9 July: British Grand Prix - FIA Post Qualifying Press Conference
Fernando ALONSO (Renault), 1m19.905s 2. Kimi RAIKKONEN* (McLaren), 1m19.932s 3. Jenson Button (B A R), 1m20.207s
Q: A fantastic pole, Fernando, and fastest in every sector. Fernando ALONSO: Yes, it was really
good, a little bit unexpected, this pole position. The car felt much better this morning than yesterday. The team did an incredible
job last night, with some different changes that we did and the car felt quite quick straight away this morning. So I was P1 in the
last session, P4, so I think we went into qualifying very confident. Probably not that confident enough to get the pole, but this is
a very good result for us.
Q: Coming off a great result, Renaultís home Grand Prix in France, but this is in some way
this is another home race for you. Talk about the atmosphere here and coming to Silverstone leading the championship as you are. FA:
It is fantastic, obviously. I think 70 percent of the team is English so I think this is also the home Grand Prix here at
Silverstone for all the guys. It is a really interesting Grand Prix for everyone in the team. Always when we are here, the drivers
and the members of the team work together in the factory two days before the Grand Prix, so I think the atmosphere was fantastic. We
are leading both championships and the weekend has started in a good way so far as well.
Q: And your thoughts on the race
tomorrow? Strategy? Obviously, Kimi may be on a different fuel load? FA: Yeah, I think we will have different strategies, all
the teams. I think they will be more similar here than in Magny-Cours, where we saw teams doing very different strategies. Anyway,
the race is always very long. Hopefully it will stay constant and dry in the second half of the race, but I am really confident. For
sure, what happened to Kimi is not fair that there will be again problems for him but we have to do our maximum as we did in
qualifying and so far we have the pole.
Q: Kimi, for the second consecutive race you have to take an engine change and a
ten place penalty on the grid. Kimi RAIKKONEN: It is not the ideal situation again, but there is nothing I can do. I can just
drive as quickly as I can and we will see tomorrow what will happen. For sure, it is not the way to try to win the championship, to
take every time a ten-place penalty. We are not that quick to give so much away.
Q: We saw in France you had a lot of fuel
in the first stint, you picked up some places when they all came into the pits. What is it going to be like tomorrow? KR: We
will see what happens tomorrow. It depends what happens at the front. If the front people disappear as quickly as they did in France
I think we will not have a strong position, but I donít know what they are doing. The car was pretty good today, so lets wait and
Q: Given the set-up for qualifying, your lap looked pretty good. KR: Yeah, the quick corners are not bad but
the biggest problem was that what happened to us happened in the last practice and then we didnít put the new tyres on so it was
difficult to know how the car would be in qualifying. At least it went pretty much okay and the car was not too bad, so it was okay.
Jenson, here we are at the British Grand Prix and you are on the front row. Jenson BUTTON: Yeah, it is a great feeling. We
didnít quite expect it, so itís fantastic to be at the front and I think we can do some pretty good things from there.
Everyone wants to know, what do you think you can actually do. It looked to be a little bit down in the first sector there but very
quick relative to the Renaults in sectors two and three. JB: We struggled a bit through Becketts and Copse, so that is a bit
of a worry for the race, but apart from that the car has been working very well, in low speed corners and the other high speed
corners. It is nice to be in this position to be able to fight with the Renaults and McLarens because we have had a pretty tough
time of it and it can only get better from there.
Q: And the British crowd behind you, as they will be tomorrow? JB:
Yeah, it is great to have so many fans here. There is only one time this year I have seen a crowd like this and that was in
Barcelona, so it is great to see so many fans here, not just British but from around the world, so hopefully we can put on a good
show for them and I am sure we can do that.
Q: Fernando, your thoughts on this Grand Prix in the context of some of the
events that have happened in London over the last few days. Can you talk to us about Formula Oneís approach to this tragedy. FA:
I think we are all very sad and this is not good at all, I think, what happened in London in the last few days. All the Formula One
people, we want to express our respects for the victims and their families and put a good show on for them tomorrow. The sport,
especially Formula One, cannot do much on this occasion.
