Qualifying Press Conference: Spa-Francorchamps 14/09/2007 GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the qualifying press conference at the Circuit Spa Francorchamps. Joining us today in third position is Bruno Senna from Arden International,...
Qualifying Press Conference: Spa-Francorchamps
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the qualifying press conference at the Circuit Spa Francorchamps. Joining us today in third position is Bruno Senna from Arden International, in second place is Luca Filippi from Super Nova International, and today's poleman between them is Nicolas Lapierre from Dams.
Nicolas, fantastic job from you today: were you surprised to get pole here?
Nicolas Lapierre: A little bit yes, because from the beginning of the year that is where we need to improve a bit: we haven't been very quick since the start of the season in qualifying, but obviously we did a good job and a big step in the last few races, although it was a little bit hard to see because we had some trouble. This morning in free practice went okay, and in qualifying I did a good lap on my second set of tyres which was good enough to get pole, so it is a little bit surprising but from this morning I think we knew we were going to be at the front.
GP2 Series: You've had a reasonably difficult season this year by your standards: does this make up in some way for the problems earlier this year?
Nicolas: Yeah I think it's good for me, and it's good for the team as well because we had a very good go at the start of the season, but unfortunately we had a lot of trouble this year: I made a few mistakes as well, which did cost us a lot, and in the standings we are nowhere, but we always knew that we had the ability to do it, and I think tomorrow hopefully we will have the opportunity to show it.
GP2 Series: Free practice was shortened because of the red flags: how much of an effect did that have on qualifying today?
Nicolas: I think it was a good point for the drivers who knew the track, which is my case, but at the end of the day I think half an hour of qualifying was quite long, and I think it was pretty similar conditions to this morning, so not a lot.
GP2 Series: What was different with your flying lap? Was it the tyres, the conditions, or something else?
Nicolas: I think it was good timing for the tyres: we had two clear tyres, which was quite important with no traffic, and I could see the car on the first one and push the car a little bit on the second one, I didn't make any mistakes on the lap, which is quite important on a 7km track, and that was enough to get pole.
GP2 Series: You've shown a lot of speed over the season, albeit with problems in the races, and your teammate has shown a lot of pace too: given that, what are your hopes for the race tomorrow?
Nicolas: We showed, and especially Naka showed, that the car is very fast during the races, so I think we will be okay tomorrow. He starts from eighth, which is quite good, and obviously I start from pole position, and I think we can have a good result from there. Obviously it is quite difficult, because we have La Source at the start, which is a very close corner, and the track is quite long, so a lot of things can happen but I'm sure that we will have the pace.
GP2 Series: Congratulations Nicolas.
Luca, well done to you also: were you surprised not to be on pole?
Luca Filippi: You know, I was 28 minutes on pole and then I lost it for 11 thousands, which is a very short gap. I was second this morning and second this afternoon so we just can see that our pace is good and that the car is working perfectly and I think we have shown a very good pace during the whole day. Tomorrow will be very interesting. Lapierre did a great lap. When I did my lap I was pushing 100% and I didn't think someone was able to go quicker. I did a good lap and anyway, with the second set I was almost two tenths quicker in the first sector and I thought I was able to go a little quicker but I had traffic and I had to quit the lap. But front row is perfect.
GP2 Series: Did you think there was more from the car today?
Luca: No. Good for him [Lapierre]. These two points were very important for me because of third place in the championship and because Lucas is not that far away, so I'm not thinking too much about the championship, I just have to try and do my best and tomorrow I think we are expecting a great race. I haven't been here since 2004 and I didn't remember how great is this circuit. I remember it was good and fun, but coming here with GP2 is great, fantastic. We are taking Eau Rouge flat and believe me it's not that easy. I'm not sure that everybody did but my car was perfect and I was at 100%. How you cant be motivated at this kind of circuit I don't know. It's fantastic.
GP2 Series: You're only 17 points off second place in the championship. Is that something you're thinking about going into the race?
Luca: As we know, this championship is difficult to foresee and you never know what will happen. I will try to do my best and these two weekends are important. I think we are able to go very quick. Here we start on the front row and in Valencia we were quick in the winter test. Coming from a good weekend in Monza and pole in Turkey, we are in a good moment.
GP2 Series: Well done
Bruno great to have you in the top three. Were you a little surprised to still be third at the end of the session?
Bruno Senna: Not at all. I knew it was a decent lap, not the best lap in the world, but a decent lap. I was confident that it would be competitive to the end of the session, because we were quick in the test session. For sure if I didn't have Filippi in front of me on the previous lap it would have been better. I lost a lot of time behind him at Les Combes.
GP2 Series: You were very quick in free practice. How much are you enjoying this circuit?
Bruno Senna: I love this circuit, always have, since the first time I drove here. It's just amazing. Every time we come here I just enjoy it more and more. It's a circuit where you cannot not push hard. You just feel like pushing hard because the circuit invites you too. I'm loving driving the GP2 car here. It's the best experience to drive this car here.
GP2 Series: Talk us through the spin that put you out of the session.
Bruno: Mick [Cook -- bruno's engineer] was on the radio with me and the radio wasn't working exactly well. There was a lot of static and it was cutting out and that just gave me a lapse of concentration. It was my fault obviously. I spun, but that contributed to it. I kept the engine running and tried to drive off the run-off area, but the anti-stall kicked in and I stalled the car.
GP2 Series: The spin now means you have an extra set of tyres for the race. How much will taht help you?
Bruno: I'm pretty sure that will be a good trick up our sleeves. It should give us one or two laps edge over the others and that all you need. If you are in front here and need to pull out then they cant use your slipstream and that could be what I need to pull away.
GP2 Series: What are you hoping for in the race?
Bruno: I have to say that I am pretty confident for tomorrow. Given the conditions if I am able to stay out of trouble I believe we can be strong and I can win the race. We just need to have a focussed head and do a good job, see if the strategy and pitstops work and if that happens we will be able to win.