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Monaco GP: Post Qualifying press conference

NEWS STORY
26/05/2007

Fernando, it looked as though that qualifying session had everything: traffic, threat of rain, the combination of fuel load, new tyres etc. A brilliant pole for you.
Fernando Alonso: Yeah, I'm very very happy. It was a very important pole position and, as you said, we had a little bit of everything going on in qualifying. We were expecting rain, it came but very light and it stayed only one lap. The track was a little bit slower but then it picked up again to normal speed. We had traffic, as usual in Monaco. You can't expect to avoid the traffic and I think it was very stressful for everybody with these so-so weather conditions.

It looked as if you caught Nico Rosberg right at the end of your lap. Do you feel you lost time because of that?
FA: Yes, absolutely. I think Nico was unlucky because when he left the pits, he did a very good ‘out' lap and he crossed the line with one second to go, but it was not enough not to hold me up a little in the last three or four corners. But I think Monaco is so special that it's difficult to have a clear lap.

You were fastest in Q2, set fastest lap of the qualifying session as well. Your thoughts about the race and the speed of the McLaren Mercedes around here? It's always been a great circuit for the McLaren team.
FA: Yeah, it is. I think the whole weekend has been quite good for us. Even this morning, in wet conditions, the car seemed to be competitive, and we are at the top always, and yeah, I think qualifying has been very good and to be on pole position here in Monaco, as last year as well, is very very important, as we know on this circuit. And to have the first pole position this year for McLaren Mercedes is also special, so I'm really happy. I hope I will enjoy it all day today.

Lewis, as we say, a clean sweep for the McLaren Mercedes team. It looked as if you were held up by Mark Webber going through the tunnel.
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, I had a fantastic qualifying, I think. It was quite exciting, and then it started to rain in the middle part of the session. I think I was P1 at the time and I was hoping it would continue to rain, but unfortunately it didn't. It was a bit of a gamble, a bit of a lottery really. I called in and said let's come into the pits on this lap just in case it rains towards the end. The lap was fantastic, it was really on the limit. I think I touched one of the barriers on the exit of turn four and I was three tenths up on my previous best, and then I got held up by Webber. He was on an ‘out' lap. I don't know whether he saw me or what but he didn't let me past until turn eight, so I lost half a second behind him. I still managed to pull it back. I was only a tenth off my previous lap but still the tyres were gone and that was that.

Lewis, you've won three times here before, twice in Formula Three, once in GP2. It just looks as if you love driving a Formula One car around here.
LH: I do, I do. It's an awesome track, it's my favourite and just knowing that you're brushing the barriers all the time, that there's no room for error. It's extremely quick, you wouldn't believe how quick we're going round here, 180 miles an hour between... there's not really much room there. And to me, for my first Grand Prix, I'm really happy to be second. It's good for the team and I think Fernando did a great job, but I think tomorrow is going to be interesting.

Felipe, P3 for you and an interesting moment in Q2 when your team-mate Kimi Räikkönen seemed to stop in a familiar place for Ferrari, and you almost hit him, for the outside, anyway.
Felipe Massa: Yeah. I just saw the yellow flags but I didn't expect somebody to be stopped in the middle of the track, and so it was a little bit of a moment. I just managed to pass by without touching. Apart from that, the qualifying was not so bad, so looking at the pace of McLaren in practice, in the sessions, in Q1, Q2, I think in the end I managed to do a good lap. The race in Monaco is always special, there are always some surprises, so hopefully we can have a good race tomorrow, try to score as many points as possible and hopefully be on the podium.

What were the conditions like from your point of view in terms of potential rain, any rain drops falling, and indeed, the traffic?
FM: Well, the conditions today were pretty difficult. Tomorrow we have the possibility of having some showers, maybe even in the race, so if we have that, it will really be a big lottery and it will be a little bit of a funny race but hopefully we stop in the pits to change tyres at the right moment, to do everything in the right way. The race is pretty long as well, so concentration will be very important. Hopefully we can put everything together tomorrow.

Returning to Fernando, your final thoughts on tomorrow, particularly as McLaren is the most successful team ever around Monaco. I guess it's going to be interesting from your point of view to see when Ferrari stop for fuel.
FA: I think it's always very special to be on pole in Monaco, but also to be as long as you can in terms of fuel loads, so you need to find a compromise and we will see tomorrow how our competitors found the perfect strategy and hopefully our strategy will be better. But you never know. I think with very interesting weather conditions as well, it's a very unexpected race probably.

Press Conference

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