work yesterday basically in race conditions?
MS: Yes. It's as good as it can be. It's never perfect but we did a reasonable job yesterday. Certainly there are a few issues still to sort out but we worked very well this morning on the car and certainly we will look into that tomorrow to improve further because as we don't come here very often, there's very little time to develop the car. You use every opportunity.
Q: Tell us about the quick lap, how good was it?
Ralf Schumacher: After my first outing I went out again in expectation that I might be able to do a 16.8s or something and then I saw the sector times and I was surprised. The team asked me how I did it and I couldn't answer basically. The car changed quite a bit from this morning to the afternoon. We had a few problems to get the tyres to work. We made a few changes and they seemed to turn it around, at least on my car. It was a pretty clean lap, but you can always be one or two tenths quicker, but still wouldn't have been enough to beat this poor old gentleman in his poor Ferrari which is just five tenths quicker than anyone else.
Q: The rumour is that you were on the harder Michelins, did you change the tyre compound?
RS: We've never had any problems with Michelins at all in the race so I'm not expecting to see any tomorrow.
Q: Frank said he's unhappy with the finishing record so far this year; can you turn that around here?
RS: It's down to him to change it. So far I've made one mistake and Juan has made one and the rest have been called by technical (problems) or outside people. We are unhappy and we try the best we can but there isn't just one factor which needs changing.
Q: David, what about those tactics in the pit lane. I don't think I've seen that before...
David Coulthard: I don't think it's happened before when there's only been a minute and a half to go. Obviously, it was going to have to be a fairly quick 'out' lap so it was clear that not every car was going to be able to do its lap. I'm not quite sure what happened with the Ferrari, but you're not allowed to work on your car or start the car in the pit lane, so I don't know whether he went there and stalled, or whether they were working on it but obviously it created a bit of confusion, but we just had to try and get out and improve on their lap, because I knew it had been pretty messy up until then and I'm still not entirely satisfied with the run that I've done. I don't think we've got the maximum out of the car. We'll find out tomorrow just how quick we can get the race car.
Q: How much did the track conditions change?
DC: The first run, although I made a mistake at the last chicane, it felt probably the best the track was the whole session. I expected it maybe to get a bit cleaner during the run and the time to come later, but I just couldn't get a handle on the track and really get stuck into it. I was making some mistakes and just generally not finding the right place with traffic. It was one of those sessions where you just don't quite click into it. Under the circumstances we have to be pretty happy with third and see what the race brings us as we don't have any big brake issues or anything like that.
Q: So will you be fine-tuning in the warm-up, or a bit more than that?
DC: I think you will always be searching for more on this type of track, with the nature of the big stops and the way you have to run the car to protect your entries. It's always a little bit tricky, a bit like Monza, a bit like Hockenheim, so I think that even if you get the car working really in warm-up, when it gets hotter for the race, you have to make some changes as well.
Q: Michael, what did you tell Juan Pablo Montoya earlier?
MS:Obviously he had a problem with whatever, gearbox or engine. He was losing oil. He was going very slowly in the middle of the straight and I wasn't sure what he was going to do, move right or left, so I was a bit concerned and seeing the oil come out I just signed him that he should move over and he should stop so we don't have another Monaco where a driver was laying down the oil on the circuit. So this was what I tried to indicate to him and when I saw him later I just explained what was the meaning of my signs.
Q: Ralf at the start the first corner is quite tricky, what are your comments?
RS: It's tricky but not really for the first two rows. It was usually further back where the problem was - in my own past experience! I guess with us three and Jarno in the front we are quite sensible, it always can happen but obviously we try to avoid it because we all know the race is more than just one corner and we all need the points.