GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's qualifying session here at the Nurburgring. Joining us today from pole we have Nico Hulkenberg from ART, next to him is Roldan Rodriguez from Piquet GP, and in third is...
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's qualifying session here at the Nurburgring. Joining us today from pole we have Nico Hulkenberg from ART, next to him is Roldan Rodriguez from Piquet GP, and in third is Lucas di Grassi from Racing Engineering. Nico, congratulations on your second pole in the series, and your first one at home: how does it feel?
Nico Hulkenberg: It's obviously always great to be in pole position, and to be on pole at home is even nicer, but I'm not making such a big deal about it being my home race: it's a race like every other race, and I'm happy about the two points and the grid position for tomorrow, and I'm just really looking forward to the race.
GP2 Series: How difficult was it considering the conditions today?
Nico: Yeah it was cold, and just before we went on the track it was spitting and no one was sure about the weather, so it was straight out: I think Lucas was first out, and I was second car on the track. But it wasn't really a problem, it wasn't really raining but just a bit of a problem to get the tyres up to temperature, and once that happened there was no problem, and the conditions were consistent throughout qualifying.
GP2 Series: Did having a bit of local knowledge help in the changeable conditions?
Nico: I think so yeah: I've raced on this circuit twice, and this is one of the first circuits, apart from Barcelona, that I know on the calendar, which for sure helps, yeah.
GP2 Series: A couple of points in the bag for the championship: what are your thoughts on the race tomorrow?
Nico: Well first of all, as usual, we need to have a good start, to maybe get clear and pull ahead of the others, and we need to have a good car: first we need to look at what the weather will be like as well, but as far as I'm aware it's not dangerous with the rain tomorrow. And then, as always, I think it will be a long and tight race.
GP2 Series: Good job today. Roldan, congratulations on your job today: it's been a while since we've last seen you here...
Roldan Rodriguez: Yeah, too much time! [laughs]
GP2 Series: How was your session today?
Roldan: It was very good: of course it was not a big difference between pole position and my time, but I'm happy. We worked like a proper team, everybody just worked so hard this weekend so we could do well, so I'm very happy.
GP2 Series: As you say, there wasn't a lot of time between you and Nico today, and in fact you were on top until he just pipped you at the end: did you think you'd done enough for pole today?
Roldan: Now it's easier to look and think I could have found some small time in some corners, but we cannot do anything now except look forward to tomorrow. Of course it's something you think about, and the tyres were not the best but everybody had that problem, but also I touched some corners, there were some braking that I could have improved. But I think everyone could improve, as well.
GP2 Series: How were the tyres in the cold temperatures today?
Roldan: For me they were very good: the tyres were almost perfect at the end of the session, so I think that's very good for tomorrow because I think we can have a good tyre for tomorrow as well.
GP2 Series: You're starting on the front row tomorrow, with Nico next to you and Lucas just behind: what's going to happen into the first corner?
Roldan: [laughs] I will try hard tomorrow! I think we can win the race, the car is going to be perfect for that, and I would like to win so I will push hard!
GP2 Series: Well done for today. Lucas, congratulations on another top three finish today: how was it from your seat?
Lucas di Grassi: The conditions were quite good, and I'm happy to be in the top three although I stayed 19 minutes on pole and I was not able to use my second set of tyres properly, I didn't manage to do a single lap, so it's a bit frustrating that with the first set of tyres I was a clear three tenths away from second. But the car feels very good, we improved it a lot from free practice and we went on the right direction, so we're going to keep going like this for the race and hope to be in a very strong position like we were in Silverstone, where in the race we had a very strong pace, especially in race two. And then we'll just try to bring home some good results.
GP2 Series: Roldan's just said the tyres were very good for him: you were here two years ago when we had the harder tyres, so what have you noticed has been the difference between the two weekends?
Lucas: First I don't remember really: it was nearly two years ago! It was a difference car, different temperatures, different tyres, so it's very hard to compare something when you don't have a base to compare it to.
GP2 Series: Damn, I thought you knew everything! [laughs]
Lucas: Yeah, almost! [laughs] You can google it if you want!
GP2 Series: You lost the last five or six minutes to yellow flags: was that where you lost out today?
Lucas: Definitely I could have improved on my second set: I don't know if it would have been enough to beat Roldan or Nico, but definitely I could have improved as we didn't change much of the car. So I'm just a bit frustrated that we didn't manage to use the car because of traffic and the yellow flags, but in general qualifying was okay.
GP2 Series: Nico, your last lap you were pushing very hard, presumably because you knew that Roldan was so close to you: was there a problem there?
Nico: I didn't know that he was that close, to be honest, but what happens was I was just pushing, and maybe over pushing at points [laughs]