Atlas F1 News Service

Post-Qualifying Press Conference - Malaysian GP

Saturday March 17th, 2001

You can listen to the TV press conference at http://www.f1press.com

Q. Michael, what's it like fighting with your brother rather than McLaren?

Michael Schumacher. Fun, I'd say! I think we should tell him that he's so young, and things should be slowly built up! No, he is doing well, and it's great to see him there. The team and himself have built up something which they can be proud of and they're giving us a good challenge. Honestly, where is the challenge coming from? In the end of the day, when we're racing, it doesn't really matter. I'd rather see him there, honestly, than somebody else, because we know each other well from the past, we know how to handle each other in races. So I look forward to that, but it will be competition on the circuit.

Q. Talking about the challenge, are you surprised by how badly McLaren have done this afternoon?

MS. Fourth? You call that 'so badly'? The time difference is surprisingly big. They did look this morning reasonably competitive, and then they've faded off for whatever reason, but we have seen last year them not getting qualifying together and then do well in the race. So Mika is still in a good position to have a good race for himself. For David, it might be - it certainly is - a bit more tough in eighth position, but that's the way it goes.

Q. Coming back to yourself, we've been used to seeing you set blistering qualifying times then almost sit back in the garage and wait for someone to come at you. It seemed much more difficult today. Were you constantly changing the car?

MS. Not so much, no. My first run, if I wouldn't have had this wobble it would have made my situation a lot more comfortable. But due to that we then had to go for several changes in order to make up the time. I knew my last run can be faster due to the circumstances, and we did, so we all concentrated to get it right for the last run.

Q. Rubens, congratulations on second place. Again you steadily improved. Were you making a lot of changes?

Rubens Barrichello. Not really. I made a mistake as well on the first two runs. I made some changes to the car that didn't go my way, so after that I took the right direction, let's say, and I was much more comfortable with the car on the third run, and I knew as well that I had everything for the last run. It's quite close, and I'm really happy. I think it was a really good lap. It's just that things are heating up and it's quite nice.

Q. During qualifying the wind seemed to get up. Did that affect the handling of the car at all?

RB. In a way, you could see we were going faster one way and slower the other way. You just had to have that in mind because when you have the wind behind you during the braking area it could have some effect, so that's all, really. The car seems to be really good, I'm on the pace, and I'm giving my friend here a tougher time than last year, so I'm quite pleased with that.

Q. Ralf, I suppose we're slightly surprised to see you here in third place today, but are you surprised?

Ralf Schumacher. Well, I'm definitely surprised, to be honest. After yesterday's performance I didn't think that we were anywhere close to that position. We were unexpectedly close to Ferrari, but that is just in qualifying. I think we had a good package together today, I got a good lap in too, so I don't see us racing against them or McLaren tomorrow. We will try our best to score a few more points.

Q. Given how fast you've been - you did actually put three good laps together - why do you not see yourself being able to keep the pace in the race?

RS. Especially, with them you never know where you really are. In Melbourne they were playing games in qualifying and then the real performance in the race, so let's wait and see. They have a gap to the rest of us still. We have still something to do for the tyre situation, we don't even know how it is in racing. Obviously Michelin hasn't race here, so there are so many question-marks I don't want to think about racing against Ferrari tomorrow. I would rather look after myself and try to finish the race.

Q. But do you think you have an advantage, because Williams are one of only two teams to have tested in very hot weather in South Africa, and obviously it's going to be very, very warm tomorrow?

RS. We have tested, but as we see, we are not first, so it didn't seem to make that much of an advantage! It is always good, but we mainly do it for ourselves, for temperature problems we might get in case of weather like that, that's the only reason.

Q. Michael, obviously I have to ask you a very similar question. It's very, very hot: you look very cool, but how's the car handling it?

MS. No, the car actually is very well prepared for this kind of temperature. Yesterday we checked on race circumstance, what is the cooling situation, and we looked very easy on that. More easy than the driver cooling, because the drivers get very hot in there, so we need to work probably harder on that side than on the car. The tyres are performing very well, Bridgestone have made beautiful tyres for these very hot circumstances, and obviously fast on top, reliable, consistent, and so is the car. So I look forward to having a good race tomorrow.



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