Bianchi, Perez and Bird discuss the session
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first press conference of 2010, here in Barcelona for today's qualifying session. Joining us today are polesitter Jules Bianchi from ART, in second place is Sergio Perez from Addax, and in third we have Sam Bird, also from ART. Starting with you Jules, congratulations on a great job today, your first day in the main GP2 series and you are on pole: how does it feel?
Jules Bianchi: I feel really good! This morning was a bit difficult for me because I had a little crash in the first lap [with Sergio Perez] so we did less laps than the others, but after that I had some good laps to feel the car and feel everything and to see how we were, and I think we were not bad this morning. But I had to improve because my teammate was really consistent this morning, he had the fastest lap and there were some corners were he was really good.
Then we worked a lot with my engineer to improve the car and also my driving, and I did a really good lap: I think it was a really good opportunity that we were in the front because the track was better in the first half of the qualifying, because after, with the second set, nobody improved. I think we did a really good qualifying, and it's really good for me to be in pole position in my first race in GP2.
But I know that tomorrow there is a race, and this is the most important thing because we took some points today but tomorrow the main things is to score some more points, and I think it will be difficult because there are some good drivers behind, but I am sure that we will improve again the set up of the car, because qualifying and the race is very different because you have to push for many more laps, so we will work tonight.
GP2 Series: You guys were very closely matched on pace, except for the one which got you pole: was that just a perfect lap, or was there something else?
Jules: I think I could push without any mistakes, the car was really good, and that's all.
GP2 Series: Sergio, congratulations on returning to the front today: are you happy with your first day back?
Sergio Perez: Yeah, I am reasonably happy to be on the front row for tomorrow, and I think we are in a very good position to fight for a win: I think it is going to be very hard, as there are a lot of very good drivers behind us, so it is going to be a very hard race but we've seen in testing that in qualifying our car is not so good but in the races we are very confident that we are very good, especially if it is very hot tomorrow. I'm really confident about this, and I look forward to a good fight tomorrow.
GP2 Series: It seemed to be quite hard to improve in the second half, but you actually set the fastest first sector with a couple of minutes to go but then came into the pits: what happened?
Sergio: Yeah, we saw where we did a very good sector but then we found some traffic, and we knew that the track was slower so we came in to save the tyres, so that we have them for tomorrow and can see where we are.
GP2 Series: You guys, and the teams, all know this circuit so well: how hard is it to stand out in qualifying here?
Sergio: It's very different from testing to qualy, especially the last 3 days: in the pre-season testing we were nowhere, but now we knew everything was going to be very different so we were very calm and were working hard to understand where the problem was. We were doing a lot of work in Valencia, where the team is, so now I'm very happy for my team because they worked really hard and did a really good job. So I hope tomorrow I can give them the win.
GP2 Series: Sam, congratulations also to you, fastest in free practice this morning and top three now in qualifying: was it a satisfying first day in the job?
Sam Bird: Yeah, I think so, although obviously I'd like to be sat where Jules is! [laughs] This morning I think we did a good job, I drove well and there was a good rhythm but there was more to give as well, if I got all the corners together, and it was good to have Jules there in the data room in the back of the truck afterwards as we work well together to see where we can improve. Obviously in this qualifying he did a better job than I did, he's sitting in P1 and I'm sitting in P3, but I think I've got to remember that this is my first GP2 qualifying so I'm a little bit disappointed, but not too much, with third but come on, it's my first one, so it's not the end of the world: I think we'll still be fighting for the win tomorrow, but like the other two have said there are still a lot of good drivers around me, so it's going to be tough for sure.
GP2 Series: What do you think was the difference between this morning and this afternoon for you?
Sam: I think in free practice I just put it together a little bit better: I think that after the free practice I put a lot of pressure on myself to do the same thing, and I think I overdrove a little bit, so that's a lesson learned for me today, not to do that again. I think some of my braking points were a bit poor in qualifying compared to this morning, so if I can sort that out I should be back on good speed tomorrow.
GP2 Series: And it's a lesson learned for the next qualy session?
Sam: Well there isn't another one here! [laughs] But for the race, if I learn and improve ready for tomorrow, we should be on a good speed. I believe in pre-season testing I was one of the few to do a full race distance at this track, so we know where we are with the tyres and we know what I need to do for a full race distance here, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow: let's hope it's a good one.
GP2 Series: Jules, just to come back to you, you start from the front here tomorrow: what are your thoughts for the race?
Jules: I need to get a good start, because I mean it has been very difficult for me to get a good start in GP2 Asia, so I will try to do my best, and we improved a lot in the pre-season testing but we will see tomorrow, because the pressure is very different to do without any pressure from the people in the back. But we are P1 so first of all a good start, and then we will see.