Q: Fernando, you were not meant to
be very quick here. You told us this wasnít a good circuit for you. What has made a difference? FA: I think we are all
surprised about his pole position. Well, not surprised for the pole, but surprised how good the car was this morning. Yesterday we
had more or less the same balance as the test and I was not really quick, I was seventh yesterday. But last night the team did a
fantastic job, we had some ideas about set-up and today the car felt much, much better straight away and now I was in the top three
in qualifying, and the pole position is even better.
Q: What about the lap, because it was hundredths here and there. FA:
It was really close with Kimi. I saw the times. Obviously when I left the garage the pole was for Jenson and it was 20.3, so I knew
that I was going to have a good time in the low 20s or high 19s and I didnít know what Kimi was doing. The car felt much better so
I had more and more confidence to push and I was able to get the pole so close to Kimi.
Q: Last Sunday you said you were
aiming for a podium. Do you have a new target? FA: I think it is true that we have a much better position we thought than
before we came here. The car is constant in the long runs, the tyres are fantastic, consistency-wise, so we should have a pretty
strong race. Also, Kimi had a mechanical problem again, so if we can take this opportunity again to have a nice gap after the first
pitstop maybe we can have a chance to win again.
Q: Kimi, how do you deal with the disappointment? KR: It is not the
first time, so it is nothing too new, but hopefully it is the last time. Looking at what has happened to us it is just not so easy.
But we try to do the best we can and see where we end up.
Q: It almost makes you go quicker in qualifying when you know youíre
going to get a penalty. KR: No, not really. I think in normal circumstances we would be quicker also, but we need to look at
the race a little bit now maybe more than in normal circumstances.
Q: We remember what the strategy was last weekend. Do we
expect the same thing? KR: Just wait and see
Q: Obviously itís a little bit easier to overtake here than at
Magny-Cours. KR: Yeah, I think the circuit will be slightly easier to overtake but then there are quick corners going onto
the straights so it is not always so easy to follow people through the quick part of the corners. At least I will have a new engine
which is more powerful so that should help in a straight line so hopefully we can pass some people.
Q: Jenson, front row of
the grid is obviously great, what are the chances? JB: It obviously helps us. It is disappointing for him Iím sure, but it
does help us. I think our race pace here is better than it was in Magny-Cours, so I think we have a chance of staying closer to the
Renaults and hopefully the McLarens. So weíre looking for a good race. For me, I think we have a good strategy as always and we
will just wait and see what happens and the way the race pans out.
Q: You played down your prospects here before the start
of the weekend, but what chances of a podium now? JB: There is always a chance, and we are helped by Kimi starting down in
12th. I donít know, we will have to wait and see, but the long-run pace seems reasonable. Just a little bit worried about starting
on the dirty side of the grid with Juan Pablo in third, but weíll be OK.
Q: Now the Daily Mirror today says that youíre
joining Ferrari next year. What comment do you have on that? JB: Yeah, I read that this morning as well. A nice piece! I canít
say anything on my future next year, Iím just living in the moment which is pretty good. Q: But you wonít deny it. JB:
I wonít, but I cannot talk about my future next year. Thatís it. I am not going to say yes or no.
QUESTIONS FROM THE
Q: (Dom Taylor Ė F1 Racing) Kimi, whatís your opinion and how do you feel about the one engine rule, given
that it ruined France effectively and seems to be handicapping you here this weekend? Is this a rule that Formula One should think
about getting rid of? KR: If I look on my side it is not very nice, but itís the same for every team, every driver. I am
not the first one who has been penalised about it. Itís just unfortunately us who has been in the last two races now but I donít
think it is the nicest thing because the race mixes the fastest cars could have gone back, at the back of the grid but then in one
way it makes a better show but then if you are looking for the championshipÖ
Q: (Mike Doodson) This is also for Kimi; in
your Formula One career you have had some bad luck and itís really been building up recently. Are you in any way superstitious? Do
you worry about things happening? KR: No I am not. It happens and if it happens, you canít really change things, you just
need to do better work to make sure we donít have any reliability problems but unfortunately it always seems to happen to me, and
as I said, itís not the first time and in that way itís nothing new. Itís hurting us a lot in the championship, and having
said that, the most disappointing thing is that if it had happened last year it wouldnít matter, but now that weíve had a chance
in the championship it seems to hit us and itís going to cost us more.
