Pantano, di Grassi and Buemi discuss the session
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's qualifying session here in Monza. Joining us today are poleman Giorgio Pantano from Racing Engineering, in second place we will have Lucas di Grassi from Campos Grand Prix, and rounding out the top three is Sebastien Buemi from Arden International. Starting with you Giorgio, congratulations on some great laps here in your backyard: you are now thirteen points ahead of Bruno, do you think it is job done?
Giorgio Pantano: I say no, if we're going to calculate then no, the job's not done. We have scored two points before the race, which is always good and always makes me a little more relaxed because I see Senna is in P12 at the moment, but you never know what can happen during the race, or if it's going to be wet or something. I think it's going to be tough but I am quite confident and I know the job: just stay in front of Bruno, because di Grassi and Grosjean are already out for the championship, so I just have to focus on Senna.
GP2 Series: You already had a big advantage coming here with an eleven point gap, and to your home circuit where you always do well: how much confidence did that give you before qualifying, particularly as we had such a strange free practice?
Giorgio: Well it was more difficult for me in free practice, but if tomorrow we have that conditions, if it is wet, I'm sure we will be on the top as well.
GP2 Series: I'm sure you've done the maths to work out what you need tomorrow: what sort of race can we expect from you?
Giorgio: You know, we need to just go out of the first corner without contact, without anything, and when we are safe from the first corner then to just concentrate on the race. If we have a chance to pull away or be on the front then I'll try to be on the front and win the race, otherwise I'm not going to take any risk because my first goal is to win the championship and to beat Senna, that's it.
GP2 Series: The guy sitting next to you will be pushing hard for the win to take second away from his countryman: does that mean you're not going fight him too hard for that position?
Giorgio: I don't have to fight him too hard: if I have a chance to take the win I take the win, if I don't then I'll let the others take it. For me it's more important to take the championship than to take the win.
GP2 Series: Congratulations Giorgio. Lucas, congratulations on second today and back up the front after a disappointing one last week: how important was it to get back up here for this qualifying session?
Lucas di Grassi: It was a good qualifying session, a bit unpredictable let's say because we came from a wet free practice to a straight, dry qualifying session, and we haven't been running here since last year. For me it was good: now the mathematical championship is over for me but we're on the front row, so I will continue to try to win races, the same target I had as I thought when I came back to the GP2 championship, it was not to win the championship but to win races and do a good job for Campos. I will do the same tomorrow and at the moment I'm in front of Bruno and Grosjean, who are equal with me and seven points ahead of me. It's a little bit of a shame because I was so close to Giorgio, just one hundredth or two actually, but we qualified in exactly the same positions as last year with different cars, so I will try again to win the race tomorrow. I will do my best: as I said I'm not looking for the championship, I don't have anything to lose, but I won't do any stupid moves and I will try to win the race if I have a fast car, and see what happens after.
GP2 Series: You can't win the championship but you can come second: how important is that to you?
Lucas: Not really: I was second last year. I prefer to win tomorrow and not be second in the championship than to be second in the championship by just scoring two fourth or fifth places: I came to this championship to win races and to be ready when I am back to Formula One, I keep exactly my same approach and maybe a little more aggressive than last year, and in the end it caused, let's say, less points overall but I think I am very happy to come back to GP2 to prove that this year is, well, GP2 is the second strongest championship in the world, and I'm very happy that I came from the last event top three and fighting, had more wins than last year, so I'm very happy.
GP2 Series: And Campos is leading the team's championship by two points: how much does that play into your thinking for tomorrow?
Lucas: Nothing: I think if I win the race it will be even more points for them.
GP2 Series: Giorgio has just said what his plans are for tomorrow: what are your thoughts on that?
Lucas: It depends really: I looked at the race from last year, and if Giorgio has exactly the same start as he had last year then there is nothing I can do, for the first corner he was far away off: if we are in a fight I will fight far as I always do, and I've always done in GP2 and all of my racing career, and then it depends who has the fastest car, the fastest equipment over the race will win it. Giorgio is always very fast here, so it will be even a bigger pleasure to beat him.
GP2 Series: Congratulations for today. Sebastien, congratulations on third today, with your teammate next to you on second row tomorrow after some disappointing qualifying results earlier this year: how important for you and the team is this result today?
Sebastien Buemi: It's quite important for us because we were struggling all the year in qualifying especially, we didn't have the pace, so today is a good result for us. We noticed that the tub was cracked in Spa, so it might explain why we are faster today, but we will see tomorrow. We will try to push hard because we don't have so much to lose you know, so if I have the pace I will try to push and win the race, and we will see.
GP2 Series: How did the tub get broken?
Sebastien: It's difficult to know: we don't really know actually. The bulkhead inside the tub was cracked, and we don't know since when because we just noticed it after the Sunday race in Spa, so it might explain why we are faster, but we just need to confirm it tomorrow.
GP2 Series: You're in a very different position to these guys, who are fighting for first and second in the championship: what are your plans for tomorrow?
Sebastien: I will try to do a good race: I prefer to go for the victory rather than for small points, but it's still possible to be third in the championship, so we will see.
GP2 Series: The traditional question for when teammates are sitting next to each other on the grid: have you and Luca been given any instructions for the start?
Sebastien: No, nothing at all: I'm fighting for my race, he's fighting for his race, so we will see.