Brazilian Grand Prix: Post Race Press Conference

This is a full transcript of the Press Conference following the Brazilian Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen secured victory ahead of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso to become the 2007 F1 World Champion. Championship favourite Lewis Hamilton dropped down the field after a mistake at Turn Four on his first lap, he then suffered gearbox problems to finish seventh.

Drivers Attending:
1. Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (Ferrari), 1h28m15.270s (Newly crowned World Champion)
2. Felipe MASSA (Ferrari), 1h28m16.763s
3. Fernando ALONSO (McLaren Mercedes), 1h29m12.289s


Q: It wasn t so long ago this season that you were saying really the chance has gone to win this championship and today, magically perhaps, it s all come right.
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: I don t remember that I was saying that. I think maybe somebody else was saying it, but for sure we were not in the strongest position at some points of the season, but we always believed that we can recover, we can do a better job than the others and even in the hard times everybody was sticking together and we didn t give up. It was good because as we saw in the end, even from a long way behind, we could reduce the gap and go ahead and win the championship, not just Constructors but also Drivers and I need to thank the team, they did a great job not just today but all year. Like I said, we had some hard time with some problems but we always work hard and improve the situation and I think we had a perfect teamwork, Felipe helping all the time also. We had a hard fight with him all year but then he unfortunately didn t score and he couldn t be in the fight any more, so he s been a big help also, and also the sponsors have been a big bonus for us. The team is very close, they ve been doing a great job for us, improving the fuel and everything to help us with the new regulations, so for sure I m going to enjoy today and probably the next month, but I m very happy.

Q: But it was a beautifully clean race for you, a great race for the team as well, following Felipe, passing Lewis Hamilton into the first corner and then taking the lead in the second phase of pit stops.
KR: I got a very good start actually, side-by-side with Felipe but we didn t really want to race against each other too hard and the main thing was to get past Hamilton and then I saw his in the mirrors in the corner and I think he went off and I thought that maybe we had some chance now. We had very good speed in both cars. We were just taking it easy, saving the tyres and the cars. We could have gone much faster if we wanted to. It was perfect teamwork from the team and it paid off very well. It s not only been in this race but the whole year, so thanks to everybody.

Q: You re known as the Iceman but what was it like in the closing stages of the race, presumably your team saying Kimi, stay where you are, you re going to be World Champion. What was going through your mind?
KR: Not much really, I wasn t really 100 percent sure because we weren t sure if somebody needed to stop in front of Lewis. He was seventh then even he had finished and I finished the race but there were people who needed to finish and we didn t know 100 percent, so I was just really waiting and it took a long time to hear that we finally won it and it s amazing, after the last few races, being up and down and we scored good points even in difficult situations, so it s been a good finish of the season and great work from everybody and I m very happy, it was an amazing day.

Q: Felipe, well done to you, a brilliant team performance by Ferrari, you could have won that race, you had the pace to do it, a great pole position; your thoughts at this moment.
Felipe MASSA: For sure, I m very happy with the team. Unfortunately, I didn t come here fighting for the championship for so many reasons, especially because of some difficult times I ve had this year but I m very happy for the team. It s good to see the Ferrari team who trusted me winning the championship and I m very glad to help the team to win the championship. One day I hope it can be with me but I m happy for Kimi. For sure I need to say thanks to the whole team who worked very hard, even during the difficult times when we were criticised because the reliability was not good enough, but in the end, it was good to see the team champions. Also with all the problems we had this year with the spy story, so I think it s a good way to show and to do a good job and win the championship. I also need to thank, as Kimi did, the sponsors who worked very hard, like Shell, like all the sponsors we have, so it was a fantastic day for them. For sure, I feel very happy for the team, for Kimi. Unfortunately, I wanted to win the race in Brazil but I m happy to help the team to win the championships.

Q: In fact there were some question marks before the race about the track surface, about the super soft tyres; in the closing stages, what were the conditions like?
FM: I think the track improved a lot from yesterday to today, so the track made a big improvement. In the end the super soft worked very well at the end of the race. Everybody expected to be in trouble with the super soft but in the end it was working very well. I also need to say that Bridgestone did a good job because everybody was saying that it was too risky to bring the super soft, but in the end it worked, so it was also good for them.

Q: Fernando, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes led the Drivers Championship from the second race until the last race, but it wasn t to be. A good start, you passed your team-mate Lewis Hamilton out of the first corner and then couldn t keep the pace with the Ferraris.
Fernando ALONSO: Yeah, first of all congratulations to Kimi. I said many times, the man who has more points at the last race deserves the championship, so in this case, I think Kimi did a great championship, as he said, up and down for everybody but now, on the last day, he deserves it, so congratulations to him. The race itself, I knew it was going to be very difficult and not only because I had to take four or five points to Lewis but also because with the problem for Lewis in the race, I knew that Ferrari could finish one and two and that was not enough for me. So I tried at the start, I had a good start and I managed to be third and then, as you said, it was impossible to keep the pace with the Ferraris, so I was waiting for something to happen to them.

