Di Grassi, Maldonado and Buemi talk about their race
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's race one here in Monza: joining us today are race winner Lucas di Grassi from Campos Grand Prix, in second place we have Pastor Maldonado from Piquet Sports, and in third place is Sebastien Buemi from Arden International. Starting with you Lucas, congratulations on quite an amazing drive to take the win today, with constant pressure on you all the way through: how was it for you today?
Lucas di Grassi: It was I think one of the hardest races of my life today: the conditions were really difficult and changing, going from really, really wet to totally dry in one race is something amazing, and it was changing so much, the braking in the wet to dry braking at the end of the race. With conditions like that it's really difficult to judge how the next corner is going to be, especially when you have a very car right behind you like I had with Maldonado all the time, when it changes it's very difficult to judge and very easy to go off, how much you have to drive, how much you have to push or go slow, so it was very difficult. And there was a lot of pressure from Maldonado, who had a great drive today and was definitely quicker in the race, and it was a bit of a shame when Giorgio went off for the penalty but he was all the time very close to us also, even in the dry we have maybe a faster car than him.
GP2 Series: Considering the conditions were you happy to start behind the safety car?
Lucas: Yes definitely: I actually asked my engineer to go talk to Marco [Codello] who was in the safety car. Behind Giorgio, and I had only one car there, I almost couldn't see, so I could imagine the guys behind: I was not worried for me, because I could see from second, but the guys behind probably could not see anything, and that's when it becomes really dangerous. 26 cars arriving at the first corner under heavy braking is quite dangerous anyway, so I think it was the correct decision.
GP2 Series: You had a very, very tough battle with Pastor all race: how hard was he to keep behind?
Lucas: Pastor chose to a little bit more on the downforce so he was definitely a little bit quicker in the wet, but I knew that if it dried I might have an advantage from my dry wing set up, so when it was wet I knew he was fast and he was coming, so I tried to fight even though I knew he was faster, and he got past me, and when I had the slicks I knew I had an advantage and I got back past him. It was a fair pass I think, hard but fair, and then we just tried to push and keep him behind for the rest of the race.
GP2 Series: Yesterday you said you'd rather get the race win than second in the championship: now you've got the race win and you're one point off second, so what are your thoughts for tomorrow?
Lucas: The same as yesterday: try for the race win, and if this happens then second place happens also. But for me it was much more important to get this win the way it was than to finish both races in fourth place or something and get second, so I pushed really hard and took a lot of risks, and it paid off.
GP2 Series: Congratulations on a great drive today. Pastor, congratulations on your own great drive today, just 0.7 behind Lucas today after a tremendous battle: we've just heard what Lucas thought of the race today, so what are your thoughts on the fight?
Pastor Maldonado: I started from fifth and I couldn't see anything, it was very difficult at the beginning: after some laps, maybe six or seven, it started to be better and the sun came out and the circuit started to get better. I had a good pace during all the race, but after when we pit for the slick tyres I started to lose a little bit because my set up wasn't completely for the dry. It penalised us for sure, but anyway we were very quick and I tried to push very hard behind him. I was pushing very hard at the beginning of the race because the conditions wasn't very clear, and lap by lap the circuit was improving but you don't know exactly how much it improves, but at the end of the race it was good for me because I started in sixth, so second is good.
GP2 Series: It seems like a lot of the race was set up for you on the restart and that first lap: talk me through that lap.
Pastor: The start was so close behind me, and for sure I was so lucky because they had a big crash behind me and I was able to manage the situation. After that I tried to catch him [points to Buemi] and after some laps I could overtake because I had a set up in dry conditions. I tried harder and harder to overtake him [di Grassi] and Giorgio, but it was not so easy because the situation with the downforce was very difficult to give control to the car. The race is okay for me because second is okay, I had the head of the race for a few laps but at the end it's a good race for us.
GP2 Series: You and the team have had a great end to the season with good results over the last few weekends: what do you put that down to?
Pastor: We improved a lot in the team, and me, and I think for the end of the season we are one of the quickest, for sure. Yesterday I was quite disappointed with qualifying: just three tenths and we were quite close, very close, but today I was very confident to do my best and to go on the podium today.
GP2 Series: Congratulations again. Sebastien, congratulations to you as well, albeit that your race seemed a bit more quiet than theirs. How was it from inside the car?
Sebastien Buemi: Yeah, today it was really quiet for me, and I didn't really overtake anybody, to be honest! But in the end I am happy with the result: it was really difficult to know how much we should put on the settings and wings, and we started with a wet set up which didn't end as well as we hoped in the beginning, but when the circuit dried up we could go faster and catch up a little to Pastor and Lucas. After the pitstop when we got the slicks I started to have quite a lot of oversteer and the car wasn't really well balanced, and I was losing again, so in the end I'm quite happy with the result and the podium: if I can have a good race tomorrow then it will be a good end to the season.
GP2 Series: What do you do when you're in a situation like that where you aren't quite as fast as the guys in front of you but much faster than the guys behind you: how do you keep your head together and do the job?
Sebastien: Well, you just keep doing your job and try not to do any mistakes, because Grosjean couldn't catch me and I could quite catch them, so I just tried to stay there and concentrate, push hard and maybe brake a bit later, or something like that.
GP2 Series: It's a great result for you and the team, and possibly some points that your wish had come a little earlier, but I guess it's always good to get a result like this at the end of the season?
Sebastien: Yeah, it's a bit disappointing when you look at the season because we lost a lot of points when I went off in Hockenheim in the first race, because I could be fighting for third place at least, but this is racing, mistakes happen, and this is the way it goes: tomorrow we'll try and have a good race, we were fast yesterday and we have a good set up, so if it's dry we'll be fast.