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European GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
24/08/2008

Felipe, what a way to bounce back from the disappointment of Hungary by winning the inaugural European Grand Prix from pole and setting the fastest lap.
Felipe Massa: I think it is amazing after such a bad result we come here with a new track which was new for everybody and we did just such a fantastic job from preparing the car on Friday and Saturday morning and choosing the right tyres. I think it was really difficult choosing the right tyres, especially in qualifying, but I think we did a perfect job with that and then making the pole position and winning the race and getting fastest lap. I think there is nothing more we can ask for especially after such a bad result. But we still need to work very hard as today we had another problem with Kimi and another one in the garage but it is nice that our mechanic is fine. We need to look forward, we have time to work and have so many important races in front of us. I am just so glad and happy especially after such a disaster in Hungary.

Can you talk us through the race?
FM Yeah, the start was just great. I have been doing great starts this season. I was also very happy to start on the pit side even if you have maybe one or two laps less in terms of fuel load in the car. Here I think I was very keen to start on the clean side which is always very difficult to predict from qualifying. But we made it and I did a great start. I braked a little bit too early in the first corner looking how they were fighting behind and I managed to go in front. The first stint was very good, nothing special but very good so Lewis was just fighting and every lap I was pulling away by a couple of tenths. Then the second stint, I think we won the race there, as the car was just perfect and was improving lap by lap. It was amazing to see the gap increasing very reasonably. Then the last stint, I think with the grip on the track, the temperature, I was on the soft tyre, so I could manage to drive really in a relaxing way which sometimes is a big problem. But I was doing similar lap times, so it is amazing how the car behaved on the last stint. The car was just perfect.

Talk us through the last pit stop and what happened with Adrian Sutil.
FM Yeah, I think it wasn't very clever from his side as even if he went out in front of me he needed to let me by. It was a shame to fight with him in the pit lane as we were very close and I needed to back off and I lost a lot of time but fortunately the gap was enough.

How did that situation arise?
FM Well, because I stopped behind him in the pit stop and we leave together. When he was passing me by I was leaving the garage, so we were side-by-side. But I was the leader and he was lapping. It was quite narrow and the wall was getting narrower and narrower, so I didn't want to take the risk.

Lewis, a good solid points' finish. But you have increased your lead in the World Championship.
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, absolutely. I cannot complain with second place. We have had quite a strong weekend. I have had a few problems health-wise but still pulled through and had a great team behind me who helped me. It is a nice new circuit and I've come here and got some good points and the team have got some good points this weekend, so just overall it was a solid weekend for us.

You had a close fight with Robert and then tried to hold the pace of the Ferrari.
LH Yeah, at the start I was on the dirty side. I think I got a reasonably good start. I was nowhere near as quick as Felipe. I just had to try and hold my spot. Robert was pushing quite hard for the first couple of corners but after that I was pretty relaxed. I was able to try and attack and keep up with Felipe. He was in front and it is pretty difficult to overtake here, so I thought ‘keep a certain gap and just try and maintain it.' But towards the end I think he started to stretch it out a little bit. But it was good to know that we were a couple of laps heavier. That shows we have got the pace.

It was a long hot race. Towards the end of the race what was it like for you physically?
LH This track is not that physical, it was just that it was hot. You don't have enough water in the car really. It has just been a very hot weekend and as you can see we are in these big old suits. It is like driving in a sauna. It is quite a hectic one-and-half hour race, so I am pretty happy the way I got through.

Robert, we heard you on the radio early in the race saying something was wrong with the car.
Robert Kubica: I mean we did start pretty well. In corner one I was on the kerb and Lewis was closing and then we approached the second corner and I was going for it but then I saw Felipe braking quite early and it was too much risk. I think if I overshot the braking point I would crash into him, so I just decided to stay where I was. Then I was constantly a bit slower than Lewis and suddenly I saw a white plastic bag flying across the corner and I could not avoid it. Suddenly I couldn't steer any more for two corners and it was extremely dangerous and I have never had it before. Fortunately when I approached a high speed corner it blew away but still my confidence for the next half a lap was not great. Fortunately it was only half a lap but I think I lost around three seconds. It was very important for the pit laps because I didn't know when the McLaren behind me was coming, so I needed to pull away. We finished third, quite a far way from the top two cars. I think the key for this podium was yesterday in qualifying. I was just three tenths off pole with three laps more fuel than Felipe. I think it was an amazing performance yesterday. I think today was our reality, our real pace is a bit far away but we will try to do our best.

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