Grosjean, Parente and Zuber discuss the race Editor's note: After the press conference Andreas Zuber was disqualified for unauthorised repairs by the officals. His teammate, Pastor Maldonado, was moved into third place. GP2 Series: Ladies and...
Grosjean, Parente and Zuber discuss the race
Editor's note: After the press conference Andreas Zuber was disqualified for unauthorised repairs by the officals. His teammate, Pastor Maldonado, was moved into third place.
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for this afternoon's race here in Spa-Francorchamps. Joining us today we have race winner Romain Grosjean from ART Grand Prix, next to him in second place we have Alvaro Parente from Super Nova International, and in third is Andreas Zuber from Piquet Sports. Starting with you Romain, congratulations on a really good drive for you today, overtaking a lot of cars and finishing possibly higher than you expected: would that be fair to say?
Romain Grosjean: Yeah you know, finally, it's a long time without a result, a bit difficult lately and in Valencia we should have won the second race but fortunately that's what we've done here. I came here since 2004 with Formula Renault, so 4 years at Spa. Free practice was quite difficult and qualifying was good, but the session was tricky with the yellow flags and the wet and everything, so I knew we could do something good, but when it started raining on the grid it was quite difficult because we didn't know if it would keep going or not, so the set up was hard and we had to choose something. Obviously we did a good job with the team, and in this case they made all the decision because they have a lot of experience and are always doing a good job. I was going fast at the beginning and then got careful when it gets dry because you can very easily make a mistake, and then we pitted a bit too late compared to the others, who did it at a good time, and then he [Zuber] could overtake me very easily. The first few laps on the slicks I wasn't very fast, I was just a bit too careful I would say, and then for maybe for one of the first times I was a bit lucky with Giorgio under the safety car and Bruno had a drive through, so I knew I was P3 before the race restarts. The tyres did a good job for the restart, and they could overtake Andreas, and then I was trying to get Alvaro: he was very fast and not doing any mistakes for a long time, so I was stuck in his rear wing. Then he did a little mistake at the final chicane and I could use the dry line on the corner, take the apex and get in front after La Source and then defend the position in the straight to be at the inside of the corner at the end of the straight. And then I knew that the car was good and the tyres were quite fresh so I tried to push really hard to make the fastest lap and get a big gap until the last safety car, and then I was a little memory of Barcelona and I said "don't do this mistake again, you're not allowed!" But the car worked really well and I made a really good restart and it was fantastic, so on the last lap I tried to push again and the track was getting drier and drier so I knew the fastest lap would come on the last lap, and points are important: it's obviously a very good operation for the championship.
GP2 Series: You looked like you had a very fast car after the first safety car when you were chasing Alvaro, but it was clear that there was only one dry line: how hard was it to have to drive on the wet to force a way through?
Romain: That was, in these kind of conditions, very difficult because only the line is dry: the final chicane was impossible to overtake, the first corner as well, so I had to wait for a mistake obviously because we weren't fast enough at the exit from Eau Rouge and onto the straight so I had stay behind him. We made the decision to stay behind him because of the wet, and before the start of the race we thought it was going to be dry so the set up was for the dry, but that as a good decision for us in the second half of the race.
GP2 Series: This is a great result for you and the team after a few disappointments lately, and it puts you up to third in the championship now behind Giorgio and Bruno, only seven points behind: what does that mean for you and the team?
Romain: We had six really bad races: I did some mistakes, we had some bad luck, and it has been really difficult for me at some points because when you have a bad result you go worse and worse, and it's very important to jump again and go forward, to have a good result and be ready for the last three races, Valencia, Spa and Monza. Now we are here, we are third in the championship and it was obviously a very good operation today: we will try and score some good points tomorrow, but really we just go race after race. I really wanted to win in Spa, and I want to win in Monza as well because they are two really good circuits. Tomorrow we will see at the start: we have to improve the car again, and if the pace is as good as today I'm sure we can have a good result.
