Belgian GP post-race
September 11, 2005
What follows is a transcript of today's press conference from Spa
Francorchamps which saw Kimi Raikkonen win his sixth race of the
season while Championship rivals Fernando Alonso finished in second
position ahead of Jenson Button.
Q: Kimi, you were there in the end but it was a difficult day
with the conditions and, of course, at one point you were sitting in
third behind Ralf Schumacher.
Kimi RńIKK÷NEN: Yeah, after the pit stop when the safety car came in
we stopped and changed the tires, put fuel in, so Ralf was quite a
bit lighter because he didnít stop so I didnít push at the beginning
because the tires were really bad straight away. So I tried to look
after them and then finally when it started to dry out my tires were
in very good condition and I was able to start pushing and I was
catching up the rest very quickly and it was good.
Q: You were spectacularly quick when Juan Pablo went in and
leading by six seconds when you came out from your pit stop.
KR: Yeah, it was unfortunate for the team whatever happened in the
last few laps because we could have had a one-two and we deserved
it. We had a perfect race for the team and we were very unlucky what
happened. I was happy with the car and everything how it went but we
deserved to have both cars on the podium.
Q: How did you pace the early laps of the race when you were
following Juan Pablo?
KR: We had a decision that we donít want to race against each other
too much because there is no point as long as we can pull ahead of
the rest and then we see what happens at the end of the race. But I
was quicker at one point and then we stopped and he was very quick
after the re-start and I couldnít follow them but then I was also
trying to look after the tires and I caught him up in the end. I
think it was a different way of driving and maybe a different set-up
so it was a slightly different speed at the end of that race.
Q: Fernando, you were in the background for most of the day but
right there in the end to score the second place, which is very
critical to the championship target.
Fernando ALONSO: Yeah, itís good. Conditions were really difficult
for everyone today but we have a competitive car and we donít need
to risk at this point of the championship so the weather conditions
was not a help this morning because I think a normal result is
better for us than a fantastic race like we saw today. But sometimes
it can be good and sometimes it can be bad. We did our race, our
maximum, no mistakes, the car was moving a lot in the high speed
corners, the rear end, I think Fisi had the same problem as me,
obviously, because he had a problem in turn three so I really just
backed off and tried to take points home and the second place is
much better than I had expected.
Q: At that first pit stop under safety car conditions we saw a
number of drivers trying drys then coming in again for
intermediates. Did that thought cross your mind?
FA: Every stop we did the dry was a little bit of a conversation on
the radio already two or three laps before the pit stops but I think
we did the right thing. There was no point to risk anything in this
part of the championship for us. We just try to keep on the safe
Q: The intermediates proved to be very good over the full Grand
FA: Yeah, it was tough today. We have to say thanks to Michelin, all
the Michelin drivers, because we started the race with quite wet
conditions and we finished with quite dry conditions and in both
cases we were extremely quick, so they did a fantastic job from last
year to this year.
Q: And then Juan Pablo made it easy for you at the end of the
FA: Yeah, again I had some help from McLaren and I was able to take
two more points. It was not really important, third place was
perfect for me but second was even better.
Q: Jenson, this is your seventh consecutive finish in the points
and the first points ever for BAR-Honda at a circuit that has not
been too kind to the team in the past.
Jenson BUTTON: No, and I didnít think it was going our way at the
start of the race either. I was really, really struggling with
oversteer on the first stint, I didnít even need to turn into the
corners, the rear end was coming round! After the first stop we
adjusted the win, went out on slicks which was the wrong choice so
we came back in and put intermediates on and the car was working
very well. It was nice to catch up on the leaders in the last few
Q: What was it like in the pitlane, a narrow pitlane here at Spa,
with all that activity taking place.
JB: It is very difficult and a lot of the teams were bringing in
both cars so it made it a very busy pit lane. I obviously couldnít
pull into my box until Taku had gone because he was in front of me
at that point, so it made it very difficult. But in the end we made
the right choice at the second stop to double stint the tires and I
think that paid off for us in the end.
Q: And some good racing in the end there with Mark Webber and
JB: Yeah, definitely. It was a very fun race and those conditions
always bring that to a race. It was fantastic, but a lot of it I
have got to say thanks to the team, they have done a fantastic job
in the stops and also double stinting that set of tires was the
right way to go, so a big thank you to them.
Q: And of course they are not too used to changing wheels that
much in a race these days.
JB: Exactly, I think they got a bit of a shock when we came in and
were changing tires so often, but they did a great job.
Q: Kimi, just returning to you for your thoughts on the remaining
three races in the championship and the pointsí gap between you and
Fernando. It closed a bit today but still a bit of ground to cover.
