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Italian GP - Thursday press conference - Pt.1

6 September 2012

Drivers: Jerome d'Ambrosio (Lotus), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari).



Press conference


Q:
Jerome, welcome back. How prepared are you? Have you been able to prepare for your comeback?

Jerome d'Ambrosio:
Well obviously it's been short notice. On Monday really. It's been a bit of a hectic week for me, getting stuff done as much as I could before here to get really prepared as best as I can. As I say, I haven't had time to think about anything really: just really getting things done and that's it.

Q:
I guess you've been training though, keeping in shape, waiting for this moment?

Jerome d'Ambrosio:
Yes, definitely. As a third driver that's part of the job: you have to keep fit and everything. It's not something easy, not a lot of mileage on, but I did everything in the drivers' meetings, with the engineers and everything, trying to keep up to date as much as I could with every tool I had in my hand, to be as prepared as I can if something like this happened.

Q:
So, what's your aim in the race itself? What should we expect?

Jerome d'Ambrosio:
It's a difficult question to answer simply because I don't have much information to set myself a position target – or anything. I really want to stay focussed on what I've got to do, with the job, with the engineers, in the car. Stay focussed on that. Once that is done correctly we can hope for something good on Sunday – but only if I stay focussed on my job, so this is what I will try to do.

Q:
Nico, we keep looking at China and wondering what's happened since then. Last weekend again seemed to be difficult.

Nico Rosberg:
Yeah definitely we've had some more difficult times now, lately and a little bit of a drop in performance relative to others – we know that. And we've been looking into it, we understand a lot of the reasons, and we've been pushing very, very hard to turn things around again and I'm sure the next few races are going to be a little bit better for us – how good is difficult to say.

Q:
Is the car difficult to drive, does it just not suit you any longer? What's the nature of the car now?

Nico Rosberg:
Amongst other things the balance is difficult, yes. Especially the last two races, due to the fact that both tracks had very long corners and especially in those long corners it has been difficult.

Q:
So Parabolica could be difficult for you.

Nico Rosberg:
Parabolica would be a little bit more difficult for me, yes, but this track, with the low downforce and everything, I think is going to be less of a problem.

Q:
Daniel, first of all, last weekend looked as though it was going to be good, and you did manage to get some points. What are your feelings about last weekend and looking at this weekend as well?

Daniel Ricciardo:
It was nice to get some more points on the board – unfortunately longer than I was hoping since Melbourne but good to get a few more. The first stint was looking all-right. Obviously we benefitted from the mayhem at the start and we got as high as fifth, I think. I was hoping to finish up there but unfortunately we dropped back a bit in the end to ninth. But still definitely good for myself and the team to get both cars in the points. Hopefully we can build on some of that momentum and Monza obviously is a nice place for us to come: the team's home grand prix and I've got a little bit of heritage myself – so it's nice to come in with the momentum of Spa and hopefully score some more.

Q:
The Ferrari engine seemed to be pretty good in a straight line – how's that going to affect here as well?

Daniel Ricciardo:
Yeah, hopefully it helps us. Hopefully that remains. We'll see, I guess, once we're out on track tomorrow but as always, all teams bring a Monza downforce setting for this race and we'll soon find out if ours is going to be competitive enough. Looking forward to it, to say the least.

Q:
And what are the aims for rest of the season? What are your intentions?

Daniel Ricciardo:
Would love to get points more regularly. Would love to improve on my ninth position. I would love to get a top five – I think that would be a good achievement for myself and the team. But we'll take it step by step for now: as I said, it's a nice grand prix for us and obviously the team's only victory came here so it would be nice to keep a story going for this grand prix.

Q:
Lewis, I'm sure you're aware the paddock is full of comment about the rumours that came out yesterday. Do you have a comment to make yourself?

Lewis Hamilton:
Not really.

Q:
So, do you know where you're driving next year?

Lewis Hamilton:
No.

Q:
And in terms of this race, what about last weekend's performance from Jenson Button. How does that affect your feelings about the upcoming Italian Grand Prix?

Lewis Hamiulton:
Jenson, he drove fantastically well in the last race and he showed that the car is very, very competitive – and we generally should have very similar performance here, hopefully. On our side of the garage we hope it's a better weekend for us. It can't really get worse.

Q:
So, how do you approach this weekend? Just looking for victory, as ever?

Lewis Hamilton:
No, just to pick up the pieces and get back to racing. It'll be nice too… we've done a lot of work analysing and a lot of preparation for this weekend. It'll be nice to get into the race, when you're doing so much preparation and so much waiting the most important thing is to see your way to the race.

Q:
Fernando, first of all, just to confirm, are you perfectly OK physically?

Fernando Alonso:
Yes.

Q:
Because you were complaining of some whiplash in your shoulder?

Fernando Alonso:
Yeah it was after the race, two hours after the Spa race there was still some pain in the back, but then on Monday morning I woke up absolutely fine, feeling 100%, so it was good news, because you never know, the day after the crash anything can happen. So it was good news on Monday morning to do a completely normal day.

Q:
You're a two-time winner here, what do you feel your chances are here in the race on Sunday?

Fernando Alonso:
Well, for sure it's not going to easy. In terms of performance we've been not so quick in the last two or three grand prix. It was eight tenths from pole position in Hungary and eight tenths also in Spa. It's five days from that qualifying so I don't think we will recover eight tenths by magic button. But I think what we need to do is to maximise our performance, to extract from the car the maximum and hopefully that will give us some chance to be on the podium or if everything goes well, for sure a victory here is very special for all the Ferrari tifosi that will support us here, so we will try to do our best.

Q:
Felipe, were you pleased with the performance in Spa and how do you feel about this race?

Felipe Massa:
Well, very pleased with the performance in the race (at Spa). I think our car was more competitive in the race than in qualifying. In qualifying we were struggling a lot, especially in sector two. In the race the car was better. The car was a little bit stronger. We were able to fight and able to overtake quick cars as well. Due to the problem on the first corner at the start… I did a very, very good start, I overtook three or four cars straight away but because of this problem in the first corner I had to go completely outside of the track and I lost the positions and even more so I had to start again, my race, after the safety car. So if I had been able to be in the same position I had got to at the start, it would have even been possible to maybe fight for the podium.

Q:
Do you think the car is good in low downforce trim?

Felipe Massa:
I think so. The problem is that Spa is much different than this track. In Spa you do need good downforce, especially in sector two and everything. Here it's a different track and we'll see how the car behaves on this different track. So we hope we can have a great weekend, both of us, for our incredible fans here.

Q:
What about your own future? Is there any news on that? Do you have a deadline?

Felipe Massa:
Not yet. Just concentrate on the races and on the results. I hope it will not take very long but let's concentrate on the races, try to do the best, having a good result and that's the most important thing.


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