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Monaco GP: Post Qualifying press conference

NEWS STORY
23/05/2009

Jenson, this is the big one, this is Monaco. To some extent your home grand prix and one of the most demanding grand prix circuits on the calendar. What does this pole mean to you?
Jenson Button: Yeah, I mean they all mean a lot. I have got to stop saying that, but they do and today was a really tight fight as well. All through the weekend I have been fighting with Rubens or Rubens has definitely had the upper hand. The McLarens have been up there, the Ferraris have been up there, the Red Bulls, the Williams. It has been a fun weekend I think for everyone involved and hopefully the viewers. And qualifying was no different. It was manic as it always is in Monaco I suppose but great to come away with pole. I was right on the edge on that lap and to snatch pole I am chuffed to bits.

It looks from the outside to be a well paced weekend as the track picked up grip on Thursday where you were a little bit in the background. But as the track got faster today in Q1 and Q2 and building up to that perfect lap in Q3. Was it perfect?
JB: Well, it might look like it from the outside but l was a long way off in P1 on Thursday and really didn't know where we were. I had very low grip but worked with the balance a lot and all the way through the weekend we just improved it little by little bit and that is the great thing with this car. If I was driving last year's car and I started Thursday as we were then I would have massively struggled. But this car listens to changes. It is great to be on pole especially around a circuit like this. Obviously with the history that is involved with Monaco but also because this is a tough circuit. Mentally it is very tough, so it is nice to be on pole.

Kimi, the first front row start of the season. It looked like you had the pace all qualifying and for a while there you were on pole and then right at the end it was Jenson that got it.
Kimi Raikkonen: I mean the car hasn't been too bad here. Since the first practice it has always been getting better once the circuit has been picking up the grip and in qualifying the car was good. In the first qualifying it was a bit difficult and I made some mistakes and I didn't get a very good lap. The second qualifying was good and then in the last one it was good. I had one more lap and I went off in the first corner, so I don't know if it would have made any difference but it was a good result for us especially in this kind of place. The car has been behaving pretty well, so it is nice to be back on the front and hopefully we can fight for victory tomorrow.

Rubens, on your birthday. You have been very quick all weekend and no doubt you were eyeing the pole here.
Rubens Barrichello: Well, qualifying went very well. I had good pace all through. Every day, actually, the car has been good. Honestly I thought I had the upper hand on Jenson today. It was going very well and my lap on the end was very good. That's why I congratulated him as he must have had a fantastic lap as my lap was really good and I am happy with it. There wasn't anything more I could have done. Yeah, you can push a little bit here and there but I have got to say I am really happy with all the work and I am sorry that on my birthday I didn't get pole position. I hope to get two better tomorrow.

Jenson, try to describe for us the treadmill you are on right now. It looks unstoppable from the outside. Do you allow yourself to enjoy moments like this or do you just focus on the race tomorrow?
JB: Of course you enjoy the moment but it is strange as it is a lot more stressful than you think. It might sound silly but it is and you want to stay in this position obviously and anything less is a downfall I suppose. This part of the season it is really important for me to be at the front and to pick up the points and tomorrow is going to be a tough race and Rubens has been very strong this weekend and Kimi also, so it is not going to be easy. I know it is difficult to overtake here but for sure it is not going to be easy. But the way things are going this season it is a great feeling and hopefully it will continue. I have got to thank all the guys at Brackley who have done a fantastic job and Mercedes Benz, so yeah, thanks again and hopefully we can have a good day tomorrow.

Press Conference

Jenson, how exciting was that lap? Tell us about it.
JB: Yeah, it was pretty much on the edge. I thought I was going to be in the harbour at one point. It was a good lap and I really did get everything out of the car. It is the best lap I have done this weekend. On Thursday I struggled a little bit to get to grips with the car and the circuit. But we have done a lot of work since then and the car came to me in qualifying. We had a few problems that we needed to sort out and we did through the session. The car was great in Q3 and it was definitely one of the best laps I've ever done for sure.

You say you have made a lot of changes since Thursday as you were not happy with the car. How much did you change it from this morning to this afternoon?
JB: We changed a few things. I was really struggling just having no front end on the car. High speed corners and a little bit low speed apexes, so we changed a few things and it has improved the car dramatically especially on the prime tyre. I couldn't get the prime tyre to work all weekend. I was a second off Rubens on the prime tyre, so we got it to work and the option was the same, so I'm so happy to be on pole here. It is a fantastic feeling because it was really on the edge the whole lap, every single corner, so it was a fantastic, enjoyable lap for me for sure.

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