Q: Where were they quicker than you?
FA: I don t know. I think the first two or three laps I was keeping the pace with them, so I was extremely optimistic at that point on lap three, because I was hoping that the pace was just that. Obviously, they were probably taking care of their tyres in the first couple of laps, and then when they pushed, I was not able to keep the pace, but you never know, it was the same in the China, and anything can happen, so I was keeping the pace there, the third position with fingers crossed that maybe one of the Ferraris has a problem or something and I can take second place but it didn t happen at the end, so nothing I could do.

Q: Fernando, you won two World Championships, a turbulent year with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes; some thoughts from you on that season with McLaren and the job they ve done for you?
FA: Well, I think at the end, you have ups and downs. You have better moments and worse moments and I think, as you said, this year I had some difficulties with the team, it s not a secret, but at the end, we try to work together as hard as we could and we arrived at the last race fighting for the championship and we finished third in the Drivers Championship, one point behind the World Championship, so I think at the end, I had a fantastic car, a very competitive car, great sponsors in the team and even if we have had a tough season, I ve had great memories from this season: four victories, I think, and I feel comfortable.

Q: Kimi, it is beginning to sink in now no doubt, your 15th win, perhaps you could reflect on your career a little bit, where you ve come from in Finland, the struggle to get here and what it means to win the World Championship.
KR: I think it s very difficult to put it into words, but for sure, it wasn t the best place to start in racing. I came from pretty much nothing, but the family put in a lot of effort always, our friends, our cousins and all the sponsors in the beginning helped us to get here but it was a long time ago. I ve had great people behind me, great managers to help me here and the teams that I ve driven for have got close to the championship a few times but I have never been able to really be there at the right moment. This year it looked like it was getting away again, but we have a great team, so we put everything together and just believed in ourselves and worked. Probably nobody else was thinking about us anymore but we knew that we still had a chance, so I need to give a bit of thanks to the team. I love the team, I have such a good time with the team, I enjoy Formula One much more now than last year. I have much better feelings from this year than any other year, so I must say to all the people who have been helping me: thanks to them. For sure, there have been hard times in the career, but that s normal for everybody and this is what I ve always wanted and I ve got it now so anything that comes after this can only be a plus. We re just going to go next year and try to do it again. It s going to be difficult but we will see what we can do.


Q: Well done Kimi, at the start of the season, could you have imagined that, even this morning?
KR: The start of the season was good! We were in the same position as we finished, so it was good, but for sure, we had some hard times, we had some reliability problems and we lost quite a lot of points. At one point, people were saying that we weren t in the championship anymore, but we showed them that they were wrong. We were able to come back and we came back strongly in the end, and it was great teamwork from all the people, from Felipe and the guys on the team, so it was a great season.

Q: What were your feelings this morning when you came in?
KR: For sure it was really like any other race for me. There were some people who said for sure I was going to win but I didn t take them too seriously really. There were so many things that needed to go our way today but it all really happened on the first lap. We made a good start and certain things went in our direction and then after that we had a very good car, we were able to keep the pace as we wanted and try to just make sure we were one and two and hope that the rest went right for us.

Q: I guess it was vital to overtake Lewis at the start.
KR: It was. I expected to get past him at the start. We ve had a very good start system since maybe the third or fourth race this year. I almost got into first place but we didn t want to take too much risk between me and Felipe, so it was most important to get in front of Lewis and that worked out well, and then we just tried to do the best that we can.

Q: And really the pace of the Ferraris today was phenomenal.
KR: Yeah, but if we want to go faster we probably could have gone a second faster, so the pace was there all the time. The car was great, the tyres worked very well even though there were some question marks whether they were going to last but for us the car was very good.

Q: And of course your pace as well when Felipe went for the second stop, you had a couple of laps extra.
KR: Of course, yes, that was a crucial moment but like I said, we had it planned, we knew what we wanted to do as a team. We had a clear picture of that, so we were not really racing against each other, so a big thanks to the team, a big thanks to Felipe. That s what we needed and that s what we got.

Q: And what were you shouting on the radio on the slowing down lap?
KR: Not really shouting too much, just thanking the team, waiting to get the confirmation whether we won or not. A really great feeling, it s been many years… two times quite close but it never really happened and this year was looking like it was going to be one of those again but it was a good job by us to come back and we did it in the end. For sure, I know that this hurts for Lewis, because you ve been working for a whole year and then when you lose it, it s not a nice feeling and it s a long time before you can try to win it again or even get close. You never know. You try to take it when it comes and it worked well for us this year. It was close but then that s how it should be and we won in the end.

