GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's qualifying session here in Portimao. Joining us is tomorrow's poleman Vitaly Petrov from Addax, in second place we have Dani Clos from Racing Engineering, and in third...
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's qualifying session here in Portimao. Joining us is tomorrow's poleman Vitaly Petrov from Addax, in second place we have Dani Clos from Racing Engineering, and in third place is Nico Hulkenberg from ART Grand Prix. Vitaly, congratulations on your second pole position in a row, after a bit of a difficult time this morning: talk us through the last lap that got you pole today.
Vitaly Petrov: First of all it's very difficult at this track for braking, and for me it was quite difficult to understand. But the car was quite good and we did a good job, and also the DPR car blocked me, I think it was Cecotto, on my first set when I was quicker by two or three tenths, and he blocked me in the second sector, so I had to wait until I changed the tyres to improve. I was lucky not to have red flags today, so I could do a good lap: not perfect but I did it well, and when I was coming into the box I said "what's my position, what's my position?" and they said Nico is going quicker than you, so I went "shit, shit!" [laughs] It's like one lap to the end! So I was coming back to the box, but today I was lucky I think.
GP2 Series: Was that the only difference between the first and second sets?
Vitaly: I was quicker on the first set, three tenths, but I improved again on the second set, and I was lucky I didn't have a yellow flag or something, because if somebody crashed or went off I would show nothing with the second set, so I was quite lucky.
GP2 Series: How difficult was it to set a perfect lap here, considering that it was so wet this morning and the conditions were bad?
Vitaly: It's quite difficult because the track is new for us, and it's very important to understand the braking and to find the balance of the car, and to just understand when you need to have good brakes.
GP2 Series: You're in the right place for the start, but what are your hopes for the race tomorrow?
Vitaly: For me it will be very difficult in the first corner because it's super tight, it's more than 45 degrees so it will be very tough. And also the start will be difficult because on the straight there are a lot of bumps and my car will be jumping: I hope it will be fine but we'll see. It will be difficult tomorrow.
GP2 Series: Congratulations. Dani, congratulations also to you: your first time in a press conference and your best result in qualifying. What is about this place that's got you up here?
Dani Clos: I know, it's all a bit strange to see me up here! It's been a really difficult year, and the time has come in the last race to be at the front, and I'm really happy because the free practice was good and the team were working really hard under difficult conditions, where it was really wet and we were pushing hard and there were many cars on track. But now in the qualifying session we were all the time in the top five, and we could set a really nice last lap which gave me second place, and I'm really glad.
GP2 Series: It's your best qualifying session, and it's the first time that everyone has been to this circuit: do you think that has made the difference?
Dani: Maybe, yes. It was a pity that I haven't done much mileage with this car, and this year I've had some unfinished races, and that's not good for me, but now with equal conditions for everyone we can be there, and I hope next year it's good.
GP2 Series: We saw at the last race Razia get on pole for his first point of the season and then dominate the race: are we going to see the same situation tomorrow?
Dani: Hopefully! I know with these guys, Petrov and Hulkenberg, it's going to be difficult: they have a lot of experience and have won many races. But nothing is impossible, and now we are in a good place. I've been working a lot for this, and we are going to be working even more for tomorrow.
GP2 Series: Great job today. Nico, congratulations on P3 today, where you were less than a tenth off the pace. We saw you have a couple of lock ups at the top of the hill: was that the difference today?
Nico Hulkenberg: No, not really: it's very easy to lock an inside wheel here because, as Petrov said, it's very bumpy and difficult to judge the line, with a lot of blind corners. It's very difficult to do a clean, clear lap at this circuit, because there are some very technical and difficult bits here, so it's not an easy qualifying.
GP2 Series: How do you approach qualifying at a very technical track such as this, having not been here before?
Nico: All you can do is use practice as good as possible, try to learn from it, get experience, and then it's the same situation for everyone.
GP2 Series: Do you get to learn much when it's wet, like this morning?
Nico: Sure: I learnt the track this morning! [laughs] First time when you come to a new circuit you have to learn everything, lines, braking points, etcetera, and then it's working on the car and trying to improve the car here and there, and then finally it's improving your driving, finding improvements and the fine tuning you always do after free practice, looking at the data.
GP2 Series: And one last question: what is your favourite colour?
Nico: My favourite colour? Why is that important?
GP2 Series: Because I told you in Monza that I've run out of questions to ask you, so I'll have to ask you that...
Nico: Ah, okay! [laughs, long pause]
Vitaly: Pink? [laughs]
Nico: Definitely! [laughs] Or, I think I quite like orange...
Dani: And purple! [laughs]
GP2 Series: One last question to Vitaly: how is the arm?
Vitaly: Getting better, but it's still a bit sore...
Nico: It's cheating, come on! [laughs]
Vitaly: You want to see? I'll show you... [laughs]
Nico: Actually, he'd go quicker without this...