Race 1 Press Conference: Spa-Francorchamps 15/09/2007 GP2 Series: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the GP2 Series Press Conference for race one here at Spa. Joining us today in third position, Lucas di Grassi from ART Grand Prix, in second Luca...
Race 1 Press Conference: Spa-Francorchamps 15/09/2007
GP2 Series: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the GP2 Series Press Conference for race one here at Spa. Joining us today in third position, Lucas di Grassi from ART Grand Prix, in second Luca Filippi from Super Nova International, and taking his second win of the season, Nicolas Lapierre from Dams.
Nicolas, congratulations. A fantastic drive today. After all the disappointment you've had this season, how does this win affect your confidence?
Nicolas Lapierre: It's very good for me, for the team as well. We won the race in Bahrain but it was the sprint race which is easier to win, this one is a proper one. We got the pole position yesterday and today we were quite fast and I think we had a good strategy. That shows to everybody that we can do it. Obviously it's a bit late, with two races to the end, but at least we did do it, which is good for me and the team.
GP2 Series: You were really controlling the pace all the way through the race. How was it out there?
Nicolas: It was quite difficult on the first set of tyres because Lucas was pushing me and we had some oversteer, the car was not perfect on the first set and that was the most difficult part of the race. I think we went side by side through La Source and going to Eau Rouge. That was not easy, but when we did the pit stop the car was much better and then it was much easier for me to control the race.
GP2 Series: Talk us through the start. It was quite a dramatic moment.
Nicolas: Yes there was quite a lot of grip, we knew that because it's a new track, so we put a lot of rpm and just had a lot of wheelspin but I think that was the safest way to go out of the grid. A lot of people stalled. Senna behind us was on new tyres and I don't think that helped him. It was good for us that he stalled because I think he would have been fast as well, but our start was pretty OK and we were first out of La Source which was the most important thing.
GP2 Series: How was the car's speed today. You didn't set the fastest lap despite being at the front for most of the race. Were you happy with the speed of the car?
Nicolas: The first set of tyres, I was not very happy with the balance as I said, because it was oversteering. On the second set it was really good. I had to push a little bit in the first laps because Luca and Adam were just behind, but at the end of the race I was just controlling and I think the pace was OK.
GP2 Series: Tomorrow there's a reasonably unusual grid infront of you. What are your expectations?
Nicolas: We will see. Its difficult to expect anything from the Sunday race. A lot of things can happen but the good thing is that on this track you can overtake. We will try our best to come back and see what we can do. We have nothing to lose from a championship point of view so we just have to push.
GP2 Series: Congratulations, well done.
Luca, well done to you too. You started second and finished second, but I suspect it was a bit harder than that.
Luca Filippi: yeah it's not like starting second and finishing second because I was P4 in turn one. I didn't have a great start but then in turn one I locked the front and went straight and went into the run off area, so I was P4. Then the car was a bit difficult to drive at the beginning, especially in the first three or four laps. Before we pitted I was getting closer to the guys in front of me and especially coming in I was a lot quicker than Adam. I gave the chance to my team to pass him in the pits and they did a great job on the pitstop. They made a good job. Then the guys in front they pit the lap after and going out from Eau Rouge a lot quicker I was able to pass Lucas. I think it was a good move -- I enjoyed it. Then I was second and after Adam had a problem I tried to push and catch Nicolas but I saw it wasn't possible so I backed off. I'm very happy, honestly, especially for the pitstop. The team made a good job.
GP2 Series: At the start it looked like you'd flat spotted your front right tyre. Did you?
Luca: Not really because you arrive there only in third gear so its not that quick and you then have so much weight on the tyre so it doesn't make too much of a flat spot as the tyres are also cold. It wasn't a problem. I had no vibration for all the race so it wasn't an issue.
GP2 Series: Nevertheless it looked like your second set were much faster despite only changing the rear tyres. Were they?
Luca: This is what we planned. We thought to have a bit of understeer so to fix the balance with the new rears, and it worked, especially for the first few laps. At the end we had abit of understeer and it was difficult to manage the car on power, but anyway I think the strategy was perfect and the points are very helpful for the championship.
GP2 Series: You had Adam on your tail for quite a long time. Were you ever worried that he was going to get past you?
Luca: He was quicker in the slow corners, because he had better traction than me, but I was quicker in Eau Rouge and the long left going downhill and high speed corners, so I was gaining around 20, 30 metres in those corners and that allowed me to keep the gap over the lap.
GP2 Series: Do you want to make any predictions for tomorrow's race?
Luca: I'm sure we can fix the balance for tomorrow, we can have better traction, and we will have new tyres so I'm very confident and maybe we will have slower guys in front and we can overtake here. It will be a fun race for the spectators again.
GP2 Series: Excellent, well done again.
Lucas, a great job today and quite a storming start. A small problem later on but I suspect this is one of your favourite podiums. How was it from inside the car?
Lucas di Grassi: Yeah, it was good. The start was good off the line, I overtook Bruno and Luca when Bruno stalled on the grid. I was side by side with Nico, and in the first part of the race I was quicker than Nico when he had some problems with oversteer and my car was really good. When we changed the tyres the car went too much understeer, and its where I lost the places to Luca and Adam, but I had to manage the situation because I knew that Timo stalled on the grid and I was getting closer in the championship in that moment. The risk that I could take was a bit different to Adam, so I tried to be as close as possible to Adam and Luca when they were fighting and after Adam went out I was at the same pace as Luca and running third. I decided to stay there and now I am six points off the championship lead and that was the main objective for this race.
GP2 Series: You knew that Timo was well behind you and out of the points. When you went side-by-side with Nicolas, what was going through your head?
Lucas: Well, it was quite a fair move. Nicolas was fair and me too. He did a mistake the corner before which was why I had a chance to overtake him and we were side-by-side into Eau Rouge and he was a bit infront so I decided to go back and maybe try to overtake the next lap. It's a shame we stopped on the same lap. For me I should have stayed on, two or three laps more, but this is racing and you cant say anything else. I'm happy with a podium finish.
GP2 Series: When Luca and Adam got past you was it just a matter of having cold tyres?
Lucas: Yes, the balance changed quite a lot and also the tyres were cold so after Eau Rouge there was nothing I could do to stop Luca. He was very close and his pitstop was really good. I fought a bit with Adam but he got past and after I was very slow. In the end I got the pace back. Until the tyres got to the right temperature the car was handling quite understeery, but after that the car was good and was catching Adam and Luca every lap but not enough to close the gap to try a move.
GP2 Series: How much of the thought of the championship came into that?
Lucas: When you are inside the car you have so many things to think about that I didn't really care about the championship in that moment. I just didn't need to take any big risks and that's what I did.
GP2 Series: Tomorrow you're behind the guys who would normally be behind you. What are your thoughts?
Lucas: Like they said it's going to be an interesting race. The guys in front were quite slow today but tomorrow you never know. It happened like that at many races that the guys who finished in seventh and eighth were fast. Anyway we try to improve the car and stay infront and do big points.