Q: (Paolo Ianieri Ė La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Kimi, do you think that you can still fight for the championship having had so many problems recently? KR: It doesnít make
it any easier but itís not over yet and it really depends on what happens tomorrow because it can really cost us too much tomorrow
or maybe we can turn it around, I donít know what happens. We are going to fight as long as we have any chance and we have a very
strong, fast car but we need to make sure we can use the speed and not be penalised because of problems.
Q: (Juha Paatalo
Ė Financial Times Deutschland) Kimi, at first sight it looks like a copy of Magny Cours but do you think the race is going to be
any different from Magny Cours or do you think itís about the same situation? KR: It depends what happens before the first
pit stops really. If the front guys stay close to each other and are not pulling away as in Magny Cours then it helps us but I donít
really know how much fuel they have or what theyíre going to do, so it is really pushing as hard as we can and doing our side as
well and then seeing where the others are.
Q: (Bob Constanduros) Fernando, is he (Kimi) still a threat from 12th on the
grid? FA: Yeah, of course. We saw last weekend he finished second. Michael started 13th at Imola and in the last ten laps we
had a close fight. When you have a quick car you can overtake easier, and for sure McLaren have a quick car here. Letís wait, but
for sure he will be a problem.
Q: (Juha Paatalo Ė Financial Times Deutschland) Kimi, you just look much more calm than
you were a week ago. Is it just that you are getting used to this situation or are you somehow more confident this time? KR:
No, I am not too confident because it is not the ideal situation. Of course, you get used to disappointments but it always hurts
you. But it doesnít make any sense to be shouting and throwing your things around, because you are only wasting your energy and we
just try to focus on tomorrow and do the best that we can.
Q: (Andrew Frankl Ė Forza) Jenson, Nigel Mansell always said
that the British crowd was worth half a second a lap. Do you think that you might be able to find a little bit extra because it is
your home crowd and because they are so desperate for you to succeed? JB: I wish it was. But Formula One is very different to
most sports in the way that if you are running and if youíve got more adrenalin pumping you can probably run faster or what have
you, but in a Formula One car you have to be so precise, itís not all about sheer power so for me it doesnít make any difference
because when you are in the car you are just focussed on driving, in between the two white lines on the circuit, youíre not
looking around you and you donít really know itís your home Grand Prix when youíre driving. Itís when you cross the line and
you see all the fans, which I have to say have been fantastic here. Itís great to see so many fans here. Thereís only been one
other busy Grand Prix like this on a Saturday and that was Barcelona, so itís nice to see so many people here, on what has
obviously been a difficult week in England.
Q: (Paolo Ianieri Ė La Gazzetta dello Sport) Fernando, you said the other day
I cannot afford to have a bad weekend, but the person who cannot afford to have a bad weekend is Kimi. So the fact you are starting
from pole and heís starting from far behind, is this giving you less pressure, is your approach a little bit different than if you
were starting close to him on the grid? FA: Not really. As I said last week we have to do our race, our maximum and if we do
well we can score a good result. If we make mistakes we can have a bad weekend. So far the team has been fantastic, no mechanical
problems. I didnít get penalised in any of the races so far so hopefully we will stay like this. The approach for the race
tomorrow is exactly the same. Hopefully, as I said before, we will have no mechanical problems and when they have them we can take
our opportunities. We took them in Magny Cours and now we have a chance again tomorrow.
Q: (Ian Stafford Ė Mail on
Sunday) Jenson, earlier in the week you were saying at a squeeze you might, might make a podium placing in the Grand Prix. Now that
youíre second on the grid, would you be disappointed with anything less than a podium? JB: Yeah, I think I would. I have
still got Juan in third position, just behind me, so that is not going to be easy. We are going to have to give everything and if we
make one single mistake we wonít have that podium. But thereís a possibility. We are all very excited about the race tomorrow.
We think we have a good strategy and I think we can have some fun.
