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US GP: Post Qualifying Press Conference

NEWS STORY
18/06/2005

It's been a tough weekend for the team, how have you tackled it?
Jarno Trulli: We have done very limited mileage but we have done the best today that we could do, trying to guess the set-up, the tyres and everything so I'm really glad about the outcome of today's qualifying.

Can you talk a little bit about how much this has affected your preparation?
JT: Well, we have done a very small number of laps the previous day and even today. This morning I probably only did ten laps, not even consecutive, so we were trying to guess a little bit about the balance and for me the car balance yesterday was OK. We just had to try and get some more grip after the heat because this Indianapolis circuit has always been very slippery. Again, today was a mixed day because we've had some problems and probably some decisions need to be taken for tomorrow's race.

And your thoughts on tomorrow's race in terms of strategy? Do you think the Michelin situation will have affected things more than usual?
JT: To be honest, at the moment it's very difficult for me to talk about tomorrow's race. We still have to get some data from Michelin and then we will probably understand better what we can do and what we cannot do. Anyway, today was a great day for me and for Toyota because we claimed our first pole position together.

Kimi, it looked to be very quick on the infield sector but lost out in sectors one and three…
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I don't know why really. I thought it was a pretty good lap, a similar time to what I did this morning so I was happy with it and now we just need to wait and see what the others are doing with the pit stops, but I think we are in a pretty strong position right now.

What's it been like at West McLaren Mercedes in this Michelin situation in the build-up to the race?
KR: OK. I think it's the same for every team. It hasn't made our preparation any easier but we did the best we could. I haven't been 100 percent happy with the car but now, in the last practice and in qualifying, it seems to be pretty OK, so I'm much happier than I was yesterday. I don't really worry about the tyres tomorrow in the race. I think they will be OK, and of course, we need to be a little bit cautious with them but we will go as quickly as we can and see what happens.

Jenson, pole in Canada and now top three at Indianapolis.
Jenson Button: Yes, it's nice to get two good qualifyings on the trot but it wasn't the best lap really. I struggled a lot with very low grip so it's great to be third and I think we can do great things from here.

You sound as though you're surprised therefore to be third.
JB: Well, I was during the lap because it wasn't a great lap, just very low grip, but it was obviously the same for everyone out there, so yes, it's nice to be here and I think we can do some good things tomorrow. Our strategy is a good one. I'm looking forward to it.

We know they've kept the same Honda engines in since Canada but again, it doesn't look as though your top speed is absolutely brilliant here.
JB: No. We're not up there on the straights so it just means we've got to get a good start and pull away from everyone really.

Press Conference

Jarno, it has been a difficult time for the team so far so it must be delightful for the team to have this pole?
JT: Well, it has so far been difficult for everyone here, especially for Ralf, which was really bad luck. We came here with a lot of expectation and on Friday we had two crashes, one with Ralf, which was probably away from his car, and one with Ricardo, so we try to understand what is happening and for sure we have had a mixed emotion weekend so far. It has been quite difficult to set up the car, to work and to feel confident.

You mentioned the confidence. It must be quite difficult knowing that your type of cars had those two failures.
JT: Yeah, I mean, some of us have been really lucky and I think up to now nothing major has happened but we still come with an emotion that we probably do not feel 100 percent confident with our car, with our package. I don't know what will happen tomorrow but we will get some better idea this afternoon.

Presumably it was difficult to come up with a strategy with the tyres. How did you plan for this race?
JT: Well, our tyre choice was down to Michelin and also we asked Michelin to get some idea about race strategy. We respected what they told us and we went for it.

Kimi, are you happy with second?
KR: I would rather be first, of course, but we didn't manage to do it. But I think we have a very strong race car and hopefully we can run a bit longer. I think we have a good chance to win tomorrow.

So expecting to be heavy are you?
KR: Might be. (Laughter) We will see tomorrow.

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