Q: Just one point…
KR: Yeah, I lost it a couple of years ago by two points. Luckily we were on the right side this time, but it s a great year for everybody, I think. For sure there has been a lot of different talk about the whole situation between teams and drivers, but I think that has only made it more exciting for everybody, so sometimes it s good for the sport and for sure much more fun.

Q: Felipe, in a way a difficult race for you because you knew what you had to do, I guess.
FM: Yeah, for sure we had everything to win the race today. The car was phenomenal, the team did a fantastic job, but I think it was pretty clear that the team was fighting for the championship and it was not going to be me who would stop that, so I was playing the game for sure, and trying to help the team if possible. We were talking beforehand that the only way for Kimi to win the championship was that Lewis should have to be out of the top six and if he was out of the top six and the team needed my support, I would be very happy to help and that s what I did. When I started my career, Ferrari was a team that gave me all the support I needed, who put me in other teams, who helped me, who taught me, so for sure I was very proud to help the team to win the championship, especially to see all the hard work the team has done. I would loved to have arrived here fighting for the championship but unfortunately this year we had some ups and downs which didn t allow me to come here with the chance to fight for the championship but hopefully one day I can come here and fight for the championship and have the same feeling as Kimi, but I m happy for him, I m happy for the team and it was a fantastic job for everybody.

Q: I think your compatriots hearts must have skipped a beat on lap 44 when you had a bit of a moment down at the bottom there.
FM: I think there was maybe some oil there because I didn t brake so late and I didn t have any grip and I just went onto the dirty side, so I lost important time, but for sure it was not a problem that changed the championship, so I was able to help the team, so it didn t affect the team in the end.

Q: Fernando, a year ago we were congratulating you on winning the championship and the year before that too…
FA: Yes, but not today…So, you know. I knew it was difficult for me. My chances were not very high because I was hoping for a problem or something wrong in his race and I had to avoid a one-two for Ferrari. I tried to do my best all through the race and keep a constant pace and being third was as close as I could get to the two Ferraris and hoping something would go wrong in one of these cars and I would get second and second was enough for me today, but there was not much more I could do.

Q: You didn t seem to have the pace to take the fight to Ferrari?
FA: Absolutely not in the race, in the first two laps I was quite optimistic because I was running behind them quite easily and I thought maybe it was the pace of the race, but probably they were taking care of their tyres or whatever and when they pushed hard it was impossible for me to follow anymore.

Q: And the tyres, were they good or not?
FA: I had big problems with the tyres, but I think everybody did today. We knew the race was going to be extremely risky from the tyres point of view with the soft especially and we realise now that the most problematic tyre was the prime with a lot of blisters and made the tyre vibrate quite high a lot from lap five or six. So it was not too safe but we chose to do two stops and maybe that didn t help the tyres but it was a good strategy to fight for third. Nothing we can do it is the same for everybody.


Q: (Heikki Kulta Turun Sanomat) Kimi, I feel great and I can see that you feel great, very great. Do you feel even greater if Marcus wins the world rally title?
KR: Good for him, good for Finland, yes, but nothing changes in my life, so I am happy for him if he wins and it will be hard for him. But I am going to enjoy my own victory now as the world champion, so we will see what happens in the other races. I am not too interested in that now.

Q: (Juha Päätalo Financial Times Germany) How much did the team tell you about the positions of Lewis and Fernando during the race and how much did you think about the points during the race?
KR: Actually, I saw it on the first lap when Lewis went off and I think at the third corner I saw that Fernando got past him and then in corner four Lewis went off. So I knew he had hurt his chances for a podium at that point, but they were telling me about his problem or something that had happened so, from that point, we knew we had a better chance now than we had had for many races. For sure, I knew what was happening behind me but I knew we needed just to make our own race and try to be one and two and then it was not up to us, just what was going to happen, so it was the main thing just to go the whole way.

Q: (MC) Fernando, we have not heard from you what happened on that opening lap?
FA: I had a very good start, similar to Kimi and we both arrived quite close to Lewis in the first corner and Kimi managed to overtake him and we were side by side in corner two, so I overtook him there, but he took the slipstream in the long straight, so I covered myself with my position and I think he braked too late on the outside and he missed the corner. After that, I saw the pit board Hamilton P18, so I asked on the radio what is going on and they said he had a gearbox problem after that. So, from that point on, my goal was to avoid the two Ferraris, but it was not possible.

