Drivers: Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

Questions from the floor:

Q: (Dieter Rencken - The Citizen)
Kimi, what was the rationale behind you coming in about five minutes behind the rest of the field at the end of Q3?

Kimi Raikkonen:
Yeah, because I didn't finish qualifying.

Q: (Dieter Rencken - The Citizen)
So do you get an extra lap for that?

KR:
Yes, yes I did. It's the same for everybody.

Q: (Ian Stafford - The Mail on Sunday)
Lewis, this time last year, to be on the front row of the grid, second in qualifying, would have been fantastic... Do I detect after seven races a slight tinge of disappointment about today?

Lewis Hamilton:
I don't think so. As I said I think it was a good battle and I was very happy with it. I know I did the best job I could, made a slight mistake, but that doesn't mean I am disappointed in it. I know that tomorrow we have a good strategy and will go into the race just as strong as these guys and we will be pushing to get in front. I couldn't even have imagined even being at the front or on the podium in my first race so every time I do get up in the top three, it is a great feeling.

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association)
Lewis, you and Fernando have had it relatively easy these past three grands prix...

LH:
In what respect?

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association)
Well, finishing one, one, one, Fernando winning in Monaco and you winning the last two, you know what I mean... Does the resurgence of Ferrari this weekend prove it is just not your team-mate you have to consider for the world drivers' title?

LH:
We knew that already and there was no doubt in our minds that we weren't just competing with each other. We knew that we were competing against the Ferraris and the BMWs and that is why we have been pushing so hard to pull away and everyone makes improvements and steps forward and obviously Ferrari have made a good step forward. I still believe we have the best car and we just have to prove that tomorrow.

Q: (Juha P??talo - Financial Times Germany)
To Felipe and Kimi, in the last weekends, you have been struggling with the grip on the qualifying lap. How different was the car in that sense this time?

FM:
As I said, it was better. There was more grip, more consistent with the scrubbed tyres and we could manage to find the grip with the first lap which was our biggest problem in the last races which was our biggest problem, so I think we had a little bit more downforce, a better set-up and maybe our car works better on this kind of track, so that's it.

Q: (Mike Doodson - Auto Action)
Lewis, we have seen all year this very happy relationship clearly between you and Felipe...

Felipe Massa:
No, it is not true...

Q: (Mike Doodson - Auto Action)
Two questions: one, do you spend time together off the track? And two, does it make it more difficult to race against somebody you like and respect than against somebody with whom you are less friendly?

FM: (to LH)
Do you want me to say what you are doing when you go out?

LH:
No, no! We get on very well and a lot of the drivers here get on very well and we have a lot of respect for each other off the track. But then, when you get on the track, you are there to do a job and you are there to compete and beat each other and once you know the boundaries and, you know, we've obviously had some close races this year, we know where we are on the circuit, so we have trust. It doesn't make it hard to race each other. In the race, you are enemies, well not enemies, but fierce competitors, and off the track you are good friends.

Q: (Ian Stafford - The Mail on Sunday)
Lewis, you are leading the world championship by ten points and they always say in sport that it is easier to chase than to be chased, in general. Do you feel more pressure now being hunted? And do you think the rookie tag is well and truly gone now and you are there to be well and truly shot at?

LH:
To the first one, I don't feel any more pressure, I just feel that I approach every weekend the same. It is great to be in the lead, but obviously there are ten races left and it is way too early to consider winning the championship. We have to keep on pushing to improve the car and to be as consistent as possible and to work on reliability. And secondly, as a rookie, I still believe it is the same. I am still in my first season. A lot of the other drivers obviously understand that I am still a rookie, but as you go through the season they see that you are doing a good job or you have a close battle with them and they can see you are fair or something like that and they build the respect that they have for you, it grows. But I still think they obviously know I am a rookie, they expect me to make a mistake at some point, but I am here to prove them wrong.

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association)
Following on from that, Felipe, do you still see him as a rookie?

FM:
No, definitely not, you cannot see him as a rookie. No. You never see a guy in the first year leading the championship, so for sure not.

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association)
And what about the mistake? Do you hope it is coming?

FM:
Yes, especially tomorrow. I will be very happy.

Q: (Juha P??talo - Financial Times Germany)
Kimi, this is a hard track to overtake on and that is hard enough anyway this season. What does it mean to start from the third position here?

KR:
Like I said, it is not ideal. You would rather be at the front, but I still think you have chances to overtake and this weekend it has been surprisingly easier to follow people than many other races, so let's see what happens tomorrow. It also depends a lot when people are stopping and what they are doing, so we'll see...
Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat)
Kimi, did you feel more confident with the car than in the previous qualifying sessions?

KR:
Yes, the car was better and today I felt we could have had the pole with a perfect lap. Before it has not really been there. But we are gradually getting where we want to be, so it is a good feeling with the car.

Q: (Michael Schmidt - Auto Motor und Sport)
How much experience do you have with this car in the wet apart from the Saturday morning session in Monte Carlo?

LH:
Not a lot, if I am honest. I had plenty of time and I was testing a lot in the dry through pre-season testing and I probably out of the 8000 or 9000 kilometres that I did maybe I got a thousand in the rain, or 500, I am not sure exactly how much. But I definitely got some time in the car, so I have no worries about it.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Lewis, this morning you did just eight laps. Was that to save the engine or something else?

LH:
No, no. Our engine's pretty sweet and... it was just that there was no need to go out and push too many laps and we went out half way through the session just to find out which tyre we wanted to use for the race, the option or the prime. Yesterday, we didn't really get a good read, because we got stuck in traffic and didn't have many clear laps. Today it was important that we got out and had a really good understanding.

Q: (Ian Stafford - The Mail on Sunday)
Felipe, being a Brazilian, and a football fan, no doubt, does the season start now? As if the business part of the season begins now? Everybody knows where they are at, there is a long way to go, it is fairly close - is it now that you make your move? Is it like Brazil doing just enough in the qualifying and then they go on and win the semis and the final at the World Cup?

FM:
Well, in a way you do need to think like that, just to try to be stronger all the time, but what happens in the past is that it hurts you a little bit especially when you have a very long championship with so many races, it can be very important the points that you make in this race and if you can't do that and make so many points in this race then maybe you can have a problem to be at the front. But we saw in the past that some people have been able to recover their lost points, so I hope we can recover and have a good car all the time to be in the front or at least fighting, so that's our main goal.

Q: (Niki Takeda - Formula PA)
Question for Lewis, how important is it to gain another win here, personally?

LH:
It is always important to get a win. And not just to continue with the success that we have had this year, but also obviously to score as many points as you can, whether that is ten, eight or six, or whatever, it is extremely important that we continue to score points, not only for the drivers championship, but also the teams' and so that is what we and Fernando will be doing, pushing as much as we can. We have to see how the race goes. Me, Felipe and also Kimi, we all know where we are on the circuit and we will push as hard as we can to get up front. We will just have to see how it goes.

 

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