GP2 Asia Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for qualifying here in Qatar. Joining us tomorrow's poleman Nico Hulkenberg from ART Grand Prix, in second place we have Sergio Perez from Barwa International Campos Team and...
GP2 Asia Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for qualifying here in Qatar. Joining us tomorrow's poleman Nico Hulkenberg from ART Grand Prix, in second place we have Sergio Perez from Barwa International Campos Team and in third place we have his teammate Vitaly Petrov. Congratulations gentlemen. Starting with you Nico, You joined the GP2 Asia Series last round in Bahrain three weeks ago. There, you stunned everyone and scored the pole position. You snatch the top spot again tonight. You seem unfazed by the unusual conditions here. How did this session go for you?
Nico Hulkenberg: I just feel comfortable in the car and in the team. The night conditions are different: it's something else and special. I like it! I also like the circuit: it's very quick, very flowing which maybe suits my driving style. Generally, I like this kind of circuit. Yeah, I think we have a good and a good setup for qualifying. And I hope we can repeat that in the race as well.
GP2 Asia Series: Just four minutes before the end of the session, you set the fastest first sector. And then Al Fardan span and the session was red flagged. Did it worry you?
Nico: Yeah, for a second, in that lap, I thought that it was going to be tough! I was really fast in sector 1. I was in sector 2 when I saw the red flag. I thought "ok, now it's going to be more difficult" because the team told me on the radio that there was going to be only 3 minutes left and they said "you will get just one lap when you exit". I said "ok, that will be difficult". But it was a nice challenge. In the end, I put a good lap together and I got pole position.
GP2 Asia Series: Warming up the tyres enough for that lap was easy even though the track temperature was quite low?
Nico: Well I had done three laps with that set before the red flag, so when I exited the pit, they were warm enough. Not to the right temperature, of course, but it didn't take long before they were ok. It wasn't a big issue: the warm up lap was enough. There wasn't too much traffic and I could push during the out-lap and the temperatures were ok for the last corner.
GP2 Asia Series: Regarding tomorrow: you said you liked the night conditions. So obviously, you will go for the win
Nico: For sure. When you start from pole position, your expectations are always quite high and we set our targets high. For sure, we will try to finish on the podium and try to win. But GP2 is competitive. We have long races and it's not easy. We have to manage the pitstop. But I'm confident in my team. We have high hopes for the race tomorrow.
GP2 Asia Series: Thank you Nico and again congratulations. Sergio, in the very last second, you get P2 and push back your teammate to P3. Does the fact that this session happened at night-time made a difference for you?
Sergio Perez: No, I think first of all that it is a new challenge for everyone. I enjoyed a lot driving in the night. It's something new for me. I was P2 already before the red flag. So when I came back to the pits I was P2. After, I did my lap and I thought that I was on pole, but they told me on the radio that Nico was on pole. My teammate was third. But I think I didn't maximise the full potential of the car. I'm sure we can do even better tomorrow. I could have put a better lap together, but I think Nico today was too strong for us.
GP2 Asia Series: This is your first year in GP2. You have showed a strong driving style. You are the youngest driver to have ever won a GP2 race. For tomorrow, I have you already seen where you could overtake during the race? Overtaking is something that you're pretty comfortable with...
Sergio: Well, I will try in the start. But I'm on the dirty part of the track and it is quite dirty. But the race is quite long and I'm not worried. If we have a good pace, I think we can fight Nico. Vitaly will be strong as well. We will have a good car for the race and the race is very long. Anything can happen and of course, we will go for the win tomorrow.
GP2 Asia Series: Thank you Sergio and good luck for tomorrow. Vitaly, you've been quick right from the start here in Doha. You were fastest earlier tonight in Free Practice. You topped the time sheet for quite some time during the qualifying session. What did you think when you saw the red flag.
Vitaly Petrov: I was happy because I thought that the session was over for good and that I was on pole. I made small mistakes in my best lap. Little ones in the exit of corner 15 and I killed a little bit of time. Two or three tenth maybe... But, I'm happy I'm here.
GP2 Asia Series: Regarding the track conditions: was it really slippery?
Vitaly: Not really slippery because I have some experience from 24 hours in Le Mans and for me, it's not something. I actually like it. It's something new also because it's a lot of light. So tomorrow, it will be really interesting. We have some tactics already and you can never know what can happen at the start. We will do our best. It's true that this race is very important for our team. We want to have a good finish here.