Drivers: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams), Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari)

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Q:
Michael, that is your fifth pole of the year, but your first since Austria in May. Welcome back.

Michael Schumacher:
Yeah, thank you. It was a while that I haven't been around in this press conference, but I think it was the right time to be back.

Q:
It has been a difficult few months I would guess, particularly in the build-up to this race. Can you talk us through that and your expectations coming into the Italian Grand Prix?

MS:
Basically, the nature of the sport is that sometimes you have your ups and sometimes you have your downs. In the last two races, we were a bit unlucky and we
weren't quite competitive and thanks to the great effort of everybody in the team, in Bridgestone, everybody around, it has brought us back into a position where I think we deserve to be. Everyone is doing such a fantastic job that it is a great relief now to have both cars in the first three and being competitive from the test until this weekend. It is quite nice to be back in the final stage of the championship, obviously, imagining where we have been before and knowing where we are now. It gives us a bit of a relief.

Q:
Juan Pablo, it is the first time this year you have been out on the track last for qualifying and it looked through the first two sectors as if you had the pole there.

Juan Pablo Montoya:
Yeah, it looked pretty good, but I went into Ascari and I just got too much understeer going in. We are running a full race set-up, everybody is, but I just lost the front going in and I lost a lot of time there. This morning I went quicker than I went just now. It shows we have got the car to compete tomorrow. I think we are in a very good position for tomorrow and it is going to be quite interesting. The Williams team and BMW have done a fantastic job and we are still right there.

Q:
We saw in Hungary a big difference between the clean and dirty sides of the grid. What is it like here at Monza?

JPM:
Oh, hopefully, it is not that bad. If we get a good start, we are on the inside into turn one, so it is going to be quite an interesting race.

Q:
And an interesting turn one - there is a very tight chicane there...

JPM:
Yeah, you know, just take it as it comes.

Q:
Rubens, we didn't actually see the first part of your lap. What happened there?

Rubens Barrichello:
Yeah, [I made] a minor mistake going into turn one and I lost the speed coming into two, which is a shame because the speed was there and the car was good as it always was in Monza for testing and the race. I lost out, basically, on sector one, because the other two were pretty good. But it is a pleasure to be here in front of the tifosi and have the two Ferraris on the first two rows. Tomorrow is going to be a hell of a race.

Press conference:

Q:
Michael, well done. As you were saying, it has been a little while since you sat in the middle seat in this press conference. You mentioned a lot of people had made a huge effort. What has physically changed and what has made the big difference?

MS:
Basically, everybody in the factory just put a lot of effort into every sort of detail. Probably the aerodynamic department and the engine department had the most margin
to improve - and did so - because mechanically it is more difficult to do something. In those other two areas, we have just done a fantastic job. Of course, Bridgestone really has given us a very good tyre, not that it hasn't been good before, but it altogether just suits the situation much better.

Q:
After testing you thought you could be on pole position, at least on the front row, but Juan Pablo Montoya was up just a little bit on you until the final sector. Were you a bit worried there?

MS:
I knew it would be a very tight situation and I mean, well, honestly, this little bit of difference shows that the situation is very equal.

Q:
What about the race itself? It's all going to be about straight-line speed?

MS:
No, you have to do some corners as well! At the end of the day, you have to have the right set-up, the consistent set-up, to do all these lap times consistently and that is what we have worked altogether for, to achieve to the best we can and lets see who has done the job right.

Q:
I did not see Rubens' straight-line speed, but I think yours was about five kilometres per hour quicker than everybody else's.

MS:
We were the same straight-line speed, Rubens and myself, but we were five clicks quicker to Juan, yeah.

Q:
So that is quite encouraging for the race, presumably.

MS:
Well it is certainly not a problem, yep.

Q:
Looking at the grid, there is obviously just one Williams driver up there with you. Kimi was fourth, but you must be fairly pleased that the McLarens aren't that close at the moment?

MS:
It is probably a little bit easier if you just have to fight one very close rather than two, sometimes it may even help you, so it depends the situation. But I am not pleased for anyone doing a lesser job - that is not my attitude.

Q:
Juan Pablo, you were well up until the final sector but then you had some understeer, presumably in the Parabolica.

JPM:
No, no, no. It was in Ascari. I went into Ascari and got out of the first curve and I was wide already. I knew it was completely over through there, so I lost a couple of
tenths through there from what I have normally been able to do. You know, it's good. I think we have got a really good car, good strategy for tomorrow. This is a track we knew would probably be one of the closest with Ferrari towards the end of the year. It is a bit like the way it was before in the previous years where every time we came to Monza we were quicker but in the other tracks we were not. I think we should be pretty good in the last few races.

Q:
You have had a team-mate change during the weekend. Does that make any difference to you?

JPM:
No. Not really. I was trying to help him a little bit, the things I could, you know, little details and things, and I think he did a really good job and I think everyone was surprised. He was the first guy out today and even like that he put in a really good lap time. He probably could have been a lot closer to me if he had been in a different
position.

Q:
Are you worried about that straight-line speed, five clicks difference?

JPM:
Not really. It is one or the other. You either pick the speed or you pick the downforce. We will see tomorrow afternoon whether we made the right decision.

Q:
Rubens, you sounded a little disappointed about third place.

RB:
Well, in a way, because it has been quite good all week and, yesterday, by a little bit, I almost got the first place. This morning, the car didn't feel very good but, in the warm-up, it felt good again, so I had all the chances. Unfortunately, we did change the brakes a little bit and I don't know if they were up to temperature or not when I first went to turn one. I lost the time there because it did slow down a little bit too much and then I locked the fronts and lost a bit of time. The time lost is all there because you can see that in sector two and sector three, we were very well matched. So, I am a little bit disappointed not to be on pole position, but I am still quite hopeful, because it is going to be a very long race tomorrow.

Q:
Exactly, and what are your feelings for the race, especially with your pal Juan Pablo just ahead of you.

RB:
Well, it's nice that I am in between the guys who are on the top of the list in terms of the championship and we will have to see tomorrow. The race is quite open, I did a lot of work last week on the car in order to have the right set-up for the race, saving tyres, brakes, everything I could, and still have the straight-line speed. So I am very happy with it, we have to see how hot it is and how much we have.

 

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