Drivers: Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Mercedes), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) and Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari).

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Q:
Fernando, not much luck at Monza in the past, but from pole, you set fastest lap and won the Italian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso:
Ah yes, absolutely, a perfect weekend for me. Sometimes everything seems to go in the right direction and you feel good and you need to keep up the momentum. All weekend has been good for me. Sometimes I have started well here in Monza but I always had some problems in the race, and I always missed the victory and the win here so to win here in Monza for the first time is a very very special win.

Q:
And it looked like a dominating win for you; what was it like from inside the cockpit, any nasty moments?

FA:
No, everything was OK. Maybe just the start was not fantastic, I felt, so I looked in the mirror immediately after the start and I saw Felipe behind me, so for a moment I thought that I would have to defend myself in the first corner so I really braked late, but then in the second corner I saw I think Lewis on the left part, and I was a little bit worried that maybe we could touch each other.

Q:
And at the restart Lewis was pretty close to you going into turn one.

FA:
Yeah, again that was a little bit difficult because here you take the slipstream very easy and I didn't know how to avoid that. It's normal here in Monza. That first safety car didn't help either because the group was together on lap six or seven and we knew that we had to open up a gap before Kimi's stop and obviously with seven laps after the safety car the gap was not big enough.

Q:
What does it mean to you personally to win here on Ferrari territory on what is an emotional weekend for McLaren? We saw your team principal Ron Dennis looking quite emotional on the podium.

FA:
It's very special, I think. All the wins are special but over the last two or three years, there are some circuits where I won more than one time or one time, and Monza is one of the circuits where I never won before, so I wanted to achieve that, try to make at least one win on all the circuits and to win in Monza, the first time, with all the people here... maybe they are Ferrari fans, but on top of that they are Formula One fans and they are very emotional. They love Formula One in Italy, so it's great to win here.

Q:
Lewis, interesting first corner, going in there with Felipe Massa, round the outside and then a bit of a tap as you were just about to approach the apex.

Lewis Hamilton:
Yeah, I obviously didn't get the best getaway being on the dirty side of the grid, and saw Felipe shoot past. But I outbraked both of them, Fernando and Felipe, and I was very close to take Fernando as well but Felipe clipped me and sent me over the second part of the chicane, so I lost that opportunity. And then I had a second opportunity at the restart but Fernando did a great job to make sure he pulled a good enough gap on the exit of turn eleven - the last corner - and there was nothing I could do about it. I got to the middle stint and I had flat-spotted my tyres, my front tyres, and I had some vibration, so I opted to pit even earlier than my pit stop, basically because I wasn't sure that that vibration wasn't going to be something like (what happened in) Turkey, so I thought I would play it safe and just bag the points.

Q:
And of course a great pass with Kimi, a great race with Kimi in the latter phase of the race as well.

LH:
Yeah, well we came out and I knew that Kimi... pitting a bit earlier, I knew that Kimi would pass me and the key was just to try and optimise my pit entry, my pit exit and my out and in laps and I came out and I thought, shoot, Kimi is too far ahead. I probably had two laps maximum out of the tyres before they would go off and he was on the harder tyre which was a little bit better but I managed to pull out a couple of really good laps, the tyres were great and the car felt good as well. I had an opportunity and I had to make sure I stuck it in there and got it, and also I just wanted to do it for the team. I know how hard they've been working and this weekend we've got the one-two in qualifying and to get it in the race would have just put the icing on the cake, so a great job by the team back at home, mega-improvement and I hope we can continue with this form.

Q:
Kimi, that looked like a hard race for you. How much of it was affected by your accident yesterday in terms of your slightly stiff neck, and how was the performance of the car?

Kimi Raikkonen:
The car wasn't too bad actually. In the first stint it was pretty OK. OK, we were heavier than the McLarens, so we knew that they would pull away. We tried to keep close enough but actually we were not quick enough today, but probably the biggest problem for me was that I couldn't keep my head upright any more under braking, so my neck is not in such good shape after yesterday. That was the main issue. But we just didn't have the speed today. That's how it goes.

Q:
We could see from the replays that you appeared to be looking forward in the cockpit as Lewis was coming down inside you into the first chicane.

KR:
Yeah, the problem wasn't under braking. It was a bit hard to keep the head up. It didn't help, for sure. After when he passed me, first of all I couldn't have a good exit on any lap out of the last corner, and I knew they were very quick in there and on the straight. I tried to do my best but then he got too close and got past me, so after that I just slowed down and drove to the finish of the race.

Q:
Surprising for Ferrari after their one-two in Turkey for things to be changing so quickly here at Monza.

KR:
Probably this is a bit more like Montreal. We knew that McLaren would be fast here, very strong, so we knew from last week's test that we were not where we wanted to be. For sure they were strong here, stronger than us but I think once we go back to Spa it should level out a little bit. Then it will probably be closer again. But of course we wanted to win our home race but we couldn't do that, but we still got a podium, lost some points to McLaren but they were just better today.

