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British GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
08/07/2007

Kimi, a fantastic win for you, effectively won in the middle phase of the race, those six laps after Fernando had made his pit stop. You seemed to have a relatively free track in terms of traffic and you took the lead.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, we had a little bit of traffic but I think we had a good car all day – all weekend, actually. At the beginning of the race I was just trying to save some fuel and look after my tyres and car and then once Lewis pitted I tried to push and gain some time on him and that went well. And then Fernando did a very short stop, so we knew that we were going to run longer in the second stop so I just tried to push as hard as we could once he came in and it was enough. After that, it was pretty easy.

Let's talk about that first phase of the race: Lewis took the lead, you seemed to match him, fastest lap for fastest lap for the first few laps of the race and then it looked as if you could put pressure on Lewis.
KR: Yeah, like I said, we just saved fuel and then once we knew that we had enough I was able to close the gap pretty easily and try to overtake him, but then we were expecting him to stop a bit earlier, so I didn't want to risk too much. I think it worked out pretty well.

Different tyre combinations for all three of you in terms of the Bridgestone hard and soft compound; what was it like from your point of view in terms of the car balance and indeed, any other events in the Grand Prix?
KR: I think it was good. Both tyres seemed to work very well. It didn't make any difference really. The hard one was very good at the end but then we didn't need to push any more. So far everything worked well.

And the British Grand Prix is always a special event for any racing driver; your thoughts on your closing lap and the slow-down lap, the Lewis Hamilton crowd out there but you spoilt the day for them.
KR: Yeah, it was a very nice feeling to win the race of course. We've been close here a few times, but something has always happened and we haven't been able to win. Now, finally, we got the win and it's one of the nicest races really so it's very nice, a nice feeling and it was a good day.

Fernando, it looked like a great bit of strategy for a while there. You got great track position as you started to hit the traffic in that second stint, but of course it was a short fuel stop that enabled you to do that. What was going through your mind at that point?
Fernando Alonso: Well, I think it was not the plan to do that. We changed the strategy, thinking that we should be able to maintain the lead even at the second stop, so we short-fuelled in the first pit stop and we started the second stint ahead of Kimi but I was not able to open up a gap that was big enough to maintain the lead. I think it was the right thing to do. We took the gamble and... you never know what is going to happen, but, as you said, a little bit of traffic, especially when I began my third stint, so after the second stop those six laps for which Kimi had more fuel than me, I was not able to do a normal pace. I think the Ferrari was a little bit too quick today and at the end, I don't think the result would change too much. I think second place was the maximum today.

Where do you think the difference was between McLaren-Mercedes and Ferrari today in terms of performance, in terms of speed on the lap?
FA: We would like to know that. I don't know. Maybe we lack two or three tenths a lap in the same conditions with the same fuel loads and I think all weekend it's been like that so the race was no surprise. Ferrari were a little bit too quick. To win the race, maybe the only chance was to start on pole position and open up a gap or something like that and it was not the case, so I think it was the maximum.

Can you tell us about that incident with Alexander Wurz and Scott Speed when you were lapping them?
FA: Yeah, I had some difficulties today lapping people and the blue flags were not perfectly OK but sometimes they helped me, when Kimi was behind them and he was not able to overtake them as well. At the end of the race, I think it's quite equal and quite balanced, the downsides and the upsides. I'm happy with second place, it's better to win but today I don't think it was possible.

Lewis, well done on that ninth consecutive podium finish. You led from the pole, looked fantastic for a while and then... you take over now!
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, well, we had an interesting race. It started off quite well, we got a good start which was the key. At the beginning I was just trying to pull a gap from Kimi but he was obviously extremely quick and towards the end of my stint, my tyres were falling away and I was struggling to keep up the pace, and Kimi started to be able to put pressure on me. However, when we did the pit stop, I made a mistake in the pit stop. I didn't hesitate but I thought that the lollipop was lifted and I went. I don't know how many seconds I lost through that but it was a mistake of mine which lost me quite a bit of valuable time, and then I just had to try and push but I just struggled with the balance. Throughout the whole weekend, I've been struggling to perfect the balance and driving around the issues that I had with the car. But obviously qualifying went well and (today) we just lacked, I think, in the race, and I don't know what happened in the last two stints. The last stint was a bit better, I was very consistent but we just didn't really have the pace of the Ferraris.

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