05/07/2008 Press Conference - Race 1 GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for race one here in Silverstone, Joining us today is race winner Giorgio Pantano from Racing Engineering, in second place we have Lucas di...
Press Conference - Race 1
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for race one here in Silverstone, Joining us today is race winner Giorgio Pantano from Racing Engineering, in second place we have Lucas di Grassi from Campos Grand Prix, and in third we have Karun Chandhok from iSport International. Starting with you Giorgio, congratulations on an amazing drive today: did you expect to get a win here?
Giorgio Pantano: Not really. I knew about the problems with the tyres, because it's quite hard on the rear tyres at this circuit, and I just tried to save a little bit more the tyres at the beginning of the race just to have a little bit more consistency at the end of the race. Anyway I was expecting to be with the top guys and compete with them for the win, but not expecting to be at that level at the end of the race.
GP2 Series: It seemed like you really had no problems at all with the car today: is that how you saw it?
Giorgio: Yes, because we worked really well with the team, we chose the right set up for these conditions and this track, and in the race we were just far away from the others!
GP2 Series: Clearly you did a good job maintaining your tyres, and that led to the moment of the race when you caught up to Lucas to fight for the lead: talk me through that from your perspective.
Giorgio: I suppose Luca had some problem, because I could get past him very easily compared to when I passed Grosjean: to catch him I just took two laps, and I believed he had some problem with his car because in the first sector he was a lot slower compared to me, so it seemed like he had a problem with the car.
GP2 Series: In comparison it took you a long time to get by Grosjean, even though you looked clearly faster: why was that?
Giorgio: With Grosjean I just took the right moment to pass him: I didn't want to lose anything but I just took the right decision at that point and made the move.
GP2 Series: Another statistic that you have claimed in GP2: you are now the all time highest winner in the history of the series. What does that mean to you?
Giorgio: Yeah, it's important to me but now we need to finish this, and I would like to have a Formula One seat now! I would like to be here for my last year, try to win this championship and then go to be in Formula One.
GP2 Series: You're thirteen points clear of Bruno in the championship now, at the halfway mark...
Giorgio: We are halfway through the season, and it's still long because you never know what is happening in the other races, but if it's coming like this and we're not having any problems then it should be not difficult to take this championship.
GP2 Series: Congratulations on a great win today. Lucas, congratulations to you as well on second: I suspect if you'd been offered second before the race you would have been happy to take it, but perhaps less so now after what happened: how was the race from your seat?
Lucas di Grassi: I had a great start from fourth to second and I was putting a little bit of pressure on Bruno [Senna] in the opening laps, and then he did a little mistake at Stowe and I got the lead. From there I just opened from Grosjean and the car was very good: the pitstop was okay and the team did a great job, but the second set did not perform so well and we started to have some brake problems and tyrewear problems. It was just getting worse and worse and worse, up to the point where Giorgio was much faster, and especially the first sector was very difficult to control the car, and there was nothing I could do to hold him. I think maybe I could hold him for one or two laps but he was much faster in the points where you need to be faster to overtake, and so I was a bit disappointed because I led the race for thirty laps but then I lost it in the end. But I think for me it's my second race, my second weekend since I've come back, and I'm already sixth in the championship so I can't really complain: the team is getting better and better and we are getting more competitive every race, I'm getting back to racing also because I was nine months without a race, so I'm improving, the team is improving, and we will definitely get better by the next races and we will definitely fight for wins in the future.
GP2 Series: In the first sector on your second set it was particularly noticeable that you were struggling, and you were losing six or seven tenths in that sector alone: was there a specific problem you had in that area?
Lucas: Yeah, our front left tyre finished without any holes, so it was impossible to do the fast corners to the right, in particular the corners leading onto the straight, the key corners to having a great lap and to have speed in the straight. So it was just getting worse and worse, and there was nothing I could do.
GP2 Series: Nevertheless your performance in the first half of the race was exemplary, which must give you a lot of confidence looking forward to the remaining races...
Lucas: Yeah, I was clearly the fastest driver in the first half of the race up to the point where we started to have the problem with the tyres, and then Giorgio after the pitstop because really, really fast. But I'm happy because we were really competitive, and that's the main point, and now we'll have to improve a few small things and we should get our first win.
