Valencia Feature race press conference
Grosjean, van der Garde and Valsecchi discuss the race.
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's feature race here in Valencia: joining us are today's race winner Romain Grosjean from Dams, in second place we have Giedo van der Garde from Addax Team, and in third place we have Davide Valsecchi from Team AirAsia. Romain, congratulations on your second win of the season, although I guess it wasn't looking that way at the start of the race! How was it from your view?
It's a very tough championship, and the level is so high.
Romain Grosjean: The race started quite well, we had a good start, Giedo as well, so I couldn't find any opportunity at the first corner. Then I tried to put some pressure to make him make a mistake but he wasn't doing any! Unfortunately my radio still isn't working since Barcelona and I asked to pit, but they didn't say anything, so we had to wait and do it the old way with the board: we pitted on the same lap as Giedo, and we had quite a bad pitstop, I have to say because I was behind him before the pit and after it I was very far behind him.
Then I said okay, I'm going to push for the fastest lap with the fresh tyres and then see what happens later in the race, and I start to catch Giedo a little bit: the car was much better in the second stint than the first one. And then on the pitboard it said P1 at one point and I thought there is something happening here, for sure! (laughs) For the ten last laps they were quite long, because I didn't want to slow down too much and lose the focus, but the car was brilliant in the second stint and I'm very proud of what the team are doing today, because last year they were basically nowhere here, and beating such a strong team as Addax in their own race is always good!
GP2 Series: And you are back in the lead of the championship now, as well...
Romain: Yeah, back again! It's a very tough championship, and the level is so high: we were not expecting to be so close with all the other drivers but it's really good for GP2, and I'll keep pushing and trying to go ahead to stay in the lead.
GP2 Series: It probably looked as though Giedo had the pace today, but you got the result...
Romain: No, no, I disagree: I think we had a better pace at the beginning but I was behind him, and he could get away before the pitstop, and then I really slowed down for the 2 laps under yellow flags so I lost a bit of time, but then I was catching him quite well and when I was at the exit of turn 9 he was at turn 10, so the gap was really getting closer. I don't know what would have happened at the end, but that's the way it is.
GP2 Series: How were the tyres in the second stint?
Romain: I do like the Pirellis this year: I think the drivers have a lot to do with the management of the tyres, and I do like the way they handle. Drivers can have a lot to do with how well they keep alive, and to make them work. It was clear that in the second stint the car was much better balanced, so it was really good.
GP2 Series: Congratulations. Giedo, a great drive to P2 today, but I guess you were expecting a lot more. We've heard what Romain thought about the pace in the cars: what do you think?
Giedo van der Garde: I think we were very quick today, and we would have won: we have a very good start, and after that I was just controlling the pace because we knew that it would be a long race, and a few laps before the pitstop I could make a little gap to Romain because the car was handling very well. After the pitstop the car was handling even better, and I was very pleased with that and quickly built a gap to 5 seconds, so I had that in the pocket. I said okay, we've got the gap so let's control the race, but then I heard we had a drive through. I came in, and after that I think it was a very spectacular race! (laughs)
GP2 Series: It was a very strong recovery drive after that, with a good fight with both Dani and Davide: how was it inside the car?
Giedo: It's my home race, it's the home race of the team, and you want to make the best possibility and the win was there, but after that you have to switch and just for it again. So what I did, I think Dani was quite easy because he was much slower...
Davide Valsecchi: He didn't defend enough!
Giedo: He didn't defend enough? Maybe not! (laughs) After that Davide was close to get in one lap, and it was a very good fight because in turn 14 I was quicker than him, but he could close the gap because there were walls and if I chose the right side, the inside, we would have been crashing! (laughs) But the third time he went straight and I knew, so I took him on the inside and then it was the last lap, so I just took it easy and controlled. We showed today that we are the man!
GP2 Series: We didn't know if it was possible to overtake here, but you showed today that it was: how much of that was the car, how much of it was the tyres?
Giedo: I think both: our car today was fantastic, tomorrow we have to show again that we can overtake, but today it was not easy – if the guys are defending hard, like Davide, it is not easy – but I think tomorrow is going to be a very long race without a pitstop, and we'll see. So far the car is good, hopefully tomorrow we can do the same and get on the podium again.
GP2 Series: Great job. Davide, congratulations on P3 from P8 and a strong drive: how was it for you out there today?
Davide Valsecchi: It was good, a really good feeling with the car and everything: the team made a really good pitstop, we were 6th after the start and losing a bit of time from the leading group because Gutierrez was struggling with something in front of me, maybe brakes or something, and then when he made a mistake and went off the line I could overtake him and it was better, because I was closing the gap to Filippi and Clos, who were losing a bit from the 2 drivers here. Just before the pitstop I caught the group, and the team decided to stop earlier than the others, which I think was the right strategy because after the pitstop we were in front of them in third.
Then we were I think 2 or 3 seconds behind Grosjean, and I didn't have the pace or the speed to be with them in the second part of the race, and when they told me on the radio that van der Garde was behind because he took a drive through I tried to push all that I could to make a gap from Clos, but he was just too fast! When he caught me he used a great technique to overtake me – it happens! (laughs)
GP2 Series: It was a bit of a classic Valsecchi race really: a fight at the start and a fight at the end...
Davide: Yeah, we loved it today! Second from P8, okay: before I was not thinking we would be fast enough to finish in the top five because the feeling with the car was not incredible, so it was a hard race for me and my team. Maybe in the first few laps we were a little bit lucky, and also we were lucky with Filippi when he crashed his front wing at the hairpin because he missed completely the brake, and we were lucky he didn't hit me! But at the end we were not lucky with van der Garde because he was so much faster than me, and he was good to find a way to overtake me. I was thinking to defend to the end – my tyres were not off at all – but I realised he had too much for me.
Tomorrow we'll see: I start from sixth position and I hope to get some more points, but we have to consider that the two cars behind me are faster, and it seems that it is a bit easier for them to overtake! My car is not really stable under braking, so maybe we will suffer some more: when I was behind Gutierrez it was not easy for me to overtake him, but after the pitstop it was much better. So I hope to score some points, if I can stay in front of them! (laughs)