GP2

Hungaroring: Qualifying press conference

Quotes from Romain, Andreas and Lucas. GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's qualifying session here at the Hungaroring. Joining us today is first time polesitter Romain Grosjean of ART Grand Prix, in...

Quotes from Romain, Andreas and Lucas.

GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's qualifying session here at the Hungaroring. Joining us today is first time polesitter Romain Grosjean of ART Grand Prix, in second we have Andreas Zuber from Piquet Sports, and in third place we have Lucas di Grassi from Campos Grand Prix. Romain, congratulations on your first pole in the main series: how does it feel?

Romain Grosjean: Yeah, it feels great! I was three times second in qualifying, which was a bit too much: I really wanted to do this pole position because it's really important for a driver to be able to be the fastest in qualifying. It's my first time racing here, and the track is quite difficult, but with the data from second this morning I could work quite well and improve my driving for the afternoon. The car was very good today, and it was quite tricky in qualifying: there was a lot of traffic and it's a short track so we needed really to be careful, but the car was working very well and at the end it was very close, but it was a nice qualifying.

GP2 Series: It seemed like the first two sectors were no problem for you because you kept setting purple times on those, but it seemed like the third sector was a problem, particularly the last corner: what was the problem there?

Romain: Actually on the second set of tyres I was really good in the first two sectors but on turn 11 I went on the astroturf and it's really dirty so I had a lot of dirt on the tyres, and when I went into turn 12 I missed a bit the apex and had some more dirt, 13 was fine but then I had the last corner I was on the right side and left tyres were full of dirt, so I just missed the corner. It's very difficult because as soon as you go off line there is dirt and sun and everything, so you take them on the tyres and you lose a lot of time. So I really need to stay on track, and online!

GP2 Series: Ironically you set the fastest final sector on your last lap, but were a bit slower in the previous two sectors: how much faster do you think you could have gone if you'd set a perfect lap?

Romain: I don't know, I haven't seen the data yet: it's about three tenths I think. There was a bit of traffic on the last lap when I did the pole, and I had to overtake a car on turn 6 or 7 so I lost a bit of time, but I knew it was one of last laps and I really wanted to finish the lap without doing any mistakes, so it was quite difficult.

GP2 Series: It would seem that you have a little bit more in hand: what are your thoughts for the race tomorrow?

Romain: I don't know: it's going to be really hot, really long, I think it will be an interesting race. For sure starting from pole is a good advantage here, so basically if you need a good start and build a good lead, an easy pitstop and then an easy win! [laughs] But it's never as easy as you dream about, so we will see.

GP2 Series: Congratulations. Andreas, congratulations on second today, a step up from your usual third! How was qualifying for you?

Andreas Zuber: It was quite hard, like normal, and there were a lot of cars on the track: our first set was complete shit because we had so much traffic it was unbelievable [laughs], so I lost half a second due to the track, and then on the second set on the first two laps again traffic, and then I had just one final lap but I lost quite a bit in the middle sector, I lost a bit on the tyres, but it was okay for me even if it was only that one lap.

GP2 Series: You were pretty much on the pace all morning and now, so you must be fairly happy with the car today?

Andreas: The team has been working quite hard, on the race set up especially as well as the qualifying set up, and we know that the car is quick in qualifying but in the race we still miss something after some laps: in Hockenheim already it was better, and I am sure here it will be even better.

GP2 Series: Hungary is always known as a technical track: talk me through how difficult it is to do a good lap here.

Andreas: Yeah, it's very narrow, very bumpy, there are no straights so you can't relax: in the race it will be very hot, and over 40 laps will be very hot. In a qualifying lap it's something else: in the race you don't have to concentrate on your breath, but in qualifying, maybe it's my style, I don't know, but I only breath maybe 8 or 9 times, so by the end of the lap I am finished! [laughs] When I'm really on the limit it is so difficult like that, but in the race it is different because you're not so much on the limit, you have to take more care of the tyres, so it's not so hard.

GP2 Series: Congratulations. Lucas, congratulations on third today, although I guess until the last minute you probably thought you'd sown up pole...

Lucas di Grassi: Yeah, I led the session from the beginning until the last minute, but then Romain and Zuber got a better lap. I think like everybody I had a little bit of traffic and the track was dirty and stuff, so I'm a bit disappointed because it's my 15th qualifying in a row that I qualified in the top six since last year, but I've never been able to do a pole. So I had stopped already when I saw that Romain and Zuber had improved so there was nothing I could do, but the race is long tomorrow, it's hot, again I'm going to work on the car to see what we can do for the race, so in the top three I cannot complain and generally I'm fairly happy with the result.

GP2 Series: You are Mr Consistency in qualifying here, although as you say you've missed out on pole again, this time by less than a tenth: how do you deal with that personally, and is there anything you can do to make up that little bit extra?

Lucas: Yeah definitely: with my first set of tyres I was the quickest on the track, and I didn't improve as much as I wanted on the second set because of traffic, because I had to overtake one car and then Zuber on the last corner. It was something that happens on this track, and I didn't lose a lot of time, but it's a bit frustrating when you had that in hand until the last minute and then you lose. But then you see the big picture and you're quite happy with the result.

GP2 Series: The team seem to be happy with this place, because both you and Vitaly were at the sharp end in both sessions today: what does the team do differently here, if anything?

Lucas: I think I've been there, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, since I came back to the series: I think Vitaly did a great job today, was 1.5 tenths slower and qualified fourth, so I think he did a very, very good job. This is not an easy track, and more than the team I think Vitaly did a very, very good job, and also the team did a good set up for this track, and that we are improving the car and changing a little bit the car for this track, so I think that's the way of working and I hope we keep going in the same way.

GP2 Series: Of course practice and qualifying is one thing but the race is quite another: what are your thoughts on tomorrow?

Lucas: It's difficult to say: a long race, and here it is difficult to overtake, but last year we had a safety car and a couple accidents, and as Romain and Zuber said if you go out of the track there is a lot of dust, so it's quite tricky to overtake and also to do mistakes. So I just expect to make a good start as I have this season, and if I finish in the top three it will be okay: of course I will fight for the win, but I think the race is very long and the results can change up to the last lap.

-credit: gp2series.com

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Lucas di Grassi , Andreas Zuber , Romain Grosjean
Teams ART Grand Prix