GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's race one here in Monza. Joining us today is race winner Giedo van der Garde from iSport International, in second place we have Vitaly Petrov from Barwa Addax, and in...
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's race one here in Monza. Joining us today is race winner Giedo van der Garde from iSport International, in second place we have Vitaly Petrov from Barwa Addax, and in third place we have Lucas di Grassi from Racing Engineering. Giedo, congratulations on your first ever feature race win, in chaotic conditions and after an epic battle with the man next to you: how does it feel?
Giedo van der Garde: Fantastic! It was a good race, although the first five laps I was a bit scared because of the engine: we had one or two cylinders less, so that's why Vitaly got quite a big gap. After that it became a bit drier and drier. I was fine in the wet, I could cool the tyres and close the gap, and I think from the middle to the end I was stronger and closed the gap, I did a really good pitstop, and I won the race. So I'm really pleased with that!
GP2 Series: In the second half of the race as you say you were quicker, and you were clearly pushing him hard to make a mistake while not making one yourself: how difficult was that to balance?
Giedo: I think at first it was quite slippery, and as soon as it got dry you have to try and find the dry line and see where it is, and then after that it was quite good, but you have to try to control it and to be on the pace. But we had a good car, and the team did a great job today.
GP2 Series: It's probably the latest set of pitstops we've ever seen: talk me through the decision process for those.
Giedo: It started to get drier and drier, so there was an option: it's always difficult to choose, so we just waited to see which one to do. We cold take slicks or rain tyres, and we took rain tyres so we didn't gamble for much, and it worked out perfectly.
GP2 Series: A feature race win at last after a difficult season: how much does that mean to you and the team?
Giedo: It means a lot: we've had some tough times this season, it hasn't all been good, but we turned it around and we know we've won three races so far, so we know it has turned out good so far!
GP2 Series: It's certainly not bad! Congratulations, and also to you Vitaly for P2. I guess this is less that you wanted, but a strong result nevertheless after a great battle with Giedo: how was it from your view?
Vitaly Petrov: The race was quite difficult because to find the amount of rhythm, of braking and find where it is getting dry on the track. Secondly it didn't want to take a risk because van der Garde was behind and I knew that he would try to overtake me. And I had the problem at the second turn [when Herck spun off] and I knew that he would come back again at me because he was hitting the wall and would come back across the dirt, and I waited until he came back on the track before I went again, and I lost a lot of time there. I think this is why I finished second, after the pitstop I came out with just one second and he really wanted to win today. It was a good battle but it was really difficult to drive, and of course I'm not so happy for the result.
GP2 Series: You've had a problem all weekend with the infection in your arm: did that come into play at all?
Vitaly: No, today was quite good because it was not dry, so we don't attack so many kerbs and it's not quick: it's an easy drive, and the doctor really helped me here in Monza.
GP2 Series: What are your thoughts on the late pitstop strategy?
Vitaly: We didn't know if it was completely dry or not, and I was completely lost: I did know what lap it was because if I knew it was only five laps to go until the end I would have gone only to change the rear tyres, but I didn't know because my radio wasn't working very well, and the guys were in the pits so I didn't know what to do, if it was ten laps until the end, if it was five laps. I tried to have a gap from the beginning of the race, but I lost it at the end because of that crash [by Herck], so today was really not our day.
GP2 Series: Nevertheless a good performance by you and the team, and with Nico further back you've managed to cut his points lead down a bit...
Vitaly: Tomorrow if he takes one point [more than Petrov] then he is the champion, so for me it's getting more and more difficult. Today I should have won, because it makes things very, very difficult. I will try tomorrow, but ...
GP2 Series: Yes, but if you get more points than him it still goes down to the wire. Nevertheless, congratulations on your performance today. Lucas, congratulations on a fantastic drive, from P15 all the way up to P3: how did that happen?
Lucas di Grassi: I just started under the safety car, and there were really difficult conditions with the track, and most people had engine problems and with temperatures because of the leaves that were pushed onto the track when it started to rain, and it happened to me as well: my engine was on safety mode for a couple of laps, but I tried to minimise that problem and I was just overtaking people and the car was performing well. I was trying just to go as strong as possible, and I had a good fight with Alvaro but he had a drive through so I let him pass, no problem. Those guys in front were too far away, and at the end I had a fight with d'Ambrosio again, as he was quite fast, but he was not able to overtake so I finished third. I'm quite happy, starting 15th: there was a lot of incidents, difficult conditions, difficult to overtake so many people, so it was a great result and I'm pretty happy. The team has done a very, very good job, but this year has not been our luckiest year, or my luckiest year, but so far the team has been good and I am trying to do my best, and until the end I am going to push. I don't care about the championship anymore, but we are just trying to make a good show for you people watching, and we'll try to win some races.
GP2 Series: You've certainly entertained today! You had Parente on your rear wing for a lot of the race, you're trying to stay on the circuit and also overtake the slower guys in front of you: what do you concentrate on most, given the conditions?
Lucas: Well you just concentrate on not doing any mistakes. We knew, the rules were very clear, that if somebody puts 4 wheels outside of the white lines at the chicane would have got a drive through: Alvaro did it 3 times and got a drive through, Vitaly did it 3 times and didn't get a drive through...
Vitaly: Two times.
Lucas: ... I did it two times and didn't get a drive through, so I was just avoiding to do mistakes, and one thing that I have to complain is the lack of, let's say, consistent penalties on the drivers. Sometimes a driver deserves a penalty, sometimes he doesn't, sometimes it's okay: I'm not talking about my case specifically, but I was not happy with how these penalties were applied during the year, and for this race it was another example.
GP2 Series: How do you mean?
Lucas: Well I think the same crashes had different kind of penalties, and different crashes had exactly the same penalty, so it's very difficult to know exactly how it's going to be with the stewards, their decision or opinion, in any circumstance, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. And a bit unfair or, sometimes, a bit lucky. That's what I mean.
GP2 Series: Nevertheless, you probably don't need to concentrate so much on that during the race when you've got...
Lucas: I have to concentrate, because it was very clearly to miss the chicane three times you'll have a drive through: it's one point that you have to be very, very straight, and I went through once and you are on the limit not to do it three times, so you back off a little bit not to do it the third time. And that's it, because it's part of the race as well.
GP2 Series: Actually I meant you probably wanted to concentrate more on what you're doing than on what the others are doing or not doing, and let it get sorted out after the race...
Lucas: Yes, of course.