Razia, Valsecchi and Chilton talk about their race
GP2 Series: Luiz, congratulations. Awesome job today!
Luiz Razia: It was a tough race actually but it’s a great feeling. The start was really good. I think I was able to take the lead while Valsecchi was fighting for second position. That gave me room to save the tyres and push before the pitstop. I put some good laps before the pitstop. Because of my strategy on Friday I was able to change only the rear tyres and that gave me another three or four seconds in the lead. After Valsecchi changed all four tyres, we were nine seconds in the lead. He reduced the gap to five seconds but I was saving my tyres. I expected him to push in the end. I was able to do so myself but not much so I finished with a 7.8s gap. If Valsecchi had been closer to me at the start of the race I don’t know if the strategy of changing only two tyres would have worked that well. We have to think about that. But yeah it was a good and tough race. I stayed focused and made no mistake. I think the team deserved this win.
GP2 Series: Towards the end of the race, there was some rain at Turn 6. How did that affect you?
Razia: There were some drops, yes. But I did not panic. My engineers told me on the radio about the situation at Turn 6. So I was more cautious approaching that corner, but as soon as I got there, there was no rain, but some spots. And since the asphalt is very hot those spots disappeared quickly.
GP2 Series: Tyre strategy will also be key tomorrow...
Razia: We have a new set of prime tyres for tomorrow and I think everybody does. So it’s going to be down to the start, preserving the tyres in the first few laps. I’ll be starting from P8 and it is not easy because you have to push a little bit to keep the pace with those in front of you. It’s difficult. But we have a good car.
GP2 Series: You had a great start today while Valsecchi struggled. You will be starting again tomorrow next to each other.
Razia: I do not think about that really. My main goal is to finish in the points tomorrow and tried to do the best. It’s not the end of the championship tomorrow. We need to get points because it’s important. I’ve been in Gp2 for three years and I know how much each point pays off in the end. I want to finish where the points are. If we’re lucky we can get good points.
GP2 Series: Davide, P2 today. What happened at the start?
Davide Valsecchi: I almost stalled so in the end I was lucky to start at all! The team and my car deserved the win so it’s a shame that I lost it. Anyway for the team I made the pole position and the fastest lap so I need to be happy anyway. But today, It was so hot. The option tyres surprised me a bit at the start... Maybe it was a strategy that was too aggressive. Maybe for tomorrow we need to do things differently because I almost threw away everything. We were competitive in Free Practice and fantastic in qualifying and then you almost throw away everything at the start... It’s a shame. We were really competitive and I am happy about it, but Razia deserves the win because he made no mistake today. Anyway, the weekend is not finished yet. We will see tomorrow.
GP2 Series: How was the rest of the race?
Valsecchi: We lost everything at the start, but our car was strong and we came back immediately. The problem was that I was too far away from Razia and that did not help me at all. After I overtook Coletti and Leimer, we had our pitstop. After that, I was not really lucky because Razia was in front of the rest of the cars whereas I had to overtake the backmarkers. We lost more time there... Anyway, that’s the race. We were still lucky because I had a really bad start and I did not deserve to win today. I got the fastest laptime so for me and the team it’s still positive. There was so much grip on the track we were surprised about it.
GP2 Series: What about tomorrow?
Valsecchi: Usually, the Sunday race is always a bit more difficult to regain positions. It will be difficult for everyone. But the objective is to make a good start and have a perfect car. I hope to overtake one or two drivers. With the new point system, I am already in the points. If I can gain a couple more positions, it means we can score some more good points... Anyway, it’s a positive start of the season and I hope that I can make it even better tomorrow.
GP2 Series: Max, first GP2 podium for you and Carlin. How does that feel?
Max Chilton: It’s a weigh off my shoulders. It’s been a long time coming really. Last year, we had the pace to do it but we were a bit unfortunate. This year, we’ve got the whole package. The qualifying went well and I knew we had the race pace to do it. We just needed to get a good start. I did get it but then I got held off by Valsecchi because he got a bad start so I lost a couple of positions. So I had the same pace as the others for the first few laps until they started to struggle. I was a little bit better. We changed the rear tyres only because we needed to pass the cars that had jumped me at the start. We took the risk and it paid off. I was just at the same speed as the others. That was the right choice to do. I was still able to carry on with the rest of the race.
GP2 Series: How difficult was it to keep the front tyres alive until the end of the race?
Chilton: It was a little bit tricky in the last ten laps but I think Fabio (Leimer) was also struggling. And then the rain started coming and I started to get a little bit too cautious. I was a bit nervous at the end of the race but thankfully the rain held off and I could bring it home.
GP2 Series: Was it slippery at Turn 6?
Chilton: Well the team came over the radio and told me “Wet at Turn 6”. And I started to panic a little bit thinking “Which one is Turn 6?”. I was a bit nervous, but all the corners were fine. That’s when Fabio caught me up but I was still slightly faster than him.
GP2 Series: How was it though to keep Leimer at bay?
Chilton: Compared to Razia and Valsecchi I had the hardest race because up to the pitstop I had Calado behind me and he was always there. As soon as I pitted I had to do two really good laps and Fabio was behind me. He was there the whole race because he changed all four tyres so he was not struggling as much as me so it was a hard race but well worth it at the end.
GP2 Series: What about tomorrow?
Chilton: I’m a little more confident because there is no more “if”, “What tyres” and everything. You just have to get the race done. So if I get a good start again I think our car is quite good on these tyres so I think we should get a good result.