Istanbul: Race one press conference

Race One Press Conference Istanbul 2009 GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's race one here in Istanbul. Joining us today is our race winner Vitaly Petrov from Barwa Addax, in second place we have Luca ...

Race One Press Conference Istanbul 2009

GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's race one here in Istanbul. Joining us today is our race winner Vitaly Petrov from Barwa Addax, in second place we have Luca Filippi from Super Nova International, and in third place we have Davide Valsecchi. Starting with you Vitaly, congratulations on the win today: it looked like you had the race fairly safely under control, but how did it seem from inside the car?

Vitaly Petrov: My start was not too bad but I lost too much traction later, so my reaction was not bad but after that I didn't have a lot of traction and I decided not to risk it, and could just stay behind Grosjean and Luca and Hulkenberg and waited to push. And then Luca was pushing hard and overtook Grosjean, and I could take his place, and it was very funny to watch him fighting then with Hulkenberg! So I just looked before, and then I could stay wide and thought 'I need to do a fantastic exit to overtake these two guys', and I did this brilliant, I think! [laughs]

GP2 Series: It looked like a ballsy move by Luca at first, but then a really smart one by you, I think. After that you just went away: were you just trying to build a big gap to break the rest of the field?

Vitaly: Yeah, I wanted to show a big gap, but the safety car killed me a little bit on time! [laughs] Everything was good, everything was in control, and I tried to push really hard every time: my engineer told me "hey, every time you're seven tenths, one second quicker than everybody, so you can take it easy!" I said "maybe later." [laughs] So I continued to push 100%, I was really careful about the tyres, and I just continued.

GP2 Series: With the safety car was there any pressure, as you had to make a stop?

Vitaly: Yeah, it was quite dangerous because I didn't know where I was [compared to the others], so I was expecting maybe someone would get in before me, but they did a good job, made a good pitstop, and everything was under our control.

GP2 Series: Your team has controlled the weekends so far, and you've continued the pattern of winning race one each time: what do you put this down to?

Vitaly: I try to continue in the same way until the end of the last race, and I think it will be a big fight all the way: I will do my best, and I hope I win! [laughs]

GP2 Series: Okay, congratulations on the win today. Luca, congratulations to you on second place today. Started second, finished second: it sounds easy, but I suspect it was a little harder than that for you today...

Luca Filippi: Yeah, my start was okay but Grosjean had a better start, but I got my second place back when he made a move on Hulkenberg and then made a mistake, and he tried back on the outside but I also braked very late in turn 7, and I was in the dirty part but it was good and I kept my position, and then I was behind Hulkenberg and I noticed at the end of the lap that the gap to third was quite big. So then, even if I would lose some time I thought Vitaly isn't that close in the mirrors, and so I did something quite nice when I had a chance [to take Hulkenberg] and I took it, but today Vitaly was much faster than everybody, so even if he had stayed behind me he would have had a chance to overtake me later on. So second place is the best we could do today, and I'm happy about taking it: it's a shame for the points we lost in Monaco but the championship is very long, and it's important to be here all the time. It's a good result for us.

GP2 Series: It looked like you had the pace to keep everyone else under control, but not enough to catch @!Vitaly: would that be fair to say?

Luca: Yes. After the pitstop my car was better, so after the safety car I wanted to try and push and make a bit of pressure on him, but trying to keep his pace I went a little bit wide in turn 7 and lost the 20 metres that keeps you in the slipstream and gives you that advantage, so after he got 50 metres he just went away.

GP2 Series: You were having a bit of a fight with Zuber, and you seemed to have a close moment coming out of the pits: what happened there?

Luca: We lost a bit of time in the pits with one wheel, but still we kept ahead of Zuber and I had a better exit and much better first 2 sectors: he was good, but our car was much better, particularly in the rear. So it was good at that moment: it was close but we were the last team along the pitlane, and when he just started he was having wheelspin so it was safe, and good fun for us! [laughs]

GP2 Series: Another decent point score today, which should give the team something to show for their efforts here...

Luca: Yeah, we still have room to improve but we are already quite fast: the Barwa team looks a bit ahead of everybody but we still have many races left to close the gap, and you never know. As you can see the GP2 championship is changing every weekend, it's open, and we will fight until the end.

GP2 Series: Congratulations. Davide, congratulations on probably an unexpected podium for you today, starting from tenth on the grid and finishing third: how dramatic was the race for you today?

Davide Valsecchi: The problem was I was not competitive in the last 2 weekends, and it was unexpected today, but after a few laps I felt that we were competitive and that the car was strong. We made a good start and were there in the points, and the first driver was not going away, so I said maybe we can finish at the top. And then after the pitstop the car was better and I was fourth, and I felt really good, it was possible to push, and it feels fantastic to be at the top! Now the car is much better than over the first two races, and I hope to stay here in the next weekend, because it seems we're getting better.

GP2 Series: You were looking fast today, and then the safety car seemed to help you a little bit...

Davide: I don't know if I gained on the safety car, because when I came back onto the track I was behind Zuber, and Filippi was in front of Zuber, so I don't know if maybe Filippi just slowed down because there was a safety car board.

GP2 Series: You could ask him! [laughs]

Luca: Sorry, I didn't understand! [laughs]

Davide: [repeats in Italian, Luca shrugs] Okay, maybe a little! [laughs] But when I came back on the track I was behind Zuber, 20 metres behind, so maybe they slowed down because of the safety car then okay, maybe I gained something, but if not then it was just the race. So I don't know if it was an advantage for me, but I pitted on the same pitstop as Petrov, our pitstop was fantastic, and so it was perfect. In the end the car was competitive, we used really well the rear tyres, we gained on Filippi but he was quick enough to stay in front of me, and okay, we finished third: it's a good result for me.

GP2 Series: Before that you were behind Zuber, who all of a sudden started to drop like a stone...

Davide: Yeah, yeah, I saw from behind Zuber that he was in difficulty to keep the pace, because I could see in front of him was Filippi, and Filippi was going away. Zuber pushed a lot to stay close to him, but I could see in the corner that he had a lot of oversteer and I thought maybe in two laps, three laps more it is possible to attack him. Then I overtook him and I thought it was really powerful, and I said oh, fantastic overtake! [laughs] But then everyone overtook him easily and I thought oh, it was not such a great manoeuvre! [laughs]

GP2 Series: Did that cause you any trouble? There seemed to be a lot of guys stuck behind Zuber: what was it like in the middle of that madness?

Davide: There I was a bit worried, because behind Zuber he was not so quick and I thought maybe someone would try to take me, but when I overtook Zuber it was okay, nothing to worry about anymore. But what I know is that when you are okay and everything is okay then it is really good to drive, it's fun, you are confident and can push really well, and I'm really happy to have found a good set up, a good car, and I hope to stay there also for the next race. I think we have reached a level where it is okay. Now we have done the step in the race, and it seems that the situation is better, but in qualifying we are not at the top: we have to now check the situation and work hard for this, but now I know that when you are at the top it seems easier, you can push more and think I am not tired, and when you are not at the top, it is like death...

GP2 Series: Vitaly, you are constantly at the top: is it easier being there?

Vitaly: Yeah, because everything is easily in control: with my engineer he told me I am seven tenths quicker, one second quicker, and I can do whatever I want in this race. In the race you are only pushing 80%, never pushing 100% which is too risky. Which is good! [laughs]

-credit: gp2

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Luca Filippi , Davide Valsecchi , Vitaly Petrov