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Monaco: Saturday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
21/05/2005

Kimi, were the track conditions changed at all by the oil that went down in Ralf Schumacher's big accident?
Kimi Raikkonen: Yes, I would say that it didn't help. But at least it was on the outside of the circuit, so it wasn't too bad I didn't go around there. But I did take that corner a little bit more carefully, but it didn't really make much difference.

You were quickest in all three sectors; it looked from the outside as if that was as good as it gets, almost a perfect lap.
KR: Yeah, I would say that apart from that one corner it was pretty good. The car felt good, better than in the morning. I was pretty happy. I felt it straight away when I went out, that the tyres and everything was working very well, so I was quite confident but I didn't know what the times of the others in front of me were, so… It's the best place for tomorrow and at least we have a little gap to the second guy, so maybe we can have quite a good race tomorrow.

I'm sure you haven't had a chance to study the data yet, but you were quickest in all three sectors, but Fernando was quickest through all the speed traps. What do you make of that?
KR: It doesn't make any difference here. You're not going to get past anyone if the guy in front of you doesn't want to let you.

Fernando, a very good lap. A difficult situation for you, of course, going out when you did, just after Jarno and that Ralf accident. What was it like from your point of view?
Fernando Alonso: Yes, same as Kimi. It didn't help at all, especially in my case I didn't know which line Jarno took in the lap, because I was on my 'out' lap already, so when I arrived there on my timed lap, my only information was that Jarno wasn't too slow, he was quite quick, that's what they informed me on my 'out' lap but as Kimi said, we didn't take the normal racing line, so we were at little bit risky at the swimming pool chicane, the high speed corner. But anyway, second place is good for today, it's good for qualifying tomorrow and hopefully it will be a good strategy for the race as well, because there's a good gap to Mark but maybe too much of a gap to Kimi. Now we have to think what we're going to do next.

You obviously have momentum with you, you've been very quick throughout the weekend so far. What does Monaco mean for you, coming to this great race at this point of the season, with the momentum you have?
FA: Yeah, it's fantastic. I also like Monaco and I have always been very quick here with Renault, partially because I like the track, but also the car has always been very competitive here, and this year even more so. The R25 seems competitive everywhere, I think we have to say thanks again for the Michelin tyres we have here. I'm hopefully able to fight for pole and for victory tomorrow again, so these days are the best moment in my career, for sure.

Mark, you didn't appear that good on the screens in practice, but once again you're right up there when it comes to qualifying. It was a great looking lap.
Mark Webber: Yeah, thanks. I was pretty happy with it. At the start of the session, the guys looked like they were struggling for a bit of grip, so I thought that it might have been difficult for repeat our fourth practice session times but in the end the track was pretty good, and I think there should be a pat on the back for all the guys, especially at Grove. They've done a huge job to get everything to this race, especially the last few races trying to catch these two cars here. They've set a very high level and we're pushing very hard at Williams to try and get it back so we're all pushing very hard, and it's thanks to them. Obviously we're only halfway through qualifying, we have tomorrow to go and we shall see how we go.

I don't want to talk about patterns, but there is a little bit of one here: you qualify very well and so far we need to get the racing to back that up. Your thoughts as we go towards the race now?
MW: Well, I really really enjoy the races. Qualifying hasn't proved to be a huge huge drama for us. We can qualify reasonably well but it comes down to all the data, all the long runs, working hard with Michelin. Michelin have won every Grand Prix this year so they're clearly doing a fantastic job and we might be using the tyres a fraction harder but that's what we've got to try and sort out and you always want to try and push down… every electronics, with the engine, all sorts of stuff, we need to still improve.

Press Conference

Kimi, 0.48s ahead of everyone else; that's quite a surprising margin, isn't it?
KR: Yeah, the car has actually been good all day, two days also but I didn't really push, we were just driving around a little bit on the first day. Yeah, I was very happy with the car in qualifying, everything worked well, the tyres were working very well. I don't know what happened to the others, but I was already quite confident in the morning that we had a good set-up and a good car. The lap wasn't very good this morning so now I pushed a bit harder and it was good.

Just tell us the importance of pole position?
KR: I think it's important to be on pole, or on the front row at every race, but here it's pretty much impossible to overtake anyone so if you have pole position and you can get in the lead at the start it's always going to help you a lot during the race. So you try to do everything to get there and so far it's going well, but tomorrow there's another run and we need to still try to get pole position. At least we have a margin over the others but it's never sure, so we just need to work hard tomorrow also.

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