TV unilaterals

Q:
Heikki, it has been a long road, but your first win in Formula 1. Describe your feelings as you crossed the line...

Heikki Kovalainen:
Yeah, of course I was very happy. Like you mentioned there have been various incidents this year, and we have been in the position after Saturday quite a few times to fight for victory, but always something has gone wrong and it hasn't functioned perfectly.

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Today obviously I knew Massa and Lewis were both very fast at the beginning of the race, but halfway through I felt it was starting to work for me a little bit better and then at the end I just tried to put pressure on Massa and hoped something would happen.

Obviously it looked like he had a mechanical failure, so it all worked fine for me today and I am very, very happy about it. [It is thanks to] all the hard work that the whole team has put in over the last few months, through difficult times - we just kept pushing and it is very respectable. I am very, very glad to score my first victory.

Q:
The car looked particularly good in the last stint on the softer tyres. How quick was the car relative to Felipe do you think?

HK:
It is difficult to say what he was doing. I was catching him by quite a big chunk every lap, and the target was to try and put pressure on him and take all the power from his engine - everything I could do to put pressure on him. Like you said, my car felt particularly good in the last stint.

The first two stints I was a little bit cautious. Earlier this year I have had some troubles with the tyre degradation, and I was worried if I crossed that edge again I might start to struggle. I just kept my own pace, and then in the last stint it all worked fine for me.

Q:
In the last few laps you knew you were leading, and the Finnish anthem was played for you this time on the podium...

HK:
It is fantastic. It is a great moment. Of course it is a moment I have been targeting for many, many years now since I started to get an idea about the possibility of becoming an F1 driver. I started to work hard and improve my fitness.

I have spent a lot of time to achieve this goal, so to finally achieve it is very pleasing, and hopefully this is the first of many. At the moment we just need to keep the concentration, have a little break and try to maximise this break and then go to the next round and try to repeat it.

Q:
Timo, two weeks ago you were leaving the circuit on a stretcher, and here you are celebrating your first-ever podium finish in Formula 1...

Timo Glock:
It is just unbelievable. I couldn't believe it when I saw Felipe's engine going and I knew that I was P2. I got the pressure from Kimi, and with the soft tyres at the end I was struggling quite a lot, but we knew on Friday that the soft tyres would be difficult.

In the end it is just unbelievable. After the race in Hockenheim, where we had good race pace and the big crash, now we have come to Budapest and just kept the speed there and had a really good car from Friday onwards.

We never really made a big change to the car, and it was just perfect until the last stint with soft tyres which was a bit tricky, but it's unbelievable. I am in my first year with just half of the season over, and I am on the podium. It is just a perfect weekend.

Q:
And a great start to get past Robert Kubica - talk us through that...

TG:
I had to improve myself a little bit in terms of the start, as my reaction time was not perfect in the first couple of races. I just improved myself on it. I think the start was really, really good, I could out-accelerate Robert and I had a good first corner.

[During] the last stint when I saw I was nine seconds in front of Kimi I had reasonable pace, but they told me he was five tenths quicker per lap. I tried to push more and more and I just destroyed the tyres every time, so I had to really focus on the tyres and just keep it easy, keep it cool and not be under too much pressure from Kimi.

Q:
Kimi did back off quite a bit in the last couple of laps. Did you think he was going to catch you and, if so, would he have been able to pass you?

TG:
I knew from last year in GP2 when I was stuck in the middle of the field, I had a really fast car but I couldn't get past anybody, and in F1 it is just more difficult. When he was close to me I could see in the mirror that for two laps he couldn't catch up more, so I thought 'okay, no mistakes and keep it on the track and that's it'.

Q:
Kimi, for most of the race you were trapped behind Alonso, but it all came alive for you in the last stint...

Kimi Raikkonen:
Yeah, I think we could have managed to do the race a little bit better, but we were stuck behind Alonso all the way to the second stop. Then on the in-lap I was eight tenths faster on my own, but it was a bit late at that point.

At least we had a good car and we got in front of him and I was able to catch Timo, but we needed to back off in the end. We were a bit lucky with all of the other people going all over the place, and ended up with most points of the first three guys in the championship.

We have the speed in the race, but if I can't get the qualifying right we are going to end up every race in the same situation like here and in the last race, so we need to sort it out. If we can be at the front then we can fight for wins, but in this position when we are just following people we cannot use the speed. The guys did a good job, but we just need to fix a few problems and for sure we can be back in the hunt for wins.

Q:
Did you think there would be a possibility to pass Timo?

KR:
I was ready to try anything. I don't really care if I had lost a win, but unfortunately we needed to back off. We were much faster like we were with Alonso, but it is so difficult if the guy in front does not make a mistake - it is really, really difficult to get past. You need to get something very special in one corner to get close enough. At least we got behind him, but unfortunately I could not try to pass him. Still, third place in the end after what was a very difficult week for me was a good result.

Q:
Kimi, where do you think the balance of power now lies?

KR:
I think it is still very, very close and it is very difficult to draw any conclusions [about] who is ahead. It just depends on whoever nails it on the day. It is so sensitive at the moment that if you don't get the set-up perfect and if you don't get the tyres feeling perfect and if you don't get your driving perfect, there are going to be three or four guys ahead of you straight away.

I think it is quite interesting. I think it is really spectacular for all the fans. For us it puts a lot of pressure on everybody to maximise everything, but it should be a very interesting end of the season with all the teams pushing very hard to see who comes out on top at the end.

Press conference:

Q:
Heikki, what's it like winning your first grand prix?

HK:
It feels pretty good - I could do it again! It is not so bad. Of course I feel a little bit sorry for Felipe and for Lewis. They both drove a great race, but I know how it feels what happened to them today. I have had similar moments this year quite a few times.

