2009 GRAND PRIX OF EUROPE
POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE August 23, 2009
1. Rubens BARRICHELLO (Brawn GP), 1h35m51.289s
2. Lewis HAMILTON (McLaren Mercedes), 1h35m53.647s
3. Kimi RÃ„IKKÃ–NEN (Ferrari), 1h36m07.283s
Q: Rubens, so many difficult emotions in Budapest. But this win has been long, long overdue. You clearly have not forgotten how to win.
Rubens BARRICHELLO: It has been fantastic. It has been a weekend that I will never forget especially because after five years you don t forget how to do it, but it is tough. In the middle of the race they were telling me push, push, push and although you are pushing like hell there are some things that go through your mind. You know that you cannot commit any mistakes and you want to do it for yourself, you want to do it for your country and you want to do it for your family. There was a lot going through my mind but the car has been perfect and I want to thank the team for that because it wasn t just me. The car was really brilliant.
Q: Lewis, the team has worked miracles this season to give you a winning car but there is no getting away from the fact that they cost you the victory today.
Lewis HAMILTON: We win and we lose together. We have had a tremendous effort to get us here, so we cannot at all take second place for granted. We re disappointed that we didn t get the win as we have had extraordinary pace for us in the last three races and I still feel and believe it was a tremendous effort from everyone. These things happen you know. I have had so many races with this team and this has very rarely happened. This could be only the second time perhaps, so in the amount of races I have done I think they deserve a pat on the back, so regardless we will keep pushing. We need to catch these guys up and they generally are a little bit quicker than us but I believe we can do that, so â€˜good job lads.
Q: Kimi, great drive from you starting sixth and finishing third. How hard did you have to work for that today?
Kimi RÃ„IKKÃ–NEN: We needed to go 100 per cent all the time. I knew from Friday already I had a good feeling with the car. It was working very well on the longer stints, so I was hoping that it would be okay in the race and it turned out to be good. We know that we are not where we want to be. We are not really bringing new parts anymore for the car, so we are a little bit behind the leaders. But once we get the car running well and it feels good, then usually we can fight for third place. If something weird happens in the race, then maybe we can even fight for the win, but overall it was a good weekend for me and I am really happy to score the podium.
Q: Rubens, you were behind Heikki Kovalainen in the first stint but got ahead at the first stop. But that middle stint of the race with punch and counter-punch with Lewis was fantastic viewing.
RB: It was fantastic. I had to push all the way through. Basically we had different tyres all through the race. There are some questions to see which ones were faster but for sure mine were very consistent and I was able to reduce my lap times every lap. Towards the end of the second stint I was able to catch him a little bit and that gave me some margin for those three or four laps that I pushed after he stopped. A brilliant job from the team. Great pit stops. Delightful. I wish this moment could be forever. I want to be here for the whole Monday as well, so please stay there.
Q: What is your point of view, Lewis, about that middle part of the race? You were pushing each other really hard.
LH: Absolutely. The first part of the race was very well controlled from my point of view. It was very consistent and nice flowing pace. But in the second stint I was struggling with my tyres and to keep up the pace of Rubens, especially in the high speed corners where he seemed to be catching me, I just did not have the car beneath me to push in those areas to pick up the pace. But nevertheless I kept pushing and the last stint on the primes was a little bit better for me. I just pushed and pushed beyond the limit. It was like a qualifying lap every lap and very close to the wall every time and really I can happily go home knowing that I gave it my all.
Q: Kimi, the key target for you I guess was getting Kovalainen at the second stop. Tell us how you did it.
KR: I mean the first target was to try and keep (Nico) Rosberg behind. But then after the pit stop I noticed that I was able to catch Kovalainen. The car was very good. We would go the exact same lap time and sometimes we would go a little bit faster, so I saw that I was catching him a bit and I had a little bit of traffic, one car, two cars and yellow flags which cost some time, but we knew that we had a few laps on him. I put in a few good laps when he came in and it was enough. I could quite easily get in front of him and the last stint was just to stay in third place. The car was really nice to drive.
