GP2 Series press release
Quotes from Vietoris, Bianchi and Grosjean
GP2 Series: Welcome to Feature Race press conference here in Spa-Francorchamps. Joining us today winner of the race Christian Vietoris for Racing Engineering. In second place we have Jules Bianchi from Lotus ART and in third place we have Romain Grosjean for Dams. Starting with you Christian: congratulations. Great job today. First win of the season. How does that sound?
Christian Vietoris: Finally everything came together. Of course, the pole position in bad weather conditions was also important. Today I was very consistent. We struggled a little bit at the beginning of the year, but we went in the right direction. We improved the car a lot and I was very comfortable in dry and wet conditions. It was quite tricky behind the safety car to keep the engine temperature up. It was hard also to stay on track because there was so much water. But finally everything went in the right way and I am very happy to take my first Saturday win.
GP2 Series: You kept the lead at the start and then built a small gap with Bianchi. What were you thinking behind the safety car at the re-start?
Finally everything went in the right way and I am very happy to take my first Saturday win.
Christian: Everything went according to plan. I was quite lucky to start from the right side of the track because it was cleaner. With the safety car, at the re-start, if you can make your own speed, it is easier than to follow the leader. I made the choice to re-start very early to have that advantage to have a clear view.
GP2 Series: How difficult was it to stay behind the safety car for so long?
Christian: Especially at the beginning, it was very hard because there was so much water on track. Also keeping the engine temperature up was hard. You saw a lot of cars go on safety mode because they did not manage. That was the biggest challenge for me. I drove on high rev in first and second gears and try to keep the car on temperature.
GP2Series: You have really made a big step this weekend, scoring 13 points so far. You’ve overcome a delicate season so far. What made the difference?
Christian: The team work. You can see that we’ve improved since Silverstone. I was in the lead in Budapest and I made a mistake. So, I’m really happy that we could win here, one race later. It’s very positive.
GP2 Series: What are your hopes for tomorrow?
Christian: It will depend on the weather. If it’s wet, we know we have a good car and a good pace so we could go for the podium, but let’s see what the weather is like.
GP2 Series: Thank you Christian. Good job today. Jules, it all happened at the start for you today. You took P2 and then what happened?
Jules Bianchi: I made a good start. I was lucky to be on the right side which was dryer than the left. Then I tried to stay behind Christian. At first he was a bit quicker and then I caught him a bit. Before the pitstop he picked up the pace again. But we were quite competitive in the dry which was important. It was not really the case in the last races. So I think we’ve improved the car. I think now I’m third in the drivers’ standings which is important for me and we will still continue to do the races as we did before now and try to be consistent and score as many points as possible and maybe try and get another win before the end of the season. Anyway this race has been very good for me. At the re-start, I could not do much because of the poor visibility, but I knew that Romain was third and already champion. I knew he would not attack. I was calm in the car and tried to finish the race P2. It was important for me.
GP2 Series: How frustrating was it that the safety car stayed on track for so long and thus slimed down your chances to try and challenge him for the win?
I was calm in the car and tried to finish the race P2. It was important for me.
Jules: I knew that Christian was really quick anyway in the wet so, I mean, you never know but for sure, it has been a very long safety car period but it would not have been easy to change the result in the end. I am quite happy. The only thing was that it was not easy to stay behind the safety car for so long because it was difficult to keep the engine temperature up. If you go under 7- degrees, the engine can stop in safety mode like some other drivers did. I was quite stressed because of that, but I managed well.
GP2 Series: You said so yourself, it’s been a challenging season for you so far. You are back on the podium and in a good position in the drivers’ standings. What are your hopes for the end of the season?
Jules: I want to end the season in a good way, but mainly, we have to keep our momentum. It’s important to see race by race and not focus too much on the championship. It would be important to finish second, but I don’t think about that. I try my best race by race, try and be quick every time, That’s it.
GP2 Series: And score another podium tomorrow for example?
Jules: Yeah, I think everything is possible here. It’s possible to overtake, even in the dry. We’re quick so tomorrow we can go for more points and that’s it for the moment. We have to wait and see. We have to work a bit on the car for tomorrow. I really want to thank the team because they did a good job.
GP2 Series: Thank you Jules. Good luck for tomorrow. Romain, congratulations. Good job today. From P7 on the grid to P3 after the start...
Romain Grosjean: It was not an easy task today. You know it can be like a last serve in a tennis game, but if you miss it, then it can turn things around quickly. If you don’t take any special risk, that does not protect you from bad things. I knew I was lucky to be on the right side today on the grid. I was P3 after the start and we had to wait to see if it was going to rain. It was the same for everybody. I was keeping a good pace and at the same time tried to save the tyres. We pitted at the right time. It was not a fantastic race, but it is the race where we did it.
GP2 Series: What was going through your head during the last laps?
Romain: When they re-started the race, I was wondering because there was a lot of water on the track and honestly, I was not sure where Jules was so I was careful. There was a huge amount of water. I was checking everything in the car and I was trying to breath to keep calm, not make mistakes and finish the lap. I knew that I could be champion at the chequered flag. In this situation you only focus to stay on track. I was watching in the mirrors at every single brake to see if there was no car losing control and avoid any accident.
GP2 Series: How did the tyres handle during the safety car period?
Romain: Well my engineer told me keep your tyre hot. But I replied that I had to keep my engine hot first which was my main concern at the time (He laughs). I think everyone was struggling. It was a bit messy on track. Even behind the safety car it was hard to see where Jules was. There is a ten car rule. You don’t want to be too close because you can’t see anything and you don’t want to wear your brakes. You need to put rev in your engine. It was tough.