Quotes from Jules, Romain and Davide
GP2 Asia Series: Welcome to Abu Dhabi Race 1 Press conference. Joining us this evening race winner Jules Bianchi at Lotus ART, in second place Romain Grosjean at Dams and in third place Davide Valsecchi at Team AirAsia. Starting with you, Jules. Congratulations for your first win! GP2 race winner... How does that sound?
Jules Bianchi: Really good! This is my first win since 2009 so it was really important for me to begin the season like that. We were always competitive yesterday. This time we worked a lot on the race pace because it was not so good during the tests. We imporved a lot. I think Romain was really quick in the beginning. I tried to make a gap and then I saw that he was still behind so I just managed my tyres to push at the end and finish first. I really want to thank the team because we worked a lot and finally I won a race in GP2, so that's good.
GP2 Asia Series: Romain put pressure on you for the entire race. How did that feel from the car?
Jules: I was not easy... I had some locking when I braked hard so I saw Romain every time catching up with me. He was pushing hard I think because he made some mistakes so I managed a gap and at the end I think his tyres were a bit less good than me. I could push and managed a good gap.
GP2 Asia Series: You took the lead at the start and quickly after that there was a red flag that lasted for almost a half hour. How did you manage that time waiting for the race to resume?
Jules: I just jumped out of the car because I don't like to stay in it when we are stopped. I did not think about the race in order to avoid the pressure. Anyway, I was first, I was in the best position. I was just thinking about the re-start and that's it.
GP2 Asia Series: Talking about the re-start, you managed it really well...
Jules: It was not easy because the safety car was going very slowly. I had to slow down quite a lot before the safety car line. It was the same for everybody but it was not easy.
GP2 Asia Series: You seem much happier than yesterday.
Jules: Yesterday I knew that I had the pace for the pole but Romain was quicker, I mean he did a best qualifying than me. So I was a bit disappointed. But today I am happy because this is my first win in GP2 and we start well the season. It's good for everybody. I'm really happy for that.
GP2 Asia Series: What about tomorrow?
Jules: Well, I don't think it is possible to overtake. We have a good pace, but... We will see. I'll try to take a good start and to finish in the points for sure. We will see. Anything is possible.
GP2 Asia Series: Thank you Jules and congratulations again. Romain, what happened at the start?
Romain Grosjean: I don't know. I think there is an issue with the clutch. We have to change it tonight. It is a new car. Everybody is learning about it and unfortunately this happened at the worse time so it didn't start very well.
GP2 Asia Series: I saw you shake your head when Jules mentioned earlier that he did not think it was possible to overtake here. You confirmed that today...
Romain: Ask Fernando about that (Laughs). It is just a nightmare here to try and overtake. Plus there is no more skirt on the GP2 car. So when you lose the downforce you use more your tyres. We had a better pace today. I couldn't show it because I could not pass Jules. Plus, we were struggling a lot during testing, trying to understand the car so we did not do a lot of race simulations. Everybody was thinking that during the test we were playing a game, hiding our true pace, but no, really, we were completely lost. We were trying to find the performance, but we were P22, P23. So now we came back at the top for qualy and we have a good pace so I guess we are getting there.
GP2 Asia Series: You pitted before Jules...
Romain: ... which is normal when you are following a car. I knew I could not pass Jules so I asked to pit before him and see if I could pass him like that. But I had some issue with the clutch again at the pit-stop. This is the race... Tomorrow will be another story and we are working quite a lot with the team to improve and to fight for the title. P2 is not a bad result for a first race. We are taking the team on the way back to the top so it is a good start.
GP2 Asia Series: Thank you Romain. Davide, you wanted to score a podium for your team this weekend. Job done?
Davide Valsecchi: Yes it was perfect. This weekend has been really good so far from free practice to qualy and now this podium. I really want to thank my team who gave me a good car today. It was really good. It's a shame because three quarter into the race it was too difficult to catch up with the leaders. It seemed like we were not strong enough today to catch them anyway. We made a good start. I was a bit worried about it. Then there was a red flag. It was quite a difficult situation for us. It seemed like I was quite competitive to give the pace, but in the end, the car felt less good. So we will try next time to be quick beginning to end. But it is good be there at the top.
GP2 Asia Series: The end of the race was quite eventful for your with van der Garde and Ericsson catching up with you and your pace was pretty slow by then...
Davide: It was not really easy to understand the situation as I thought I was P3 during the race, but then when I saw the pit board in the last few laps, I saw 6 or 7. I did not know that some cars at the front still had to come to the pit. I was a bit confused. When I saw the drivers behind me catching up I tried to manage the situation and keep that position. It is no easy to overtake here with the short track. So I have to thank my team because they made an incredible job.
GP2 Asia Series: You said you had a question mark regarding the behaviour of the tyres during the race because you did not do any race simulations during the tests. Are you reassured now?
Davide: Yes because we did not have really the time to test it during the test session. I asked to the team to be focused during the test about performance for qualifications because if I have a good race pace but I start from fifteenth there is no chance to get a podium or a good position. I let the race simulations to Razia and I worked on the performance. Anyway, we made a really good car and we were able to stay at the top. Maybe we were not able to match the leaders' pace at the end but anyway it is a good result and my feeling during the race was really good.
GP2 Asia Series: What is your objective for tomorrow?
Davide: I don't know. We need to understand tonight why I wasn't on the pace at the end of the race and see if tomorrow I have a chance to overtake someone. It will be hard and I think the race will be decided after the first few laps.