Post Race press conference

POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE - SUNDAY 23/04/2000

Post Race press conference

1. David COULTHARD (McLAREN-MERCEDES), 1:28:50.108s (208.266 km/h); 2. Mika HAKKINEN (McLAREN-MERCEDES), 1.477 seconds behind;
3. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 19.917 seconds behind.

Q. Many congratulations, David, on your back-to-back victory in the British Grand Prix. You must feel delighted ...

David Coulthard: Yes, I do. This is great. I had such a long time out there [in the lead] to think about it, but I developed a small gearbox problem and I was preparing to cry in the car because I didn't need that. I am thankful it held together, which is great for the team. We got both cars home, in first and second places, which is fantastic. Now I am really looking forward to the rest of the season.

Q. Last year, after Michael had crashed and Mika broke down here, it could be said that you inherited the win. This year, though, you won from the front with a daring move on Rubens Barrichello. Talk us through that incident.

DC: I thought I was going to be stuck behind Rubens until the fuel stop, and I was comfortable with my stop. We were able to run the engine and I was hoping to be able to go longer than he would go. But then he made a small mistake coming out of the last corner [before the Hangar Straight], Becketts, while I got it right and I got a run on him. Remembering Nigel Mansell's move on Nelson Piquet [at Stowe in 1987], I thought I would give that a try! It held together, and obviously that gave me the advantage when we came in for the pit stops.

Q. I think we saw a first today when you, the winning driver, took a phone call in Parc Ferme. Who called you?

DC: Oh, I was talking to Dr Hubbert, a member of the Board of Directors of DaimlerChrysler. It was very important for Mercedes to start winning again after the losses in the first three races. He was very happy.

Q. Mika, your race went wrong at the start. What happened to you there?

Mika Hakkinen: Initially the start was going really well. I came off correctly, with plenty of grip. But then suddenly I lost the grip, and I was trying to get the best out of it. I was still going quite well, but I had David alongside me, so I was a bit blocked. As we were heading towards the first corner I found Michael on my left side. It left me with two choices: either to continue going flat out or to lift. I decided to continue, and it was a bit unfortunate for Michael. But I have to say that it was the start produced the situation that mostly decided the outcome of the race ... and very unfortunate.

Q. During the race you seemed to be struggling with the handling of your car ...

MH: I was, I was. I didn't have the right balance, and if you look back at this morning's warm-up you will see that I was hardly able to do any laps, because of a problem with the car. To find a good balance in the car you must first get a good run in the morning. I was lacking that, so I was unable to get the best balance in the car.

Q. Michael, you seemed to suffer even worse than Mika at the start and you ended up in 8th place at the end of the first lap. What happened to you?

Michael Schumacher: I had a very good start, honestly. I had the option to go to the middle, but there were too many cars and nobody seemed to be opening any doors. So I took the other option, of going through the grass. It should have worked, but after so much rain in the past days the grass was so wet that I found myself just sitting there and going nowhere with the wheels spinning. That's where I lost the momentum. I'm not sure in what order it all happened, but Button went past me on the inside, and then it Villeneuve passing me on the outside, and suddenly it was Ralf coming through. I was having a good fight with him in the first couple of corners, but than I really had to back off as we were going through Bridge. It would have been tight, and he seemed to be very keen to close the door. I didn't want to risk having an 'off' with my brother, obviously, and I decided that my time [to pass him] would come. But then I got really stuck, behind Villeneuve. Although I was much, much faster, there was no way to overtake.

Q. Given how far behind the leading pack - it was more than 25 seconds at half distance - are you satisfied with 3rd place?

MS: Absolutely! For most of the race I was running in 8th position, and I was wondering how the race would develop and how many points I was going to lose. At that stage I was quite happy to see Rubens in first place, taking points away from the guys like Mika and David. Unfortunately he stopped, for whatever reason, and I an quite happy to have come home in 3rd place.

Q. David, the next race on the schedule is Barcelona, where McLaren has traditionally been very strong. You must feel confident going into that weekend ...

DC: Yes. We have always gone well at the circuit, and we have a test scheduled there next week. I see no reason for us not to be competitive. We expect Ferrari to be quick again, and it will be close, but as long as we run reliably again there is a good chance that we can win that race.

Q. Mika, you mentioned how you had a bad balance in the car at the start. Did it get improve later?

MH: It got better, yes. I think with more rubber on it the track had better grip and I was getting a better balance all the time. The engineers made a small change during the pit stop - and that made everything look different. But it wasn't enough, because we are talking here about what should have been bigger changes than just a bit of tuning.

Q. With about eight laps to go, your lap times suddenly started to get noticeably quicker. What was happening in your mind then?

MH: Well first of all, as you heard from David, he had a problem with his car. And after all, right through the race I had been following someone. It was only after my pit stop that I could even think I had a clear track, but there was no chance of that when I was stuck behind Jenson and Ralf. I was carrying so much fuel compared to them that there wasn't the slightest chance of overtaking them, so I was stuck, driving as well as I could to bring home the points. We still have a lot of work to do, but the failure this morning doesn't help us at all. It's fantastic to have finished today's Grand Prix, but there is still a lot of work to do.

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