Circuit de Monaco
Valsecchi, Parente and Filippi discuss the race
GP2 Series: Davide Valsecchi, Monaco race winner: how does that sound?
Davide Valsecchi: It is perfect! I think we dreamed 5,000 times to start on the first row for the race one of Monaco, so it was perfect. Today, before the race, I talked to the team and said that it is my dream, it has always been my dream to start from the first row here.
GP2 Series: And the dream came true.
Davide: Yes, the dream came true! Okay, we were a little lucky with the start because something happened to Bird, I think something happened to his first gear? It was something strange, not a normal stall? It was a bit strange, and we were a bit lucky with that, but from my side I did a great start because the car that started fourth, at the first corner he was 20 metres behind. Maybe it was a start good enough to fight with Bird, to not let him get the lead so easy.
Also my car was incredible, from the beginning to the end: in the beginning maybe Parente was the quickest, because it looked like he was really close to me in the first few laps, but after a while he was losing a bit, which was perfect for us: building the gap before the pitstop is the perfect strategy for the leader so that no one will jump you. We were 4 seconds in front, and my team made a good strategy, the pitstop was great and we kept the lead. And then we were so fast! I was able to pull away, and even get the fastest lap at the end, so what we dreamt came true!
GP2 Series: It looked like an easy race for you, even with the safety car towards the end: was it?
Davide: It was not easy, but my car was perfect, you know what I mean? It was like the car of iSport when we won the Asia Series: it was beautiful! It was really fast, and 7 or 8 laps before the safety car I said to the team tell me something, like the fastest lap, because when you're the leader and you think I'm leading, I'm going to win...
GP2 Series: And we don't want you to think! (laughs)
Davide: Yes, exactly! (laughs) So I said tell me something, and they said it's 23.2 for fastest lap, but don't get it! The victory is enough, get the victory please! (laughs) But later on after the safety car I felt confident and I pulled immediately away from Parente, and this gave me the opportunity to get back a bit and then go for the fastest lap with 2 laps from the end, and we were lucky enough to get it.
GP2 Series: The first win for the team: how important is this victory for them?
Davide: Since the beginning of the season, in Istanbul we went bad with the set up and then we were unlucky in the race and had to stop for the black and orange flag, so since the start we have been unlucky with the set up, but in the races we have been gaining positions and the team is improving. If you consider the car in Barcelona, 5th in free practice, 4th in qualifying, here 5th in free practice, 4th in qualifying, and now first in race one: we have to consider that the team is improving so much, and I am so pleased for that.
GP2 Series: Alvaro, an amazing drive to get P2 in the race: happy with the way it turned out?
Alvaro Parente: Yes, of course I am very happy! I was lucky in the way it turned out at the start, and unlucky at the same time: I managed to avoid Bird, who stalled, and only touched, and I didn't even feel the touch, with Stefano (Coletti), so I was quite lucky that nothing broke. Then we were really good at the beginning, for the first 8 or 10 laps, and I thought that there was something we could do, maybe get him on pit strategy, and then it started to fall off a bit really. But it was great, I did my best and was getting to know everything, tyres and the car, so there's nothing more I can say than it was great, the team did a great job on the pitstop, and it was all good!
GP2 Series: As you say, it looked like you had the pace in the early stages but it dropped off, and then after the stop again but you couldn't do anything at the restart: was this the tyres, or something else?
Alvaro: I think so, yeah.
GP2 Series: You had the super softs, and no one knew what to expect: how were they?
Alvaro: I prefer them to the ones I race in Barcelona! (laughs) We changed some stuff, to adapt to me and also to the track, and it seemed to work well, but if you ask me now I prefer these ones because the hard ones were very difficult for me! (laughs)
GP2 Series: Unfortunately you're not getting these again!
Alvaro: No, but we've found out some stuff for the other ones as well, so it should be okay – if I'm back, I don't know! (laughs)
GP2 Series: There was a restart at the end, but there was nothing you could do: tyre wear, the circuit, or a bit of everything?
Alvaro: Yeah, to be honest in the beginning I was faster but after that, there was nothing I could do.
GP2 Series: Nevertheless a podium in Monaco is pretty good for you and the team...
Alvaro: Exactly! I've got to thank again Racing Engineering for these chances I'm getting, and I'm trying to do the best I can to say thank you to them. It's working, it's great, my age is probably an average higher than the rest of them but I'm not the most experienced as I've only got 2 full years, and some people have got much more. But it's been great!
GP2 Series: Luca, you've had so much bad luck in the past few weekends: does a Monaco podium make up for it?
Luca Filippi: Yeah! This is something that a racing driver dreams about since he's a kid: he is watching the Monaco Grand Prix on TV and he thinks he'll never race here first of all, so already racing here is unbelievable, and going on the podium here is something that not so many people can say. So I lost the podium in the past when I tried to overtake Glock: I wanted to risk my fourth place for the podium, and he was very intelligent to just block enough and make me touch the guard rail that time.
A couple of days ago we were playing soccer at the stadium against the Prince's team, and he is a very nice man: I went to him and asked “are you going to present the trophy yourself?” and he said “no, the mayor will present the GP2 because we need to share a little bit”, and I said “I will not die until I have a chance to be on the Monaco podium”, because this is what I have dreamed.
For me it is unbelievable: after yesterday's qualifying I knew I was fast, and I was actually a little bit afraid to finish 5th today, 4th tomorrow, which is good for points but is not really a podium. And there was also a chance I could finish 6th, 7th, 8th and then tomorrow go on the podium, but it would have been a race two podium, which is not the same. I knew I was able to go on the main race podium, but I knew it was very difficult! We just made a perfect strategy: I was so much faster, and we just needed to have a clear track in front of me, and we decided to go long, and I was faster on these tyres than people on new: that made me just get so much time on track.
GP2 Series: It was a brave strategy but also a risky one, because it should have been the other way round: were you just that confident that, even with the old tyres, your pace would be that good?
Luca: Yeah. Since yesterday I'm sure that I was a contender for pole position: if I'm 100% honest I think with me and Grosjean on track at the end yesterday the times would be much faster. I don't want to be big headed but it's what I personally think, and I think we showed today our pace.
Actually I thought that pitting early and risk to have Cecotto, because he was in front of me, in front for the whole race was more of a risk for me, so we just waited for them to pit, to sit back and just to wait: in the first 3 or 4 laps I was behind people, and after the first corner I never tried to push until people came in, so I was just driving around,short shifting, just waiting.
And when I saw Cecotto struggling I knew he was coming in, so I got closer to be ready when he pulled off to just push, and when I got behind Bianchi and Gutierrez in one lap they also went to the pits, and also van der Garde, and that left me a clear track, and the time to activate our strategy, and it worked.
GP2 Series: And it's a nice present for the team, too.
Luca: Yeah! I'm very happy with the team because they are giving me a great chance: unfortunately in Turkey we didn't get the podium we deserved, and in the championship we are not up there where we should be, so here in Monaco is a place where you as a driver can show that they made a good choice, so I'm happy for them first of all, because they believe in me so much, and I am so happy I can give them something back for their faith.