Asia: Abu Dhabi II: Race 2 press conference

Thoughts from Valsecchi, Herck and Ricci GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the last press conference of this weekend. Joining us tonight is winner of the sprint race Davide Valsecchi for iSport International. Second and for the first...

Thoughts from Valsecchi, Herck and Ricci

GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the last press conference of this weekend. Joining us tonight is winner of the sprint race Davide Valsecchi for iSport International. Second and for the first time in the press conference is Michael Herck for DPR. And third place is Giacomo Ricci also for DPR. Starting with you Davide: congratulations on another splendid weekend. But tonight's race didn't start so good with you losing some positions at the start. How did it feel after that?

Davide Valsecchi: To make things right I about immediately lost two positions because I had a bad start and at the first corner I think I was eighth. But then in the first few corners I regained two positions on my team-mate, Turvey, and I was fourth or fifth after one or two laps. After that I thought I am here close to the top so if I can take care of the tyres maybe I can fight at the end for the victory. Anyway it was not so easy because the yellow cars there were really fast and competitive and so at the beginning to keep their pace was not so easy. I was on the limit and it was not so easy to cool down the tyres and take care of them. I had to push and at the end it was not really brilliant when I overtook Ricci, in fact I needed two laps. Ricci was a good defender and so I had to fight a lot with him and I lost some time from Herck. I said maybe again today I finish second. But anyway in the last five laps I said I want to believe in it as also yesterday I lost the race making the wrong overtaking move, or maybe the right I don't know we will have to check. Anyway I believe in it until the end and two laps to the end I got the victory and it was really nice, really good.

GP2 Series: When you were third you were slowing down a bit and then once passed you Giacomo you were going faster and faster with each lap was it because of the tyre degradation or maybe because it started to rain a little bit?

Valsecchi: I don't know. Sometimes you have to read the race and so when I was behind Ricci and Herck they were faster, in comparison with the others they were incredible, because behind me there was no one. So I said they are pushing, they are pushing really hard and they can keep it until the end, I don't really know. I said maybe I can have some chance in the end in the last five or six laps. When I read on the pit board there was eight laps to the end I was not so far away form Ricci, and I saw that in the fast corner he had a big oversteer and I said maybe it is the right signal, the right mark that maybe today it is possible so I attack Ricci immediately. But anyway to overtake Ricci is always hard, believe me he is one of the best defenders in the championship. I lost two laps fighting with him and Herck was away and there I was thinking it was not so easy because also Herck was fast. My team told me you have gained two tenths and I said hey two tenths, I am three seconds behind! It was not enough, but anyway I saw that I was gaining, gaining, gaining, gaining and you start to believe in it, and start to be confident and you start to be really patient and at the end I got it with one laps advantage.

GP2 Series: We are now at the middle of the championship. How confident are you about Bahrain?

Valsecchi: I don't know. I am confident about the car, I know that we have a great car. I feel every time I am competitive there on the top three, then in the race we are always really good. Also yesterday it was incredibly quick but not so easy to overtake. On the main straight with sixth gear a bit too short every time we hit the limiter and it was not so easy using the slip stream. I am really confident about the car and also in Bahrain I hope I can make good results and fight for the podium. The podium is a great emotion, but then when you are at the podium you are looking always to the victory. Anyway when you start eighth and on the first lap you are fifth you are focusing on fourth position and not the victory. Lap by lap you can build a victory but at the beginning just go forwards.

I have to say thank you to my team because my car was incredible and I think it was the best of the paddock. I say thanks to this track. In the night it is amazing and with the two long straights is really easy to overtake. One of the most fun circuits that I have driven with Spa. Perfect for me so thanks very much.

GP2 Series: Michael, you had the perfect start today and you led the race until two laps before the end. But we see you for the first time on the podium after two challenging GP2 seasons, so this must be really satisfying, right?

Michael Herck: Yes we have done a really good job me and my team during all the weekend. We have done a lot of hard work. I think we have a really competitive start for this season. I made a really good start. Unfortunately it is only the qualifying that is not so good so that is a big important improvement I need to do to be sure to be in a top position in any race.

GP2 Series: What do you need to do to improve in qualifying?

Herck: For sure performance. I don't know, maybe confidence in me. We have to find a solution in any case because you see yesterday I finished seventh and I started 19th which was a really good race. Today I had the chance to fight in the front with the others. I hope to continue doing this. But I think now the car is not perfect, but it is getting me up there in front with the others.

GP2 Series: Do you think this podium will give you the boost and the confidence you need in qualifying?

Herck: I hope now, but for the moment I cannot tell you yes because I nearly had some good results last year but unfortunately it was not points.

GP2 Series: Back to tonight's race: when you saw Davide behind you what did you think?

Herck: I thought it would be really, really hard. I had a little problem with my downshift so I had to think more how downshift and not to have problems and not to brake hard and late and I knew it would be really hard. Two laps before the end when he overtook I didn't resist too much as to have a crash was stupid.

GP2 Series: You wanted to secure a podium?

Herck: Yes, but I was a little bit slower than Davide but quicker than the others.

GP2 Series: You scored your first podium and first points ever in GP2 here in Abu Dhabi. Are you looking forward to going to Bahrain now?

Herck: Yes.

GP2 Series: Thank you Michael. Giacomo, congratulations on your first podium too, it must be a great feeling.

Giacomo Ricci: Honestly this week is unbelievable for me and especially for DPR. Me and Michael I think we did a really good job. The car right now looks really strong and I hope we can continue to work really hard together with the team to keep improving. Okay Valsecchi was flying today but the rest of the guys stayed behind us. I did a pretty good start, nothing special, but I made a really good overtaking move in the first corner on Chilton and then I overtook Rossi. The balance, especially at the start, of my car was really , really good, but then when I stayed too many laps so close to Michael I started to feel a big understeer in the front and I think I have also a little bit of graining on the tyres. Also in the middle of the race when I heard on the radio 'okay, okay both of you are safe Valsecchi behind is not catching you any more' after this was finished he was behind me and I said on the radio don't talk any more please! I tried to block him but he was too fast. I think it is good it is a big emotion for me to be in the top three. It is the first time for me and also yesterday we did a really good job. The team for me is really strong. For me every day driving a GP2 car in the Asia series is a real pleasure. A great day for me and my DPR car.

-source: gp2series

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Series FIA F2
Drivers Michael Herck , Davide Valsecchi , Giacomo Ricci