Leimer, Clos and Ericsson discuss the race
GP2 Series: Fabio, a great win today to repeat your performance here last year: clearly there's something you like about this circuit!
Fabio Leimer: Yeah! Okay, it was a very big shame that we didn't manage to do a lap in qualy because in free practice I was P7 and we did the quickest lap really late, so I figured it would be possible to finish in the top 5 in qualy, but in the first lap we had a technical problem and it was looking really, really bad starting from P26! But we thought okay, we have to finish P8, it is really, really difficult but at the end we did a perfect job, me and the team, with perfect strategy. In the end we were a lucky P8 because I finished P9, but I just thought to get a good start and get away: I made a quite good start, and then it was quite easy because you can manage the tyres, watch in the mirrors for Dani Clos, and I actually drove the first 15 laps quite slowly to save the tyres. Later when I saw he was struggling I pushed a little bit, I tried to be very consistent, and I think it was perfect!
GP2 Series: I was going to say that it looked quite easy from outside the car, but did it feel that way inside it?
Fabio: Yeah okay, when you start first and have a good start then it is actually easy because you have nobody in front of you, you have clear air, and then you can do your own race. Actually yeah it was really easy, the only thing was to get away at the start and that was perfect, then Dani was my only race, I just managed the tyres and it was perfect. The team did a really good job this weekend.
We went to Barcelona with zero points, which was quite disappointing, but now we took quite a lot of points and are again in the championship.
GP2 Series: I guess it's an important victory for you, as you've clearly had pace but couldn't show it: you were unlucky here in qualy, were unlucky in the race in Istanbul. How important is this result for turning the season around a bit?
Fabio: I think it helps quite a lot because exactly, in Istanbul the season started bad, I had a bad crash and was lucky that nothing happened, and then in the end we went to Barcelona with zero points, which was quite disappointing, but now we took quite a lot of points and are again in the championship. It's still a long season, and anything can happen: anything!
GP2 Series: Dani, P2 at your home race: happy with your work today?
Dani Clos: Yeah. In the beginning there was a bit of trouble at the start, I got him from behind, something small, and then the safety car: I think it was good that we had the safety car for the tyre wear, because we had 2 or 3 extra laps at the end! Now with the tyres it's really difficult to make a show: at the end we can only maintain and try to drive as smooth as possible, and it's really tricky to keep the car at the track and not have a big drop off. This year is going to be tough because we will have to risk in the first laps, and then the one who has the pace and the one who maintains the tyre will be the one who keeps the position. It's tough, but I think we've done a really good stop since yesterday, we've done a really big step from Turkey, the team and I are really happy and just pushing really hard.
GP2 Series: It's a hot track, an abrasive track: does this mean you just have to concentrate almost completely on protecting the tyres?
Dani: Yeah, and if they don't make a change it's going to be like this the whole year: that's why qualifying is really important, the start is really important. The guys who start in front, if they know how to protect the tyre, they have everything done: if there is someone who tries to push it a bit more, they are screwed! [laughs]
GP2 Series: Nevertheless, after Istanbul where you guys had a lot of trouble with the tyres, it's a big turnaround: is this going to reflect the season?
Dani: Yeah, this is good for the season, I hope, and it's good for the team: we're really happy because in Istanbul we lost many, many points in race one, also in race two, so it's just about always being there, scoring points, and hopefully Monaco will be another step for us. I'm happy to go there.
GP2 Series: Marcus, P3 with a strong drive: how was it for you?
Marcus Ericsson: It was good to finally get on the podium, good for the confidence and to give that to the team: we've been really strong in pre-season, and in Turkey we were fast but came away with zero points, so it's nice to come away with points in both races, and of course it's nice to be on the podium!
GP2 Series: You had Sam behind you in the early part of the race: any worries there?
Marcus: Not at all, to be honest. We've had some incidents in the beginning of the season but we're good mates, I think we trust each other now, and what happened before is put behind us, so not at all: it was just like anyone else.
GP2 Series: After that was it just a case of conserve the tyres and get to the end?
Marcus: Yeah. I was following the leaders quite well in the beginning, but then they started to pick up the pace a little bit and I just felt I couldn't keep my tyres that well if I kept on with them, so I backed off a bit and let them go. I thought by that I would get the tyres back and the others would be struggling at the end, but unfortunately it was the opposite! [laughs] It just went dramatically down with my tyres, and the last five laps were extremely difficult, and I was just hoping Sam could hold Davide up as much as possible! [laughs] We got there in the end, but it was quite close!
GP2 Series: It was close, but a podium just ahead of Monaco: it's all looking good?
Marcus: In Turkey we were incredibly quick but didn't get any points out of it, and to be at the top of the championship you need to be up there fighting for it, and that's what we did today. At a track where, since pre-season, we've been struggling here with the tyres, the hard compound, the car balance and my driving have not been perfect at this particular track for some reason, so to go away with points in both races and a podium I think is a great thing. If you have a car that's quick enough to win you might not be as happy, but circumstances made it that I'm really happy: the boys in the team have done just a fantastic job again, so I'm really pleased.