Sunday June 10th, 2001
You can listen to the press conference at F1 Press.
Q: Well done Ralf, was that the greatest fun you've ever had with your clothes on?
Ralf Schumacher: It was obviously a great race today. The whole time the two of us together I was waiting for him to make a mistake. Obviously he didn't. I tried it a couple of times at the end of the straight but then it was difficult, so I waited for the pit strategy when I thought that we would go longer anyway and it worked out that way.
Q: We saw you pull out of the slipstream a couple of time; did you approach it differently because you were trying to overtake your brother?
RS: No, not really. I had the upper hand the whole stint. I was following him quite easily. My car was just brilliant today and I didn't want to risk too much. I knew that we were very long - we had a lot of fuel on board, I knew that, so I thought I had better wait until he pits and then I could try to pull the gap out instead of trying harder, maybe making a mistake and then losing it. That's what I did.
Q: What did you do to the car to transform it?
RS: We changed quite a few things overnight but the tyres worked brilliantly again today. Looking at Bridgestone's tyres, I think they looked a bit worse than ours at the end of the race. Looking at Michael's car which was very nervous, I knew it was difficult for him to hold the pace.
Q: Michael, I suppose if you have to lose to someone, you might as well lose to your brother...
Michael Schumacher: Yes, that's certainly the best to lose to. I guess our Mum and Dad will be very proud of us, first time a pair of brothers are first and second on the podium and I'm obviously delighted. I took six important points. He got the second win of his career, so a happy family day, I would say.
Q: And when he was following you for those 40 laps, did you trust him not to make any mistake?
MS: The point is that I know that he's experienced enough not to make mistakes. He obviously was close to overtaking but when you're inside, basically you have to brake a little bit earlier to make the corner and I was braking very late to try the maximum and as he said, he was going longer than I was, so I understand that he didn't take the maximum risk for either of us. It worked out for him.
Q: After the stop, you seemed to be slower. Were you taking it easy, or did you have a problem?
MS: Initially I pushed very hard in order to maybe make up the gap and beat him so when he came out of his pit stop I was in front of him but it's normal that this doesn't work, because you're normally always faster at the end of the stint than when you put fresh tyres because of the fuel on board. But you have to try. You never know what the traffic is going to be like, or a little mistake. So I pushed at this moment very hard, but once I saw him pulling out in front of me and pulling out a margin, there was only one strategy, try to save your race and take the six points.
Q: Mika, it must just be a tremendous relief to finally make the podium this year.
Mika Hakkinen: In one sense, yes, it has been a really disastrous start to the season, so it's nice to be on the podium, particularly starting from either position, because this was really our target, to finish on the podium was the most important thing.
Q: You were stuck in what seemed like a train of traffic, but once you go free, you were quite a bit quicker. How come you couldn't overtake them?
MH: Simply leaving from the hairpin before the back straight, it looked like the cars ahead of me were able to accelerate out of that corner a little bit quicker, so I never got the opportunity to get a slipstream in a straightline and overtake at the end of the straight, so it was just impossible, better to wait and see what happens. When they went in for fuel, that gave me a lot of help and then they definitely had an incident: I think Raikkonen and Zonta had an incident. Raikkonen had damage in his diffuser, so his car wasn't handling so well any more, so that gave me a great opportunity to overtake them.
Q: Ralf, we now go to what is nearly your home circuit at the Nurburgring. You must be looking forward to that with great vigour.
RS: Obviously it would be great, especially at the Nurburgring in Germany if we could repeat that. I think the person next to me wouldn't like to hear that very much but I mean we would both try our best, whoever is going to be in front is going to be great for the German crowd anyway. I think we're both looking forward to coming home and competing in front of our home crowd.
Q: What were you thinking when you were behind Michael for all those laps?
Michael Schumacher: Why is he going so slowly?
Ralf Schumacher: Actually, that's slightly the case. When I was following him, I thought he was going to pull away and then I saw that the two of us were pulling away from the rest of the field and I thought OK, why isn't he going quicker? At the beginning I thought he was saving his brakes or his tyres but then he kept his pace. So I knew that I would have the upper hand at the end. I had to look after my brakes at the beginning of the stint as well, so I took it quite easy. I tried it(to overtake) a couple of times at the end of the straight but realised there was no sense. Obviously he didn't want to let me by - maybe next time - and then I called the team on the radio and said 'OK, I'll back off now and wait until he goes to the pits and then I think we could pull out the gap to win.'
Q: How close did you get to overtaking him?
RS: Realistically, I was alongside. I could have stayed inside but the only thing that would happened was that we both would have gone straight through the chicane and maybe crashed or something would have gone wrong. There's no sense in that.
Q: After the safety car period, he leaped into a 2.5s lead. What happened then?
RS: I picked up a lot of rubber on the tyres, and it took a long time to get up to grip and to be clean again. I don't know why that happened, because I always took care. When I got the call that the safety car was coming in, I couldn't get them clean again and they took a bit of time to come back. But I knew at that stage I had to close the gap again otherwise I would lose the race. Luckily it worked out.
Q: Did the temperature work in your favour; it went up about six degrees just before the start?
RS: Yes, it was perfect. We all know the hotter the better for Michelins and it worked that way again.
Q: And the hard tyres were the right choice?
RS: Yes, at the beginning of the weekend we were in trouble, we couldn't use the soft ones, so we decided to opt for the hard ones and try to make them work, which worked in qualifying, but again yesterday it was pretty hot in qualifying compared to the morning, and we were hoping for a lot of sun today which came before the start, so it was perfect timing.
Q: Michael, how hard was Ralf pushing behind you?
