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Monaco: Post Qualifying press conference

NEWS STORY
27/05/2006

A tense and breathtaking qualifying session, and you are on pole, but what happened to you in that incident at Rascasse?
Michael Schumacher: I locked up the front and went wide. I wasn’t sure what was going on after this because of the positioning of the cars and so on, so I was not aware and in the end, I checked with the guys what the situation was, where did we end up, because I didn’t expect to be sitting here right now in this position and they said P1, so I was glad considering what had happened.

What actually happened at the end of the incident; did the engine actually stall?
MS: No, initially not and I tried to engage reverse but it didn’t engage, and I didn’t really want to back up just by myself without knowing what was coming around the corner and finally, it stalled.

Brilliant show of speed today as the track has picked up grip.
MS: We didn’t look very good on Thursday. It was a little bit down to the tyre choice. We changed our choice and that put us back on the road and yes, today, this morning, we seemed to be back on pace and we had very good long runs and so on, so I’m pretty happy.

It was always going to be very congested in those first two qualifying sessions; you waited until you went out and on both occasions it worked well for you.
MS: Yeah. It’s difficult to find the perfect slot, but I saw so many cars going out very early and it was natural to find traffic in these moments so I just timed it slightly different. When I saw the red flag I thought maybe I didn’t make the right choice but it came together and the second qualifying session worked out fine. I just conserved and made sure we were within the top ten, and then I gave it everything thereafter.

Fernando, you were purple on the monitors on that first sector when Michael’s incident occurred. Do you think you would have been on the pole?
Fernando Alonso: Yes, yes. Until the last corner, I was three tenths quicker than my previous lap so for sure, it was not too difficult today.

Talk us through your emotions; you don’t seem too happy about it. Do you think things could have been handled any differently?
FA: Well, I don’t know. I do my maximum in the car, today it was OK, the car was performing really well. I think I had a good strategy and fantastic tyres for the race, so we have to wait and see tomorrow, but after dominating all weekend, to lose the lap because of an accident is not really a good moment.

On Thursday it looked very much a Michelin day but today Ferrari and Bridgestone have come right back into it.
FA: Yeah, not only Ferrari but we see the Williams here and Toyota was not too bad here today so I think both tyres are quite competitive, on the same level, and I’m very optimistic for the race. I think we have something more in the race, probably in our tyres, so hopefully we can do a good race with no more accidents.

Mark, your best qualifying position of the year so far for Williams.
Mark Webber: Yeah, Thursday was pretty tricky for us. We had a lot of options to go through. Obviously we had Alex in the third car which helped us, but Nico and I went through our programme as usual with the race cars, running one set of tyres. It’s always hard to get a real idea of how well we’re performing against – inside ourselves, obviously – but also the opposition, where we are going to be. Coming to today, it felt a bit better this morning and then when we started to put some rubber on the car, it was very good actually. In qualifying I had a good run, only the second lap in second qualifying wasn’t great in terms of I had a bit of a wild first sector and had traffic in the last sector. But I was a little bit up again on our last run, just chipping away. I think we were all getting just a little bit more and then I thought I saw some yellow flags which I didn’t want to believe but then I saw the marshals were waving them quite heavily, so I had to back off because my gut was telling me something was on the outside of Rascasse and obviously it was Michael, so I aborted and came straight in, because there was no chance to improve. So it was a good job by the team, actually. The guys have done a really really good job. The car’s performing better here. Obviously the last race was not good enough for us and I hope we can get some more points here.

Michael, different overalls here, perhaps lucky overalls, first time on the pole since 2000.
MS: Yeah, well, history is really not important. You have to live in the present and the new overalls was a very nice design by Philip Morris. We had this idea in Madonna di Campiglio already and we both liked the idea and thought Monte Carlo is a special occasion where we could put some colour into it and we were happy to use it. So let’s see and hope it can be lucky tomorrow, that’s more important.

Press Conference

Michael, just talk us through that incident again if you would?
MS: I think you had best watch the pictures. You will see me locking up and just running out of road.

And then did you stall?
MS: Not initially. Initially I tried to get reverse but it was hesitating to move and then finally I stalled.

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