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Spain GP: Post Qualifying press conference

NEWS STORY
12/05/2007

Felipe it is beginning to be a habit for you?
Felipe Massa: Definitely. It is very nice, you know, three pole positions in a row this year, so with a really quick and great car and I am really happy to see the job of the team. For sure we are very competitive with McLaren during the whole weekend. They were a little bit quicker than us sometimes and really happy to be first on the qualifying and looking forward to have definitely a very important and a good race. So, really looking forward and really happy and really proud for the job done today.

And a pressure-filled brilliantly-timed last qualifying run there, very, very close, three-hundredths of a second in fact...
FM: Yeah, saw the results now. It was very, very tight. So I just managed to make a good lap, without mistakes, my first try was a disaster (as) I made so many mistakes, I had some cars in front, so and then the last try I really managed to put the lap together.

Fernando, congratulations, on the front row for your home Grand Prix, a tremendous feeling for you...
Fernando Alonso: Yes, absolutely. I think it has been a very good weekend for us, so far with the car performing really well, so I think the first row of the grid is a confirmation of a competitive car and a competitive package that we have been driving all weekend. So, confident for tomorrow and hopefully we can see a very good race for the battle of the victory.

It looks to be incredibly close between the two top teams...
FA: Absolutely. I think we saw yesterday and today a really close fight as we expected probably and as I said this qualifying is another confirmation of how tight the teams are, between the Ferrari and the McLaren team, and of course from a driver's point of view, we have to be always 100 per cent because you know the championship is really tight and the races as well, so you have to do 100 per cent every lap of the day.

How was your final qualifying lap? Very quick on sector two...
FA: It was very good. I think both sets of tyres and both laps were very very similar. In the last lap I improved a little bit due to having less fuel, after three or four laps, between the first set-ups, the second set you put and there was nothing more that I could get from the car. I was driving at the maximum and I think both laps were pretty good and I'm happy with the front row of the grid.


Kimi, third on the grid again, that's becoming a habit too, although not one you will like too much.
Kimi Raikkonen: No, but I think it's better than nothing. I was happier today definitely with the grip of the car and I think we had good speed in the first two sectors but I always lost it in the last sector. The car was difficult to drive in the last sector and I basically lost too much time there. I think we need to find something for tomorrow and hopefully we can get it right there. But I don't think we are in such a bad position and we will see what happens.

The last sector, of course, includes those new corners, and many drivers are talking about how the track is changing here very rapidly. Can you talk a bit about that and the third sector?
KR: It's quite a tricky sector, it's slow corners and you can win or lose a lot of time on those. It's different asphalt in the last part and it's making it quite difficult to get right, but it's the same for everybody and unfortunately we didn't get it as good as the rest.

Felipe, every dry Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona has been won by a driver on the front row of the grid; your thoughts for the race.
FM: Well, I will let you know tomorrow after the race if it was the right thing or the wrong thing. Anyway, I'm really happy to be here. Tomorrow will be a very, very difficult and tight race, for all the Spanish people and everybody who will be watching the race, and hopefully we can have some good luck and some good pace tomorrow.

Lots of red in the crowd, not necessarily there for Ferrari, however.
FM: Yeah, yeah, that's true. Fernando is a little bit on the better side in this way but I'm sure that they also like Latin-American people.

Press Conference

Well done, Felipe, a lot of pressure you on there, or did you feel quite relaxed?
FM: Well, I think everybody was under pressure. If you look at the qualifying, how tight it was, I think everybody was under pressure, me as well. Fortunately we managed to do a good lap. The first attempt was not very good, I just made some mistakes and there were some cars in front of me, and I couldn't manage to do a good lap but then on the last set of tyres, I just managed to put everything together so it was good.

Fernando said on Thursday that you would have a better idea, once you'd seen Q1 and Q2, as to how competitive everyone now is. How do you feel about the competition?
FM: If you look at how the sessions ran out – the practice sessions and then the first and second qualifying sessions – I think the idea is that everyone is very very close, so Ferrari and McLaren are really on a similar pace and that's the most realistic idea that we saw today. For sure we made a good improvement in the car from the last race to this race, but McLaren did as well, so that's the way it is and we still need to work hard to improve the car even more, but the idea is that everybody is very close.

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