Saturday April 22nd, 2000
You can listen to the press conference at http://www.f1press.com
Q. Rubens, there was an exceptionally exciting session of qualifying, with 11 different changes of pole position. How did it feel to you?
Rubens Barrichello: I feel very good. Honestly, I really enjoy conditions like these. I am particularly proud because in last week's test I only had two days here in the wet, so apart from the two laps I did yesterday I had no experience with the car here in the dry. Today the team did a good job to give me a good car. I also know this track pretty well from the past, and I had no traffic [on that final run], which was good enough.
Q. You took provisional pole with an early second run. Why so early?
Barrichello: Well, I also went out quite early for my first run, which meant I was a little offset from the group. I was trying to get in a lap then in case of rain, but the track was still quite wet. I had no excuses, though, and after everyone else improved I had fallen back [in the listings] I again set fastest time [on my second run]. I knew the car was good, and I knew I could do a good job, so I had to go out for my last run with the main group and pray not to have traffic.
Q. Heinz-Harald, you were fastest yesterday and you have been on the pace all weekend. Did you expect to be here in 2nd place today?
Heinz-Harald Frentzen: Well, it would have been a bit too optimistic for me to say I was expecting to be on the front row. Yesterday we were out on the right tyres with the right settings, with the right strategy and at the right moment. The weather conditions were so changeable yesterday that we had four seasons in one day, so everything was up and down. It's good to be making headlines now. The team gave me a good car and we have been making improvements [during this weekend], but they were things that we hadn't tried yet in testing. We wanted to get them straight for the race and it seems that they are working [well], so we can be proud of ourselves to be on the front row.
Q. The key here is to avoid traffic, but as you went out at the end there you must have been expecting all 22 cars to be on the track together. What did you and the team do to ensure that you got a clean run?
Frentzen: We were certainly having a discussion about it, but in the end it's almost like throwing a coin in the air and just hoping not to hit traffic. Fortunately I didn't hit it.
Q. Mika, without traffic do you feel that you would have been on pole?
Mika Hakkinen: (pause) The traffic did cause me any problems, to be honest. The team did some very good work, they did a fantastic job in sending me out at the correct moment. It was a little bit difficult because I saw Rubens behind me. At that moment, to be honest, I didn't know whether it was Rubens or Michael. But I slowed. And obviously it was very difficult: you don't want to destroy somebody else's run to make yourself look fantastic. You sometimes have to think about the other drivers too. I was able to push. But the traffic didn't cause me any problems, really.
Q. Rubens, starting from pole with your team mate back in 5th place, are you expecting a clear run to victory tomorrow?
Barrichello: The race is 300 kilometres and you never know. As Heinz-Harald says, we had four seasons in one day yesterday and today we had a clear run on a track that was getting drier the whole time. I haven't seen tomorrow's weather forecast yet, but if it is raining again then visibility will be quite [a lot] better for me. If it doesn't rain, then I just have to drive fast to try to win my first race. Starting from pole obviously gives me my best chance of doing that.
Q. Mika, are you disappointed to be third on the grid?
Hakkinen: Yes, Yes, disappointed. We just have to understand exactly why I was not able to go quicker, basically.
Q. What set-up were you running?
Hakkinen: We were more or less on a compromise set-up. Let's not go into too many details. If it's wet tomorrow, I am sure we will be strong and very competitive. After the tests we did last week we also know about the car in dry conditions, so that shouldn't be too bad either. I am very confident about the race, whether it is dry or wet. It's a long race and anything can happen. But our car is normally very competitive at the start and I am confident that I will be able to overtake them at the first corner and just pull away. If it works ...
Q. Mika, can you tell us more about what happened on that final run when you had Rubens behind you and then he came past you?
Hakkinen: That was my second last lap. When I went out I was [planning] two timed laps, and after I started my first lap everything was going fine until I got to the last corner. I went wide there. And ... after that there was no point to continue pushing because I knew the lap time would never match the time where I wanted to be. And if I had continued running that lap it would have been too slow and on the next lap I would have caught up the slower cars in front of me. So I decided to slow down and make my target the last timed lap.
Q. Was your last lap completely clear?
Hakkinen: It was spoiled by a lot of things, really. I was not able to push flat out, I had to slow down a couple of occasions, really. That's why I am not smiling, because if I had a 100 per cent clear situation I would be sitting in the middle here. Now we have to understand what happened, look at the film and study the data, to see if this situation can be avoided next time.
Q. Did you have to slow down because of a yellow flag?
Hakkinen: Yes. Absolutely.
(The last set of five questions for Mika Hakkinen were not part of the TV unilaterals coverage)