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Belgian GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
16/09/2007

Kimi, from the pole, it looked like a perfect day for you. You were worried, before the race, perhaps, a little bit about your neck and also about a vibration or a feeling in the rear of the car in qualifying, but it looked to be perfect.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yes, I think so, not really any issues during the race. Only places were sometimes when you came up to lap some people it was pretty difficult because here it's pretty low downforce, so you seem to lose a lot of grip, so it was pretty hard to get past people. But it was the same for everybody. Apart from that, the car was very good, everything went well and it was a nice race.

And the neck and problem with the rear of the car?
KR: We never found anything, so it was probably in my head. The neck is OK, it's not perfect but it's definitely OK and for sure it's going to be like normal in the next races, so that's not a worry. It was a perfect thing for the team, one-two, and they did everything right today.

It is amazing how quickly things have turned around from Monza. Only a week ago, a very tough race against McLaren Mercedes, but dominant here in the Ardennes.
KR: We knew that we were going to be much stronger here than we were in Monza. We know the reasons why we cannot challenge on the circuits like Monaco, Monza, Montreal. We try to fix that problem for next year, hopefully we can, and then we should be pretty strong. This is more to do with aerodynamics and our car is strong in that area, so any circuits like this are going to be OK for us.

A great Ferrari one-two, Felipe. Talk us through the early laps, behind Kimi. How did your two cars compare, what sort of shape were you in at that point?
Felipe Massa: I had a very good start but I went sideways to Kimi but the corner was a little bit in favour of him, but I managed to get a good line as well. But then I think I started with maybe too much front wing, the car was pretty oversteering in the first stint. The second stint was pretty good, we could manage to keep the same margin from the beginning to the end of the run and then in the end, the car was just perfect on the soft tyres, so maybe it was a little bit the wrong choice looking at how the track improved, but anyway, we just know now. At the beginning we needed to take some risks, but I think the race was pretty good, the car was pretty quick, consistent and I think we did a very good pace compared to McLaren.

So what you're suggesting is that perhaps you could have run a longer stint on the softer tyres?
FM: Well, in the end, it was not a very long stint, but the tyres were pretty OK to run, so there was more grip, so it was better.

Well, you obviously handled the defence against McLaren-Mercedes; what was it like in the early laps in terms of any pressure or not from Fernando?
FM: No, I just had a little bit of lack of grip in the first lap and I saw Fernando come very close but then the car was so good, so it was OK to pull out a gap and then just to build a gap for the next stop.

Fernando, a very aggressive first corner and run up to Eau Rouge there against your team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Fernando Alonso: Yes, in the first corner, Felipe locked the front tyre a little bit and was blocking the inside and I had no space, or I had a bad exit from turn one. I think also Lewis went wide at the exit of turn one, so he took a little bit of an advantage run in the tyre mark but yeah, we arrived wheel to wheel into turn three, four but I was lucky to be on the inside and to keep the position there.

You got a good run inside him down the hill into Eau Rouge on slightly lighter fuel but for a minute there, it looked as if neither of you were going to give way.
FA: Yeah, but on this occasion I was quite confident and happy with my position into that corner. I was not too worried and as you said, I had one lap less fuel than him, so I knew that my car in the first stint should be quick enough.

Did you actually touch with Lewis as he came back onto the track?
FA: No, no.

And then the race against the Ferraris; they quickly disappeared. What was it like from your point of view, where did they seem to be quicker and how hard or not was your race as a result?
FA: I think they were too quick for us today. I tried quite hard in the first stint to keep pace with Felipe, just hoping around the pit stop time to make up a position but slowly they were disappearing and after the first stop, for sure, we didn't see them anymore. We lack a little bit of pace in the race. We were quite OK in qualifying but for sure in the race we were off the pace by a couple of tenths today.

But the feeling seemed to be in your team that although you were right there in qualifying, you would be in good shape for the race, or were you just saying that at the time?
FA: No, we thought so. I think we improved from last time. Maybe in Turkey there was no possibility at all to fight with them. Today, OK, they were quicker than us but maybe we have reduced the gap a little bit, but there's still a long way to work but circuits will come now that maybe suit our car a little bit better, so I think we still have possibilities to win the race from now on.

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