Istanbul: Race 1 press conference

Maldonado, Valsecchi and Bird discuss the race GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's feature race here in Istanbul. Joining us today are race winner Pastor Maldonado from Rapax, in second place we have ...

Maldonado, Valsecchi and Bird discuss the race

GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's feature race here in Istanbul. Joining us today are race winner Pastor Maldonado from Rapax, in second place we have Davide Valsecchi from iSport, and in third place is Sam Bird from ART. Pastor, congratulations on a superb race today, with a good start to give you the lead into turn one, and you then just walked away from the rest of the field. It looked easy from the pitwall, but how was it for you?

Pastor Maldonado: Yeah! I had a very good start, I did my best and our car has very good traction, I was first in the first corner and my car was amazing! It was very, very good from the beginning to the end, and I am very happy for the team because we did an amazing job this weekend: I remember in the beginning [of free practice] we were loose, but we improved and in qualifying we were fighting for pole position, and for the race we improved again and found an amazing car, really consistent and quick, and I have no words to explain how good the car was!

GP2 Series: To be honest we didn't see much of you: we saw the start, your pitstop, and then you spraying champagne! Was there any issues at all for you today?

Pastor: No, no, no: it was all clear, very good, no problems, nothing!

GP2 Series: Which handed you a very nice helping hand in the championship...

Pastor: Yes, and now we have to focus on this, on handling the championship. This is a good moment for me to be on the top, because now I think we start the very good circuits for us, for the team, the car and for me too. The next race is Valencia, and I am good there, so I think it is a very good position for the championship. For sure we are going to work very hard, and we will try to stay on the top.

GP2 Series: There is one more race before that, though: any thoughts for tomorrow?

Pastor: I am very confident for tomorrow too. Here it is very difficult to overtake, but important too, to score points. I think we could do very well tomorrow, and I will try.

GP2 Series: Congratulations. Davide, congratulations also to you on P2 today, where it seemed that you had a bit of a problem at the start and then had to look at the back of Sergio Perez most of the race: how was it from your seat?

Davide Valsecchi: It was a good race: okay, we finished second and far away from first, but I beat all the others, so it was not bad! At the beginning the car was okay but Pastor just went away, and he was so strong, so after half a race he was gone and I just couldn't fight with him. Also I was not incredibly confident because the car behind me [Perez] was pushing hard and I could not get away from him, although Perez for me was not an incredible problem because I could always keep him behind. We were a bit unlucky in the pitstop because he could overtake us there, we lost just one or two seconds but he overtook us, but later in the race my car became really competitive, and I was really happy because I could overtake him, and I could take the second place.

We have had a really good weekend, we scored ten points and were second today, and we have to consider that Maldonado and Rapax today were so much faster, so there was not much chance to fight today, but I hope next time to start well to make it a bit more difficult: today I think it was a bit too easy for him! [laughs]

GP2 Series: Yes, what happened at the start?

Davide: For sure I think I made an okay start, but he jumped me, he went past me immediately, but I could go into the first corner not in a bad way so I could keep the second position, and there was a big fight there so it's good that we didn't have to do a dodgems there! [laughs] But anyway it was clear that first was not possible but after a few laps I could see that we could keep the rest behind us, Perez and Bird were fast enough to stay with me: we were not quick enough to win the race, but we were good enough to come second.

GP2 Series: How were the tyres today? It looked as though Perez was faster than you in the early stages, but it reversed at the end: was that the tyres, or something else?

Davide: I don't know, but I know the only one who was perfect today was Maldonado: he went from the beginning to the end without any problems. If you consider the others then okay, Perez was fast in the beginning, we were fast in the end, but it is normal: we just do our race normally, but the problem was Maldonado and Rapax were just too strong today. Maybe we can risk a bit more tomorrow, we could force a bit more at the beginning, but usually our strategy is always strong in this way. Okay, maybe we could push for a bit more at the beginning of the race, but it's normal, no?

GP2 Series: You've opened your championship account now, and you have another race tomorrow: any thoughts on that?

Davide: Ah, for me it's perfect: we are fast, I am confident with the car, we got the second position, and I was not able to fight with the first guy today but I was able to fight for a podium, and when you can fight in the first five it is always a good feeling: you can enjoy your weekend!

GP2 Series: Great job today. Sam, congratulations on P3 today, which was probably a little tough: how was the start for you?

Sam Bird: The start was good: I've improved my starting procedure and I'm more and more confident with my starts, there were a few issues in Asia and in Barcelona this year, but that's starting to work out of the system now. I managed to get past Oliver Turvey at turn one but then there was a bit of a fight between Davide, Sergio and myself until I did my pitstop, and I came in a few laps earlier to see if I could get ahead of those guys but when they came out after their stops it was exactly the same, except Sergio had got by Davide.

And then it was exactly the same between us three guys: Davide looked a little stronger than Sergio, and I was just staying behind, looking after my tyres a bit. Sergio was getting little lock ups and Davide and I could capitalise on that, but there's still work to do because there was a guy 20 seconds ahead of me! It's a good feeling to get my first podium, but there's still work to be done.

GP2 Series: How do you deal with a race like that, given that Davide and Sergio were fighting in front of you: do you decide to sit there and see if they take each other off, or get stuck in, or something else?

Sam: [laughs] There were a couple of times early in the race when Sergio would take a little look, and I'd think ooooh!

Davide: Yeah, always with the front, yeah?

Sam: So I was thinking, what's going to happen? [laughs] And then later, in the second half of the race, where you [Davide] got past and then I got past him as well along the pitwall, and there was a fag paper between me and the wall! [laughs] He got back past me again, but then I got back past him again. It was an exciting race, and it's great to race at the front: I think that's where we need to be from now on, because it's fun at the front! I've enjoyed my races so far, and battling through the field and be fast, but it's fun to be at the front and to be fast as well, and that's where I intend to be for the rest of the season.

GP2 Series: Shock news: racing driver likes to be at the front during a race! [laughs] I noticed you got a little air conditioning late in the race...

Sam: That was quite nice, actually! [laughs] We had a nice battle with Sergio today, and I thought I'd done enough to take the position but he moved across quite quickly and aggressively and took off the front of the nose, but that's okay: it's tough racing, it didn't affect my car, I got the position, so no harm done.

GP2 Series: And it gave you your first podium for the season. Tomorrow is another day: any thoughts on the race?

Sam: Hopefully make another nice start, and see what happens. If I improve in a couple of areas, because we were fast in sectors one and three, but with a bit of improvement on the car, and I need to improve in a couple of areas, then we can be up there again.

-source: gp2 series

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