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Spain GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
13/05/2007

Felipe, you said yesterday that it would very much come down to the first corner and the start, and that defined the race for you.
Felipe Massa: Well, it was a little bit tight for both of us but I was just inside and I went for it so it was quite a risk for both of us, but looking at the competition and everything, the first corner is important. I just didn't want to lose out like I lost out in Malaysia. I was inside, so I just tried to stay there.

I have to ask if there was any contact between you and Fernando in that first corner?
FM: Yeah, we touched. We were both very close going into the first corner. Fernando was trying to push me inside and we just touched each other. It was a very small contact but I was also a bit afraid for my car afterwards but fortunately nothing happened.

And it was a relatively straightforward race but we did see a small fuel fire in your first pit stop.
FM: Ah. I didn't know that. It's not important any more. We finished with no problems, so if we had a little problem, I'm sure the problem was solved.

Let's talk about the later stages of the race: you made a relatively early second pit stop but a troublefree afternoon for you after that?
FM: Yeah, for sure I think the most difficult part of the race was the start. It was pretty tough but afterwards I saw that nothing had happened to my car, that the car was responding quite well and I was managing to build a gap, quite a good gap, straightaway, so after that, I had the race in my hands. I was just concerned about the car, it was the second race for the engine but looking at the gap I was building, I think I had the race in my hands there.

And perhaps some concern with your team-mate Kimi, having what is suspected to be an electronic problem?
FM: I really don't know what happened with Kimi. I just heard my engineer tell me that Kimi was in trouble. It's a shame for the Constructors' championship because we could have finished in a good position, even first and second, so let's try to do that next time.

Lewis, you take over the mantle of youngest driver to lead the World Championship from Bruce McLaren, the man who founded the team for which you drive. A great first corner, I guess, from your point of view.
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, absolutely. Going into the race, we knew we had a very good strategy. At this track you can't really overtake, so the key is to try and get the best position in the first corner and so the aim was to get as many places at the first corner and fortunately I got past Kimi but Fernando and Felipe touched and I was able to get past Fernando. It was very close, I think when he came back on, he nearly hit me but nevertheless, we managed to pull it off. We didn't particularly have the pace of Felipe but I think we took another step closer and, as I said to him just now, we'll get him soon.

It turns out you had a little bit more fuel on board than Felipe at that point. Was that a critical issue at that point of the race?
LH: I think so. He did already pull out quite a good gap. So when he pitted in front of me, a few laps before me, I knew I would be quick, but I would only get him back maybe four seconds, so I just had to keep pushing and try to do the best job I could, but the middle stint again wasn't great. But at the end, I think we had a very good pace and very similar times to Felipe.

Different tyre choice to your teammate Fernando. You were on the harder tyre at the end of the race.
LH: Yes, we were trying to decide whether to run two primes or an option or a prime in the second and third stints and we weren't really quite sure and five laps before the pit stop we made the decision and stuck with it and I think it went quite well. But as I said, we struggled in the middle stint with a bit of oversteer but still the team has done a fantastic job over the last four weeks, really really pushed hard, so thank you to all the guys back home. You've really done a great job and I'm just pleased for the team. We're leading the Constructors' titles and now leading the (Drivers') championship.

Well, your thoughts on leading the World Championship?
LH: I keep saying that I'm living my dream, and it's really true, you know. I've been working so hard for this and to come to only my fourth Grand Prix to come out of it leading the World Championship when I'm driving with the top drivers in the world is just incredible.

Fernando, a fantastic start on the outside of Felipe going into turn one, and you nearly made it.
Fernando Alonso: Yes. Unfortunately, it was not enough and I lost three places after that touch and from there on... I think that if you are fourth in the first corner with a little bit less fuel than your opponents I think the race becomes very very complicated.

Describe that first corner incident from your point of view?
FA: Well, it was very tight. I think the start was very similar between the two cars but then obviously I put myself behind Felipe and thanks to the slipstream I was a little bit quicker. I went on the outside, I braked later and I think I was much in front of him in the first corner, but unfortunately he didn't think so and we touched each other. We were lucky to both finish the race because in 99 percent of these type of incidents, both cars will finish (their race) at the first corner. Sometimes I think this type of thing is very dangerous.

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