Drivers: David Coulthard (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes), Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari).

Press conference.

Q:
Robert, fourth for the team in Spain yet again, but I'm sure you were happy with it.

Robert Kubica:
Well, of course I was happy, not only because of the fourth place but because this was the first race this season without any problem, that the car was working 100 percent, and that we hadn't made any mistake in qualifying. Everybody has worked well, so the results come. The results should have already come in the first race in Australia, but I hope that Barcelona was not our first race without problems and not the last one this season.

Q:
But you mentioned those reliability issues that you had and Nick had in Spain; since then you've been testing in Ricard; is there any indication that you've overcome those problems?

RK:
As you said, we've had reliability problems. I don't know what was exactly Nick's failure in Barcelona, what was wrong, but of course we were trying to do our best to get rid of them and I think we've made really good progress in this direction and I don't think we will have any more of those kind of problems and now we have to concentrate on keeping going and keep finishing with two cars in the positions where we should be, because until now, it was only at Bahrain that we finished with both cars in the points.

Q:
Was that the focus of the test at Ricard?

RK:
Not really. Of course we were mainly focussing on preparing for Monaco and Montreal. I was driving for two days and we did quite a lot of work on set-up to prepare Monaco and on the last day, the third day, we did some aerodynamic work for Montreal.

Q:
Obviously, it's going to be the first time you've raced a Formula One car here; you've raced a World Series car here. What do you think is going to be the difference?

RK:
Well, I've driven a Formula One car here last year as a Friday driver (on Thursday). Unfortunately, we had some problems during those free practice sessions and I couldn't do many laps, but this will be the first race in a Formula One car, something special but normally I perform well on street circuits. We will see. Last year's Monaco Grand Prix was not really good for our team, but we have worked pretty hard to prepare for this Grand Prix and to be competitive.

Q:
David, Robert's first race in a Formula One car around here; does this track still give you a buzz?

David Coulthard:
Yeah, absolutely. This is the one that is obviously the biggest challenge for a driver, it's the one that gives you the most nerves beforehand because you can make a mistake on your first lap and you can make a mistake on your last lap. There's just no room for error here, so it's a big challenge, but you get much more than the normal points reward from a satisfaction point of view if you finish this Grand Prix.

Q:
How important was your finish in Spain for you?

DC:
Well, points are obviously always important for a team, especially when you're in mid-grid and trying to improve on seventh place which is where the team's been for the last few years in the Constructors' Championship. I think that, encouragingly, you can see the pace of the car has been improving significantly over each of the races. We just haven't had the reliability. We had a lot of problems at the end of that Grand Prix but we were able to get to the finish and I'm excited about the fact that I think we're the most improved team since the beginning of the year. Our rate of development is there for everyone to see and we've just got to keep building on that.

Q:
Does that result represent a leap forward, was it a significant result, one that you expect elsewhere?

DC:
The thing that I take most encouragement from is that our race pace in Bahrain where we had our first set of upgrades and then in Barcelona, relative to the front runners, we've got closer to McLaren and Ferrari, and that's enabled us to be more competitive in the races, get closer to BMW. Obviously we're in front of Renault and we've got to take heart from that. They don't win two World Championships by accident and we're moving forward as a team, the investment is paying off.

Q:
Does it come as a relief when you have a result like that after no scores?

DC:
It's nice. That's what we're here for is to get points and obviously the guys sitting in front of me are battling over real chances for pole position, real chances for race victories. We are not, at this time, but our goal is to continue to develop and reduce the gap in lap time and yes, finishing in fifth place, and giving some points to the team, but ultimately it's not something to throw a party for. We've got to build through the year and at the end of the season we can reflect on how much progress we've made.

Q:
Kimi, like David, you're a previous winner here. What are your feelings about the circuit?

Kimi Raikkonen:
It's a nice place, always. Good fun. You never really know before you come here how it's going to go but I think we should have a pretty good package, so we will see how it goes.

Q:
It's said that you're still really having problems adjusting to Bridgestone tyres after using Michelins; is that the case and how does it manifest itself?

KR:
I don't know if it's exactly the tyres but for sure I'm not as happy with the car as I could be but I think it's getting there. It seems to take a bit of time but we've sorted out a lot of things and I think we've found something in the end, so hopefully it will start to go where we want.

Q:
Is it a lack of confidence and knowing what they're going to do?

KR:
Not really, but if the car doesn't work as you like it to, it's hard to go as fast as you want. I think we just need to get everything together now and start getting better results.

Q:
And looking at the championship as a whole, you're obviously a few points adrift at the moment, but of course, you now have three rivals. Is it still winnable?

KR:
It's only four races old and so many things can happen. Unfortunately we had a retirement in the last race. I think we could be in a completely different situation now in the championship, but at least the gap is not too big. As you said, there are many cars fighting for it so probably the points can go differently to normal when there are only two guys there. It's less easy to catch anybody so hopefully we can catch up.

Q:
So you're not too worried.

KR:
Not yet, it's a long season and I'm probably not the only one who will have problems during the season.

Q:
Lewis, quite a few comments since Spain and we still remember that you said in Spain that this circuit is not one that you regard as a lottery having won here three times before, but do you think it's going to be a lot different in Formula One?

Lewis Hamilton:
Definitely. Over the week, we were looking at previous races and the different strategies you can run here and I think possibly because of the rules and regulations it does tend to make it a little bit more of a lottery than other circuits but still you need to be quick. It's not necessarily always the fastest driver that wins here. It's just all about having everything in the right place so that's what we need to work for.

Q:
How much use will the experience of those previous wins be, in spite of them being in different cars?

LH:
It's a slightly different car, a bit of a different beast but I think it will definitely help. Experience of a circuit is always a positive for a driver and especially on a circuit like this where, as David said, there is no room for error and it's all about knowing your braking zones, knowing where the bumps are, so I'm sure it will help.

Q:
Obviously you've had fantastic results over the four races we've had so far. Do you think that your relationship has changed, within the team, particularly with your team-mate? He is the World Champion; you're now the World Championship leader.

LH:
I don't think it's changed. I think with the team, the relationship grows constantly. I've been at McLaren for a long long time, and it just gets better and better. We're very much working extremely hard together to succeed and it's going extremely well at the moment so, as you can see, it's getting better and better. I think with me and Fernando the relationship is growing. We're sort of starting to understand each other. Obviously we've got a huge amount of respect for each other as we always have. But it's doing fine.

Q:
Is it rivalry or a master-pupil relationship?

LH:
I never actually thought it was a master-pupil thing to be honest. I think that as in every team, there's a little bit of rivalry there but that's only on the track. We're professionals. Off the track we're friends, we can talk, we're relaxed, there's no tension there.

 

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