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Monaco GP - Post-qualifying press conference - Pt. 1

26 May 2012


Drivers: Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) and Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)


TV Unilaterals


Q:
Michael, many congratulations, a great lap. I guess the only shame is that you have to move five places back on the grid, so a bittersweet feeling is it?

Michael Schumacher:
First of all, I am more than thrilled and excited about making a pole here in Monaco. Monaco to all of us is the track of the year, which has a very prestigious position, and to manage pole position here after what I have gone through in the past two-and-a-half years is just fabulous. That's what sticks in my mind. I told you guys already in the press conference, my situation is going to be pole, start the race in sixth and I'm going to win it. That's what I'm here for and what I'm going to aim for. That's all I gave in min mind and the past doesn't matter at all.

Q:
Mark, you were on pole here in 2010 and you're going to inherit it tomorrow from Michael, what do you think about that?

Mark Webber:
Pretty amazing session wasn't it. It was very, very close. Q3 was tight between the first few rows. Obviously there were some different tyre strategies going on with different people getting through different parts of qualifying with different sets of tyres and in the end it was a good little battle. Michael did a good lap, fair play to him, but it's nice to move up a position. Of all places, it's good to start definitely towards the front here. The guys have done a good job, they worked hard on the rest day, they pushed very, very hard. We weren't too strong on Thursday and obviously didn't get much running, though everyone's the same. But the car on Sunday is generally pretty good, so looking forward to tomorrow.

Q:
Nico, you're only a tenth off pole position. You had provisional pole for quite a long time. I guess you thought you'd done enough. Nevertheless, a chance to win the race tomorrow from where you start.

Nico Rosberg:
Yeah, I wasn't too aware of the situation. I knew I had done a pretty good lap time but at the same time I knew that I would have to improve on that time to be able to get pole. But in general it was a good qualifying for me too. Everything went to plan. I didn't optimise my car perfectly in the end, bit too much understeer, but as such, front row is a great place to start tomorrow.

Q:
Back to you Michael. Obviously it's been a tough couple of years since you decided to make your F1 comeback. What does this pole say about you and how do you feel?

Michael Schumacher:
Well, I'll leave it up to the others to say what it means or doesn't mean. For me, I'm obviously excited, very happy. It confirms what I have felt for a long time. It's just sometimes you have put everything at the right moment together. Here it worked out. I have to say a great thanks to all the team, in particular to some of the guys who work very close to me. We had a special session earlier this week that, yeah, it sort of uniforms and unites us even further and those are the result that come together with it. I'm grateful for all the trust that Mercedes, the team had in me and [they] supported me. I'm able to give back a little and I hope I give even further and more back tomorrow.


Press conference


Q:
Michael, your feelings about this pole position? Admittedly, it will be sixth on the grid.

Michael Schumacher:
Obviously I saw my time on the dashboard and thought, 'well, it shouldn't be too bad'. But then you don't know – as I was one of the earlier ones on track for the lap – what is going to come behind. So I was watching all of these monitors around the track and at one point I saw with a little sign, number one. And that was the moment I started slowly to believe and got confirmation on the radio. Yeah, just beautiful.

Q:
Is this a good Mercedes track? Obviously you're first and third in qualifying.

Michael Schumacher:
I mentioned before the weekend that here and probably Canada are tracks that are probably going to suit us. We shouldn't look too bad. I told in the round of media after this one down at the TV stations, I said the plan is to be pole here, start the race from sixth and do whatever is possible – may even win – and here we are. It is not a complete surprise that we are able to fight for the front position. But after Thursday free practice and even this morning I wasn't at all confident to be able to fight for pole position. Then everything seemed to work together. We just dialled the car in to perfection and it's… yeah… it's just a result. It's a result of team effort and team work and getting everything sorted and being ready for it.

Q:
The statistics say that the highest winning grid position is third on the grid here. What can you do from sixth?

Michael Schumacher:
Well, what can I say? I've finished fifth from being last; I won from I don't know what positions. I will do as good as I can. It's most likely to be a one-stop strategy here, that's what you have to live with so in terms of strategy there's only a very small window to play with. Overtaking we know is tough but we have DRS and KERS so you might as well try – and be sure I will.

Q:
Mark, as we mentioned the other day, you had your first podium here, you won from pole in 2010, you'll be starting on pole tomorrow, you've been in the top five for the last four years. It all looks good, doesn't it?

Mark Webber:
First of all, I think it's Michael's day. It's a good lap for him so obviously it was a tight session for us. Lots of different people arrived in the back part of the important session in quali with different situations with tyres. Quali went quite smooth for me. It's the first time of the weekend where you put everything on the line – within reason – so it started to feel pretty good for me and I knew it was aiming for the first few rows for sure. And then it became very, very tight between us and I thought, OK, well, after the first run in Q3, it wasn't too bad a lap, I thought, we can still go for pole for sure on the last run. And yeah, it was a pretty good lap, I'm pretty happy with it. Very, very good position to be starting tomorrow and we have a very, very good car, the guys have done a good job and I'm very happy with today's effort.

Q:
How well prepared are all the teams, would you say, after losing most of Thursday?

Mark Webber:
Everyone's in the same boat. I think that we don't have a huge amount of experience with the supersoft around here on long runs, but everyone's going to be in the ballpark I would imagine.

Q:
Michael says he feels it's a one-stop race. Is that pretty much the strategy?

Mark Webber:
24 hours mate, we'll see!

Q:
Nico, obviously you're starting on the front row. What does it mean here at what is your home circuit?

Nico Rosberg:
I can also be pleased with today. Generally it's all gone well, the whole weekend until now. It's especially great to see how we, as a team, have managed to turn things around from a difficult time the last two races and now be right at the front again. It's just nice to follow all the progress we're making, moving forward and really fighting hard to improve the car and get the best of the situation – and that's why today to really be on top as a team in qualifying is great and I'm very pleased, obviously, to start on the front row in Monaco. That is a great place to start to have a good race.

Q:
You needed two laps on the first set of tyres in Q3. We didn't see what happened at the end of the lap.

Nico Rosberg:
Two things: mainly the front warm-up on the tyres was an issue but also I did some setup changes from Q2 to Q3 and I had to find my way around those first, because it was quite a different strategy so that's why it took me two laps.

Q:
And, as was the question to Mark, is the team perfectly happy with the preparation, given that you lost most of Thursday afternoon?

Nico Rosberg:
Yes. It's not going to be easy, the race, definitely, you know a long race and tyre degradation is going to definitely be an issue but I think we've prepared well and done the best we can to make sure we have a strong race car.


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