Q:
Fernando, not much time to enjoy this race; onto the Belgian Grand Prix next weekend, but the gap between you and Lewis is now down to three points. A big win for the McLaren team here; how do you see that continuing next weekend?

FA:
We will see. I think we have to see how the car performs in Belgium. As you said, now there are a lot of changes between one race and the next, as we saw in Turkey. Ferrari were very dominant. In Monza, McLaren is very dominant. So in Belgium, first of all we have to see how the cars perform but for sure the main thing is the championship: try to win Drivers' and Constructors' championship and to do that, you need to win races. So approaching the next race, the goal is to win again.

Press conference.

Q:
Fernando, that looked a perfect afternoon.

FA:
Yes, it was. No worries with the car, everything was working perfectly, all through the race, in all the stints, all the tyres, so everything was very good today and this afternoon you just have fun driving the car because the rest is going very well.

Q:
And now just three points behind Lewis in the championship.

FA:
Yes but nothing changes really. It's only two points (difference) even if you win the race, so the distance is more or less the same, and the gap is more or less the same. Nothing was decided before the race, nothing is decided after the race and I think it will stay like that until the last race. But that's not the important thing. For me, personally, after Turkey, I know that I also closed the gap in the championship by two points but I was not totally happy with the weekend. I made a very bad start and then when I managed to overtake the BMW, I was not able to be quick enough to pressure the people on the podium. I really arrived here very focused and I want to make five finals, from here to the end, and I will go for it.

Q:
You must be pleased with the outcome of your new approach to the weekend.

FA:
Yes, but sometimes you make all the effort you can and things go wrong, for whatever reason: you have a puncture, you have a gearbox problem or whatever, either in qualifying or the race, and there is always a compromise after you have anything like that, so I'm happy but I know that there will be some more difficult weekends. What cannot change is my level of concentration and my level of push for this championship.

Q:
Lewis, tell us about the overtaking manoeuvre with Kimi?

LH:
I thought it was fairly straightforward. I was fortunate to be out on new tyres, and Kimi was on the harder compound but obviously had done quite a lot of laps on heavy fuel, so I knew that I had probably a maximum of two laps to get past him. I closed the gap after the first lap and made sure I optimised my exit from the last corner. I was surprised that the slipstream wasn't as much as... normally I would have thought I would have passed him before the first corner, but I had to actually do it on the brakes. But nevertheless, it was quite close. He closed the door, it was very fair. I didn't think I was going to make the corner but somehow I did and obviously it was a very very important point in the race. I needed those points, so I'm very very happy with it.

Q:
You spoke a moment ago about vibration on your first set of tyres. Once you came in, did the vibration go?

LH:
Yes.

Q:
In the last stint you seemed to drop back from behind Fernando, were you just taking it easy?

LH:
I was ten seconds behind and I know that when I was a couple of seconds behind him, I couldn't catch him so I pushed for the first couple of laps, I didn't particularly know how many laps I had left but I was pushing and I when I saw Fernando ahead of me, he was very fortunate with traffic, he would always catch them just before turn eleven and get past. I would catch them in the wrong place and have to lose half a second. But that's the way it goes. I think at the end we just needed to make sure we brought it home. I'd done the job, we'd both done really well to get both cars at the front and it was important we brought it home.

Q:
Was there much difference between the hard and softer tyre?

LH:
It's always different. In the test, there was a lot more graining on the softer tyres. Here, there was a lot less graining on the softer tyres but more chunking or blisters. But the tyres felt great, especially the options but it was a very short stint and as I've seen, there were already blisters on them, so probably not good to do a long stint on them.

Q:
Well Kimi, you did a long stint on the softer tyres and seemed to do a very good job, particularly with a heavy fuel load.

KR:
Yeah, the car was working pretty well, not ideal but it was not too bad actually. The first stint was probably better than the second stint. There was no problem with the tyres.

Q:
Would you do a one stop again or do you think a two stop would have been better?

KR:
I don't know. I don't think it would have made much difference for our final position. We were not quick enough in the end, so we couldn't really do better. That was the main problem.

Q:
And when Lewis came out of the pits behind you, did you think you had second place or was it just a matter of time before he got you?

KR:
I knew that they were going to be fast on new tyres. I had some other problems to deal with at that time and I tried but for sure I was expecting him to try to get past me. I did my best but it just wasn't good enough.

Q:
When we spoke on the drivers' parade, you said you had a stiff neck but you weren't certain it was going to affect you in the race, or were you? Or did you fear it might?

KR:
No, I already felt it yesterday in qualifying, so I pretty much expected it to be good fun in the race, but it turned out to be a bit worse than I expected.

 

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