"I tried to put pressure, especially in the last stint, on Felipe, trying to push him and maybe something would happen, you never know. When I saw the car on fire on the main straight with big smoke I thought it must be Felipe, but it is hard to believe. After that of course there was no big rush anymore. With three laps to go it was just a case of bringing it home.

In the end it is a great moment for myself, and I am very happy. It is a very happy moment for our team, and I am looking forward to the rest of the season. We are heading in the right direction, and it is just a case now of keeping pushing and try again next time.

Q:
What were your emotions during the race? They must have been extraordinary...

HK:
Yeah, but obviously for myself it wasn't quite like that. I just tried to keep it tidy and not make any mistakes, and also in the first two stints especially with the hard tyre I just tried to look after those tyres. Earlier this year there were quite a few times when I thought the tyres were dropping off as I was a little bit too hard on them, so I tried not to go too much.

I just tried to go with the pace that I felt was available at that moment, and just tried to increase it when I could. Then with the soft tyres at the end it felt particularly good; I felt confident to push, and the tyres weren't dropping off. Then when I tried to put pressure on Felipe I was catching him, and in the end it was over.

Q:
What about the start?

HK:
Yeah, I felt that it was a little bit slippery on my side, and straightaway I saw that Lewis got a little jump on me and was a bit ahead, and then I saw Felipe coming and there was nothing I could do. I just sat back and saw that the guys behind me had also not got such a good start, so I was on my own already after just 200 metres.

I was just trying to follow them into the first corner, as it was quite possible something was going to happen as they were quite close to each other and they were locking wheels and everything, but they drove fine and after that it was quite a long, lonely race for myself.

I had a little problem with traffic in the middle of the race. There were quite a few lapped cars, and it is very difficult to get close enough here to indicate to them that we are behind. I had a little chat on the radio to get the blue flags out, and those guys had to back off from quite a long distance. It is a problem with this circuit to get close enough and I lost quite a few seconds there, but in the end it didn't matter too much.

Q:
Timo, could you ever have imagined this result?

TG:
No, definitely not. In this part of my first Formula 1 season it is just unbelievable, and I still can't believe that we finished P2. After the crash in Hockenheim it is just a perfect answer. We had good race pace in Hockenheim and we knew that the car would be good here. From the beginning the car was just like I needed it, and the result shows what's possible when the car is right for me.

In the race itself I had a really good start. I improved my reaction time quite a lot in the last couple of races, and that was the key for the start today. I had a mega start and I could go at a good race pace, especially on the prime tyres. We knew at the end with the soft tyres we would be struggling; especially for myself the soft tyre was just really difficult to get a feeling for.

When I saw nine seconds to Kimi I thought 'okay, I can keep a little bit better pace like 1m 21.8s and 1m 21.9s and maybe I can hold him off', but I couldn't do 1m 21s; I was doing 1m 22.2s or mid-1m 22s, and it was just too slow for Kimi and he caught me up big-time.

I knew it would be really difficult to overtake here, though, so I just tried to make no mistakes and stay in front of him, and in the end P2 is just perfect for the team and really important for the constructors' championship. It is really good.

Q:
In fact, you were catching Heikki in the middle stint. Was that with traffic?

TG:
The middle stint was pretty good. With the prime tyres we had really good pace the whole weekend. When Heikki caught up the traffic, I think a couple of laps later I had the same problem, and like Heikki said, it is just really difficult to come close enough that they see the blue flags and move over. That is a characteristic of the track, and that made it a bit more difficult.

Q:
What do you think has changed for you?

TG:
In Hockenheim we had a pretty good car in terms of race pace. I don't like an understeering car, and that was the problem sometimes this season with the car a bit too much on the understeer side. In Hockenheim and here it just went more and more in my way, my direction. I can just put the car in the corner where I want, and I think it just suits my driving style more. That's what I showed here in qualifying and in the race as well.

Q:
Kimi, I think a lot of people might have said that Ferrari didn't seem to be potential winners today, but Felipe was leading and you're on the podium. Did you have confidence throughout the weekend?

KR:
We had a pretty fast car all the time. Felipe was very unlucky today. For myself, it's been quite a disappointing weekend, but in the end we got a pretty good result. We have the speed in the race, but if we cannot qualify we cannot use it, and we saw that again today.

Most of the race I was stuck behind Alonso, and once I got on my own I could go almost a second faster on my in-lap. We need to get something sorted and get to the front, and then we can fight for wins, for sure.

The car seems to be working well; we just need to find a good set-up again. It's been a bit difficult for me in the last few races, but we are still in the championship, so it's not too bad.

Q:
What were the messages you were getting before that final, crucial pit-stop?

KR:
Yeah, I think we could have managed to do it slightly better at the beginning of the race, but in the end we thought it was going to be close, we were probably going to stop on the same lap and I went off a little bit just before the pit-stop.

Luckily he (Alonso) came in one lap earlier and I could go very fast on the in-lap; the problem was that when I made a mistake I dropped off a little bit, but I was fast enough to get in front of him. We had a very good pit-stop - that was the big key point - and I was fast enough to catch up with Timo, but then I needed to slow down.

Q:
And on the softer tyres..?

KR:
It was good all the time, but it's difficult to say with the harder tyres only. The in-lap was very good, but I was a second behind Alonso all the time, so you get the wrong idea from the car and you cannot use the speed. When I was on my own, the car was fast, so we just need to get in the front in the first place to use the speed.

Q:
And what sort of message did you get after Felipe had stopped?

KR:
I saw him stop, unfortunately, on the main straight. I didn't know what had happened, but they told me that probably it was something to do with the engine, so they just said to take it a little bit easier.