Q & A with Michael Schumacher

Q. In what frame of mind did you go into the Monaco Grand Prix?

MS: Well, we could almost not fall further back, so there was only one way for us to the front! We adapted the strategy accordingly to take out the maximum of this race. The goal was to get into the points, potentially with a fifth place. I was pretty upbeat about our race pace. We might not have the quickest car right now, but we are not so bad after all.

Q. With a seventh place, you cannot be happy.

MS: That much is true. But then again, with having to get a new nose cone after a slight shunt, with an additional pitstop, with the safety car period, all of that costing me almost one lap, you have to be content with that. Almost everything that possibly could go wrong did go wrong. I call that unfortunate circumstances. After what happened, you should normally not expect to walk away with some points as we did.

Q. Do you think you have a lot of bad luck at the moment?

MS: I don't think so. These are just things that can happen. That is part of motor racing. You have to bear in mind that I had less of those situations in the past than other drivers. Maybe that had to do with the fact that I used to be more at the front. At the moment we are in a period in which we have to accept that stuff like that can happen.

Q. How did you see the situation with Coulthard?

MS: If someone in front of you spins and another one has to stop, you cannot do much more than to brake and either you manage to bring the car to a halt in time or you don't. So David was suddenly decelerating, I braked as hard as I could but I could not avoid to hit his rear. This is not anyone's fault.

Q. You were the worst placed German driver. Don't you lose eventually your temper because it has to go up again soon.

MS: But it is going better, I think. Look at the results, we did the fastest lap. That proves that the race pace is there. But there were also special circumstances which did not allow us to be more up front.

Q. But still, race after race, the big step in points is missing. How frustrating is that?

MS: Surely that is not a nice feeling and we had better moments in the past. But I emphasized that in the past already motor racing can also be fun like that.

Q. Ralf was complaining about your track behaviour. What can you say about that?

MS: This is racing and not a walk in the park. I was only 6/100 behind Ralf, so I think it is fully justified to attack him. I am a thoroughbred racer and situations like these are part of my job.

Q. There is little time before the next event on the Nurburgring. So what can you do?

MS: I will have other obligations, but Ferrari will test.

Q. Can the tifosi have hopes for victory?

MS: Of course they can. Again, please have a look at the race pace and at the lap times we were able to do. If we manage to have a qualifying as we had in Bahrain or at Imola, we have very good chances to be at the front. And that means that we have good chances to win. There were periods in the Monaco Grand Prix when I was lying behind Raikkonen on a higher fuel load and able to match his pace, so you can come to your own conclusions. We just have to work on our weaknesses and enhance our strengths. As soon as we manage that, we are back in the game.

Q. So you have to work on your qualifying performances.

MS: Yeah, that right now is the biggest weakness we have. Here it was much more extreme than I had thought before the weekend. What is very important: Due to the new qualifying format which will be introduced next weekend at the Nurburgring, we can compromise that weakness a bit with by qualifying with race fuel load.

Q. How did you see the overtaking manoeuvre of Rubens?

MS: Rubens had lost a bit of downforce directly behind Ralf. Because of that he opened a gap on the inside and I had a go.

Q. Rubens said that that was quiet a risk.

MS: Again, we are racing. I would not say it was much of a risk. The inside was clear and wide open, we were not that close to each other, I tried, it worked out, I almost got Ralf as well. That is why I was at Monaco, to race.

Q. What can we expect from Ferrari at the Nurburgring?

MS: I hope a bit more than from the last races! But I would not like to make predictions any more, since I got it rather wrong lately.

Q. So what do you take home from the Monaco Grand Prix?

MS: The knowledge that we are competitive in the race.

Q. The qualifying format is to change again, the Sunday session will be axed. Is that something you are happy with?

MS: Basically yes. I like the thought that we go back to a single qualifying session and that the fans do not have to go through all those addition games again. That makes sense. It would be nice however if we could find a solution everyone is content with and we would stick to it. These constant changes are not good.

Q. Back to the Championship hunt: Where do you see yourself?

MS: Well, to start with I always knew that our winning streak would end one day. Especially when we were so successful last year, I reckoned that we would face a tougher head wind. I personally never saw myself as invincible. So I am not as shattered as some might think.

Q. But still you know that it becomes more and more difficult to successfully defend your title this year.

MS: Yeah, but as long as there is the slightest mathematical chance to get to the top, I will fight. Our task is difficult, that much is true, but it is not insolvable.

Q. So you did not consider Monaco to be the last chance for Ferrari?

MS: There is always much talk in Formula One. It might be true that Monaco has not improved our chances to successfully defend our title. But I am not a person to give up easily.

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