Imola Feature Race Press Conference
GP2 Asia Series: Welcome to today’s press conference. Joining us race winner and points leader Romain Grosjean at Dams, Giedo van der Garde at Barwa Addax Team and Jules Bianchi at Lotus ART. Starting with you Romain, congratulations. You were untouchable today. How did it feel fcrom the car?
Romain Grosjean: It felt very good. It’s my first win in GP2 since Monaco 2009. It’s a long way. I am very pleased for the team. We did a great job from the free practice to qualifying and then to the race. Unfortunately we did not have much data to work from after free practice because I crashed. We didn’t know how it was going. They did the right choice on the set up so I am very pleased and that gives me great confidence to keep pushing with the team.
GP2 Asia Series: You managed a good start today, nothing like Abu Dhabi...
Romain: Yeah. That was the question mark for today. We knew we had the pace. We are still working on the start. There are some things that we cannot manage ourselves. I tried to do my best and the story was quite a good one. We will analyse why it was good today and not good in Abu Dhabi. And then it was just a perfect race.
GP2 Asia Series: After today and a perfect weekend so far, you are leading the Series. Do you think you can repeat your 2008 performance and snatch another GP2 Asia crown tomorrow?
Romain: We will make everything to get the title. At the beginning of the season, we were seeing the Asia Series like a test before the main Series. But when you are fighting at the front with drivers like Jules and Giedo you want to win. So, it’s a perfect weekend for now. We will try our best to do well tomorrow and see if we can drink some champagne tomorrow evening.
GP2 Asia Series: Talking about tomorrow, what will it take to finish in front of Jules?
Romain: Well, the key will be to get a good start to avoid any problem in the first few laps. Then we know we have the pace. We know we have a good car. We will see how it will go. But it’s the first time that I am fighting for a title so I’ll make it in order to get it.
GP2 Asia Series: You think you can achieve the same kind of pace tomorrow?
Romain: The pace, yes. I think we can even improve it. The thing when I start from P8 I have to think how I am going to be able to overtake or what the weather will be like. So that’s the question mark.
GP2 Asia Series: Thank you Romain. Giedo, congratulations. It’s been a while since we have seen you here.
Giedo van der Garde: Yes, it’s been too long...
GP2 Asia Series: You had a really good start today. Can you take us through it?
Giedo: I have to say that this season so far, I’ve had good starts. I think the team has managed to find a good solution for that. And we prove it again today from P5 to P2. It was good. I think we had the same pace as Romain at the beginning. After that I started to struggle with the rear tyres. We decided to pit and the good thing was that everyone pitted at the same time. After that, I was actually a bit lonely. Romain was a bit faster. I started to attack and the pace was not too bad, but as you saw with Jules you go slow and then you go quick. We tried to be constant and I think in the end we are in a good place. We still have to improve the car. But this result today is definitely a good boost for the team and for me.
GP2 Asia Series: How can you improve the car?
Giedo: I think for us we are still looking. Pirelli is new to us. In Abu Dhabi, it was a bit hard to find the pace. I really understood the car on the first race only. After today, we have more data and we have to analyse then in order to find how and where we can improve in order to find even more pace. We have to improve on the rear tyres, but bit by bit, we are getting there.
GP2 Asia Series: What about tomorrow?
Giedo: If we get the same start, we end up again on the podium. That’s the goal! I think I lost precious race in the second race in Abu Dhabi because of a mechanical failure. For us, the Asia Series is a great training ground before the main Series and we have to analyse the data. Of course, if I can finish third the drivers’ standings tomorrow, I will go for it!
GP2 Asia Series: Thank you Giedo. Jules, third place today, but looking at your face, I can tell you are disappointed...
Jules Bianchi: No I am happy, but at the same time I am a bit disappointed because I did not have a great start again. It was my weak point last year. It was finally good in Abu Dhabi and here again I made a mistake. We have to work a lot on it. I think it was not possible to win today because Romain was really quick, but we’ve improved our pace a lot compared to yesterday so we did a good job. Yes, Romain did the fastest lap but we were only one tenth behind. It’s not bad. I’m disappointed because Romain is now leading the championship and is five points ahead of me. Maybe people think Asia is a big test session before the main Series, but I am fighting for the title so I want to win it. Now it will be difficult. But it is not over. There is still a race tomorrow. I will try my best and we will see.
GP2 Asia Series: What happened at the start?
Jules: I had too much wheel-spin again. So I don’t know... We have to look at the data to see what’s going wrong. Maybe I release the clutch too early and I cannot control the wheel-spin. It’s difficult to have a good start like that.
GP2 Asia Series: You had a good pace today, but also a good strategy passing Michael Herck in the pits...
Jules: Yes. I think we had the pace. Maybe not like Romain, but before the pit stop I was quicker than Herck. Then after the pit, I overtook him and then I closed the gap with Giedo because I was quicker than him as well, but I was still too far. The pace is good. We still have to improve some things on the car but we are not far away.
GP2 Asia Series: Was managing the tyres difficult today?
Jules: Not really because I could push at the end. On my last lap I was one tenth slower than my best lap so it was not a big problem for me today.
GP2 Asia Series: Do you think you have more pressure than Romain now?
Jules: I have no pressure now. I am five points behind. I can only take a maximum seven points tomorrow. I start P6 so I have no pressure. I will do my best. I have nothing to lose now. I will do what I can.
Giedo: It’s a French fight!