Maldonado, Bianchi and Bird discuss their race GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for the feature race here in Valencia. Joining us today we have race winner Pastor Maldonado from Rapax, and ART teammates Jules ...
Maldonado, Bianchi and Bird discuss their race
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for the feature race here in Valencia. Joining us today we have race winner Pastor Maldonado from Rapax, and ART teammates Jules Bianchi and Sam Bird in second and third. Starting with you Pastor, congratulations on another strong race win, which you made look easy from outside the car: how was it from the inside?
Pastor Maldonado: I think at the really beginning, after the start and the second corner where I had a small contact with Perez, and I damaged a bit my front wing: I was a bit worried at the beginning because the wing was touching my front wheel! After that I did a very constant race: I saw the incident between Valsecchi and Perez, I got second there, and I was very quick behind Jules, who was very unconstant on braking. I was pushing hard to put some pressure, and at the last corner Jules made a mistake and I got in front. It was very difficult for me, the left corners, because of the front wheel on the wing all race! But in the end it was very constant during the race, and I'm happy for another victory: it's very good for the championship, and we are looking very good for that too!
GP2 Series: If it gives you that performance, maybe you should rub the wing on your wheel more often! At the restart you seem to get caught out by the guys: what happened there?
Pastor: Yeah, the race starts on the safety car line [before the final corner] and Jules and Valsecchi caught me: I didn't expect that, and then I was just safely waiting for a moment in the race again. My pace was good, so I was just driving and concentrating on the race: no big problem, and the overtake [on Valsecchi] was clean, no problems.
GP2 Series: You seemed to have the pace to overtake at will: was the thought to just stay out longer than anyone and not worry about overtaking after the stop, or did it just happen that way?
Pastor: I was pushing after the pitstop a bit, Jules was very close to me because he changed the tyres the lap before, and after that when the balance was good and my car was okay I started to push and I made the gap, and it remained like that. I just was safe, and looked after the tyres, and at the end of the race I tried to push again just to make sure I had the fastest lap, but there was a yellow flag in the second sector so I was not able to improve my best lap. But a good weekend for me, and I think we started very good with second yesterday, victory today, fastest lap, and we'll see tomorrow. I think we can take a bit more risk for some points.
GP2 Series: Eleven points is your lead in the championship -- can we talk about it yet?
Pastor: I think it's still early! For sure it's important to win, and to have more points, and now it looks nice, and I hope to win! I'm pushing, the team too, we are a very close team and the results are coming.
GP2 Series: Great job. Jules, congratulations on a good job today. A nice start, nipped through Pastor when he wasn't expecting it, he got back past and that seemed to be your whole race from the pitlane, but how was it from your view?
Jules Bianchi: It was a really good race for me. The start we were really close at the first corner, and I just lifted because there is no point to crash in the first corner! I just wanted to finish on the podium, and after the safety car I knew it was possible to overtake before the last corner so I just overtook Pastor, and then I was able to overtake Sergio. It as a really good race, but then I made a little mistake, some problem with the wheel locking, but that's racing: I made a little mistake in the last corner, and I wanted to go into the pits but I saw the white line, and I was able to continue but I was not sure so I continued my lap and came to the pits the lap after but Pastor was in front. Pastor was really quick, and after the pitstop I was a bit faster but he started to push, my tyres were going away, so I just decided to save a bit the tyres and finish the race in the best position possible.
GP2 Series: A nice consistent race throughout, with a few good battles: I guess this was the race you were hoping for after a few disappointments recently?
Jules: Yes. It was a really consistent race, but we had a few problems before the pitstop because I had a lot of rear locking and it was not really easy to drive, and then I was behind Pastor and I was waiting, but I knew that he was really fast. After ten laps I just saved my tyres to do the best lap at the end, and I did my best lap on the last lap, but it was not enough to take the point.
GP2 Series: Both cars in the top three means a strong performance for the team: it all helps for confidence with the guys...
Jules: Yes, and from the beginning of the championship we were already fast but we did not show it in the points, but we have worked a lot with the team and they have done a good car for this race, and we will continue to work tonight to improve the car for tomorrow.
GP2 Series: Great job today. Sam, congratulations and it's good to see you back here again. You had a bit of a different story to these guys today: talk me through your start.
Sam Bird: Yes, starting P10 wasn't ideal, but I was probably able to my best start of the year and able to judge the first corner well and put my car in a good position in order to get up to sixth place. I then overtook Pic with a move on the outside at turn five, which was good, and then we pitted early to try to get some free air: we could push hard and made some time there and was able to get up to third, where we stayed for the rest of the race. Unfortunately I wasn't able to challenge these guys today, but I start ahead of them tomorrow.
GP2 Series: The pitstop strategy was particularly good: was this something you planned before the race, or was it a case of see what happens at the start and react from there?
Sam: The team and I had talked about a lot of scenarios, and it depended on my speed and where I was at the end of the first lap, and on the sixth lap we made the call, my engineer made the call actually, and the team did a great job in the pitstop: I must say I think that was the best one so far. Monaco was the worst, and this was the best! So I'm pleased with today's performance: it's not as many points as Pastor or Jules, but six points from tenth on the grid is good, and we start sixth tomorrow.
GP2 Series: And any thoughts for that race?
Sam: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it! As you guys know, I like racing, I like to be involved and to overtake people, and that's why we do it: starting sixth, I think we can do something good from there, and if we got third from tenth on the grid, what can we do from sixth?
GP2 Series: I noticed you had a little air conditioning on the front of your car again...
Sam: Again! [laughs] What is it with that? At the moment, whenever I knock my nose the car is quick: at the beginning of the year it was knocking my front tracking out slightly and we were really fast, and now it's the nose! It happened on about lap three: Giedo and I just touched slightly, but it was okay, the balance of the car was okay, I was very strong when I came out but because I stopped early I suffered a bit with degradation at the end of the race, I think we can improve the car slightly for tomorrow's race, and I think we can be on the pace of these guys. We were close today, and I'm sure we can be up there tomorrow.