Silverstone: Race one press conference

GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for race one here in Silverstone. Joining us today, for the first time as a race victor, is Alberto Valerio from Piquet GP, next to him in second we have Lucas di Grassi from Racing...

GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for race one here in Silverstone. Joining us today, for the first time as a race victor, is Alberto Valerio from Piquet GP, next to him in second we have Lucas di Grassi from Racing Engineering, and in third we have Nico Hulkenberg from ART Grand Prix. Alberto, congratulations on your first every victory here: how does it feel?

Alberto Valerio: [laughs] Thank you! I'm pleased to be here again, for the second time. It was a quite nice race: the beginning of the race was a little bit difficult, and after that it was just close the gap. The team worked very well, like all season they've been working very well, and I can just take the results!

GP2 Series: It looked like you had a very easy day today: you sat behind Grosjean for a couple of laps and then took him in a nice clean move, and then left everyone behind. Was it actually that simple?

Alberto: Actually, no! [laughs] We had a very difficult start, I was unable to have a good start and Grosjean opened a little bit, so I had to close a little bit the door to Lucas in Stowe, and then after I had to catch Grosjean, which hurt a little bit the tyres, and I was just waiting for mistake by him but the mistake didn't come, Lucas was approaching us, and I had to push a little bit. But I had the opportunity to do the manoeuvre, and I thought he would fight a little bit more but I got a good position on the track and overtook him, and after this it is worse when you are alone on the track because you have to focus on the pace: it's really hard! I tried to do this, and I could keep the gap of 3 seconds, which was very important, and we could do the job.

GP2 Series: Tyres were an additional difficulty here, as we discussed yesterday: how hard is it to suddenly be in this position and have to keep an eye on the pace, an eye on the mirrors, and also look after the tyres?

Alberto: Yes, principally I was looking at the guy behind and the pace they were doing, the laps they were doing, because I could not be too much quicker than them and then in the end of the race not have tyres to fight for the place. So I was watching the gap, trying to keep it back to second place, and I think we did a great job and [team principal] Felipe Vargas managed this situation very well.

GP2 Series: What does it mean to you and the team to claim this first win?

Alberto: For me it's a dream that's come true! [laughs] I didn't win since 2005, and now I could find a way again, and I hope to keep this way that is a lot of work, a lot of education, a lot of everything put inside, and we will just see if we can keep improving and keep fighting for these positions for the rest of the season.

GP2 Series: They always say that once you have the first win it makes the others come easier, so good luck with that and great job today. Lucas, congratulations on a really good job by you, albeit in what looked like quite a bit harder fight than the guy next to you here: how was the race from your view today?

Lucas di Grassi: I had a good start, from fifth to third, I attacked Valerio in the beginning of the race but I was not able to overtake him, and then I had a good fight with Grosjean again and managed to overtake him when he did a mistake, and after that I was not 100% happy with the strategy because I think we lost too much time to Valerio and to Nico in the pitstop area. I had to push really hard after the pitstop to get the time back, and I got close to Nico and a good, clean fight with him, and in the closing laps I could past him, and then on the last lap I could get close to Valerio but it was too late. But I'm quite satisfied with the performance of the car: I think we were in a position to fight for the victory today if we were in a different condition, so I'm very happy with the progress we've done with the car since the first race in Barcelona.

GP2 Series: When you say you weren't quite happy with the pitstop, do you mean when you had it or the call to change all four tyres instead of two?

Lucas: No, no, I decided to change four, but the time that I came in and the time the pitstop took to be finished: in that moment I lost a position to Nico and I was far away from him, and there was also a small misunderstanding with the engineers during a radio conversation which cost a bit of time also.

GP2 Series: But it also meant that you had good tyres left at the end of the race...

Lucas: Yes, absolutely, and I was able to attack for every single lap after the pitstop, and the balance was quite good: we had a strong car for the second half, maybe the strongest car for the second half. I managed some good overtaking, so I'm happy: the lead in the championship decreased, and that was our aim for this race, so I'm quite pleased.

GP2 Series: When we were talking in Istanbul you were saying that you were very worried about pace of Barwa: are you happier with you pace here compared to them, now that it seems you had them under control?

Lucas: Definitely Barwa had the fastest car in the first three events, in my point of view, and now it seems that everybody caught up a little bit to them, and the way I saw this race is that maybe they didn't find the perfect solution for the car for this race, but Valerio had a very, very good car, also my car was very good and it was very consistent for the race, so now I hope it continues this way and we can overtake them for the next race, and try to close this gap for the rest of the championship.

GP2 Series: Well you're up to third in the championship, so it seems to be working out: great job today. Nico, congratulations on a solid job to hold on for a podium. Your race was very, very eventful, it seems: how did it seem from inside the car?

Nico Hulkenberg: At the start I had to avoid a crash because ... I don't know who it was in front of me, but Parente got very slow and I had to avoid him on the outside in turn one. After that I was P5 for all of the first stint, and as expected it was really hard on the rear tyres with heavy fuel loads, so we decided to take an early pitstop compared to these guys. When we came back out on the circuit I gave everything I had, just pushed really, really hard, and made a big gap with the other guys: Lucas came out in third behind me, which was good, four seconds, but then towards the end we started to struggle a little bit. And also, we've just found out now, that it seems we had little puncture on the rear right, so I wasn't able to brake late anymore because I kept locking the front left, and this meant it was really difficult to defend.

GP2 Series: The pitstop strategy was an unusual one: was the decision made before the race, because you were stuck behind Grosjean, or was it something else entirely?

Nico: The tyres were going away, lap times were slow, I was behind those guys, and if you want to make some good laptimes you have to be in clear air: it's quite simple. Obviously the problem then is the last five seconds of the race, but we had to take this risk.

GP2 Series: It worked, because you set a string of fastest laps to put yourself in contention: how important was it to see this pace after a few difficult events recently?

Nico: I think the pace is pretty good, especially on one lap: our car is pretty good, and the race pace was much better compared to other races in the past. Maybe we still need to work a little bit, but we're making progress and as Lucas said everybody's getting a lot closer together and it's getting really tight now.

GP2 Series: Third today means sixth tomorrow: your thoughts for the race tomorrow?

Nico: Well that's already one point: we need to push for a few more.

-credit: gp2

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Lucas di Grassi , Felipe Vargas , Alberto Valerio , Nico Hulkenberg
Teams ART Grand Prix , Racing Engineering