Malaysian GP Qualifying Press Conference
March 17, 2001
Q. What is it like to be challenged by your brother for pole?
Michael: It's quite fun. I think we should tell him he's so young....[laughs]. No
he is doing well and it's great to see him there. The team and himself have built up
something which they can be proud of and they have given us a good challenge. Honestly,
where the challenge is coming from at the end of the day when we are racing, it really
doesn't matter. I would rather see him there honestly than somebody else, because we know
each other well enough from the past and we know how to handle each other in races. So I
look forward to that, but it will be a competition on the circuit.
Q. Talking about the challenge, are you surprised how badly McLaren have done this
Michael: Fourth, you call that so badly? I mean the time difference is
surprisingly big. This morning they did look reasonably competitive, and they faded off
for whatever reason. But we have seen last year them not getting qualifying together and
then doing well in the race. So Mika is still in a good position to have a good race for
himself. For David it certainly is a little bit more tough in 8th position, but that's the
way it goes.
Q. Going back to yourself. You have been used to setting blistering qualifying
times and then almost sit back in the garage and wait for someone to come at you. It
seemed much more difficult today. Were you constantly changing the car?
Michael:Not so much, no. My first run today, if I hadn't had this wobble it would
have made my situation a lot more comfortable. But due to that we then had to go for
several changes in order to make up the time. I knew my last run could be faster due to
certain circumstances, and we did, so we all concentrated to get it right for the last
Q. Rubens, congratulations on second place. Again you steadily improved. Were you
making a lot of changes?
Rubens: Not really. I mean, I made a mistake as well on the first two
runs. I made some changes to the car that didn't go my way, so after that I took the
direction and I was much more comfortable with the car on the third run and I knew as well
that I had everything for the last run. It was quite close and I'm really happy. I think
it was a really good lap and its just things hotting up and its quite nice.
Q. It certainly was hot but it also was also noticeable during qualifying that the
wind seemed to get up. Did that affect the handling of the car at all.
Rubens: Well in a way you could see that we were going faster one way and slower
the other way. You just have to have that in mind because when you have it behind you in
the braking area it could have some affect. That's all really. The car seems to be really
good, I'm on the pace and giving my friend here a tougher time than last year. So I'm
quite pleased with that.
Q. I suppose we're slightly surprised to see you here in third place today, but
are you surprised?
Ralf: Well I'm definitely surprised to be honest. I mean, after
yesterday's performance I didn't think that we were close to that position. We're
unexpectedly close to Ferrari. But that is just in qualifying. I think we had a good
package together today. I got a good lap in too. I don't see us racing against them or
McLaren tomorrow, but we'll try our best to score a few more points.
Q. Given how fast you've been - you did actually put three good laps together -
why do you not see yourself being able to keep the pace in the race?
Ralf: Especially with them [Ferrari] you never know where you are. In
Melbourne they were playing games even in qualifying. And then they showed the real
performance in the race, so lets wait and see. So you know they have quite a big gap to
the rest of us still. We have something to do with the tyre situation. We don't know how
it is in the race - obviously Michelin haven't raced here before. There are so many
question marks. I don't want to think about racing against Ferrari tomorrow. I would
rather look after myself and try to finish the race.
Q. But do you think you have an advantage? Williams is one of only two teams to
have tested in very hot weather in South Africa and obviously its going to be very warm
Ralf: Well we have tested, but as we see we are not first so it didn't
seem to mean that much. But we mainly do it for ourselves, for temperature problems we
might get in case we have weather like that, that's the only reason.
Q. Michael , a very similar question for you. It's very hot, you look very cool
but how is the car handling it?
Michael: Well the car actually is very well prepared for this kind of
temperatures. Yesterday we checked on race circumstances what is the cooling situation,
and we look very easy on that. More easy than the driver cooling, because the drivers get
very hot in there, so we probably need to work harder on that than the car. The tyres are
performing very well. Bridgestone have made beautiful tyres for these very hot
circumstances. And also fast, reliable and consistent. And so is the car, so I look
forward to having a good race tomorrow.