Qualifying Press Conference: Monza 07/09/2007 GP2 Series: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the qualifying press conference here in Monza. Joining us in third place Vitaly Petrov from Campos Grand Prix, in second place Lucas di Grassi from ART...
Qualifying Press Conference: Monza
GP2 Series: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the qualifying press conference here in Monza. Joining us in third place Vitaly Petrov from Campos Grand Prix, in second place Lucas di Grassi from ART Grand Prix and in first place, and in pole position for tomorrow's race, Giorgio Pantano also from Campos Grand Prix.
Giorgio, fantastic job today after fastest time in free practice you're fastest in qualifying. I guess this is the perfect start to the weekend for you?
Giorgio Pantano: I think so, but anyway we don't say it's just because it's my home circuit. Nearly every race when everything was going well we were nearly always in the top four, and here for sure it's a bit special and I'm at my home circuit. I like this circuit but if we see also my team-mate he made a very big improvement and he's there in third place and that means the car and everything was working very well.
GP2 Series: What is it about this circuit, Monza, that inspires you? Pretty much every race you've had here you've been on the podium or had a win.
Giorgio: I mean, it's special just because its my home circuit. For sure I have a good feeling with everything and that's it.
GP2 Series: How difficult was it to get a good lap today? The harder compound and with no downforce it must have been pretty tricky.
Giorgio: We have with the hard compound, it took more than one lap to get the grip here compared to last year. I think it was more cold compared to last year, last year it was much hotter. Because if I see the laptime from last year and in one lap you can make the time, here it took a bit more. The temperature was a bit different. But anyway we have the grip, we have the consistency, we have a little bit less downforce on the rear compared to last year because we had a different rear wing here and we have less downforce.
GP2 Series: Were you at all surprised that there wasn't more competition in the closing minutes of qualifying?
Giorgio: The last few minutes they were just telling me where I am, and they say probably Lucas is going to pass me but in the end i try to do another lap but they said slow down and that's it.
GP2 Series: Last year you won both races here and started from second on Saturday. Tomorrow you start in pole position -- are you looking for a repeat performance?
Giorgio: You know, here it's also tricky about the first corner because you start and you arrive quite quick on the first corner, you have a very tight corner and the question is just to be out of the first corner and be first. I think after the first corner and the second one you're doing your race.
GP2 Series: Great job today, well done.
Lucas, congratulations. Front row yet again and well ahead of Timo, your main competition for the championship. Are you happy with today in quail?
Lucas di Grassi: Yes, I think Pantano did a very very good lap in both sessions and with the first set I was able to keep close with him but I couldn't improve on the second one due to a lot of factors, but I was surprised that this was the first qualifying of the year that iSport was not very strong, because normally they are very strong in qualifying. I was expecting Glock to be again very quick, but the race is very long tomorrow -- 32 laps - and a lot of things can happen. We have to focus to improve the car overnight and concentrate on the race. That's it.
GP2 Series: You set your fastest lap fairly early in the session, were you at all surprised that you weren't able to improve on that time?
Lucas: No, I thought I could improve and I did improve some of my sectors but it was very difficult in the last minutes because everyone was trying to push harder and harder and was doing mistakes and when you do mistakes you slow down to try and open up a new lap. There were some flags and people going very slow so I had a lot of traffic on the second set. I don't know if I could match Pantano's lap but for sure I could improve a little bit more.
GP2 Series: How important is it going into the race tomorrow on the front row, with Timo back in eighth?
Lucas: As I said the race is really long, but the closer you get to the front the less is the chance of getting into a crash at the first corner. Also, there are more points in the first race than the second one but there is the reverse grid rule which if you are smart you can use very well. Even if you don't really finish very well in the first race you can still get many points as Timo did in Turkey. He finished fourth and then won the second race, and did more points than I did by winning the first race.
GP2 Series: ART have traditionally been a lot faster in the races than in qualifying. Thinking of that, do you want to make any predictions for tomorrow?
Lucas: Well, there is no predictions. Everyone is on the track to win the race. Everybody is fighting for championship position and everybody manages the risk as they can. We will try to improve the car as we always do for the race and if we do so we have a good chance tomorrow.
GP2 Series: Well done.
Vitaly, congratulations, first time in the press conference. How does it feel?
Vitaly Petrov: Very good, but for the beginning in free practice and first set of new tyres we had a little problem with the brakes. But we improved a lot and I want to say thank you to my team because they did a really good job and changed the car very well for my style to be able to drive on this circuit. I showed what I can show today.
GP2 Series: How much of a difference did the last lap in which you set the fastest time, fel from the others? Did you find something?
Vitaly: Like I told you, the first set I had a problem with the brakes, and for the second set we improve a lot for this, to do a big change for the car and make it possible to do it better.
GP2 Series: You've got exactly the same time as Lucas, down to the thousandth. If you'd been one thousandth faster it would have been an all-Campos front row. Looking back was there anything you could have done differently or was that the limit?
Vitaly: I really don't know where I lose this little time because we change again the car and on the first set there was one corner which I could do better than on the second set, and I had so much belief in this corner that I could do the same but the car had changed a little bit so I lost a little bit of time like this.
GP2 Series: You've been improving very well over the season and are now up at the sharp end. How much has working with someone with Giorgio's experience helped you out over this year?
Vitaly: Yeah of course he helps me a lot. We speak a lot about corners. He explains to me if I don't understand and of course with the setup I like.
GP2 Series: You're starting higher up than you've ever started in GP2, what are your expectations for tomorrow?
Vitaly: As the others say, its very important the first corner. Then we will see because it was very dangerous in the first corner. Then we try to take the best.
Giorgio: First of all don't hit me in the first corner!
GP2 Series: Gentlemen, thanks very much.
-credit: gp2 series