Friday Post Qualifying Press Conference Transcript
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the Toronto Grand Prix, first qualifying press conference. With us here on the podium we have our third place qualifier Justin Wilson.
Justin, looked like you had a chance there to be the quickest out there in qualifying, but then had a little trouble late in the session.
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, everything was working well. Really pleased with the progress we made during that qualifying session and through this morning. Car was feeling good. I felt like we had a chance of going for pole.
Getting quicker every lap. But I think, like Oriol, we got stuck in traffic, could never put a good run together. One lap, back off for two laps, one more lap. It's very hard to put a lap time in around a track like this.
My last lap, my second to last lap, I was up a couple of 10ths, like a 10th and a half. I spun off in the last corner. Just trying a bit too hard.
I don't think it was ultimately quite quick enough to challenge the front row, but it would have been nice to look a bit closer.
Got to be pleased with the progress we made. We stuck with the standard Bridgestone tires. I think we got a pretty good balance in the CDW car.
THE MODERATOR: Our second-place qualifier today is Oriol Servia.
Oriol, how was it for you?
ORIOL SERVIA: First of all, always frustrating to end up two-hundredths behind Sebastien. But, to be honest, very happy to be in the press conference. It's been a while. Last few races we really didn't have the pace. Very frustrating being in a team like Forsythe and just not being quick.
Friday to Saturday in Mont-Tremblant, we did a big change in the setup and the car got a lot better. We couldn't show it because it was raining Saturday and in the race. The car is very good. The basic issue we have is on the brakes.
Really struggling with the brakes right now. But balance-wise, we're very happy with the car.
THE MODERATOR: And our provisional polesitter and winner of one championship point, which now puts him into the series championship lead with 146 points, is Sebastien Bourdais.
Sebastien, you got that quick lap by a couple hundredths over Oriol. How is the track?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I don't know if it's just me, but it was slippery out there. Man, yeah, I think we were just talking it over with Justin. It was a big sliding party. It was a lot of fun, but obviously when you start sliding in between walls it can get pretty hairy out there.
Between touching and hitting a wall, it's a fine line. Managed to do that today. But we're going to have to make some progress for tomorrow.
Just a good effort from the McDonald's team. I think the conditions changed quite a bit between the afternoon and the morning. It's very good to be back on top here. It's a fun event. It's a fun course. To be able to assure yourself a front row start spot, it's a big advantage. We'll try and capitalize on that tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q: Sebastien, it seems when you're in a conflict with other drivers or being challenged that you step it up. Are you conscious of doing that?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: What are you talking about?
ORIOL SERVIA: I was going to say, tell me when he's not (laughter).
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No, I mean, it might be the way you perceive it. But I think what makes our strength is the consistency in our efforts. It's very rare to find ourselves in the hole. That's what makes that team most of the time better than the others.
You know, it's all to the credit of the team. Every time we unload the car it's pretty much right on the money, then I've just got to do my job from there, which isn't always easy. But it's a lot easier when you start from a close car than a car that's way, way off.
Just what happened last weekend happened last weekend. We're off to a new event. We're just trying to make the best of it and move on. I think it obviously seems to be a battle for the championship. Both of our contenders today, Will didn't end up running much, and Doornbos is P4, so he's not far off.
First effort for a rookie around here is pretty good already.
We're going to have to stay on top of our game the whole time to come out of that battle ahead, I guess.
Q: Justin, do you fell that you made a good decision not going out on the Bridgestone Reds today?
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I think we discussed it before the decision. Do we go with reds today or do we save two sets tomorrow so we can run back to back? I felt it was best to run back to back tomorrow because tomorrow is going to be the quickest day.
Maybe, you know, we had a chance at getting pole. That's just how it goes. I think this is a better strategy for tomorrow when the track's going to be quicker and for the rest of the weekend. That's what we decided to do. It might bite us yet, but hopefully not.
Q: Sebastien, two questions for you. Have you talked to Robert Doornbos yet and what is your interpretation of blocking?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I have no interpretation of the rule. The rule is very clear. It's hold your line. More than anything else, don't react to somebody's move. So I think it's pretty self-explained really.