Q: (Juha Paatalo Ė Financial Times Deutschland)
Fernando, when you are looking at all the problems that Kimi has had in the last few races, are you ever worried that some day it is
going to hit you as well? FA: Yeah, for sure, we all worry about this. We have twenty drivers and we are all worried. But
even more that these problems could happen in a race, not only in practice, because in a race you can always recover but if this
happened ten laps later to Kimi, or it happened tomorrow in the race, itís even more of a problem. We are all worried but at the
same time, we all have confidence in the team and so far the team gave me no reason to think about any problem, because they have
been fantastic and less worried probably than I should be.
Q: (Dom Taylor Ė F1 Racing) Kimi, what kind of effect
psychologically do you think your pace has been having on Juan Pablo this season. Iím thinking particularly of the fact that you
had nine more laps of fuel on board in Magny Cours and weíre possibly looking at a similar situation this weekend? KR: Only
three laps, I think, in Magny-Cours. But I donít know. You need to go and ask him. I think he has had a bit of a difficult season
in many ways, not just with the car but he hurt himself, so it was not an easy start in a new team, but I think he had some
difficulties with the handling of the new car but I think it is getting better, getting to know the car better, but I donít know
what is going on inside his head, so you need to go and ask him.
Q: (Paolo Ianieri Ė La Gazzetta dello Sport) Fernando,
you have a new engine this weekend. How is it working, is it working to your expectations? FA: It is working okay and we didnít
change it so far, so it is good, okay. All the engines we have had from the start of this season have been quite similar. We have a
new spec here but it is more a reliability thing than power but some new improvements are coming in the next couple of races. I
think engine-wise we are OK this year, and also our results are partially due to our good engine.
Q: (Bob McKenzie - Daily
Express) Jenson, all week youíve been telling us that you havenít got a hope in hell here. Do you think you can win and what has
changed in the state of seven days? What has the team done to the car to get you to this position? JB: Nothing. We havenít
changed the car since Magny-Cours. We turned up here with a very good balance already and we havenít really made that many set-up
changes all week. Weíve been suffering with a little bit of understeer in high speed corners, which I donít think weíve quite
got to the bottom of. The actual car itself is no different than what we had in Magny Cours so maybe itís just that our car suits
this circuit or maybe itís that half a second that Nigel always says that makes the difference. Did anyone get any pictures (of
Bob Mackenzie)? Oh, you havenít done it yet? Canít wait, hope itís cold!
Q: (Ottavio Daviddi - Tuttosport) Looking at
this pole, Fernando, can you say that for you it is more difficult for you to lose the championship than to win it? FA: No, I
donít think so. I think it will be more difficult to win. To lose is very easy. You do two races with no finish and then it is
gone, you are back to equal position with Kimi and maybe with a slower car, so we are not so confident. At the moment, we know that
our strongest point is to finish all the races, hopefully on the podium and that is what we try to do. This is an important month,
July, with four races. We started in a good way with pole and a win at Magny Cours and now pole at Silverstone, so we can hopefully
finish this tomorrow afternoon.
Q: (Peter Windsor Ė F1 Racing) Kimi, it is obviously never a good time to have an engine
replaced, but if itís on a Friday, maybe itís better than Saturday because it is before the tyre choice is made and the strategy
that youíre going to build around that. This has happened relatively late, can you talk about that and the tyre choice that
perhaps you might have made if the engine had been replaced yesterday? KR: I think the tyre choice was already pretty clear
yesterday so we wouldnít have changed that one. But for sure, it is better to have the engine fail in the first session on
Saturday or Friday because in the end, in the last session you are trying to find the right set-up for qualifying and you put the
new tyres on and at least you have some idea of how the new car will be in qualifying. But now I didnít really have a chance and I
think it was a bit guessing the right set-up and they didnít really know how the car would be, so it was for sure more difficult
here than it was in the last race.
Q: (Ian Parkes Ė Press Association) Jenson, starting from second on the grid, do you
appreciate you have probably raised the hopes and expectations of the fans even more and is that something youíre ready to
shoulder, bear the responsibility? JB: Yeah, definitely. I was trying to talk our performance down a little bit before the
weekend and I still have the same views that in the race that the McLaren will be very strong. I hope we can have a good race, that
is obviously our aim, we have a better car here than we probably have had all year. So yeah, Iím hoping that we can have a good
result and I hope that nobody will be disappointed in what we do this weekend.
* NOTE: Raikkonen relegated to 12th on the
grid, due to an engine change