Race One Press Conference
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for race one in Istanbul. Joining us today are race winner Giorgio Pantano from Racing Engineering, second placed driver Romain Grosjean from ART Grand Prix, and third placed driver Andreas Zuber from Piquet Sports. Giorgio, congratulations on taking your first win of the season today. Fastest in free practice, fastest in qualifying, easily able to set the pace in the race today: was it as easy for you in the car as it seemed from the outside?
Giorgio Pantano: It's not easy! We just made a good start and went out first, and I know I have a car to do a good race, so I just tried to do a good gap compared to the guy behind and just push to the maximum just to find a little bit of a lap, and not have any confusion at the start or whatever.
GP2 Series: Talk me through you start: how was it?
Giorgio: I mean, I just tried to make the start I know normally to do: it wasn't difficult for me!
GP2 Series: What do you do when you're that far ahead and by yourself? How do you keep yourself motivated: do you watch the pitboards, or something else?
Giorgio: No, I try also to talk with my engineer during the race, just to know a little bit more about the others, and I was going on the back, but anyway in the first ten or fifteen laps I was just pushing the maximum to see if I could find the maximum gap I am allowed: when I saw the gap was eight seconds or whatever I just tried to keep the gap consistent and go like that.
GP2 Series: The restart was the only time in the race that these guys had a shot at you: how was it from your seat?
Giorgio: For me it was fine: I just did what I have to do, and I know that I have one of the Super Nova cars [Andy Soucek] behind me, and probably it was a bit dangerous for Grosjean, but after that I was just trying to manage my race.
GP2 Series: Thanks Giorgio, and congratulations. Romain, congratulations on making your first press conference in the main series. It looked like your race was all set up at the start: talk me through it from your point of view.
Romain Grosjean: I think the start is the key for everyone, and so for me it was very much what we were expecting: I had to take a chance and I did it, and we have a good procedure since Barcelona when we worked on it, and it's good. But then it was very difficult because I tried to follow Giorgio for the first lap, but he was much faster than me and I did some mistakes behind him, so I just tried to focus and keep aconsistent pace. I thought Andreas was more far away behind me because I couldn't see him in the mirrors: it seemed he was one second behind, but when I look at the TV now I can see it was really close! It was very difficult inside the car because I had to really focus and not make any mistakes, because at least one mistake would cost me second place, so that was difficult.
GP2 Series: Were you surprised at the pace of Giorgio in comparison to what you had yourself?
Romain: I'm not surprised because we knew he was the fastest in free practice and in the qualifying, so he was the one to beat, but I guess at the beginning he really impressed me, and now we have to work with the team to understand where we are losing time. But I guess for me it is the first time here, and this track is very difficult to learn: there are a lot of blind corners, a lot of corners following each other like in sector one and sector three, so it's very difficult to find a good line and to see exactly where you have to be on the track with the car.
GP2 Series: Of course the points today have set you up quite nicely in the championship at this stage.
Romain: Yeah, even if it is not the thing we are looking for right now, we are trying to take each race as it comes and try to be there, but I'm sure I have plenty of things to learn about GP2. Today was a good race for the experience of having a driver putting me under a lot of pressure for a whole race, which is very long, very new. So it's a good experience, and we will keep going as we did to improve the car for tomorrow.
GP2 Series: Congratulations. Andreas, congratulations on a nice drive today: do you have any memories at all of this race other than the rear of Romain's car?
Andreas: No! [laughs] No, I know exactly where he is understeering and where he is oversteering, so I know the ART car very well now! I was pushing him all the race through, and I tried to stay very close to him all the time, but he never made a mistake so for me it was not possible to overtake him. That's it!
GP2 Series: How difficult is it to be that close to the rear wing of another guy for an entire race and, for whatever reason, not be able to pass?
Andreas: Physically it's quite hard you know, because sometimes you have dirty air and you have to be quite careful, so I knew the pace would be okay to go with Giorgio, but Romain was not very quick in the beginning, and then increased a little bit the pace in the middle of the race, but it's physically quite hard. But the car is very good, quite easy to drive even in the slipstream and the quick corners, so it was possible for me to follow him.
GP2 Series: With the pace that you clearly had today, why didn't you come in earlier and try to take him in the pitstop?
Andreas: The problem is when I come in then he comes in, and he is still in front of me! We were waiting until he came in, and then we would have one free lap and then I could come in, and then I would be in front of him, or should be. And then the safety car came out, and that was it.
GP2 Series: As you say, that was it: how difficult was it for you at the restart, particularly as you had all of the lapped guys between you and Romain and Giorgio?
Andreas: I tried to stay very close to Romain but then I did a mistake in the last corner and I lost about four seconds, and then Luca Filippi was in front of me for about two laps and he didn't let me past, and that's quite unfair, and then finally when I passed Luca I did three times in a row the fastest lap, so the car is perfect, the car is really good, and I was behind Romain in the last corner again but then the race was finished.
GP2 Series: And then there was nothing you could do, but of course the points are important for the championship...
Andreas: Yes, very good: I'm very happy.