Valencia SC: Qualifying press conference

GP2 Series: Giorgio, first time in Valencia and you're on pole: how was it? Giorgio Pantano: Yeah, I'm satisfied: it's the first time here for everybody and being pole means we had a good fight, particularly between me and Maldonado, and it's...

GP2 Series: Giorgio, first time in Valencia and you're on pole: how was it?

Giorgio Pantano: Yeah, I'm satisfied: it's the first time here for everybody and being pole means we had a good fight, particularly between me and Maldonado, and it's good to be on pole. We made a good job and the team are working very hard, we set up the car very well, and I think we should be good for tomorrow.

GP2 Series: Everybody in this paddock always refers to you and your experience, saying that you have so much experience at this level, but nobody has been here before: how does that experience tell at a brand new circuit?

Giorgio: I don't know! I don't think that the experience makes a difference at a new circuit: everyone is new to this circuit, and probably I'm the quickest to learn the circuit, the better one for learning a circuit. I think this is because it's coming from me, it's something I have inside, and all the drive I have is coming from inside me.

GP2 Series: You have been looking very confident all day: were you always sure that you would do the job here?

Giorgio: Well sure, you're never sure, but I was confident with the car, with the circuit and everything: I know what I have to do to make the difference, what I have to do to push, and because I have the feeling with car, that is the difference probably.

GP2 Series: And starting from the front of the race tomorrow presumably makes you feel even better, I guess?

Giorgio: For sure. We know when it is a straight circuit how it is to start in the middle of the grid: it's better to start at the front!

GP2 Series: Pastor, great job today after a disappointing free practice to come back and claim second for tomorrow's grid: how was it in the car today?

Pastor Maldonado: Qualifying was good, for sure! I tried to do the pole, and it was so close! It was really difficult you know, and the circuit is new: as you saw, at the end of the session we improve a lot, because we get more confidence when the circuit becomes more grippy , but the most important thing is we got more confidence with the circuit, because it's very slippery. It's new, and for sure when we have a totally new circuit then we'll be improving all the time, especially the first day: the cars, drivers, everything. And the circuit too. So I'm quite confident for tomorrow because second place is starting from the clean side of the straight, and I'm very quick in the race and very constant: the race is going to be very long and hard because of the temperature, and everything can happen tomorrow, but I'm very confident.

GP2 Series: This morning you had a bit of a problem: what happened to cause it, and did the damage give you any trouble in qualifying?

Pastor: No, no, I stopped just to be safe when I broke the rear wing, but the car had no damage except for the rear wing, and we replaced that and the car was just the same.

GP2 Series: How hard is it to come to a new circuit and to get up on the front row?

Pastor: It's always difficult: Giorgio has a lot of experience, and we were so close! We've been here with the GTs, but it's completely different: in the beginning of free practice I was completely lost because it's so different! There is such a difference between GT cars and Formula cars, especially the speed in the straight lines and to get the reference, but after some laps I got the reference and I felt always, always confident on the circuit: because it's so slippery it's very difficult to have a good way, a good line, and at this kind of circuit I am always good because it's very difficult for the concentration, because if you lose a little bit the line then you lose the lap, because there's no grip off the line.

GP2 Series: What do you think will happen tomorrow?

Pastor: For sure I am going to try to win: I'm very strong, the race is very long and anything can happen. It's going to be very difficult for safety cars, crashes and that sort of problem, but I think if we manage that we can do very good, and for sure Pantano is quick but we are very similar, and I will try to be more constant that him. I think I can do it, because it's very hot and I'm very good when it's hot.

GP2 Series: And he's got more to lose than you...

Pastor: Yeah!

GP2 Series: Vitaly, P3 today in quite a good performance: happy with your job today in Valencia?

Vitaly Petrov: Yeah of course, I am happy but not 100%, because we found traffic at the last corner and we lost 3 or 4 tenths because of the car in front of me, but we are happy: the team did a big job for this race.

GP2 Series: You've been fast here all day: what do you put that down to?

Vitaly: I don't know: we found the car that is good to drive is feels good for this track, because this morning we found a different way but we understood a lot of things because it wasn't as quick, and now we've found some other things that worked to improve it.

GP2 Series: It's a difficult one to get ready for, because no one has been here before: how do you prepare yourself for a race like this?

Vitaly: I don't know: I did GT but this didn't really help except to know the corners, and it would be enough to do 5 or 10 laps to understand the track but no more, because the GT car is a completely different driving style. But similarly we did analyse, walk around and discuss the circuit, which made a difference I think.

GP2 Series: It's a long circuit: were you surprised that there was so much traffic?

Vitaly: Yeah, there was such a lot of traffic! I didn't do my quickest lap with new tyres, which means we lost so many laps with the new tyres because there was huge traffic, and they just didn't respect the quickest cars: they just stayed in the middle and didn't move. I think some of them were really stupid, because I almost crashed with Zuber or Maldonado, one of the Piquet cars.

GP2 Series: But still P3 is a good place to start: what are your thoughts for the race tomorrow?

Vitaly: It's a good position for a start: well, it's not a good position for a start, but it's better than behind! Everything will happen at the start, I think.


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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Pastor Maldonado , Vitaly Petrov