Q: Rubens, second in the Drivers Championship now. When you drove down the pit lane to parc fermÃ© all the teams were out there to applaud you. Rarely could there have been a more popular win. Sum up your feelings at this moment.
RB: Well, I mean it has been 17 years. When I come into the track I come 15 minutes earlier and when I go out it takes me 15 minutes more because I know everyone. I have worked with almost 80 per cent of the paddock. All my wins seem to be so emotional. They are part of it as well, all the teams that I worked with as well. It has been a fantastic day. A hard win today to push all the way through but it is so delightful and I want to thank everyone who supported me, so â€˜thanks.
Q: Rubens, how tough was that for a 37-year-old out there?
RB: I was a bit emotional in the conference there and I forgot to say that I dedicate this to the whole of Brazil. But I forgot a special one which is Felipe (Massa). This race was for me a little bit more emotional than normal. I never felt it was my fault the spring coming out of my car. But I never, never wished that that would happen and it went to him. There were some bad people who wrote it and said it came out of my car but that didn t matter. He is such a good friend and I wish him all the very best. What I put on the helmet is my truth. I just wish he can come back. I had two wishes. First of all was to wish that he was the same guy and he is. He really is the same guy and second I wish he is the same driver and I think he is going to be even tougher, so that is my wish.
Q: As we are talking about Brazil, you also set a very special Brazilian record today. The 100th win by a Brazilian driver.
RB: Yeah, it is the 100th. A lot went through my mind. I have learnt in the 17 years how to be not emotional. I can freeze all my thoughts and just drive and I have been doing that very well. Some mistakes at the beginning of my career were because of these emotional thoughts and so on, but today was good. I was concentrated and so on but the last 10 laps everything came up in my mind. You hear all the noises. You hear everything and you can see people in the grandstands. It was a tough one but a fantastic one. Like I said, it seems it is always emotional when I win, but I hope I have a lot more. I hope I can win a lot more.
Q: You said you are very proud to have scored the 100th Brazilian win.
RB: Well, it goes through history, doesn t it. The 100th number is always going to be famous. I don t care very much about numbers. I just care about my work and the recognition from my work. I think the team knows very well. Last year people seemed to think that was it for me, but now I can show that it wasn t. I have always thought I had it in me. I think I have just reached the peak of my speed, so I have more on me. I hope I can carry on.
Q: So how tough was it? It was obviously very hot and a very twisty circuit.
RB: Yeah, you know it was a good race because on this circuit it is so easy to put a foot wrong. The lines on the track started to pick up rubber but the outside just stayed with more marbles and it is just more difficult if you put a wheel wrong. So to overtake cars on the track it is a little bit more difficult. You have to push but at the same time you have to be consistent and I think what won today was my consistency. My lap times were very, very consistent and I was focused on changing the brake balance all the time and that made the car good for almost every corner. I was safe with that and I could push. The car in front is always not so good for your car, so as soon as they went to the pit I could go faster and that is how I won the race.
Q: How much was it a worry on the softer tyre as you were on a different strategy to Lewis?
RB: It was not a worry. We knew that we could also have started on the softer rubber, but sometimes you have the risky strategy and sometimes you have the consistent one and we knew that just with the consistent one if everything went to plan then we could win the race. That was the case for us. I wasn t at all worried with the softer tyres at the end. I could have pushed harder. I was controlling myself with the gap, so I was within the limit and it was just nice. The car was better on the softer tyre.
Q: Lewis, you ve obviously got something in your ear, was that champagne or something else?
LH: I don t know. I can just hear myself a lot, so I m trying to get it out. I think it is champagne! Just trying to get it out.
Q: As James alluded to just now, there was a problem at the pit stop. How did you see what happened? It was almost as though the team wasn t ready for you. Had you told them you were coming in? Were they expecting you?
