Qualifying Press Conference: Silverstone 06/07/2007 GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for qualifying in Silverstone. Joining us today in third place is Lucas di Grassi from ART, in second place we have Mike...
Qualifying Press Conference: Silverstone
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for qualifying in Silverstone. Joining us today in third place is Lucas di Grassi from ART, in second place we have Mike Conway from Super Nova International, and between them is today's poleman Andi Zuber from iSport International. Andi, congratulations on your first pole in GP2 - how important is it to have finally claimed pole?
Andi Zuber: I was fighting for it all year obviously, and I missed it two times from very close, and I've finished for the fifth time in the top three, so I'm very happy for the team and for everyone with our team. I was struggling a little bit in free practice because of the temperatures of the tyres, so we did a very good job to improve the car between free practice and qualifying.
GP2 Series: Timo has been saying all year that you are the man to beat in qualifying - does this now mean that he was right?
Andi: Timo had pole on his first lap with his first set of tyres, so it's difficult to say! We'll see over the next few races.
GP2 Series: How hard was it out there today to set pole, considering that the wind is blowing very hard and the temperature isn't there?
Andi: For me it was very hard, but for everyone it is the same - there is a lot of wind, it's very cold, and as I said before it's really hard to get the tyres to the temperature, so you've just got to do the right lap at the right time. And obviously we did a very good job.
GP2 Series: Obviously you were getting a lot of pressure towards the end of the session from these two guys - were you aware of the times they were setting in the closing minutes?
Andi: Yeah. I set my time quite early in the session, 28.2, and then I set a 28.0 and I thought that should be good enough for pole, but then I heard that Lucas and Mike were pushing again and I was already on the way to the pits, and I was thinking 'oh, it could be close', but it was okay.
GP2 Series: Congratulations once again on pole. Mike, congratulations on making it here for your first press conference of the year. You've had your best qualifying performance so far, and you've saved it for your home track - how important is it to have done so well here?
Mike Conway: Obviously very important - all year we've been pushing to get up to the front, and for some reason it's come a little bit easier here in Silverstone, with the knowledge I've had from before. I've had some bad luck over the last few races, so obviously it's good to be back up there straight away, and hopefully this will be a good turning point for us in the season.
GP2 Series: How much of a difference has your knowledge of the place made today?
Mike: For sure it's helped, because at the other circuits over the first ten laps I've had to go out and learn the circuit in free practice and then straight to qualifying, and obviously that first lap has to be straight out and that first lap has to be your ultimate lap, so for sure it helps that I can go straight out knowing the circuit so I can just work on the car this time. But the set up was very good from the first lap, so there wasn't a lot we had to do from that until qualifying, so I was just happy with the whole balance. Obviously it does help knowing the circuit, but I'm just happy with the whole way it's gone so far this weekend.
GP2 Series: I guess also you've driven here in most conditions - how much of an advantage will that give you in the race tomorrow?
Mike: We've won here in the wet and the dry, so for sure that will help, but all these guys are experienced and they know what to do to drive these cars quick, so I think it will help for maybe the first few laps in the race, but then we will have to wait and see. I'm happy to be P2 - it's a front row start, so we just have to make a good start and it should be good.
GP2 Series: You've had a lot of bad luck so far this year - what do you put that down to, and were you surprised that you haven't maybe done as well as you'd hoped before the season started?
Mike: Yeah, it's a tough championship with a lot of strong drivers, so we knew it was going to be a strong challenge anyway, but we've had some mechanical problems but Andi's been in a similar position - it the six races I think he's only started two of them or something, so these things happen but we try and turn it around as soon as possible the next weekend, and that's what we're doing.
GP2 Series: Front row start tomorrow - do you drive conservatively and bank some points, or do you go straight out for the win?
Mike: No, we've just got to see - we've just got to see where we are after the start, and it's all about strategy and what goes on during the race. But we are going for the win, and we want to get on the podium and get a few points obviously, but if there's a win there we'll take it.
GP2 Series: Well done. Lucas, congratulations on third today - are you happy with that?
Lucas di Grassi: Yes! I'm happy it's the fourth of fifth time, I think almost all the times we are starting on the second row, and we haven't won any points for pole or anything but it's a very good consistency - we lose on average just to Andi, I think. So I'm happy to be again in a position to fight for the race, and the team did a great job.
GP2 Series: You've been consistently on the second row as you say, but you also seem to be on or around pole every time in the last few minutes and then just get pipped for pole - is there something you put that down to?
Lucas: No not really, I think iSport has just done a fantastic job this year to get their cars ready for qualifying, and they are just unbeatable at the moment. We are trying really hard to close the gap, and there is not much we can do - it's just a matter of strategy and where you put your tyres and set your time. I think maybe we just do it a little early and then they can come later and do a faster lap than we do.
GP2 Series: Obviously Timo's not at the front for tomorrow's race - do you think that will make much of a difference for the start and give you an advantage?
Lucas: I don't think so - I think every driver is there to win the race, including me, and Timo starts just behind me so for sure he will try to win the race like everyone else, so I will just push and try to win.
GP2 Series: Andi, obviously you've been fast all year in qualifying but had a lot of trouble with the starts - how much pressure does that put on you for tomorrow's start?
Andi: I never think about pressure, because pressure you have always in motorsport and in racing, so I never think about that. Okay, so I had some problems with the gears, and then in Magny Cours with the brain failure of both drivers [laughs]. We'll do better this time, for sure!
-credit: gp2 series