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Italian GP: Post Qualifying press conference

NEWS STORY
11/09/2010

Fernando, your first Italian Grand Prix as a Ferrari driver. Pole position. Describe the emotion.
Fernando Alonso: Well, it was a nice surprise. When I stopped in parc ferme and by radio they told me that we were keeping the first position but still cars on their laps and Jenson was pink in the second sector, so I thought now at the end as sometimes already happened this year someone will arrive at the last lap and we will be second or third by hundredths of seconds. In the end, today was different. We remain on pole position until the last minute, the chequered flag, so that was a little surprise and for sure a much better feeling and fantastic taste this pole position here in Italy for Ferrari.

You did all the work in the first run. But just take us through it. Tell us about the braking points and how they affected you.
FA: Well, you know we had two new set of tyres for Q3. We divided Q3 into two runs. The first run was just to put a god lap on the table and then in the second attempt to try to risk a little bit more. Sometimes here in Monza this is what happened. When you try to do a normal lap sometimes is better than when you try to risk too much. In these tricky chicanes and these fast corners with this low downforce it is very easy to over-drive a little bit, so the first lap at the end was the best one as maybe you do it in a calmer way.

Jenson, it has been very close all weekend between you and Ferrari. What made the difference this afternoon?
Jenson Button: Well, first of all I want to say a big thank you to the team. We came here not quite sure which approach to take in terms of downforce and efficiency but I think our side definitely made the right decision to run the high downforce level with, as everyone calls it, the F-duct. I want to say a big thank you to them. It was a great decision. Qualifying was pretty good for me. I was close to the front in every session. In Q3 you know you have just got to push that little bit more but it is very, very tricky as Fernando said around here. You push a little bit and sometimes you go slower. You go over the astroturf on the exit or hit a kerb too hard, so it is very, very tricky and out of Ascari I got a little bit of oversteer and ran wide off the circuit. But still I am very happy to be second. This is the first time I have been on the front row of the grid this season, so it is a step forward. I have been very happy with the car's performance and the approach we have had this weekend, so a good start and hopefully a competitive race tomorrow.

As you say, you are running a different set-up on the rear wing from Lewis Hamilton, your team-mate. Can you just explain how that feels different in the cockpit?
JB: You have got more downforce, so you can brake later. You can carry more speed through corners. You have to push very hard. It is different to running low downforce. You have got to make the time up in the corners whereas with low downforce most of the time comes in the straight and you obviously have to tip-toe through the corners. But when you have high downforce you have got to be aggressive and you have really got to push the car. I feel it worked in qualifying. We were not 100 per cent sure it was going to, but for the race I think we are looking good.

Felipe, you were fastest in Q1. Do you feel you peaked a little early?
Felipe Massa: I tried a different strategy on Q3 as I was not so sure about the tyres. When I put the soft tyres on in Q2 I could not do the best lap on the first lap straight away. It was getting better and better all the laps. I did three timed laps and the best was the last, so I said let's risk it, let's try to do three laps and we see maybe it is getting better and maybe the best lap will be the last one. But then in Q3 it was a little bit the opposite, so I tried that and it didn't work as well as I expected with the grip on the tyres. I was able to go again, to do a one timed lap on the tyres, but it was not enough to fight for pole. But I think we have a good car. I am happy with the car for the race. Yesterday we did a very good job finding a good direction for the race and I think we improved the car massively like we expected and I think we should be very strong tomorrow and looking forward.

How do you see the race unfolding? What is going to be the key for you?
FM: Tomorrow? I mean the race is always the race. You never know what is going to happen. The start is always important. Looking at the first corner here nobody knows what is going to happen as it is very tight but then the race pace, the strategy, is always the key to gain position or maybe even to lose. The race is always the race, so let's try to do the best to be in front.

Fernando, you are behind in the championship at the moment. How badly do you need a victory here at Monza?
FA: I think tomorrow we need a podium minimum to remain in the fight. There is not a big pressure, a big stress about winning the race or winning the next races but at the same time we know we cannot afford another DNF or another bad result. We must try to be consistent and try to be on the podium minimum. Then if we can win the race it would be great. But what we need is consistency, something that we didn't have so far in the championship and for that reason we are not fighting now for the first position, so tomorrow we have a great chance to get a strong result and we will see where our opponents finish at the end.

Press Conference

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