Q: (Livio Oricchio O Estado de Sao Paulo) For both Ferrari drivers. Do you think that after the Spy Story there is some kind of justice in this final result?
KR: I think so, maybe, yes. It is so difficult to say. It is such a complicated situation. And I think that it has now been decided and we should put it behind us and there is no point in thinking about it anymore. It s a different story from racing, so it is not a nice thing. Unfortunately it was a big thing this year and so let s hope it doesn t happen again in future.
FM: I think it is another victory for us. It was a big story which was involving many things during the whole season, many negative things and I think this is a very positive thing that we won on the track and also that we beat the problems that we had and it is a good feeling for the team.

Q: (Timo Kunnari Iltalehti) Kimi, tell us about your feelings as a champion? Are you going to dance the samba tonight?
KR: I don t know about dancing. I am not going to be in condition for dancing. We will just see what happens tonight for sure we are going to have a big party, not just tonight but next week and I felt great after the race, a good feeling, but it has been a long season and it is hard to realise that we finally did it after many years and in my first year here at Ferrari and because it has been not in our minds to be a world champion because it seemed so far away, but we managed to come back and win it. So it is hard to believe that it happened. I feel great but it will take a little time to have the real feeling.

Q: (Erica Akie Hideshima Jornal da Tarde) Fernando, I would you talk about your season and your team…
FA: Well, this season has been positive in a general view because I moved from Renault after winning the last two Constructors and Drivers Championships, 2005 and 2006, and I moved to McLaren with some doubts because 2006 was not a great season for McLaren. So when I moved, with doubts, but the team did a fantastic job to have a competitive car in 2007 and so I was able to fight until the last race to win the world championship and I finished one point behind the champion. So in that aspect I think it has been a very positive season. Outside the car for sure we have had some difficulties this year, but I think this is normal in all jobs and you have ups and downs, better moments and then worse moments, and as I said, I will have great memories of this year from my four victories I had in important places, where I had not won before, like Monza, and Monaco again for a second time. So, as I said, I will have great memories from this season.

Q: (Valeria Zukeran O Estado De Sao Paulo) Kimi, you have a reputation for being an unlucky driver, but today a lot happened and you won the championship?
KR: I don t know. I never said I am really unlucky. I don t believe in luck too much it is down to hard work and sometimes you do things wrong and sometimes you have problems, but today we needed help from the others and it turned out to be good for us. Sometimes this year we have had hard times in the races when we have been leading and something has gone wrong. But today everything went right and worked out for us beautifully. I don t know if it is luck or whatever but I take it. It was good and that is the main thing.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi La Gazzetta dello Sport) In your first season with Ferrari you have won the championship only Fangio has done this before. How do you feel to be compared to this great champion? And how is your feeling to see McLaren beaten in the last race, the team you were with for five years?
KR: Like I said before, I enjoyed every moment with the team. I enjoy Formula One more this year than the last few years for many reasons, but not because of the driving for other reasons. And I am more than happy to win the championship with Ferrari, especially the first year with the team has been a great year overcoming all difficulties and giving me such a nice big family and great people to work with and I would rather win with them than with anybody else.

Q: (Dan Knutson National Speed Sport News) Kimi, how do you see yourself coping with the increased media demands of being an ambassador for the sport and world champion?
KR: For sure, I will have more appearances and it is not going to really change my life too much and people will probably look differently at me and make more stories about me and my stuff, but I am not going to change myself. I never have before and I don t know what is going to happen in the future. So I will have to be more careful whatever I do. So we will see what happens. Maybe you should ask Fernando because he can tell he won it before and he can say if he changed a lot or not. I am not going to worry about it and I am going to lead my life as I want and that s it.

Q: (Livio Oricchio O Estado de Sao Paulo) Alonso, will this result interfere with your future?
FA: No. Nothing has changed.

Q: (Heikki Kulta Turun Sanomat) Kimi, what was the best of your six victories?
KR: It is very difficult to say which is the best. For sure, this was the most important. We won the championship with this one-two for the team, so if you look at what is most important, ok, every race, every win is important, but this one when it decides everything is the best I would say. It is hard to compare wins, when you win it is nice but this brings more out of you because we won the championship and not just one race.

Q: (Carlos Miquel Diario AS) Fernando, do you believe your team would support you more to win the championship for McLaren?
FA: I don t know. I think it is difficult to know, or easy to know, when you lose a championship. It was not today. We arrived here with only a three points advantage with Kimi and it was not enough because we had a great opportunity to open this gap with the mechanical problems he had in some races. And I think we lost a lot of points in Canada with a seventh place, I had a mistake in Japan and I didn t finish the race in the wet. So one or two points in some of those races and it would have changed the picture completely. From the team I am very convinced they tried to give the same cars for both drivers, the correct approach, and you never know, a few points more to one driver and we won the championship now and not be second and third.

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