GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's race here in Spa-Francorchamps. Joining us today are race winner Alvaro Parente from Ocean Racing Technology, in second place we have Nico Hulkenberg from ART Grand...
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's race here in Spa-Francorchamps. Joining us today are race winner Alvaro Parente from Ocean Racing Technology, in second place we have Nico Hulkenberg from ART Grand Prix, and in third place we have Lucas di Grassi from Racing Engineering. Starting with you Alvaro, congratulations on a fantastic win, the first win for the team: how does it feel?
Alvaro Parente: It feels amazing, especially after having such a good pace today, which was incredible, and to take pole position yesterday and being so fast today is amazing: we couldn't ask for more. I am very happy, and it's the first win for the team, a new team, and we have come here with a very good group of people: we really deserve it, and maybe should have had it earlier, or at least more podiums earlier! Like I said yesterday, accidents happen, so today winning the race is a reward for us, but we will keep fighting and doing our best.
GP2 Series: It looked like you had a slower start than Nico but had the inside line and could hold the lead, and then you just pulled away: were you surprised by your pace at all today?
Alvaro: I was very confident that I had a very fast car, and when it's like that I know no one can pass me: today was that day. We had incredible pace in the second sector, and maybe the start wasn't so good as you said, but Nico's wasn't the best too and I was on the inside for the first corner, all clean, and I kept in front.
GP2 Series: It looked as though you were just setting fastest laps for the opening part of the race: were you at all worried about your tyres?
Alvaro: Not really: at the beginning we were very fast and pulling away as you said, using everything I had, using my car and the tyres but not ruining them, and it was fine, no degradation or anything.
GP2 Series: You had a few safety car periods: how did they go for you?
Alvaro: When the first safety car came out I had a big gap, but it was no big problem because I knew I had the pace: the only problem was the oil on the track at the end, that made it a bit harder. There was oil on the line for the whole lap, and that made life a bit harder, but I didn't risk anything. That the only real problem during the race: safety cars and everything were normal.
GP2 Series: You have obviously spoken to Tiago since the race: what did he say to you?
Alvaro: He is very happy, like we all are, and just said it's amazing! Many congratulations to the team, who have been fantastic: my engineer and I have done a good job this weekend, and hopefully will be continuing tomorrow.
GP2 Series: [Pause for standing ovation] I think it's probably the most popular win we've had all year! Although you've have been good too, Nico! [laughs] Congratulations on second today: it seemed you couldn't quite get him at the start, and then he just went away: would that be fair to say?
Nico Hulkenberg: Yeah, quite a good getaway but as you said he had the inside line and unfortunately he didn't brake too late so I had to stay P2, and from then on his pace was very strong and I struggled a bit to get the temperature and the tyre pressure at the beginning, and he just made that gap. From then on it was a pretty smooth race, and there was no much happening for me.
GP2 Series: I imagine the team told you that Petrov pulled off: after that was it just a case of holding position and seeing if anything happened?
Nico: Yeah sure. They informed me, and I kept on pushing but safely, and trying to get him a bit under pressure. As he said, when the oil was on the track it was a bit tricky, and even more for him because he was the first car to arrive but I could see how his car was like and adapt my braking and my lines around the corners. But they definitely deserved to win today: they were the quickest, they did a great job, and congratulations to them.
GP2 Series: Good job today. Lucas, congratulations on third, although it was a close run thing I hear: what happened at the end of the race?
Lucas di Grassi: Yeah, it was a good first part of the race and then dropped a little bit of performance after a while, and I had a small mechanical issue on the car on the last lap under the safety car, but I was able to finish third. But I think more important than that is both accidents we had today, with Coletti and the mechanic from Trident [Vasco Rossi], are both okay, and then also for my podium I am quite happy.
GP2 Series: Absolutely. At the start you got away well, and got past Nunes somewhere, although we didn't see it: talk us through the opening lap from your perspective.
Lucas: I had quite a good start, and then after Eau Rouge I had quite a good exit and I overtook Nunes on the outside, and after that I was a bit quicker than Nico at the beginning but with the car drop off that we had it was impossible to keep the pace. So after the tyre drop off we had it was difficult to keep up with them, and for the last few laps I was just trying to hold Maldonado, who was much, much faster than I was: I defended the best way I could, and it was enough to finish on the podium.
GP2 Series: It was quite a good fight you had with Maldonado: had the problem already arisen by then, or was he just catching you?
Lucas: I think, and we have to see the data, that it was just tyre degradation: it was the same as Valencia Race 1, for example, where in the beginning I was quite good but I started to lose pace by halfway after the pitstop, and I was hold Alvaro until the gearbox failed. This is one of the reasons I think I didn't score more points this year, and it's a shame but the way that it is, and I think now I'm nine points from Petrov, I will try to get him: Nico is a bit far away and out of touch, so I will just try to win as many races as I can.
GP2 Series: Nevertheless, after the problems for the team of last week I guess a podium is a pretty good way to come back for you and the team here?
Lucas: Yeah, after what happened last week, and what happened yesterday with the penalty and everything, I am pretty satisfied with a podium.