Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren), Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), Olivier Panis (Toyota)

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Q:
Kimi, that almost came from nowhere. You seemed to have a very quiet, disciplined run into this qualifying session. Did it feel like a pole lap?

Kimi Raikkonen:
It doesn't matter how it feels as long as it's on the first row in first place. No, we haven't had much running this weekend. There has been bad weather and we only had half an hour yesterday and then one session today. I wasn't very happy with the car at all yesterday and today, but we just got it right for qualifying and had a normal good lap and it was enough.

Q:
You're in championship contention, your two main rivals are behind you, talk us through your feelings ahead of the race tomorrow?

KR:
Of course, it's a much better position now than perhaps the last race. But the race is long and I still think we have a good strategy for the race and I'm pretty sure we should have a strong race and we will see what happens tomorrow.

Q:
Are you approaching this as just another race weekend?

KR:
Yeah, pretty much, because we don't have much to lose, but I think we have more to win than lose. We just need to do the best we can and hopefully it's enough to win the race.

Q:
Rubens, problems with Michael today, but you're on the front row for the sixth time this year...

Rubens Barrichello:
Yeah, I was actually hoping for pole. I think the car is good and looked good for the whole time, the whole weekend. On the warm-up, it felt a little bit different due to the wind, but I think everyone felt the same. The times were not as competitive as they were this morning. But, having said that, it was still a good lap. It was a little bit of a compromise on the set-up because in the warm-up the car was really lose everywhere, but the compromise paid off a little bit. The car didn't feel as this morning, but it was still good.

Q:
In the context of the championship, you find yourself in a very interesting position now...

RB:
I love the challenges, you know. I think they all come to me in a way. It's such a good championship because you would see after the last race that the two main contenders were Montoya and Schumacher and then, all of a sudden, you see Kimi on pole and the other two guys behind. It is quite open and it's going to be very funny tomorrow.

Q:
So what role are you going to play?

RB:
Hopefully to win the race, I think that's the first plan right now.

Q:
Olivier, I think it's your best dry weather qualifying performance, a great result for Toyota. Did you feel it was going to happen, coming into this race?

Olivier Panis:
Well, I think to be honest that during the whole weekend we have been quite competitive. When I started yesterday morning, I was already in the top five and I felt really good with the car. It's been a really tough season for us, but I think we've worked hard every grand prix. I mean we've improved the car step-by-step and in the end we look really competitive. Sure, to be here I'm quite happy today because it's a long since I was here and I hope we continue like this.

Q:
And you've got championship contenders around you, obviously...

OP:
But this doesn't make any sense for me. I don't play anything on the championship. I need to do my best for Toyota and, sure, I will try to do it tomorrow, because we are not too far from BAR and Jaguar to fight for fifth place in the championship - which is quite important for us. But, for me, definitely, tomorrow I will have a different race, but I want to be good.

Press conference:

Q:
Kimi, did you think you could be on pole here?

KR:
We knew that the car should be better here than it was in the last race, but this whole weekend has been quite difficult, not only for us but for all the teams also, because the weather hasn't been the best and we only got one hour maximum - not even that - dry running. And, yesterday and this morning, I wasn't very happy with the car, but then we seem to have found our way after the warm-up, just some small changes on the car and we were hoping that the car would be better in qualifying. But I think the circuit also improved a lot. So it was a good lap and I'm very happy with it.

Q:
Now you can see where your championships rivals are, are you slightly readjusting your sights on the championship?

KR:
No. I haven't even been thinking that we are not in the championship fight any more, because as long as there is even a small chance, and right now it looks better than it did before qualifying, but there's a still a long race to go tomorrow and we just need to do our best and hopefully win the race.

Q:
Going back to your quick lap, you were actually beaten by three other drivers in the first sector; did you feel that was your weakest sector?

KR:
I don't think it matters as long as you're quickest in the end. I took it quite easily in one of the corners, because in the morning I got the feeling that it was quite slippery and maybe we lost a little bit of time there.

Q:
Rubens, to what extent do you feel you lost running time and did that have an effect on the team?

RB:
No, I think the weather played a role a little bit and it was quite windy out there. I don't know to what extent it affected the other cars but it did affect us a little. I think everyone, to be honest, because the times were not as competitive as this morning. I had to gamble a little on set up. I was happy with my set up this morning, but had to gamble a little bit because if it is windy like this tomorrow it might have an impact on the tyres that I wanted. I didn't have the quickest car in terms of performance, but I hope it will be a good one in terms of tomorrow's race. Having said that, I am still very happy with the lap.

Q:
How much did you change the car after the warm-up and after Michael's run?

RB:
After Michael's run, not much. There was only five to ten minutes and there's not much time to change things. I only changed the tyres from the warm-up.

Q:
When you look at the grid and the championship, how do you see it?

RB:
I am just sorry I am not in the battle because it is quite interesting and, as I said, it is very much alive. If you look at it from one side, it is quite fantastic to have the public as they are here - they are like Brazil and Monza - and they shout and they sing. It will be a good race and, hopefully, a clean one for everyone involved in the championship. I am not treating them as an outsider, I am still there and I have some points, obviously. To do the mathematics, I cannot beat the first place and anything can happen and I am doing my best to win the race.

Q:
Olivier, congratulations. You must be very happy?

OP:
Yes, definitely, I am happy for the team and for myself. I think we started the weekend very competitively and we were in top three in the morning. In qualifying, I was unlucky and it started raining and that didn't help. This morning I was competitive again and we tried to improve the car throughout the day. In the warm-up lap, it felt good, but the traction was not right and the grip level was low. We changed some small things and in qualifying I did a very good lap. We need to find a compromise, but I would say we have a good car for tomorrow.

Q:
One of your team said at Monza that you weren't good enough. How much has changed since Monza?

OP:
Not much. We have tested a lot between the two grands prix to test some different aero kits and then we found one that was really quite good and we used it and it looked like it is okay.

 

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