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21-July: At the post Race press conference for the French Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher describes his feelings after winning his 5th World Title and said "I've never been good at these moments to find appropriate words, in all honesty. It just has overcome me. I've been very relaxed all weekend, I didn't think about the championship all weekend, honestly, because I sort of felt it's not going to happen here. Obviously I saw Rubens stopping and I saw the pace we had compared to Montoya and, well, I slowly started to believe in it and then obviously I had this mistake, or my mistake, getting out of the pit lane crossing the white line. I don't know by how much, but I guess it was millimetres rather than centimetres - but anyway, over is over - and then all was gone again. Then we had such an eventful race with the drive-through and then several attacks with Kimi who drove a fantastic race but it wasn't supposed to happen, and I didn't believe in it anymore. Ten laps from the end I started to push again, pick up the pace and put some pressure on him and you never know what might happen. I don't think the pressure, that much, was the problem for Kimi because if you don't see the oil, you don't see it and that's it, wherever you break. I was obviously warned by seeing his problem, so I was reacting a little bit to it and that was my opportunity. And then suddenly the championship was back in my pocket and that was something I have put aside all weekend because I didn't believe in it, so I didn't really feel the pressure for it, and suddenly, when I was leading and feeling that's going to be the championship. I think that was the worst five laps I have had in my career because the weight was on my shoulders, the pressure was on not to make mistakes and not do anything wrong. Although then it's very difficult to overtake once you're in front, it's still enormous and the sort of outbreak I had was pretty heavy. That's when I realised how much pressure I was probably under, which I hadn't realised before. I was just so glad that we have achieved this together with a tremendous team, with people behind who you can just love and can just admire with the effort that they put in, the workload, the motivation they have. It's probably wrong to mention names because we are so many of us. I really love all those guys because we have such a great relationship and it's fantastic to achieve this all together. Thank you is very small words for what you have done for me, thank you very much."
Michael prefers not to compare himself with Juan Manuel Fangio and said "I have obviously been asked very often about it but personally I have to apologise because I am not considering it too much because I feel, and I have mentioned this very often, what Fangio has done in his time is not comparable to what we do, and I think the effort that he had to put in at the time was probably a lot more than just being a driver than in these days, where you have so many people around you, where you have a lot more teamwork than you had in the past. I feel it is not appropriate to compare these things, at least from my point of view, and I simply enjoy the achievement myself without trying to compare it to someone."
As for a sixth title, Michael said "It is simply the pleasure of racing and trying to achieve as many good races as we can and ultimately you achieve, hopefully, a further championship. We are in such good shape team-wise, performance-wise, we can keep that sort of performance for quite a bit longer and keep having races like we have had today or before, which I think were very exciting. That is what we live for, why we love the sport and what we enjoy mostly."
Michael then talked about the first few laps of the race and said "As you saw, we were all quite a bit faster than Montoya who for whatever reason in the race didn't find a good pace, especially in the beginning. The first three, four or five laps and we got our opportunities and that was quite a moment when I tried outside and then Kimi dived inside and we all went down to the next chicane which was quite tight. But that's good racing, I mean, I really enjoyed that, and then suddenly we got into the rhythm and there was no overtaking chances any more. Thanks to the pit we jumped (up the order) and we had to go straight back again because of passing the line, so it was quite an eventful race, a lot of things happened and they were very entertaining."
As for crossing the white line, he said "It was the heat of the moment, in all honesty. I was having a radio conversation at the same time and watching in the mirrors rather than on the circuit so it is probably a little bit more difficult here than somewhere else because it is in the corner, it is going downhill and uphill. But we are racers and Formula One drivers and we should actually be able to drive without touching the line or going over it."
Michael didn't think that he would be able to pass Raikkonen towards the end of the race and said "I was pushing very hard immediately after the pit stop. Then I took it a little more easy, because I didn't find any opportunity. About ten, eleven laps from the end, I started to pick up the pace again and just try. Honestly, I don't think I would have found a way without a mistake or a back-marker in the right position, to find a way by, there wouldn't have been, because he drove a fantastic race and he was in the right moments he was enough in front of me so that I couldn't get a go at him. It was just lucky, and I didn't really expect anything happening like that, honestly, but that's the way motor sport is - you have to go until the end."
Michael is looking forward to racing with his team-mate now the championship has been decided and said "In all honesty, after 2000, after the championship, I said that, that we will race from now on, it's just the pleasure of racing. It is maybe not 100 per cent true because the championship is the sort of target you would like to achieve, certainly, and after we have achieved this, we can obviously now concentrate race by race and just enjoy it and do the best we can - and that's hopefully getting in some more exciting races and maybe good positions."