GP2 Series: Great job today, congratulations. Alvaro, congratulations to you on another fantastic drive for you, I asked you yesterday if you had the car to win and you said maybe depending on the weather: what are your thoughts now?
Alvaro Parente: It was a bit tricky today: just before the race it started to rain, and we had to make some important decisions there in terms of car set up, and I think the only thing was we didn't have enough front wing, for sure. In the second sector I wasn't so fast as Romain, he was faster for sure in the second sector: in the first sector we were okay because basically it's just Eau Rouge and we didn't have a lot of downforce, so when the tyres were fresh I had the pace to hold him behind me. Then as he said I made a mistake in the last corner: I was expecting it to be a bit drier and okay there, but obviously it was a bit too late and then on the exit I had to brake on the wet and then he passed me on the exit to the corner. After that I could only hold me position: I think also on the rear we shouldn't have gone so far in that position, but overall I think it was a reasonable result, the pitstop could have been a little earlier but yeah it was okay. A shame we didn't win, but a good result.
GP2 Series: Earlier in the race you were having a phenomenal fight with Bruno: talk me through that.
Alvaro: He made a mistake and I was faster at that point, a lot faster, I was trying to overtake him, and when I was in a position to overtake him it was only for one or 2 laps and then he was into the pits, so only for that lap I tried to overtake him, around the outside at one corner and on the inside at the next corner, but it didn't work so well. Then he pitted when I was preparing my move: it was okay, I had a moment when he came in and I lifted my feet a little because I cut it [the corner], but then I looked in the mirrors and he wasn't there to let him back past. Anyway, it was a good result.
GP2 Series: And then it was just a case of the set up being slightly wrong and making you go a little back?
Alvaro: It was good for one part of the race, not so good towards the end: I think just a little bit more downforce at the end would have been easier and better. We've have some bad races, bad decisions, some bad luck with the technical and also fuel at the last one, but anyway it's good to have a good result and we'll keep fighting for the next race.
GP2 Series: Congratulations. Andreas, congratulations on yet another third place today, although it looked like it was quite a tough race for you today: how was it from your perspective?
Andreas Zuber: Yeah it was very difficult for me at the beginning, and for everyone, because it was half wet, half dry, so you need to be very careful with the rain tyres otherwise you destroy them very quickly, and I knew that we had to do six laps so I was quite careful. After I was the first guy I think to change to slicks, but unfortunately on the pit exit it was very, very wet, so I lost a lot of time there but I did already one lap when the other guys stopped, so I was able to overtake Romain on the straight. But in the end I was struggling a little bit on top speed, and we need to check that: everything else the car was quite good, and the race was quite nice.
GP2 Series: It was very exciting with a lot of fights with the other guys, particularly towards the end with your teammate: how was that?
Andreas: Yeah! [laughs] I knew that he has a very quick car, like me, but as I said before I was struggling a little bit with top speed and at Eau Rouge I always did it flat, I can't do more than flat, so he overtook me once but I overtook him back [laughs], it was quite good. He tried again to overtake me at the last corner, it was a bit crazy but he is like that, I have to live with it, but I finished third, he finished fourth: that's it.
GP2 Series: Everyone says the guys who came in early had an advantage: you are the guy who came in early, so do you think you had an advantage? The next two laps looked fairly chaotic...
Andreas: Yes of course I had a bit of an advantage, but it was very wet on the pit exit so I nearly spun and lost a bit of time there! [laughs] But my tyres were already on temperature because I did one lap and the guys just pitted and had cold tyres, and that was my big advantage: I was behind Alvaro for 2 laps I think, but I couldn't overtake him! [laughs] So maybe a little bit...
Romain: He overtook me! [laughs]
Andreas: Yeah, I overtook him! I think if didn't have the top speed problem then I would have overtook Alvaro as well, and then I would have won the race! [laughs]