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Canada GP: Post Qualifying Press Conference

NEWS STORY
11/06/2005

What a comeback! We all know what you and the team have been going through over the last month or so, but on the pole here in Canada.
Jenson Button: A little bit surprised, actually. We expected to come here and be reasonably quick but to challenge the Renaults and McLarens? We didn't quite expect that but it's good to be here. This is a huge boost for the team. We've had a tough few months and they've worked exceptionally hard, so it's great to give them something back.

Your thoughts for the race tomorrow; it's obviously very hot, we have a new track surface here, what were the conditions like out there?
JB: It was a little bit slipperier than in practice. I think maybe the wind has picked up a little bit, but the car worked really well. It was reasonable easy to drive and I think we've got a good race package. I'm not going to say too much because I've seen the Renaults and the McLarens in practice and their long run pace looks very good. We will just wait and see what happens tomorrow, but this is a good start anyway.

Obviously this qualifying session does reflect the choice of fuel for the first stint in the race, but your top speed, 318 kph, is about 12 kph down on the guys either side of you. Your thoughts on that?
JB: Oh dear. (Laughs) Yeah, we noticed that in the earlier practices, but for us this is the best level to be at and we've just got to hope that we can keep them behind us in the first few laps of the race when it's very close. It's going to be an important part of the race for us and if we can stay in front that's going to help our race no end.

Michael, welcome back. Reading your comments yesterday in the press, you weren't that optimistic in terms of where the car was going, gearbox problem this morning, I think, and I think Rubens also had a gearbox problem but a great qualifying result for you in the end.
Michael Schumacher: Yeah, indeed. As you said, yesterday things didn't look very good but we found a lot of reasons for our performance yesterday because it wasn't normal that we would be so far behind. At the end of the day, we got the car together very well this morning. It was a shame that we couldn't finish our work to the end because of a gearbox problem, although we picked up the gearbox problem early enough not to have it at the moment when it matters. So a great job from everybody because it took a huge effort from everybody to bring the car back in the position that we are in. And we were hoping for that position. We worked the car very well this morning and things looked pretty good for us.

Obviously a great one-lap run there. Your thoughts on the race and the track conditions and the problems with the resurfaced track here?
MS: Yes, I guess it's not really a problem because if I understand it right, it wasn't a problem with our cars destroying the surface, it was probably the saloon cars which are heavier and which put more load onto the track - I don't know, I'm just guessing - but with the changes and things they have done to the circuit I'm pretty sure it shouldn't be an issue tomorrow.

Fernando, a solid looking qualifying run there, your thoughts on that, potential fuel loads and on the race?
Fernando Alonso: Yeah, it has been a good Saturday practice this morning with very good long runs and a good pace, and then in qualifying, it's obviously very difficult to know about the fuel loads of other people but we are quite happy with our strategy, I think, for the race. Everything is going well in the team, we are third and fourth, we are very confident with everything in the car and at the moment it all looks perfect for us.

And West McLaren Mercedes not quite as quick as they normally are…
FA: Yeah, but again, who knows about the fuel load of the McLarens today? Obviously this is a track that has been historically good for our car and I think this year, also, we were very close with them this morning in practice but I am still confident we can beat them tomorrow. Obviously, to be in front at the start of the race, now, in qualifying is also a help if we want to beat them tomorrow.

And as you were saying earlier, this is a low downforce circuit where the compromise is very important, you're very very quick on the straight.
FA: Yeah, we were quickest yesterday and this morning as well and this can also be a help for the race point of view. But at the moment we decide to stay like this because the car has always been very nice to drive even with this light downforce.

Press Conference

Jenson, well done. What does it feel like to have this pole then?
JB: Er, wow! I was a little bit surprised to be that quick. So yeah, I am very happy. I know that in the race the Renaults and the McLarens and probably the Ferraris are going to be very fast, looking at their practice times today, but this is a good start for us, and it is nice to be back in this position.

And how was the lap?
JB: It was OK. The circuit was quite low grip so it was reasonably difficult, but it was a nice lap to drive, I enjoyed it.

The scenes in the garage looked like you'd just won the race, but obviously there was a certain amount of relief there.
JB: Yeah, this is only qualifying, I know that and we know that as a team but we have had a tough few months, we've had a tough year so far so this means a lot to us to be closer to the front again. So yeah, this is a very special moment for everyone in the team and hopefully this is going to help the rest of the year for us.

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