I didn't talk to Robert. Like I said, you know, it's been discussed. He knows what I think. He knows what he's done. Move on now. I had the discussion with Tony and he was very clear. He was just frustrated that he couldn't find from the feed that he had the instances of the incidents. But, you know, that's okay. It's past now anyway.
Q: Oriol, you were on top there for a while, looked like you had it, are you disappointed?
ORIOL SERVIA: I thought I had it. As I said, to be honest, it feels really good to be a contender again. I wanted the front row. I still think we have a chance tomorrow. It just feels really good to be in a position to make a difference.
When you are really slow, no matter what you try, you're basically slow. It just feels good to be able to make the right or wrong choices, but at least to be up there.
Q: Oriol, it's quite a difference for you going to Tremblant last week at a track you didn't know and coming here in Toronto at a track that you do know, can you talk about that?
ORIOL SERVIA: Well, I mean, the more you do, the more it helps. It's obvious. I honestly think the fact that I had not been there didn't really hurt me that much by the end of the weekend. I mean, I think if you ask any of the three of us, we all three, after three, four laps we already know a track.
It was more, as you said, I lost the Friday session, practice. I had a problem in qualifying. It rained Saturday, and the cars were not that fast. Paul has won many races in Mont-Tremblant in the past, but Friday was really struggling. We changed the car completely for Saturday.
In the 15-minute qualifying, Paul was like hundredths behind Sebastien. I think since that moment, we really made the car a lot better.
Q: Justin you won here two years ago, does that give you confidence coming here?
JUSTIN WILSON: I mean, having confidence from winning here in 2005 is good. The pole last year. But the main thing is getting the balance you like from the car. You know, we managed to find it today. This morning we were second quickest, but I didn't like the car at all.
The lap times were pretty slow. I think everyone's evolved a lot since this morning. Fortunately we managed to do the same.
I just like the way the car felt in qualifying. I can put a good lap in. I think there's plenty more left for tomorrow. So it's more just feeling comfortable with the balance.
Q: Sebastien, can you talk a bit about the track?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, I think the opening comment I had, I think the track got a little more slippery this afternoon. The temperature got warmer, then the grip -- after a certain limit, you start to lose grip despite the fact that the rubber is going down. It's grippier, but it slides quite a bit.
It's a fine, fine line when you start trying to make changes between morning and then the afternoon. You try and apply and compare things on different tracks. It's always a little tricky.
It's the way it usually is on a street course. It always starts getting a little better. Usually warmer in the afternoon. That's the way it pretty much is everywhere.
Q: Justin, there is a saying that says "horses for courses" could there be one that says "cars for courses"?
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I think I worked out what this track requires from a driver. I think that's part of it. This setup is different to what we've run before.
It seems like we had an intelligent guess at a setup that was, you know, close to the mark. Like Sebastien said, you roll the car off the truck first thing, you're reasonably quick, your weekend goes a lot smoother than if you're struggling way behind, you're a second off the pace. You got to try something. The weekend just gets very desperate.
Here we managed to come up with a reasonable setup, just keep working on it since then and improving it, getting the balance back. I don't know exactly why we've been at the top of the time sheets for the last couple years, but, you know, I think it's down to the way the car feels at this track.
Q: Oriol, because Newman/Haas/Lanigan is so successful what does it take to beat them?
ORIOL SERVIA: Well, you know, I think in this series, actually in any sport, when you have somebody winning as much as they have, it just takes a lot to beat them.
Because if you have as good a day as they have, they still have four years of winning weekend after weekend. They're able to get that extra two-hundredths from anywhere.
To beat them, you really have to do more than they are doing. Just by doing the same, you don't beat them.
I just think it's natural. It's just going to take time for anybody to really beat them. Last year A.J. was actually able to beat them a lot of times, but I think everybody will agree it was very special circumstances how it all happened, and somehow it gave him and the whole team the confidence basically in the race.
But in normal circumstances, I think it's going to take a lot to beat them. Just him and his engineer have been working together for four years now, since '03. It's hard.
Q: Is it a mental herdal to try to beat them?
ORIOL SERVIA: Well, I mean, you know, it makes you more eager actually. You really want to beat them. But, again, you got to take it step by step and get closer. They are beatable. They are beatable. We'll show it.
THE MODERATOR: We'll break off for one-on-ones. Thank you.