Ron Dennis Q&A

Before the season started few would have bet on it taking five races for Mika Hakkinen to score his first win of the 2000 season

Ron Dennis Q&A

But in Barcelona everything finally fell into place for the Silver Arrows. After losing pole to Michael Schumacher, Hakkinen stalked his arch rival and eventually got through at the second pit stops - although we'll never know what would have happened had Ferrari's replacement fuel man not struggled with the hose. Some thought that team boss Ron Dennis looked a little more emotional than usual after the finish, which perhaps reflected the pressure Mika and the team have been under, not to mention the tragic events of earlier in the week. Adam Cooper spoke exclusively with Dennis before the real celebrations got underway in the paddock.
Q: Everything seems to be back on course after a shaky start to the season. How pleased are you with today?

"It's a very good outcome, obviously. I'm particularly pleased with the strategy of the team as a whole. The end result speaks for itself. We went very short on the second stop, meaning we had quite a bit of fuel on board when we stopped the first time, which allowed us to shorten the second stop. Irrespective of the Ferrari fumble I'm confident that we would have taken the lead in the pits. And of course that was very well demonstrated by the fact that David was able to take two cars in the pits, or one and a half because of the manoeuvre he performed at the end of the pit straight. It's a great day, particularly satisfying not only when you think of the pressure that's unique to catching up, but also the circumstances of the week, with David's accident. As always in adversity at McLaren we pull harder and always in the same direction. So I'm delighted with the outcome."

Q: What do you think of the way David has coped, not just with the accident, but all the media attention and so on which resulted?

"I think with this sort of experience in your life you either come out stronger or weaker. You are most certainly not going to come out the same. I think he came out stronger for the experience, which is a credit to him. I'm very proud of his reaction and behaviour during the weekend."

Q: Mika was under a lot of pressure, starting behind Michael on the grid and then chasing him for the first half of the race - what do you think of the job he did?

"Mika is not a stranger to pressure. In my opinion his best drive will always be Suzuka 1999. It was a fantastic race and a tremendous outcome for him. As always he did a great job here. He hasn't put a foot wrong yet this year. Hopefully we'll be able to support his outstanding series of drives by making sure he's got a car with which to win the remaining Grands Prix. You certainly can't predict the outcome of this year's World Championship, but we will win some more races, and hopefully win both championships."

Q: Ferrari still scored six points, so overall you gained back 10 in the constructors'. How hard will it be to catch up?

"There's still a long way to go. At the moment we have two very strong drivers, and a strong team with a high degree of motivation. Hopefully with the other ingredients we can bring to bear we stand a chance of getting back into the lead. As always when you're trying to eat an elephant, you've got to take it one mouthful at a time..."

Q: Finally, any thoughts on the next race at the Nurburgring?

"I don't think there's any track that we are weak on, but I think the same applies to Ferrari. It's going to be a hard fought battle on each circuit."

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