LH: Yeah, I was told to come in that lap. Obviously I had been saving as much fuel as I could to go a little bit longer and I think it was probably a little bit unsure whether I had enough or I didn t have enough and the worst thing to do is to risk it and run out of fuel on that last lap. So they called me in and I was just on my way in and I d just got inside the white line and I was already committed and they then told me to do an extra lap. I would probably have lost too much time if I had tried to continue, so it happened. But the team did a fantastic job; they always do a fantastic job. It s very, very rare that we have these situations. I don t think it s a pit issue. It was just unfortunate with the timing. We tried to get that extra lap, to get a little bit closer to Rubens but we didn t get it, so no worries: I kept pushing and kept pushing. I had a great race, I really enjoyed it. To get second place I still think is a great result and congratulations to Rubens, he did a fantastic job.
Q: How important was KERS at the start and throughout the race?
LH: My start wasn t fantastic but KERS always cleans up for the inconsistency or wheelspin that you might have, so it was quite an easy start. My pace in the first stint was quite easy. I was looking after my tyres and saving fuel. It was really quite a strong run for me, but the second stint was probably the hardest one for me in terms of car balance, and in the last one the tyres got better and better and better, so perhaps we should have gone on the same strategy as Rubens did.
Q: And are you going to be a regular on the podium now?
LH: Two races in a row? I m very, very happy about it. It s been a long year of finishing at the back, so I m just very grateful to be here.
Q: Kimi, same with you really. Right from the start of the weekend you reckoned you were going to be on the podium.
KR: Yeah, that s what happened, so we were not wrong. The car felt good on Friday already and usually when you have a good feeling with the car you can do much more with it. We knew that it was not going to be easy because usually in qualifying we cannot challenge the guys but in race conditions we are usually stronger compared to qualifying. A lot of things always depend on the start and I was again able to pick up a few places at the start and then we were able to use our own speed and pick up some places.
Q: Two successive podiums now: are you going to be a regular on the podium too? There are only three steps of courseâ€¦
KR: Yeah, it s not easy to get there, but it really depends on the conditions of the weekend, the circuit layout a bit. Spa has usually been good for me but I don t know if it s good for our car right now, so we need to go there and see how it starts to go on Friday but we will push as much as we can. We re not going to get more new parts on the car, so it s going to get more and more difficult at every race. Once we get everything running well, we always give ourselves a chance to be there at least. We try every race and see where we can end up.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Rodrigo Franca VIP Magazine) Rubens, you said to us Brazilian journalists that you will be in Formula One until you have a chance to be a World Champion. Do you think this is your year, and secondly, does this very good victory help you to have a 2010 contract?
RB: I m here because I love the racing side. If you really think it was a tough winter to wait for all the answers and you call and there s no answer and nobody knows what to say. Somehow I knew I was going to race, so to be able to get to driving and when I drove I felt the car is good, we re going to win races, that was a hell of a step, so everything kept on getting better and better. I had a fantastic season last year with a bad car, better than Jenson (Button) and all of a sudden Jenson was well prepared at the beginning of the season and he stepped up and was able to conquer and win races. You guys from Brazil know that I m a believer and I dream and I work very hard. I think that s the only way I can try to put myself into a winning situation. I had a great holiday and I came back ready for this, so it s a great win. Of course it puts me into a better situation in the championship, I just have to keep on working, I think it s very, very much possible.
For next year, I wish to carry on. It s early, there s lots of talking because of (Fernando) Alonso and this and that but as I said, it takes me 15 minutes to get out of the circuit because I talk to everyone and I love to talk to everyone, so I m really leaving my chances open for next year.
Q: (Marco Evangelisti Corriere dello Sport) Rubens, as you said before, this is a special victory in many ways for you. Is it special even because it s your first victory away from Ferrari?