Michael Schumacher: I drove my pace which was at that stage maximum without being forced into a mistake, so just a little bit below the edge but seeing him closing the gap after the safety, I knew he was quite a bit faster and therefore it didn't matter how hard I pushed. As I saw that we were pulling out quite a gap to third car, I was just watching out whether we could maybe go longer to the pit stop and beat him that way, but as this didn't happen, it was clear I was going to lose the race.
Q: What were you thinking when you had to come in and he stayed out?
MS: I was pretty much aware of this honestly and better him than anyone else.
Q: How longer are you going to be pleased that your brother beats you?
MS: I've no problem with this at all. If he's faster, he's faster that's fine. We have to work harder to be up front again. Better him than anyone else.
Q: When you were behind the safety car, we saw a couple of puffs of smoke, it was though you were heating up the brakes?
MS: Yes. Everybody does that. Everybody has to watch out for that. Especially if you drive behind the safety car, you don't go full pace anyway, so it's not a problem.
Q: Ralf said he thought your car looked nervous, did it feel nervous?
MS: Sort of, yes. It was basically on the edge and that's it. Whenever you drive on the edge, it always looks a bit nervous and whenever you have extra grip like he had, you have an easy afternoon. I can imagine how he felt following me. It probably wasn't a big effort for him. I'm prepared for that. That's why I'm working out so hard, to be fit. Sometimes it's not enough.
Q: So you're happy with second today?
MS: Yes, we were the best Bridgestone team. We were pulling away quite a margin to David and to Mika and that's what we can do. And what happened today, Michelin tyres are a bit better - they have a very good car, he's a good driver, their package is there when it's right, they can beat us and that's what happened.
Q: Mika, could you ever imagine being on the rostrum today?
Mika Hakkinen: Oh yes! Big way! No, that was the target really today, to finish on the podium, not just in the points.
Q: You were in that group for 34 laps and then you overtook Zonta and overtook Raikkonen; what happened?
MH: It was really dangerous what happened for Ricardo and Kimi on the back straight coming towards the pits. I'm not sure if Olivier was causing traffic a little bit, that Kimi had to go slow in the hairpin and because Kimi had to go slowly in the hairpin, Ricardo had the opportunity to get a tow on the long straight and Ricardo got a little bit too close. He just touched Kimi on the back and all the diffuser and everything - pieces were flying in the air. And I could see Kimi's car going left-right left-right on the back straight and I was thinking 'wow, if Ricardo continues pushing like that, he's going to go off.' I think both of them damaged their cars. Kimi had a diffuser problem and probably Ricardo had a front wing failure. After that, they lost the balance of their cars and gave me the opportunity to overtake them.
Q: Were you happy with your car today?
MH: Medium. Not 100 per cent to be honest. I just was not able to enter the corners at the speed that I wanted to go. I was losing too much time entering the corners and that was really compromising my lap time.
Q: What did you think of Kimi's performance?
MH: It's great. I really enjoyed seeing him going flat out, particularly at the start when we were side by side and he was pushing really hard. Obviously he's a young guy and he's quite brave, but he did a good job and like I said, when I was following him on the track, he was doing a really good job. Then when I overtook him in the hairpin it was a very fair game. I really enjoyed it.
Q: Michael, you've looked a bit vulnerable against the McLarens on fuel consumption. You beat them today but not the Williams - are you still worried?
MS: We'll find out in the future. We're still working on this and we don't know the answer.
Q: Ralf, you had a big lead at the end yet you were still locking the wheels - why?
RS: I was driving easy but the thing is into the hairpin even if you brake lighter and turn in you still tend to lock an inside wheel but I wasn't pushing. You can see by my lap time I backed off two seconds nearly.
Q: Mika, had it ever crossed your mind if you would compromise your race for David?
MH: Sure it came to my mind.
Q: When was the last time that Ralf beat Michael in a race?
RS: We never really raced together as he's seven years older - as you'll see just by looking at him! We have never really competed together so it's actually the first time that, with a bit of luck, I was able to beat him.
Q: Ralf, yesterday you said that the lack of results so far was down to Frank to change the car. How much of today was up to you and how much from the car?
RS: The car obviously hasn't changed since yesterday has it? Seriously, Frank was not happy with the records of finishing and when I said it was down to Frank to change it because we had a few reliability problems in the team as well. He wouldn't blame the driver and I wouldn't the team. This is a circuit that works in our favour but when we started here on Friday we had great problems getting the car and the tyres to work together on the circuit. By getting better throughout Saturday I knew that we were going to be competitive but looking after yesterday's performance realistically we were half a second faster than Michael so how should I expect to win the race?
Q: Michael and Ralf, is it difficult to be as aggressive when you're one on one?
RS: I think we've shown in the past that whenever we've come together it's been very hard fighting in between us but fair. At the end of the day we always give the safe to survive. You saw today I didn't try any stupid moves but I did try to overtake him as I would anyone else.
Q: Ralf you tested at Magny-Cours recently and were very fast there. If you are as quick there...
RS: Are we going for the championship? You know after Imola everyone should have seen what happened, as a package we are too young I mean we're going to show up from time to time I'm pretty sure but depending on the tyres. Michelin hasn't got the experience Bridgestone has and I'm sure there will be occasions when we just don't get it right so aerodynamically we are not where we want to be as well so we can't go for the championship but we can try and take advantage of some other teams weaknesses and maybe be second in the teams championship at the end of the year.
Q: Ralf you spent a lot of time behind Michael today can you tell us what he's like as a driver? Is there room for improvement?
RS: I had 45 laps to learn off him and then I just went away so it helped me today, it was just amazing!
Q: Mika, what does it feel like to finish third behind not one but two Schumachers?
MH: Lucky there's not three! Then there would be a problem.