M A R C H 3 1, 2 0 0 2
SCHUMACHER & F2002 WIN IN BRAZIL.
Easter Sunday at Interlagos Grand Prix and tempuratures were rising to a 37 degree Centigrade. Tension between the teams was reaching the boiling point especially for Williams and the new Ferrari of Michael Schumacher and his F2002 that was going to race for the first time ever.
Michael Schumacher and Montoya charged down the inside of the Senna "S" corner by taking the lead away from Montoya and regaind the lead from Michael on the exit of the corner. The pair charged down to turn three as Montoya seared down the inside causeing Schumacher to move across to defend his position. At that very moment the Williams of Montoya touched the rear wheel of Michael Schumacher's Ferrari causing him to lose his front wing and enter for an early pit stop that dropped him down to last position on the grid. A chain reaction from the Malaysia Grand Prix two weeks ago where Michael Schumacher fell victim to the same incident.
Now that Montoya was out of the picture, this was the perfect setting for Michael Schumacher to detach from the rest of the pack and put some distance. Running on a one pit strategy the stage was set. Barrichello on the other hand was running on a two stopper and was able to pass Coulthard, Button and Trulli to place himself in third position behind Ralf Schumacher. On the attack towards Ralf, Barrichello executed a text book manouvre on Ralf to claim the second position in turn one.
On lap 13 Michael Schumacher allowed Barrichello to take the lead and this ignited the home town crowd to their feet. But as usual it was not meant to be for Rubens as his Ferrari sloweddramatically from a hydraulic failure. A frustrating end for the Brazilian.
Michael Schumacher resumed the lead once again with brother Ralf taking the second position. Montoya was able to put himself in the top ten by lap 30.
At half point in the race, Michael mounts a charge in order to distance himself from his brother who was following behind. He established a nine second lead advantage and made his only pit stop of the day. Ralf took the lead but was unable to establish a substantial lead which Michael reclaimed it once again.
A Schumacher battle was rising in the final twenty laps of the race. With Ralf close on the heels of Michael, this is where the Ferrari test was counted. The Williams of Ralf Schuamcher was unable to get close enough to overtake and Michael Schumacher came home just a whisker ahead of his brother. David Coulthard took the third position and Montoya claim fifth. Next race San Marino.
Brazilian Grand Prix 2002 - Driver's Interviews
Question : Talk us through what happened in the first few corners? Did you suffer any damage when you were hit by Juan Pablo going into turn three?
M. Schumacher : First of all no, obviously. My car was pretty much perfect until the end. We didn't suffer any little problem. It was an exciting first two corners where I have to say Juan Pablo behaved really well. I was thinking I could outbrake him in the first corner, but he was brakingso late that it was clear that he would almost miss in the first corner. So then I prepared for turn two which worked, actually, and he just left enough space for both of us to go through the corner and then I don't actually know what happened into turn four. I moved over to the left to leave the outside free. I didn't feel anything, I just suddenly saw him dropping back so that may explain to you what happened.
Q : Now towards the end of the race you had your brother Ralf catching you. How hard did you have to fight? It looked as though you were having to slide around quite a bit just to stay on the circuit.
MS : No, it wasn't that bad honestly. It was sort of after the pit stop when he was behind me, I knew that there is only one possibility to overtake which is into turn one, so I made sure that into the last corner everything was right and there it obviously looked a little bit tricky because I was pushing hard into the corner. Into the rst, I wasn't overdoing it because it is very easy, especially in the infield, to make a little mistake under braking. So I was just trying to roll the car more than fight compared to the first stint which still means that I have to push, obviously, to keep him behind me but I knew that I couldn't go away from him to there wasn't any need to try to driver away from him, just protect myself for not overtaking and that worked out.
Question : Ralf, you had a fabulous battle last year with Michael in Canada, this one seemed to be even more intense. Did you enjoy it more or less, even though you came out second?
Ralf Schumacher : Certainly I enjoyed it less because I am second. The first stint wasn't too good, I wasn't too happy with the balance of the car so we changed something at the pit stop which made it a lot better so I was able to catch up Michael. Even though I was maybe slightly quicker than he was I wasn't able to get closer enough to overtake him down the straight. It wasn't an exciting race. I'll do it next time.
Q : What was the state of your tyres at the end? Did you ever think there was a chink that you could go through, past Michael?
RS : Yes, well, that's why I stayed close behind. Even Michael sometimes brakes a bit late, especially here, it's very easy to go off line and lose a lot, so that's ehat I was waiting for, but he didn't do me a favour this time. He was simply better today.
Question : David, good to see you here. Not only a finish but a podium finish.
David Coulthard : Yes, it's been a while since I've been here. I haven't been here for any of the qualifying sessions this year either. It's a great feeling to be back on the podium. Quite a hard race obviously, because the Renaults got past me at the start and Jenson made a mistake at the last corner so I was able to slipstream him. Jarno was a lot more difficult and it was a question of being patient for the pit stops.
Q : You were pushing hard and your lap times were close to those of the two aheaad of you. Does that mean that McLaren are starting to make progress?
DC : I think our race pace is relatively closer than our qualifying pace, but that's the classic situation, when your car or your whole package isn't quite as strong. You tend to see the true colours of the car in qualifying and it tends not to be such a big difference in the race so I felt that we were going to be a little bit closer but I don't think we're quite there yet, we have got a bit of work to do.
Q : Back to Michael, what chances at Imola, can you do the same again?
MS : As you have seen it has been a very tight race. We did it, certainly. Imola is another one where it's going to be difficult one, I believe, from the experience that we had last year, although we have improved. It wasn't luck that we won the race, we worked hard for it because wwe had the new car here, beause we had new Bridgestone tyres here and altogether the package made us win this race, so I believe it doesn't look toobad for Imola to look from what we saw last year. Nevertheless we look forward to coming to Imola, out home Grand Prix and hopefully do something good there.