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Italian GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
09/09/2007

Fernando, not much luck at Monza in the past, but from pole, you set fastest lap and won the Italian Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso: Ah yes, absolutely, a perfect weekend for me. Sometimes everything seems to go in the right direction and you feel good and you need to keep up the momentum. All weekend has been good for me. Sometimes I have started well here in Monza but I always had some problems in the race, and I always missed the victory and the win here so to win here in Monza for the first time is a very very special win.

And it looked like a dominating win for you; what was it like from inside the cockpit, any nasty moments?
FA: No, everything was OK. Maybe just the start was not fantastic, I felt, so I looked in the mirror immediately after the start and I saw Felipe behind me, so for a moment I thought that I would have to defend myself in the first corner so I really braked late, but then in the second corner I saw I think Lewis on the left part, and I was a little bit worried that maybe we could touch each other.

And at the restart Lewis was pretty close to you going into turn one.
FA: Yeah, again that was a little bit difficult because here you take the slipstream very easy and I didn't know how to avoid that. It's normal here in Monza. That first safety car didn't help either because the group was together on lap six or seven and we knew that we had to open up a gap before Kimi's stop and obviously with seven laps after the safety car the gap was not big enough,.

What does it mean to you personally to win here on Ferrari territory on what is an emotional weekend for McLaren? We saw your team principal Ron Dennis looking quite emotional on the podium.
FA: It's very special, I think. All the wins are special but over the last two or three years, there are some circuits where I won more than one time or one time, and Monza is one of the circuits where I never won before, so I wanted to achieve that, try to make at least one win on all the circuits and to win in Monza, the first time, with all the people here... maybe they are Ferrari fans, but on top of that they are Formula One fans and they are very emotional. They love Formula One in Italy, so it's great to win here.

Lewis, interesting first corner, going in there with Felipe Massa, round the outside and then a bit of a tap as you were just about to approach the apex.
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, I obviously didn't the best getaway being on the dirty side of the grid, and saw Felipe shoot past. But I outbraked both of them, Fernando and Felipe, and I was very close to take Fernando as well but Felipe clipped me and sent me over the second part of the chicane, so I lost that opportunity. And then I had a second opportunity at the restart but Fernando did a great job to make sure he pulled a good enough gap on the exit of turn eleven – the last corner – and there was nothing I could do about it. I got to the middle stint and I had flat-spotted my tyres, my front tyres, and I had some vibration, so I opted to pit even earlier than my pit stop, basically because I wasn't sure that that vibration wasn't going to be something like (what happened in) Turkey, so I thought I would play it safe and just bag the points.

And of course a great pass with Kimi, a great race with Kimi in the latter phase of the race as well.
LH: Yeah, well we came out and I knew that Kimi... pitting a bit earlier, I knew that Kimi would pass me and the key was just to try and optimise my pit entry, my pit exit and my out and in laps and I came out and I thought, shoot, Kimi is too far ahead. I probably had two laps maximum out of the tyres before they would go off and he was on the harder tyre which was a little bit better but I managed to pull out a couple of really good laps, the tyres were great and the car felt good as well. I had an opportunity and I had to make sure I stuck it in there and got it, and also I just wanted to do it for the team. I know how hard they've been working and this weekend we've got the one-two in qualifying and to get it in the race would have just put the icing on the cake, so a great job by the team back at home, mega-improvement and I hope we can continue with this form.

Kimi, that looked like a hard race for you. How much of it was affected by your accident yesterday in terms of your slightly stiff neck, and how was the performance of the car?
Kimi Raikkonen: The car wasn't too bad actually. In the first stint it was pretty OK. OK, we were heavier than the McLarens, so we knew that they would pull away. We tried to keep close enough but actually we were not quick enough today, but probably the biggest problem for me was that I couldn't keep my head upright any more under braking, so my neck is not in such good shape after yesterday. That was the main issue. But we just didn't have the speed today. That's how it goes.

We could see from the replays that you appeared to be looking forward in the cockpit as Lewis was coming down inside you into the first chicane.
KR: Yeah, the problem wasn't under braking. It was a bit hard to keep the head up. It didn't help, for sure. After when he passed me, first of all I couldn't have a good exit on any lap out of the last corner, and I knew they were very quick in there and on the straight. I tried to do my best but then he got too close and got past me, so after that I just slowed down and drove to the finish of the race.

Surprising for Ferrari after their one-two in Turkey for things to be changing so quickly here at Monza.
KR: Probably this is a bit more like Montreal. We knew that McLaren would be fast here, very strong, so we knew from last week's test that we were not where we wanted to be. For sure they were strong here, stronger than us but I think once we go back to Spa it should level out a little bit. Then it will probably be closer again. But of course we wanted to win our home race but we couldn't do that, but we still got a podium, lost some points to McLaren but they were just better today.

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