GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for qualifying here in Istanbul. Joining us from pole position is Nico Hulkenberg from ART, in second place we have Luca Filippi from Super Nova International but without the shirt...
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for qualifying here in Istanbul. Joining us from pole position is Nico Hulkenberg from ART, in second place we have Luca Filippi from Super Nova International but without the shirt [laughs], and in third place is Romain Grosjean from Barwa Addax. Nico, congratulations on your first pole in the main series: how does it feel?
Nico Hulkenberg: It feels good. It's nice to be on pole, and the race is tomorrow, but for sure to get two points and to be on pole in the third race is a good effort, and we'll be trying to keep that up now.
GP2 Series: A tough session today, but you got your lap at the right time with a couple of guys going off straight afterwards: do you think you had more in the tank if you needed it?
Nico: I don't know, but for sure my timing and my traffic management was better than at the last two events: I got a clear, solid lap, and obviously it was enough to get P1.
GP2 Series: You haven't been here before: is there something about the circuit that just suits you?
Nico: I think it's a good circuit: it's flowing, quick, and a good mix of corners, so I'm just happy to drive here.
GP2 Series: It's worked out for you so far: what are your expectations for tomorrow?
Nico: It's going to be a long and tough race, so we just have to go through the start and the first lap and then after that just try to have a good car, which is tyre saving and look after them, because tyre degradation is an issue here as expected, and hopefully we'll keep that up and stay at the front.
GP2 Series: Congratulations on pole today. Luca, congratulations on second today: you've been looking strong all day, so was this about what you were expecting?
Luca Filippi: Yes. I knew we were going to be fast here, and I've been on pole in the past: I like this circuit a lot, and Super Nova were competitive since the beginning of the season in Barcelona where we were fast, in Monaco we didn't have a great qualifying but in race one I was fast. Today I had the best sector two, maybe the best sector three also I think, so I was just losing a little in sector one because I didn't warm up the tyres enough in the out lap. But I think we have a very strong pace and I feel very confident for the race tomorrow, and finally the team didn't give me the t-shirt yet, so it's not my fault! [laughs]
GP2 Series: Nico just said he had to manage the session to get the good time, but you seemed to be up the top of the sheets for both sessions: what do you put that down to?
Luca: Yes, I think we were always fast. In practice I was P1 until I pitted, and then I couldn't improve because of yellow flags, and in qualifying the car wasn't great with the first set but it was with the second set, so I was fast again. So I'm really confident: I feel good with the track, and the guys are doing a great job, so I feel really great with the team. They believe in me as I believe in them, so I can see a big future.
GP2 Series: You've had good pace all year but you've haven't quite been able to show it until now: what has made the difference here?
Luca: Just everything was right, because in Barcelona I only did one lap of practice because I went off, and because of that I was penalised for qualifying and had only the last seven minutes of the session and had only one clear lap, so I was 6th plus 3 is 9th, and it was difficult to be P4 at the end of the race. In Monaco it is a different circuit and I think the level there is a bit different, not a lot but a bit, and I think in a normal situation I could have a good practice and qualifying, but everything just went away.
GP2 Series: What are you looking for tomorrow in the race?
Luca: I win! [laughs]
GP2 Series: Good luck with that. Romain, congratulations on third today: are you happy with your job today?
Romain Grosjean: No! [laughs] No, I'm not so happy today: we had a brand new car today because we had to change the monocoque and everything after the crash in Monaco, and this morning we had a big issue with the steering so I didn't do most of the session, and this afternoon we started qualifying and I did the first run and on my fastest lap Ricci didn't let me through on the last corner, but I had quite a good lap and my engineer said "you are P16, what can you improve?" And I said I don't know! [laughs] But we came in and changed the set up, came back a little to what we had this morning, and I did one lap and had P3 with a little bit of mistake in the last corner and missed a bit of time. I was thinking that I could be a bit faster, and the feeling with the car meant I was a bit disappointed with the time we could do, so I was not happy with the job to be honest. I think it was possible to do pole position, but it was really amazing how long it took to remove the cars: they took something like 20 minutes to remove one car this morning I think, with Clos car, and then this afternoon we lost I think the last five minutes with Vitaly's car because they didn't have what they need or they don't know how to do it. Unfortunately Vitaly was part of the problem so he couldn't improve, and by the way I couldn't as well. But as they say the race is going to be very long, and since the beginning of the season we have had a good car in the race, and I think it should be the same thing here: we will work with the engineers tonight to improve a little bit. 34 laps here is a long race, it's going to be hot, and if we can manage to save the tyres I'm confident that we can do what we need to do.
GP2 Series: It is going to be a long hot race, and yet you're sitting here with a jumper on: is this something to do with getting used to the heat?
Romain: No, I just have the wrong shirt on underneath! [laughs] I couldn't show you that one! [laughs] But I'm okay, it's not too bad: wait until we go to Budapest...
GP2 Series: Yeah, that is always awful for the heat! So we've just heard what these guys want to do tomorrow: how do you see it going?
Romain: We will see: I'm confident with the team, I'm confident I can improve a lot my driving, and the important thing is to take points: if we can't win we won't, but if I'm able to win then I'll overtake and go for it.