Ralf Schumacher Q&A

The Schumacher brothers had contrasting fortunes in the Japanese GP; while Michael headed to his third title, Ralf sailed off the road and watched from the sidelines as Jenson Button gathered another helping of points. Despite that hiccup it's generally been a good season for the younger sibling. Third in the first race was a bonus for the new Williams-BMW combination, aided by a high attrition rate, and Ralf has recently repeated that result in both Italy and the USA. Reliability hasn't been perfect, but more often than not he's been around to benefit when any member of the Ferrari/McLaren quartet has dropped out. A healthy score of 24 points has more or less guaranteed him fifth place in the championship, unless Giancarlo Fisichella has a spectacular result in Malaysia. Adam Cooper spoke to the German after the Suzuka race

Ralf Schumacher Q&A

"Obviously it's great for him. He has showed everyone who denied that he's a World Champion that he is one, and it's great for him and the team that finally achieved what they achieved. I think they've done a very good job this year."

"Well I think he has been under a lot of pressure. But he was champion in 1994 and '95, so he knew that he was able to do it. Sometimes when he got very close he had a lot of pressure, and in the previous years he made some mistakes. But this year he just took the pressure and did what he was supposed to do."

"Especially after Spa it was a very bad time for him I would say, but then now it's over."

"I'm sure, if you're once over that point, things are going to go easier next year. If Ferrari is able to provide him with the same package, we will see. I got the feeling that McLaren is on the way backwards and Ferrari forwards, together with some other teams. McLaren seemed to stagnate this year really, and have not been able to improve their situation."

"Basically I had two mistakes, going off when Barrichello and Jenson passed me. Then I nearly ran into the back of Gene when I didn't expect him to let me by at that point - he came along to apologise to me, which was very kind of him. So that was my race. The car was good in a way, but very difficult to drive, very nervous in the race, so I wasn't very happy with the set-up I used."

"I would say yes. Australia was the most amazing thing, because nobody thought about it."

"For sure not! After three or four races our target was to stay in third in the constructors', that's pretty clear, but we still didn't think we were able to hold it. But then throughout the year we kept improving, compared to all the others behind us, and that was really good."

"Definitely, we'll try our best."

"At the moment it's just everything. It's not as good as it could be or should be. The engine, because it was a new engine, was maybe a little bit too heavy and a little bit down on power, so the whole combination will change for next year."

"I hope it will come as soon as possible from my point of view, obviously. But if I keep driving like in Japan it won't be! We'll see. We're working on it. I'm sure next year we'll be able to give him some pressure - that's the plan at least. We're trying very hard, and then we'll see how we end up for 2002."

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