KR: Yeah, if they keep finishing behind us it is not possible to
catch them any more but we will fight as long as possible and we
will do everything we can as a team to score as many points also for
the team. We were very unlucky today because we had a perfect race
and everything went well. We didnít need to risk anything and then
unfortunately these things happen and take quite a lot of points out
of us. But that is racing and we need to try to make it better at
the next race.
Q: Kimi, your second consecutive win here. I guess this one was a
bit more difficult than last yearís?
KR: Well, last year was not easy either. We started from tenth so we
needed to have a fight the whole race and it was similar this year.
Of course, we were in a much better position because the team was
one and two so we were able to really look after the cars and tires,
so in that way it was easier.
Q: You sounded like you are still fighting for the title but the
hopes, perhaps, are not alive now.
KR: You never know. We will fight as much as we can. It was really
unfortunate what happened to Montoya, we really deserved to have one
and two and I donít know what happened but it was an unlucky
situation for him and the team.
Q: Can you tell us what tire wear you had all the way through the
KR: At the beginning the car was very good, I was very happy with it
and the tires worked well.
Q: Which ones were you on though?
KR: Intermediates all the way through. So, they worked perfectly in
the wet conditions and the dry conditions. After the pit stop I
couldnít keep up with Montoya and Ralf really so I slowed down a bit
to try to look after the tires and then I thought that once the
circuit dried up more it would be better that my tires were in good
shape and it paid off because I was very quick from that point on. I
caught up with Montoya and I could run two laps longer so it was
enough but we were definitely hoping to have a one-two and just
before the pit stop I called him and said on the radio that there is
no point to try and overtake each other and letís just try to have a
good finish. It almost came but it was an unlucky situation for the
Q: Because after the last stop you were much, much quicker than
KR: Yeah, but then we were not really racing any more because we
didnít need to push each other and we needed to try to look after
the car and tires. Still we were doing good lap times but I donít
know what happened to him, I guess someone hit him and it was bad.
Q: Fernando, in a way a lucky second.
FA: Yeah, always, the whole championship I have been lucky but I am
always there so that is good.
Q: Exactly, thatís the point. It is what you have got to do isnít
FA: Yes, you know, it can sometimes be lucky and sometimes unlucky.
Kimi had three problems in Monza Ė one engine problem, one tire
problem and one spin Ė and he still finished fourth, so maybe
sometimes unlucky as well.
Q: You had a very different pace at the end to Jenson, he was
absolutely rocketing and you were about six seconds slower.
FA: Yeah, after the second pit stop I think we dropped the revs a
little bit and we slowed down just to finish the race in third
position and then the team informed me that Jenson had overtaken
Barrichello and was much quicker than me so we tried to push at the
end but that was enough and it was no time to risk.
Q: Were the tires okay though, in the final stint?
FA: No, not okay. We put on a new set on in the second stop and the
track was too dry to put the new set on and after three laps the
grip was really, really low and I had to take it easy a little bit
because the tires were not in perfect condition.
Q: Intermediates all the way through though?
FA: Yes, me too.
Q: And will you now say you might have one hand on the trophy?
FA: Now I donít need to do four points more than Kimi, I only need
six points and it doesnít matter if Kimi wins, so, you know, I think
Kimi has the potential to win all three races and I need six points
so it is good.
Q: So you feel you might almost be there?
FA: No, because if I donít finish the races it will not be possible
to win but if I keep finishing the races, which has been the target
for the last half of the season, try to finish all races on the
podium also to help the team in the constructorsí championship, it
is what I am doing. This is my third consecutive second place and if
I do three more now for the rest of the races it is even better for
Q: Jenson, a pretty lively race for you; overtaken by Ralf and
Fisichella in the early stages, then it was your turn to get back
and overtake Monteiro, Webber, Villeneuve and Rubens. Pretty lively
for you, wasnít it?
JB: Yeah it was. The first part of the race was very difficult. We
did set the car up wrong, I had much too much oversteer with the car
which left the door wide open for the people behind me. After the
first stop we made some changes to the wing which made a big
difference and the car was much better. And in the last stop we left
the tires on and that made a big difference. I think that was why we
had so much better pace than the cars around us.
Q: Did you have a particularly favorite place to overtake these
JB: I think it was possible everywhere because my tires were in much
better shape. I didnít have the blocks to be rolling around on so it
was a good choice by the team and myself to stay on those tires,
because after the first stint I was 16th or something because we
messed up at the beginning of the race but itís nice to end on a
high and I have to thank everyone for it, for helping us get onto
Q: It must be nice to be back onto the podium.
JB: It is nice, yeah, itís been a little while. I think the next
three races will be better for us so I am really positive. We have a
lot of aero work coming for the next two races and I think we
hopefully will be challenging the Renaults and they will be taking
it a bit easier, so they might earn us a few points which would be
Q: (Heikki Kulta Ė Turun Sanomat) Kimi, are you desperate, not
getting any help from anybody else?
