GP2 Series: Luiz Razia, GP2 race winner: how was it for you today? Luiz Razia: It was really good! After yesterday Parente was penalised and I was eighth, so today I started from pole: I did a very good start and just tried to keep my pace in ...
GP2 Series: Luiz Razia, GP2 race winner: how was it for you today?
Luiz Razia: It was really good! After yesterday Parente was penalised and I was eighth, so today I started from pole: I did a very good start and just tried to keep my pace in front of Lucas, and he is an experienced driver and pushed a lot, but I tried to take care of the tyres and it was really good! I tried so hard during the race, and I finished first, which is really good for the first time!
GP2 Series: It was amazing: you got your first point because of the penalty, you first time on pole and yet it looked like you'd been there a million times. How did you keep calm for what is probably the biggest race of your life so far?
Luiz: This is also the work with my trainer, so we tried to keep the mind out of this place, out of this pressure, and I start from pole this year in April in Asia and I won the race, and I tried to put my mind in this situation. And that's what I did, and it worked well, and I will try to do that now every time I'm on the pole!
GP2 Series: You and the team have had a lot of bad luck this year, especially in the last round: does this win make up for all of that?
Luiz: Yeah! Now I think the mechanics, the team manager, they can feel that we have a very good position and a very good performance, so I think this is a very good result for all the mechanics and the team, because Spa was a big trouble and was not so good for us, so this is a nice reward. I need to work more on my qualifying, so I can be in the top ten places you know, not back, so you can have something more to play with. So I will concentrate more on my qualifying now, and will try to get more results!
GP2 Series: Lucas, P2 after a strong race and a great start: after that was it a case of waiting to see what happens?
Lucas di Grassi: No, no, no, I was pushing really hard, but the problem was Razia had very little downforce on his car and he did no mistake, so it was very, very difficult to follow him through the Parabolica: even if you are close it's very difficult to stay there, and on the straight you gain, but not enough to get past. So it was like this for ten laps, I was pushing really hard, but in the end I think the start was awesome and the result, starting 15th but finishing twice on the podium and making 11 points, was quite good.
GP2 Series: You couldn't ask for much more. With Razia having the set up like that, was it a case of thinking Razia hasn't been here before, let's see when he makes a mistake?
Lucas: Yeah, I was putting a lot of pressure on to see if he did a small mistake, and he did it twice in the chicane when he just cut it, and I was trying to put as much pressure as I can, but you cannot be so close for so long because your tyres overheat, your brakes overheat. I tried everything I could but he did a good race: he had the pace, he didn't do any major mistakes, so I didn't have a chance to overtake.
GP2 Series: It's your 20th GP2 podium today: what does that mean to you?
Lucas: I think that's very good: if you count the years that I've been with a team that gave me a chance to be on the podium I think it's one podium every three races average, so I'm quite happy with that. 20 trophies back home is quite an accomplishment in GP2, and being such a strong championship with such a high level of drivers having 20 podiums is really, really good.
GP2 Series: Final round to come in Portimao, 11 points the difference to Petrov: are you looking at second in the championship?
Lucas: Yeah of course, but the aim is not finishing second or third -- I'm third and I'm 21 points from Maldonado, so I can't lose that now -- but the aim is to go there and win races, maybe win one. The aim is to go there do the best you can do, and that's what I'm going to push for. I've never been there, so it's going to be quite an interesting weekend.
GP2 Series: Today you knew you only needed one more point than Vitaly: how did that affect your approach before and during the race?
Nico Hulkenberg: It doesn't change the approach of the race. To be honest I was very calm and focussed before the race, not nervous, and just saw it as a normal race: just do you job, avoid any mistakes, just get through the first corner and then do a normal race, and I was sure about that. So it was okay, it was good, and after the first corner I saw he was right behind me and I thought okay, it's going to be a bit more difficult now [laughs] and a long race, because I knew he was quick from qualifying. He was quite aggressive and he pushed hard in my mirrors for the first ten laps, and then it settled down a bit and he made a mistake, and then I had a bit more space. It was a tough race because really there was a big, big theme to it! [laughs]
GP2 Series: Next week you've got Portugal, the final race weekend and the pressure is off: what are your hopes for the weekend?
Nico: I want to win, I want to score another pole and another win.
GP2 Series: Nico Hulkenberg, GP2 champion: how does that sound to you?
Nico: It sounds good!
GP2 Series: First rookie champion since Lewis Hamilton, fastest run to the title, first guy to win before the final round, blah blah: do any of these things mean anything to you?
Nico: Not really, no: the only thing that matters and that means anything is that we are the champion, and all the other stories are not important to me. It does mean something, but the most important thing is that we are champion, we have done that with a P3 and a podium today, and that's very nice.
GP2 Series: How difficult has this championship been for you? You've made it look easy, but was it?
Nico: Yeah, especially in the beginning it wasn't easy, because things were pretty difficult and we had to fight a lot in the beginning, and we had some tough weekends. But I think we improved step by step until Nurburgring, Hungaroring, Valencia, our really top weekends where we were very competitive and the quickest guys on track. And even Spa and here, we're not the top guys on the track, but we're always there and consistently in the top three, and I think that's the key to winning the championship.
GP2 Series: As a racing driver you are always learning: how do you approach learning a series like this, against guys with so much experience?
Nico: Yeah, that's true, but we have the winter series and then the beginning of the season, and all these guys in their second, third or fourth year, to beat them you have to work better and quicker between your team and yourself. So that wasn't an easy challenge, but about mid-season I really got into GP2 and the car and the team, and from then on we were really strong and it seemed really easy there.
GP2 Series: How much of a difference has the team made to your education process?
Nico: The team is very important: without a good team the driver is nothing, and they are nothing without a good driver. I need them and they need me, and I'm very happy to be with them: in the start we didn't start off so strong, even though I was P3 straight away in Barcelona, P3 in Monaco and pole in Turkey, but straight away the race wasn't our strongest side but we improved that quite a lot, kept our heads down, and focused on the important bits.
GP2 Series: There always seems to have been a really good atmosphere between you and the team: it's like you're with your mates...
Nico: I am with my mates! And this is my personal bitch! [laughs, and hugs Gaetan Jego, engineer] I think it's good to have a good harmony, and within the team everybody can have fun: this sport is very serious, but to have a laugh and joke, a barbecue and a beer afterwards is very important I think. We had this a lot this season, and also good relations off track.