Continued from part 1 THE MODERATOR: And also joining us third-place finisher Graham Rahal, who earned his second career podium finish. Graham, this weekend has to be classified as your best weekend to date so far in Champ Car. GRAHAM ...
Continued from part 1
THE MODERATOR: And also joining us third-place finisher Graham Rahal, who earned his second career podium finish.
Graham, this weekend has to be classified as your best weekend to date so far in Champ Car.
GRAHAM RAHAL: Yeah, I mean, definitely, it's been a solid weekend for the whole Medi|Zone team. The race today was another good performance. Thought I had a good start, but then when I got alongside Justin, realized that Neel was inside of him. So then, you know, kind of the first half of the race was chasing them around. And then pretty much we just saved as much fuel as possible, kind of played into our hands.
Actually lost radio contact at the pits at the end of the first stint, so that made it difficult for me because, you know, obviously being a rookie, never having been in a situation like this before, you know, it put a lot of emphasis on watching the pit board and stuff, things I've never really done before.
And then, you know, at the same time during the second stint, we were extremely quick. We saved a lot of fuel at the beginning. But once we decided to go, we caught right up to the leaders.
As Sebastien said, I mean, we definitely went a bit further on fuel than both Will and Justin. And then, you know, we got out in front of Will and basically just kind of plugged away. Thought we had a good enough car to get by Justin, but at the end there just couldn't quite hang in.
Still it's a good result to be in third. I'm pretty happy to be here.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Graham.
We'll open it up to questions.
Q: Sebastien, you're in a little more comfortable position as far as the championship is concerned, about 20 points. How does that feel?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, I mean, obviously it's a lot better to be chased than to chase people in the championship. So, you know, we're in a better position. But it's far from being over. You know, it's not a race advantage. There's still a lot of races in front of us. It feels very good. We could just once again bounce back from a weekend that was going to be ours again in Toronto, but for different reasons didn't. Then we end up coming back here and winning, so it's in a pretty good fashion.
Very happy for the guys and very happy for the whole McDonald's team. I think, you know, now we hopefully going to be a stretch where we gonna keep on trying to lay down some good results, and that's all we need to do now, just finish the races and take the wins when it's ours and just finish when we can't win, I guess.
It would be good to be a little more consistent, and that's what we're going to try and just do that.
Q: Isn't this supposed to be a track where a lot of stuff happens Was ? there a fuel strategy race going on ?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It was no race.
JUSTIN WILSON: I think what would be really good is if they could somehow give you the information that we have, which is our fuel strategy. So we're playing quite an interesting game inside the car and on the timing stand of how to win this race. Unfortunately, that doesn't come across to outside of the team.
But, you know, we're trying to guess at what everyone else is doing on mileage, trying to either keep up or go a lap further doing the same pace. There's a whole game going on there that you don't really see.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, I guess, you know, we tried and worked this steering wheel as hard as we could. I'm telling you, towards the end, there was no fuel saving any more. I guess the last two stints, it was nothing, it was all out. But it doesn't make it much easier to pass really.
I think it definitely is a place that the quicker you go, the harder it gets to pass. You know, turn nine this year has been I think even worse than it was in the past because now it's faster but it's still not flat, so basically you just can't hang on behind a guy and you can't get a run for turn 10. It's pretty tricky, you know. When I was behind both Will and Justin, Will was struggling obviously, and we were behind traffic. So we were all trying to save fuel still to, you know, keep the target because otherwise you miss and you just lose all the advantage you've been trying to build the whole stint.
So I guess you can only determine who's the quickest on the track at that point by knowing at equal pace who is going the furthest on fuel. That's pretty much what says who's got what. And after that, usually after the first stint, it kind of gets going. But this time it wasn't because there was another target to try and hang out and stay with him and good further.
It's tough. It's really tough. But I don't think there is much we can do about that unless we get tire warmers and everybody goes as fast going out of the pits as the guys who are at the end of their stint. It's not going to be possible to let it all out.
