Chandhok, Senna and Parente discuss the session GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's qualifying session here at Spa-Francorchamps. Joining us today from first place is Karun Chandhok from iSport ...
Chandhok, Senna and Parente discuss the session
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's qualifying session here at Spa-Francorchamps. Joining us today from first place is Karun Chandhok from iSport International...
Karun Chandhok: Eleventh place! [laughs]
GP2 Series: Well, yeah! In second place we Bruno Senna, also from iSport International...
Bruno Senna: First place! [laughs]
GP2 Series: Okay! And in third place we have Alvaro Parente from Super Nova International. Karun, starting with you, congratulations if that's the right word to use, a fantastic last lap to take the top position today: talk us through that lap.
Karun: The circuit was just getting quicker and quicker: there's nothing much else to it. After the red flag I was in sixth position I think, and I knew the car was good as Bruno was right up there from the start of the session, and I waited for five minutes so it took me a while to get going after the red flag, and the track was getting quicker and quicker but I had to wait because people were falling off all over the place. Then they came on the radio and said 'this is the last lap, either you do a lap now or you start P12 plus 10'! [laughs] And that was it: I pushed all the way through, the track was getting drier, and I hooked it up and beat Bruno by a tenth I think, and he backed off on the last lap. It just worked okay for us.
GP2 Series: You've been working hard all day despite the ten place penalty from Valencia, trying things like the ultra low aero set up in free practice: are you happy with your pace here despite the position you'll start from tomorrow?
Karun: Yeah definitely: in free practice we were quick, and I think if we'd carried on with the programme I think we would have been okay, and obviously taking pole was best I could do with a ten place penalty [laughs]. Tomorrow we'll see, and at the end of the day realistically we're not going to win tomorrow, but if we can get a healthy haul of points and use the reverse grid and get a win for Sunday I think that's what's realistic. Hopefully he'll have a good race tomorrow [points to Bruno], and after our quadruple zero score for the team in Valencia it'll be a good boost for everybody if we can have a good result for iSport.
GP2 Series: Clearly this is a place you like a lot, and you won here last year and have been quick today: what is it about this circuit that you like so much?
Karun: It's just a mega circuit, and I don't think there are any drivers out of the 26 of us who'll say I don't like Spa. It's a challenge, everything about it: the weather changing all the time, it just complicates life a little bit but we've all been here before, in Formula 3 or whatever, and it's just a mega circuit. It's just a great pleasure to drive, and I think we've been strong in free practice in the dry, both cars were strong in the wet, so whatever the weather is tomorrow I think we should be in good shape.
GP2 Series: Regardless of the result, congratulations on your drive today. Bruno, congratulations to you, 2 points for the championship and you were looking fast all day: how was the day for you?
Bruno: It was good: in the test session we did some strategy to fuel the car for the race, and it took about 9/10ths off the best time and I have a few problems but it was good enough to get some information, and obviously having Karun at the front gave some good information for us too. In qualifying obviously I love wet conditions, I always feel very comfortable when it's wet: I drove here very well in the wet the first time I came here in 2005 and I know the place fairly well, and I know that the first time I drove for iSport was in the wet and I did a fairly good job for them then too. So I knew that I could do something good, and it's just a shame that there were so many yellow flags because you couldn't push: obviously as Karun said the circuit was getting quicker, but you couldn't do anything because there were yellow flags on a few corners, and I think when he did his lap there may have been yellow flags or something. It's difficult to get a lap when it's like that, and I was lucky to get away with a lap when there weren't any yellows like that, but it is just a bit sad that you can't get a rhythm and push harder and harder like that.
GP2 Series: I t was getting faster as you say, and you were faster on your last lap until you came in: why did you do that?
Bruno: Because I had to back off on my middle sector anyway: my first sector was very good and I took Eau Rouge almost flat, which was one of the scariest moments of my life! [laughs] So I'm probably not going to do that in the race! But it was very fast, and obviously if I could complete the lap it would have been a good lap, but I saw the yellow flags and backed off, and Gav just told me to come in.
GP2 Series: It's obviously a fairly high pressure weekend for you personally because of the championship: how do you deal with that and keep everything going, especially when it's starts raining heavily 5 minutes before the session starts?
Bruno: I think the pressure is on Giorgio, not me: I'm just trying to catch up [smiles wide]. To be fair I'm doing the best that I can, and I have a great team behind me who are doing a great job and pushing so hard, and I think I want to be nice to
Karun: he does a lot to help the team as well and we are working really well together, and that just brings the team up. For sure when you work in an environment like that it just makes it much better, so when I made my mistake of the year last time out I got supported by the team, I didn't get bashed down, and I'm just trying to return the favour.
GP2 Series: It's a team that they know well and have done well at in the past, and both of you are clearly fast here today and you're two points closer to Giorgio: what are your expectations for tomorrow?
Karun: Well, they didn't finish last year! [laughs]
GP2 Series: True, but neither of you were driving for them! [laughs]
Bruno: I think regardless of the weather conditions we should be competitive, if nothing bizarre happens like it has been happening this year! [laughs] We should be fine, you know: there have been a few things that have gone wrong a little bit, but every step of the way if I keep chipping away points to Giorgio we should be fine. Monza is going to be competitive, but we are going to be competitive as well, and I think it's going to be a real thriller on the last race.
GP2 Series: At least Risatti isn't here, so he can't knock you off! [laughs] Congratulations on your job today. Alvaro, congratulations on a great drive today: it's almost surprising to see you here after the bad luck you've had recently! How was it for you out there today?
Alvaro Parente: It was good: like you said, five minutes before qualifying it started to rain, so it was always going to be interesting with everyone changing the cars a little bit and putting them towards the rain settings. It was good since the beginning, but to get to the end with yellow flags and people in front it was looking quite hard until the red flag, but then I just put one good lap in after the red flag and that was it, just all yellow flags towards the end. The car was feeling very good and I had a lot of grip, and I think we did a great job and in those five minutes before the session we did the right things. That was it, we managed get the good lap in, and we were at the front.
GP2 Series: What do you put that down to? Obviously you haven't had the best luck in qualifying, but here the team just looked great.
Alvaro: Yeah, especially in qualifying we've been struggling a bit, but I think where we qualified in Valencia was not our pace: we went a bit too early on the second set of tyres and when the track was good was the last 3 minutes, so you had to go quite late. So there in Valencia it should have been a good qualifying, especially after being second in free practice, and then running out of fuel in Valencia obviously didn't help...
Bruno: Yeah, we know about that! [laughs]
Alvaro: Yeah, and we've had a real mixture this year of ups and downs, and sometimes the results didn't appear when they should have appeared: it's just good to be back here again, and we need to keep improving and doing our best in each session.
GP2 Series: We know what Bruno wants to do tomorrow but he's got a championship to fight for: what are your plans for the race?
Alvaro: I think see what the weather does first of all, because it's always wet dry, wet dry here and you don't know what that's going to do, but I just hope to get the best result possible and try to win the race if possible, but we'll see.
GP2 Series: Do you have the car for the win?
Alvaro: It depends what the weather does! [laughs] But yeah, I think maybe so.
GP2 Series: Congratulations.