Qualifying Press Conference
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the press conference for qualifying here in Istanbul. Joining us tomorrow's poleman Giorgio Pantano from Racing Engineering, in second place we have Andreas Zuber from Piquet Sports, and in third place we have series returnee Adam Carroll from FMS International. Starting with you Giorgio, you've had a great free practice and qualifying today, looking almost untouchable: what do you put that down to?
Giorgio Pantano: Always I have the big balls! [laughs] After Barcelona I had many discussions with my engineer and with my team, and we tried to see if we could improve the car, and I think we went the right way to improve the car: we've got more grip, more balance, and I'd just say thanks to them because the balance was perfect. Also I like this circuit a lot, and everything goes well.
GP2 Series: It seems that since you've had the new car your lap times in particular have slowly but surely improved: has it just been a case of needing a little bit of extra time to get used to the new car and make it really fast, or is there something else?
Giorgio: The new car made the difference here, because most of the sectors we have high speed corners here, which you can feel with that car. The car is in a very good balance here, and the difference with the other one is mainly because we have more downforce, and you can feel it on the corners.
GP2 Series: Do you think you had any extra speed that you didn't use at the end, like this morning?
Giorgio: No, I don't think we are nearly to the maximum: I think there is nearly half a second to improve, but I think we are quite on the limit.
GP2 Series: And your expectations for tomorrow?
Giorgio: I hope, if the car is going like this, we have no problems tomorrow. I believe the car is in a good balance tomorrow, and we saw this also in the Sunday race in Barcelona, so I believe we will have no problem in the race. I remember last year we had a big fight here with Adam, and we had a good fight here with him [points thumb to Zuber], so I am sure we will have a big fight tomorrow with them. Why not?
GP2 Series: Congratulations, great job today. Andreas, congratulations to you as well. You've been at the sharp end in all of the sessions so far this year, both at Barcelona and here, although here it seemed to take a little longer as you set your fast lap just as the session finished: talk me through qualifying from your perspective today.
Andreas Zuber: Yeah, the reason was it was the second set of tyres and we had a lot of traffic, and it was good news to get the new tyres and I'm quite happy that in the end I could set a 32.9 because it was a medium lap, I didn't put my sectors together at all. I knew it was possible to catch Giorgio so I kept pushing all the way to the end, and even on the last lap I had already five laps on the tyres and the lap was good for P2, so I am very happy that we are on the pace here.
GP2 Series: You're on the hard tyres here, the weather hasn't been great and it's been a bit colder than expected: how hard has it been to get the grip you need for a good time?
Andreas: It was okay: it was a bit slippery on the first half of the lap, and you need to be a bit careful that you don't destroy the tyres, then just warm the tyres up and get ready to do a flying lap.
GP2 Series: What are your expectations for tomorrow?
Andreas: I hope for a podium, and try everything to not lose some points to Giorgio, and maybe I will gain some [laughs], but tomorrow we will see.
Giorgio: You know what is good for tomorrow? He's not my teammate! [laughs]
Andreas: Yes, so I can attack even harder! [laughs]
GP2 Series: Congratulations Andreas. Adam, congratulations to you too: your first session back in GP2, your first session in the new car, and you're sat in third: happy with your day?
Adam Carroll: Yeah I'm happy with third: I got the phone call on Tuesday to confirm I was coming, so I just packed my bags and came straight out here. It's a good opportunity from Paolo [Coloni] to get back into the car, and I knew I had to make the most of it this weekend. I'm really excited to be back, and the new car feels nice: it's the first time I've driven in GP2 since last October, and like Giorgio said it is a big step forward, just even in the laptimes, and even the drive is good and I really enjoyed it.
GP2 Series: How hard was it to get into a car that you've never sat in before and have to qualify immediately?
Adam: The balance of the car was good, and the guys have done a good job setting it up, so that helped a lot: I just had to get used to my seat and steering position and to make sure that everything was alright. The feel of the car compared to what I've been used to, and even last year, is a bit different, and the weather is a bit cold so it's a bit difficult to get the tyres up to temperature just because I don't know if I can really lean on the cold tyres. But the car was really, really good, and I could push really hard.
GP2 Series: And for tomorrow?
Adam: I don't know, we'll see.
Giorgio: Stay behind me!
Andreas: And me!
Adam: Oh yeah, I'll just stay behind! No, I've only done one start since I've been back, and I'll take another couple of practices tomorrow, and then we'll go from there.