Coletti, van der Garde and Bird discuss the race
GP2 Series: Stefano Coletti, GP2 Series race winner: how does that sound to you
Stefano Coletti: It's amazing, especially in the first weekend, you know? I already won the one in Asia, but to win one in the main series in the first weekend is great! Especially after the start we had after qualifying: we knew we had the pace, we just had a lot of bad luck with yellows and red flags. From P14 to P5 was already amazing, so to go to P1 today is just a perfect weekend.
GP2 Series: You really made it look easy today, with a lovely start: how did that go from your view, as well as the pass on Dani?
Stefano: I had a very good start and I tried to pass second immediately in the first corner, but I went on the kerb and lost traction so Pic passed me again. But I was able to pass him on turn 7 on the outside, and then I knew that I had the pace, and I knew that yesterday the Racing Engineering cars had a little trouble keeping the tyres alive, so I just sat there and waited until I could pass him without destroying my tyres. And that's what happened: I saw him going slower and slower, and I just decided to pass him. Then I just kept my rhythm, kept my tyres, and everything was working perfect.
GP2 Series: Then you controlled the pace until the safety car period, and you had a restart for the final lap: any problems there?
We knew we had the pace this weekend, so we knew that we had to score points.
Stefano: I was a bit nervous at the restart because I had a 7 second lead and then suddenly everyone joins back for one lap, so just one little mistake and I could lose the race. The safety car was going really slow so I picked up a lot of rubber on the track, and I arrived for the braking at the last 3 corners and I went straight, so I thought that he [Giedo] was going to pass me, just before the last corner because you can pass there, but he stayed behind and I cleaned my tyres, and I could pull away again.
GP2 Series: Great job, up to I think P3 in the championship: it's early days, but how important is it for you and the team?
Stefano: It's very important. Every point counts in a championship, and even if it's one point you have to get this point. It's a long championship, and if you start with zero after the first race you are at a disadvantage. We knew we had the pace this weekend, so we knew that we had to score points: we know it's going to happen during the season where you don't have the pace, so when you have it you have to score big points.
GP2 Series: Giedo, congratulations on a fine drive to P2 today: happy with your job this weekend?
Giedo van der Garde: Very happy! Considering where we started the weekend was not really good, in qualifying: it was not great and we had a little trouble with the car, and also I fucked up a little bit! [laughs] In the end we had a really nice race yesterday, nice overtaking and really impressed with the effort, I really enjoyed it a lot, and then today start fifth finish second is not bad. Now we have to see, have a good meeting this week, because here and there we need to improve a little bit.
GP2 Series: It was not just that, but I think also you had nice pace despite everyone not knowing where they are with the tyres: are you happy with the job you and the team have done on working with the tyres this weekend?
Giedo: Yeah. I think in the beginning and the middle stint we are one of the quickest, the only think we have to see and to improve is at the end of the stint, because there we suffer a bit too much with the rear tyres, but if we solve this we're there.
GP2 Series: I guess qualifying didn't go the way you wanted it: do you see that improving in Barcelona, where you've tested?
Giedo: Yes. I know that we need to improve little things, I need to stay a little bit calmer because I fucked up as well myself [laughs], but things happen like this and you have to learn so that next time you are there, and I'm sure we'll be there: we've proved that we are fighting with the top guys, I think the team did a good job this weekend, so now we have to work a bit harder and see in Barcelona.
GP2 Series: Sam, two podiums and right up there in the championship: I guess it's been a pretty good weekend all round?
Sam Bird: Yeah, absolutely: the aim this weekend was to come away with a bunch of points and get the ball running in the championship, and I think it started in really good form for myself and for the team.
Nobody really knew what to expect here with the tyres and the track, it's all a bit new to everybody, so I'm just very thankful that we've come away from the weekend with a good haul of points, and now we've got a base on which to improve on going into Barcelona.
GP2 Series: We were talking about the tyres yesterday, but today you've had to come from further back to get onto the podium: how difficult was it to control them and get up there today?
Sam: It was quite difficult: I couldn't go as quick as I wanted to, and I think if I'd had clean air I could have really gone for it and gone really quickly today, because the car felt good. But it was just a case of looking after my tyres a little more, and kind of forcing the other guys into a couple of mistakes: I was trying to push them into mistakes but not push myself, if that makes any sense. It was quite difficult, they put up quite a fight, but we got there in the end: a little scare on the last lap [laughs] but we were able to get through that and get a podium.
GP2 Series: When Marcus [Ericsson] hit you?
It's a very encouraging start for myself and for the team, we know we've got the package in order to win races and get podiums, and to hopefully fight for the title.
Sam: Yeah. These things happen in racing, we're all trying to get to the grid next door, and everybody's committing themselves 100%: sometimes people cross those lines of being on the edge to going over the edge, and these things happen. It's racing, Marcus and I will have a hug, and we'll get on just fine for the rest of the year [laughs].
GP2 Series: You were all over Pic for a few laps before the safety car, and I wondered if that would stop you moving up, but you had a nice move at turn 10 to get on the podium: talk me through the move.
Sam: I'd been lining him up for quite a few laps and I didn't expect the safety car, so I was just biding my time before that: you could see the rear tyre going off, I could see the little band of rubber going on his tyre, so I thought in a couple of laps you're going to be really struggling and I'll pick you off nice and easily, but then the safety car came out and spoiled my plan a little bit! [laughs] So I had to get on with it a bit more!
GP2 Series: Nevertheless you got it done and you're right there in the championship: does that mean anything for you and the team at this stage?
Sam: No, there's 8 rounds to go: it doesn't matter right now. What I'm focussed on is we've got a good basis on which to carry on, it doesn't matter who's leading after round 1, it matters who's leading after round 9. It's a very encouraging start for myself and for the team, we know we've got the package in order to win races and get podiums, and to hopefully fight for the title: it's going to be very difficult, I hope I'll be up there at the end, but it's too early to even start looking at those sheets yet.