Kimi Raikkonen was disappointed for not winning the race and said "It was so close to winning the race for sure it was my worst five laps from the end but those things happen. Anyway, I haven't had much good luck this year. Of course it was my mistake because I saw only the yellow flag and no oil flag. It was the most disappointing race of my life but that's the way it goes, and next time I hope we can win."
As for the incident itself when Michael got ahead, Kimi said "There were yellow flags but obviously not any flags for the oil or slippery circuit. I think a Toyota or something had blown up their engine or something was there, just oil, and I locked up the front wheel, the front right and Michael got past."
Kimi revealed that he doesn't yet know the situation for next season and hopes to know more at Hockenheim and said "I don't know what is going to happen next year yet. I hope we will know more next weekend in Hockenheim."

David Coulthard surprised by the pace of McLaren this weekend and said "I didn't expect us to be really fighting for the lead and obviously had Michael not had his stop-go then it might not have looked quite so close, so effectively we are still a little bit behind but nonetheless you saw today our car was a lot more competitive than it has been, as it has been the whole weekend. I was surprised by our relative pace to Williams at the beginning of the race and obviously Michael until he was able to get by Montoya. Just looking at the laps from the end, where our fastest laps are and everything, it is all quite close. It does surprise me. I didn't go into the race thinking we could be so strong but you go in trying to do the best job you can with the tools. I expected the car to have a lot of oversteer but it never happened. I had a lot of understeer and I was putting front wing in and dropping pressure during each of the pit stops which I just never imagined I would have asked the team to do. It just shows that every new circuit we go to we are driving these tyres for the first time on these tracks so we don't really have a database of what's going to happen like we did in the past and it is encouraging for the future. I said to Michael earlier, from where I was sitting it looked like a great race even when I was running around in fifth place I thought even if I finish fifth I am enjoying this because everyone is close together and opportunities might come. That is what racing should be like and I had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. Obviously big congratulations to Michael because it's an extraordinary record that he has in Formula One and I think his speech there to his guys was very fitting."
As for him crossing the white line, he said "The line was in the same place all weekend but you know that you are trying to get back onto the racing line because you know that is going to make the difference between keeping your place or not. But immediately I saw the line I tried to cut as quickly as I could to get my line. Well, of course, if there was no-one behind me at the point it was a bit of a wasted exercise. It is something we can learn for the future but it was just my mistake. I was too eager to get to the racing line."

21-July: What the teams and drivers said following the Race at Magny-Cours ... Report

21-July: French GP Race: Michael Schumacher wins the race and clinches the 2002 Drivers World Title. Kimi Raikkonen was second ahead of team-mate David Coulthard. Juan Pablo Montoya, Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Report ... Notes

21-July: French GP Warm-up Session: Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time of the session ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello and Jarno Trulli. Felipe Massa, Nick Heidfeld and Jenson Button make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Report ... Notes

French Formula 1 Grand Prix Schedule:

Session Time (Local / GMT) - Current local time
Friday Practice Session 1
Friday Practice Session 2
Saturday Practice Session 1
Saturday Practice Session 2
Qualifying Session
Warm-up Session
11 AM Nevers Time / 9 AM GMT
1 PM Nevers Time / 11 AM GMT
9:00 AM Nevers Time / 7:00 AM GMT 
10:15 AM Nevers Time / 8:15 AM GMT
1:00 PM Nevers Time / 11:00 AM GMT
9:30 AM Nevers Time / 8:30 AM GMT
2:00 PM Nevers Time / 12 PM GMT
Go to the French GP Page

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