Istanbul: Qualifying press conference

Valsecchi, Maldonado and Turvey discuss the session GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's qualifying session here in Istanbul. Joining us today is polesitter Davide Valsecchi from iSport, in second place...

Valsecchi, Maldonado and Turvey discuss the session

GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's qualifying session here in Istanbul. Joining us today is polesitter Davide Valsecchi from iSport, in second place we have Pastor Maldonado from Rapax, and in third place we have Oliver Turvey from iSport. Starting with you Davide, congratulations on a great job today, where you were up there but not quite on top until that final lap: what happened then?

Davide Valsecchi: Yeah, it was not on top until the last lap but it was still competitive, and also from the free practice my car was competitive: maybe it was not the best, but it was there at the top three, and then you know sometimes you make the pole position, sometimes you make third. When you fight at the top with the good drivers it's the best way to be, and my feeling was that my car was performing, I was happy with the team, who made a good change from the first set to the second set of tyres, and we improved the car for the second ones. I felt that it pole was maybe possible because I had some traffic before and lost some time and was still close to Pastor.

On the last lap we were a bit lucky and we got the pole, and for me it is important because I'm not a genius in qualifying usually [laughs], but today I really showed that I am able to get it! We made the best last sector on my last lap to get the pole position, and it was a good way to do it.

GP2 Series: You may not be a genius in qualifying, but you certainly like this place: fastest in free practice, and now fastest in qualifying. What is it about this circuit that works for you?

Davide: The circuit didn't change so much between free practice and qualifying, and the car was good in the beginning so we kept it like this for the qualifying. At the beginning I was thinking we could really fight for the top, but Pastor was incredible, was like four tenths away, and so I was a bit worried that maybe pole wasn't possible today! But we improved a bit, improved a bit, the lap time was always there, and with luck at the end we got the pole position, and for me it's a good way to start the weekend. We will see tomorrow in the race, but just starting at the top is a good start in the race, as there is just one driver there...

GP2 Series: You've had a bit of a disappointing start to the season, but this looks like a return to the Asia form...

Davide: Yeah, we are in Asia: this is the reason! [laughs] We will see next weekend what happens, when we are back in Europe!

GP2 Series: Any predictions for tomorrow?

Davide: For tomorrow, who knows? There is Maldonado, who is a good driver, Turvey is fast, so it will be hard! But my car is performing and I hope to be fighting in the top, like today: victory, second, third, a podium would be nice for me. I will try to fight, and we will see how the race is: the important thing is to be there with the good drivers, in the high position: when you are there your weekend is happy, and you are okay!

GP2 Series: Congratulations. Pastor, a great job for you to be P1 for most of the session: are you happy with your work today?

Pastor Maldonado: I am happy: a bit disappointed because it was at the very end of qualifying and Davide passed me, but I think I need to be happy because in free practice we were not so good, in P12, and we had big problems in the car, but my team did a very good job and developed the car in hours. From the beginning of the qualifying I was very quick and consistent, lap by lap...

Davide: So it will be hard for me tomorrow, eh? [laughs]

Pastor: Yeah, yeah! [laughs] Tomorrow the race is going to be difficult: here it is very hot, and everything can happen. For me it's important to get the points, to be sitting at the top [of the championship] and to be in front of Perez and Clos, so tomorrow we will see.

Davide: What position are they in?

GP2 Series: Perez is P4, Clos is P7.

Pastor: We are together, the championship is close, but our main thing is that we are in the front, and the most important is we did the step and were competitive in the moment that we needed it.

GP2 Series: And the car was clearly very fast -- there was absolutely nothing between you guys -- so that is a confidence boost for tomorrow?

Pastor: Tomorrow is going to be very interesting, for sure! I'm happy for the place but I know it's going to be very difficult: we are working hard from now, the engineers, mechanics, everything, to be good for tomorrow. It's going to be interesting, but I'm quite confident!

GP2 Series: Congratulations. Oliver, congratulations on a great job today to join us in the press conference for the first time in the main series, with an amazing last lap: what happened there?

Oliver Turvey: Definitely! It is my first time here in Istanbul Park, and it was my first view of the track yesterday, and to qualify third is a good result for myself, for the Racing Steps Foundation and for iSport, so I'm really pleased for that. The session was quite difficult for us because we had a problem on the first run out of the pits with the throttle damper, so my first run was almost wasted and I couldn't do a time, so we were a long way back. We changed the throttle damper between the two runs and it improved the car massively, and I was able to use my second set of tyres as my first run: I only got 2 laps on the second set of tyres, so I put a bit of pressure on me for those! [laughs] But we managed to get a good lap at the end of the session and take P3, and I'm really pleased with that: I think we're in a good position to fight tomorrow.

GP2 Series: There's nothing like a bit of pressure to get the job done! What does this result mean for you now?

Oliver: It's my best qualifying in the GP2 main series, so I'm pleased for that, and for me it wasn't my perfect lap because after missing the first run it made it a bit more difficult, my lap was not perfect and for sure I could have improved, so I'm just really pleased that after the problem at the start we could improve from that and come out at the front. I'm really happy for the team as well, to be competitive, and I think we're looking in much stronger shape now.

GP2 Series: You're the highest placed rookie, and as you said you've never been here before: what do you think of the circuit?

Oliver: It's a fantastic track! There's so much gradient change, so many different corners, and turn 8 is such a fantastic corner, a high speed corner with four apexes and pretty tricky with the bump through there: there's so many different types of corner in the last sector, so it's technical as well. For me it's just a fantastic track, and I just really enjoy driving around here.

Davide: Also for me, it's one of the best designs in the world: there's Spa, and it's fighting with such a legendary track. But the escape roads are in asphalt, and for me it's not fantastic: it's better to put water there, so it's harder for the drivers, no? [laughs]

GP2 Series: Oliver, you're on the second row tomorrow: do you want to make any predictions?

Oliver: Yes, it's a long race tomorrow and obviously we've got a good chance from third position: we need to make a good start because it's such a short run to turn one, but I'm pretty confident over the race that we've got a strong car in these conditions, and I'm looking forward to the race: I think we can fight for a win or a podium.

GP2 Series: Especially if these two knock themselves off! [laughs]

Oliver: Well hopefully! [laughs] But no, I would like to race them actually, because it should be a tough race and there are a lot of good drivers out there -- it's a tough championship -- but I think it's going to be hot again, and I think it will be really interesting.

-source: gp2series

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Pastor Maldonado , Davide Valsecchi , Oliver Turvey
Teams Rapax