GRAHAM RAHAL: I think they said it all. I mean, but, I think, you know, something for me at least, once you -- fuel saving for me is something different than what I've ever done before. And I think that I find at times, once you get into a fuel-saving rhythm, for me I think -- for some people they would say it's easier to make mistakes, but for me, you know, the pace at which you're at, it's nowhere near as difficult as if you're pushing all out.
Now, I think, for instance, if there was no fuel saving, and you were just pushing as hard as you could at all times, more mistakes would happen, because certainly at the end, as Sebastien was saying, I mean, I was pushing as hard as I could, and Justin and I are both sliding around. It's miraculous that neither of us made a mistake.
But that's how it works. But at the end of the day, I think if every stint was like that, there would be more issues.
Q: Justin, take us through your start.
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, you know, I didn't make the best of starts. As we got going, I got a little bit of wheel spin. Saw Graham come up on the left, and said okay. I think Neel Jani came up on the right. The gap started to close. At that point I was just hoping that Graham realized that we were three-wide and I had nowhere to go. It was to the point where I couldn't even back off because we were that close. If I backed off, it would have got messy as well.
Fortunately Graham did the right thing and showed a lot of maturity and we had to let Neel go by on the inside.
Q: Did the paint on the track effect your start Justin, did you see Will slide?
JUSTIN WILSON: I was pretty busy with my own situation. I didn't see Sebastien's move (laughter).
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I didn't see. All I heard was Will just spinning the wheels like crazy, and then that was that. Just went by. Yeah, that sound felt really good, I have to say (laughter).
Q: Will said he was not allowed to look at the track prior to the race to see where the grid was laid out. Did the paint effect your starts?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, I don't know. I mean, I think there were some concerns about the paint obviously. I don't know if it's the whole story or just plain tried too hard and got too much wheel spin as a consequence. Whether it's the paint or something else, I don't know.
JUSTIN WILSON: I think from where I was, I was behind Will, and we both got a little bit too much wheel spin. Right at the point where we're trying to sort that out and manage the wheel spin, we hit the paint. The paint on this track is very slippy. It's not like on a normal race circuit, they use a special paint that you don't slide on. But every time we went over the paint as we were going around a lap, the car slides. It definitely started spinning the wheels again in a big fashion.
Q: Sebastien how did you ensure the point for fastest lap of the race?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I mean, basically Craig went on the radio and told me with had it by half a second. I was kind of cruising around for about, I don't know, eight, ten laps. And then I saw Justin kind of coming back a bit. So I was like, well, you know, if he pulls a flyer at the end, it would be too bad to lose it. So I did another couple of laps pushing, used the 'push to pass' on one, and did a little extra effort.
But I didn't want to push it too hard either because it's towards the end of the race, the car was getting a little hard to drive with the rubber, and the track is, you know, very tough to read because it's very grippy, but as soon as you put one wheel off the line, you just start sliding all over. My hands were shaking a bit, so I didn't want to lose the steering wheel and make a big mistake. It's one of these compromises where you want to get the point but you don't want to risk it all and lose the win.
Q: Sebastien, did you practice driving around the outside thinking that would be the way to get by him?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No, no. It's always a possibility. It's pretty wide out there for turn one. I guess you don't want to have someone, you know, trying to pull a move on you from the inside. It's still the preferred line, you know, if you have to make a move. But the truth is, when you have someone getting a better start and jumping you, there's not much you can do. The guy who carries more momentum, you can't really -- if you risk it, all you're going to do is you're going to run into him.
No, I think it was pretty clear for me that I would have picked left on the start. I mean, we definitely look at that every race now because of the Cleveland situation. But I think it's also up to Race Control to kind of pay a little closer attention to where they draw the grid because obviously, you know, it's affecting the outcome of the start, so that's a little bit of a shame.
I'm not saying they should penalize the guy on second place, but it would be good to try and have equal chances for everybody on the racetrack.