KR: Of course it would help but like we saw today we were supposed
to finish one and two but it didnít happen, nothing to do with us
really. I think someone hit Montoya so you cannot really know those
things before it happens and of course we were taking it easy at
that point. And it always happens to us so it is not good. It would
help us if there were other teams taking points out of Renault but
they are very consistent and quick also, so it is not so easy.
Q: (Juha Pšštalo Ė Financial Times, Germany) Question to Kimi and
Fernando: from the championship point of view things this weekend
havenít really changed much. How would you describe this weekend for
you; was it just routine or something special?
KR: I think the last four or five races has not changed much, either
I win two points from him, or he gets two points back, so it doesnít
go anywhere, we stay on 22 or 24 or something like that. It doesnít
help me too much. This weekend has been pretty good, everything went
well but of course I would have liked to have been on pole but we
knew that we have a good race car so it didnít matter and we were
hoping to have a good team finish so that was the aim and I am
pretty happy how the weekend went.
FA: For me it was the same, a normal weekend for me and behind the
McLarens we were quite quick, especially in dry conditions but
unfortunately, once we were quick in dry conditions it rained for
today, but in spite of that, we only lost two points and as Kimi
said sometimes two points we gain, sometimes two points we lose.
Q: (Gaetane Morin Ė Le Journal du Dimanche) Kimi, is there a
priority in the team between the Constructorsí championship and the
KR: No, we want to win both and that is what we are aiming for. But
I think luck is not on our side sometimes but there are still three
races to go, so for sure we will try to win at least one of them and
hopefully it will happen.
Q: (Thierry Wilmotte - Le Soir) Fernando, you are receiving some
developments for your car in Brazil, do you think it will help you
get back on top and battle with Kimi, or you donít care and prefer
to stay conservative and to stay behind him until the end of the
FA: No, I hope we can beat them. There is a new aero package coming
for the Brazilian Grand Prix and also obviously a new engine because
I have finished my second race and thatís another evolution as well:
So I think it will make a small difference in the car but maybe
enough to be as quick as the McLaren. Reliability-wise, I think
every part we put on the car is well-proven and there is no risk at
all, so Iím totally confident.
Q: (Livio Oricchio Ė O Estado de Sao Paulo) Fernando, considering
what you know of your car and the Interlagos circuit, and Kimi needs
five points more than you there in order to extend the championship,
what do foresee in the race?
FA: I think it can be a good race for us. I think Interlagos has
been a good circuit for the Renault characteristics and this year
even more so, because the R25 performed really well in all the
circuits, so if we get these new pieces for Brazil I think we can be
competitive there and as I said before, I think I need six points so
to be on the podium which will be the target again, not only for my
championship but also for the Constructorsí and I think I am very
confident that it will be possible.
Q: (Anthony Rowlinson - Autosport) Jenson, do you think you can
interfere in the title battle over the last three races?
JB: As I said before we have a new aero package and Renault have as
well so I donít really know where we are going to stand going into
Brazil. I am happy that we can make a good improvement, it is just
how good their improvement is really. But we are very positive for
the last few races because of the downforce level that you run at
those circuits, so thatís how the car seems to work, so we are
looking forward to it and hopefully we can get a few more podiums,
that would be a nice way to end the season.
Q: (Panos Diamantis Ė Car and Driver, Greece) Fernando, in these
conditions because you have a more aggressive driving style than
Kimi and Jenson, did you have to change your driving style and what
does this have to do with the car and its set-up?
FA: For today? No I didnít change anything. All the drivers drive
differently, and sometimes itís getting better and sometimes bad but
I think the Renault car is perfect for my driving style at the
moment so I think it is no good to change because the car is doing
it for me at the moment so itís OK.
Q: (Juha Pšštalo Ė Financial Times, Germany) Kimi, of course,
itís always nice to win but does it spoil the taste of victory when
you know that you are 25 points behind?
KR: Not really. A win is always a win. If it could help us, or it
will help is in the championship, maybe not as much we hoped but it
still doesnít change the win. All the wins count and that is why we
are here, to try to win races and thatís what matters.
Q: (Mathias Brunner Ė Motorsport Aktuell) Fernando, you described
the behavior of your car, would you say you speculated in the wrong
direction regarding set-up for today?
FA: Yeah, I think our set-up was completely for dry conditions.
Yesterday we saw that we were much quicker than everybody else on
the straight and I think we had much less downforce than everybody,
so the wet conditions were not a help, so it was a surprise to be
that quick throughout the race and to not have too many problems. It
was a good opportunity in dry conditions to fight with the McLarens
here. Yesterday we were also very heavy on fuel load and today we
didnít take any advantage because it was wet and we came in when the
safety car was out, but the final result was okay which is the main
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