Fernando, a great drive from sixth on the grid, a couple of laps to go, one second behind Räikkönen, take it from there.
Fernando Alonso: It was a very, very good race from our side. The car was perfect after lap 18 or lap 20, when David Coulthard stopped, and I felt the car was perfect and I was able to push every lap. It is true that I lost so much at the start. I nearly finished my race at the first corner, I don’t know who pushed me in the back, and I thought that maybe something broke in the back of the car but it felt okay and obviously I lost so much I was happy with the second place. The car was so nice to drive, so quick, and we were pushing McLaren and Kimi so hard until the point that they had a failure in the tyres. We were very lucky today, but at the same point we were also very strong and able to push them like at the beginning of the season, not like the last two races.
A very different sort of win for you, coming as it did with just two laps to go like that.
FA: Yeah, all the other victories I had this year I was leading the race from the beginning to the end, and for me to be leading only on the last lap is a much better feeling!
You were really quick, just before your second stop you set fastest lap and then you ran wide at the hairpin. What happened there?
FA: I was pushing so hard, I knew that I had one possibility, very small, but one possibility to overtake Kimi in the three or four laps that I went longer in the second stop, and I was doing 1:30.7 at that time, the quickest lap of the race, and I arrived in turn seven, locked the front tyre and went wide. It was not a really big difference at that stage, I thought, but everything was fine and I was lucky at the end there as well.
We know now that nobody started the race with more fuel than you. Looking back now do you think that was the right amount of fuel to have qualified with?
FA: I think it is similar. To be the longest is a help from the race point of view, you become second or third very quickly after your first stop, but you have to be careful of the distance and the gap you have with the car who is leading the race and maybe it was a little bit too far to Kimi this time, so maybe with a bit less fuel it was not a bad idea as well. But winning the race, I have to say the strategy was perfect.
Nick, another second place, your second in a row, but off the line Kimi was quicker into the first corner.
Nick Heidfeld: Yeah, we knew from the beginning that Kimi would have a lot better start but it was quite close actually. I had a go into the first corner but he timed it perfectly and I held on to second position. Obviously, we did a three-stop race and a short first stint but we just did that because we hoped to get the best result, which we in the end got with the second place. I just pushed as hard as possible in the first stint and I tried to get a gap, which worked pretty well, and I think the car was really nice but as I had to push hard at the start I lost rear tyres a little towards the end.
Quite a lot of pressure from Rubens in the Ferrari towards the end as well.
NH: Yeah, it is one thing for Rubens to be behind me but I think if he had been close it would have been another for him to try to overtake me. As I saw him getting closer I was able to push a bit harder but he closed the gap especially when I was stuck behind a Jordan, who I think didn’t do a good job because I think he had blue flags for a few laps and that cost me quite a lot of time. After he was gone I had to put in quite a few good times and it was clear that I could hold onto third position at that time and then obviously we were lucky that Kimi didn’t finish.
A great result for the team after a difficult start and now circuits like Canada and Magny Cours, where Williams have always done quite well.
NH: After pole position, to be honest, I didn’t expect to win, I thought if everything went perfect I would be third and I was in the end in second position. After the weekend started quite difficult, on Friday we didn’t do many laps, it was very difficult for us to make the tyre choice. I think in the end we made the right one, and we also instead of focusing on this race with development parts we are focusing more on the next couple of races so I hope we make a step forward.
Rubens, welcome back to the podium after Melbourne, a great drive from you. You also had a three-stop strategy, tell me about the first corner, what did you see of the melee there?
Rubens Barrichello: Well, the first corner is a great one for overtaking but on the first lap it can be a mess. I was alongside Fernando and all of a sudden I was turning and I saw two cars cross, I think it was a Williams and somebody else, just crossing in front and I actually had to turn left before I turned right. I lost a lot in that confusion and it was a pity, but in the same way I was able to push my race from the beginning. I lost a lot, maybe 15 seconds or even more, but then I was able to push and although I had difficulties overtaking I was able to overtake and use my strategy very nicely.
It looked as though you were enjoying yourself out there today, there was a lot of racing going on and the car proved reliable and relatively quick.
RB: Yeah, the boys here and at the factory are doing a fantastic job to make up the time, really. It is very unfortunate that we have been out of the podium for a long time, the car is very reliable, the engine is good and the tyres are fantastic, it is just that we had a difficult time at some point into the season but we are coming back and I feel the Ferrari team will be very strong from now to the end of the year and we are going to be winning races hopefully soon.