RB: As well, as well. When I left Ferrari, I left them because I felt that my limit was enough to prove to them that I deserved the chance to win, so I wanted to get out and see if I could have a chance somewhere else. But unfortunately I never got the car. For three years the Ferrari car was a hell of a lot better, so it was not possible. This is the very first time that I do have a car and so it is special, it comes at the right time.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi La Gazzetta dello Sport) Rubens, you showed before in parc fermÃ© your helmet with Felipe s colours on it. Could you describe when you decided to wear those colours and if you discussed it with Felipe?
RB: I just told him that I had something for him if he didn t mind. He said â€˜of course not. I tell you, I spent a whole afternoon with him and he has such a good memory. He said something about lines at this race here and for sure they did help, because he was superb here last year and so I watched the race after we d spoken. I got home and I watched the race again I like to do that sometimes because it s been a year on a new track, so just to refresh your mind. It was great that his colours were with me, that he was telling me some of the good lines that he had last year, so it was a win too.
Q: (Heikki Kulta Turun Sanomat) Kimi, how difficult is it to keep McLaren behind in the Constructors Championship?
KR: It s going to be difficult at the end of the year, especially if only one car is scoring points and they go as fast as they are going now. We do the best that we can but it s not going to be easy but many things can happen. As long as we can finish in the top four I think we still have a good chance to hold them back but we will see what happens. We will give the best that we can and that s all that we can do.
Q: (Ed Gorman The Times) Rubens, can you comment on the balance with Jenson? I believe that you have out-qualified him in three of the last four race weekends. You ve out-driven him here. Do you feel that the competitive advantage has actually shifted in your favour now as we go into the last part of the season?
RB: Jenson is always very competitive, he s a hard worker. He drives the car very well, very, very smoothly, so you just have to be on the top of your game all the time. I cannot say that yes, from now on it s one way or the other. During the past three years we have been better in some areas of the championship and then he got better and then I got better and the best thing for the team is that we push each other very, very much. I think this is really good for the team. So although, yes, I feel that I ve been puttingâ€¦ my problems at the beginning of the year was to qualify the car on heavy fuel which he seemed to be happier about than I was. If you take Q2, I qualify in front of him more often than he does me. But Q3 has been a bit of a problem, especially setting up the car for the race, not for qualifying and not getting the optimum temperature on the tyres. I just hope so. Next weekend is going to be a hell of a good weekend for us to prove the car is competitive again because the temperatures should be lower, so it s going to be a good fight, but at least it s a healthy fight between ourselves. I think we try to beat each other very, very hard, but in a fair way.
Q: (Michael Schmidt Auto Motor und Sport) Kimi, why is the car s performance in qualifying worse than in the race; what are the limitations of the car in qualifying?
KR: It s not fast enough. It s not the first time that the car is fast in race conditions when we put in more fuel. Comparing Q1 and Q2 to Q3 we usually are a bit stronger and the car is working better with the heavier fuel than the low fuel, but that s how it s been for me at least since I joined Ferrari. We know that if we work more on the Fridays and Saturdays for the race and really just try to make it through the first two qualifying sessions to get the fuel in the car and then try to make the best out of the last qualifying. Our only chance to score points is to have a strong car in the race and usually we can help the starts a bit with the KERS, so that always gives us a little extra help on the first lap, so if we can manage to make the car good for the race, then we can usually have a strong weekend.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi, do you feel penalised that you have a team-mate who is learning and can t share the data with you, so you have to work with all the team?
KR: No, I ve always been workingâ€¦ there are certain things that you can split between team-mates, sometimes when you are not a hundred percent certain with the tyres, but this weekend the tyres have been straightforward. It hasn t been hurting me at all. We always work alongside and of course there are some things that you can share; at least this weekend it hasn t made any difference for us.
Q: (Rodrigo Franca VIP Magazine) Rubens, are you going to come to Formula One races wearing a Corinthians t-shirt every time?
RB: It s my soccer team. Just because I come inâ€¦ well, it brings me luck, maybe.