GP2 Series: And tomorrow?
Lucas: Tomorrow I think the forecast is rain, and so I think it will be a completely different race. I think you just put on your white visor, your wet set up, and then go for it.
GP2 Series: Congratulations Lucas. Karun, congratulations to you too: I guess it's a little bit surprising to see you here, but you had quite an amazing battle in the second half of the race...
Karun Chandhok: It was quite amazing all the way through the race, I think! Starting from tenth we got ahead of Mike [Conway] who got bogged down on the line, and it was not actually very good for me because I had to drive around him, and then I got past Soucek around the outside into Stowe, I got Kobayashi because he made a mistake into Abbey so I got him, I passed both the ART cars in the same way going into Brooklands, I passed Zuber somewhere else: I think I passed more cars today than I have all season! Silverstone is a circuit where it's supposed to be very difficult to overtake, but it's worked out very well for me! I was a little bit disappointed with qualifying yesterday, because I got a little bit held up on a new tyre run, and we had really good pace in the second half today: it was only I think Giorgio and us who had a similar pace. Unfortunately we spent a lot of time in traffic trying to overtake people: I think towards the end I was a lot faster than Lucas, and he was also struggling with the tyres a little bit, but the whole weekend we've been saying this weekend is about tyre management, and I think this is really the right tyre for this circuit and this temperature. This is what it should be all about really: there's no point having a tyre that can do 95 laps, because anyone can do 95 laps on those tyres, but when you really have to look after the tyres and change the set up I think you start to see how different teams start to struggle differently: Lucas was struggling with the front, other people were struggling with the rears, and I think to me this is what it should be all about: in Formula One they're not going to do one set of tyres for the whole race. I think it's been a really good weekend, and to get on the podium from tenth place is a good result: I've had some friends here who've brought me some nice little presents, so it's been a good race.
GP2 Series: It was a good race, and probably one for the mental scrapbook because you could fight and beat guys like Grosjean, Senna, Buemi in that amazing scrap over the second half of the race...
Karun: Yeah! I think it was difficult for Bruno and me because we were like the meat in the sandwich you know: there was first Zuber and then Grosjean and Buemi and we were in the middle, so you had to think twice about whether to risk a move, but it worked out well for me. It was a race of patience in some ways, because you had to wait for the opportunity to pass: I was a lot quicker than the others in sector one particularly, but then we went down the straight and there were yellow flags into Stowe so it was quite difficult to overtake there. But in the end the race worked out really well: it came to me and we had a really good race.
GP2 Series: There have been some question marks about whether you can really overtake with the new car: what are your thoughts on that?
Karun: I think if you watch the replay of today's race you'll see the answer to that! For sure it is a little bit more difficult than last year, but it all has to go hand in hand, and I think this weekend we've had a really good tyre for racing and it made the racing very exciting, I think everybody who watched it enjoyed it, and hopefully we'll have more weekends like this. you know.
GP2 Series: Certainly, and it showed when you were patient behind Grosjean, who clearly had no tyres left...
Karun: Yeah, Romain was really struggling and I could see that he had flat spotted the front left, and every time we went into Club and Luffield he was locking up so I had a look and thought I'll get past him on a left hander, because clearly he was struggling to stop on the left handers, and that was it: I made sure I backed off before Priory, got a good run into it and steamed up the inside into Brooklands and that was it, I just gave him nowhere to come back.
GP2 Series: And after your performance today, what are you looking for tomorrow?
Karun: The weather's going to be very English tomorrow [laughs], so as Lucas said I think it's going to be quite difficult for everybody, and particularly where we're starting from because we'll have a lot of cars in front of us. Silverstone at the moment unfortunately it's quite bumpy so you get rivers running down the straights, down Hangar straight, so it's quite difficult with aquaplaning there: I remember we did Formula 3 races here in the wet and it's not fantastic, but I think any weekend where you can get eight to twelve points you've done well, and that's what I'm trying to get tomorrow.
GP2 Series: Congratulations on the podium today.
-credit: gp2 series