Atlas F1 News Service

Post-Race Press Conference - Malaysian GP

Sunday March 18th, 2001

Q. Michael, your sixth win in a row, but on the team radio on the slowdown lap we heard you say to Ross it was a bit boring at the end. Was it boring at the beginning?

Michael Schumacher. I didn't say boring, you must have misunderstood something. I said it won't be as easy for the future, we have to keep pushing. No: you can't call this race boring. It was exciting! I thought it was all finished by whatever lap number when the rain started and I went off the circuit. I was seeing the barrier already very close and thinking, that's my part now, and then I saw Rubens coming by next at the same corner. So actually we were lucky that the cars stood in shape and didn't get heavily damaged, and we were able to do the race we did, finally.

Q. Once the Safety Car came in you were five seconds a lap faster than everybody else. Why was that?

MS. First of all, I think I had, we both had intermediate tyres on, compared to some drivers who had rain tyres on. I think that's a bit of a difference, although I was behind Jos, and he was flying - he was on rain tyres, I think, he was the fastest car basically out there. I thought it would be a lot easier to overtake him, but he was going very well and he made it very difficult for me.

Q. How much of a gamble, and whose decision, was it to put you on intermediate tyres in the middle of a monsoon?

MS. It's a driver's call, actually. We knew that if it was going to be a shower we might struggle for a few laps and it would be better for the end, and that's the way it was.

Q. Rubens, you too were involved in those incidents in the first few laps and it culminated in you having a very long pit stop. Talk us through all that?

Rubens Barrichello. Well, I told Ross one lap before I went off that it was actually spitting down a bit, and when I saw Michael going off I was too close to him. My car was handling quite well at that time, and then out of Turn 5 I saw him going straight. I had no time to do anything. If I had spun at that time I would have collected Michael right in the middle, so I was lucky to recover and get going.

It was actually a pity that I couldn't go to my pit at that time. We took the decision to stay on the track, and all of a sudden I think I spun three or four times again. There was a lot of water on the track, but we made a good choice on the tyres, but unfortunately the pit stop took so long. It was going quite well; all of a sudden I saw one of the mechanics putting a slick tyre on my right side; the engine was already too hot, everything was running hot. I saw Michael behind me, and I didn't know what to do. So basically I had to calm down and go again.

Q. At the end of the day Michael made one stop and you made two. Was that always the plan? (That's petrol stops.)

RB. I tell you, Michael is a hell of a driver, but I wish I could have a little bit of his luck as well! I think when he went off he didn't collect as much stones as I did, so I had to stop once more to clean everything, basically, so at the end of the day he got it.

Q. I think, during the course of the race, you lost both of your barge boards. How did your car handle with those items missing?

RB. I think we have a good car, a fantastic car actually, the best car I have ever driven, like I have said. Once I came on the radio to say that I saw some bits of the car flying, and that's basically was some of the barge boards and maybe the brake duct or something. I ran off the track three or four times, so the cars are very robust, but they're not off-road cars, so basically that's the story.

Q. David, you started eighth, but at the end of the Safety Car period you were first. Was that great driving or good luck?

David Coulthard. I wish I could say it was great driving, but of course it takes a lot of luck in those circumstances and when I saw both the Ferraris going off that gave Trulli, who was running in front of me, a bit of a warning, and it gave me some warning. We stayed on the track, and obviously it was quite clear we would have to come in, even though it was only half wet on the track and the other half of the circuit was completely dry.

Coming into the last corner both Jarno and myself spun, but I managed to keep it going and come into the pits. At that time we thought it was the right decision to go for full wets, and clearly with that amount of water it was, but as the Safety Car then came out, you can be sure that you're not going to start driving again with so much water on the track. So in hindsight intermediates would have been a better tyre, because we had to run the wets a long time and I was losing a lot of time obviously to the Ferraris when I was waiting for the slicks.

Q. Again the two of you, Mika and yourself, made a different fuel stop strategy, two stops during the race and one for yourself. Was that always planned?

DC. We were flexible on the circuit, especially where I qualified, and certainly for Mika as well. You have to try and leave an element of flexibility there because we knew the weather was a little bit dodgy, so it was 50-50 whether we would have a wet race.

Q. Michael, in the last couple of weeks you've amassed six consecutive wins, which is a modern-day record, you've gone to 34 poles, which is second all-time, you know how have the most fastest laps of any driver and the most kilometres led. Is that important to you?

MS. It's nice to listen to what you said, yes, but honestly, at the end of the day it doesn't count as much as how many races you win or how many championships you win. On the other side, it depends as well how you win it. I'm obviously more keen on the results we achieve because we have worked very hard to achieve them and that is what counts to me.

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