CHAMPCAR/CART: Edmonton: Top three finishers press conference, part 2

Continued from part 1 ERIC MAUK: This is Newman/Haas 12th Champ Car win here in Canada. They have 85 in their illustrious career, which includes five Champ Car titles. Sebastien, take us through a little on your strategy today. You started...

Continued from part 1

ERIC MAUK: This is Newman/Haas 12th Champ Car win here in Canada. They have 85 in their illustrious career, which includes five Champ Car titles. Sebastien, take us through a little on your strategy today. You started 10th, you were up to 6th by the end of lap six, but then you kind of settled in and waited for something to happen.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, it didn't exactly happen like that. Obviously, I tried really hard at the beginning. I just did a pretty good job to warm my tires during the caution laps. It seemed to work really well. My car was behaving very, very well. I was very happy with it during the first few laps. People seemed to be struggling and I was able to go by fairly easily in turn one after having a good exit off the fast chicane. I was using the 'push to pass', passing people, getting further and further. Looked pretty good for a while.

But doing that, apparently I heated my tires quite hot. Then after that, I had to settle down a little and just take better care of my tires, try to save fuel when I couldn't go by anybody else. Then I settled there behind Oriol. It looked like it was going to be a pretty good result for us because we were able to save quite a bit of fuel. Was really looking for a pretty late stop. Well, we had to make it under yellow.

Got passed by Alex, which was obviously a huge step back. But in order to do that, they had to put very little fuel in the car because he run out of fuel, I'm pretty sure. I saw him not making pitting at full speed. You know, that just killed us really because then on alternate tires he was going fast but not enough to keep up with the front-runners. I didn't have enough speed to try anything on him. He was going through the fast chicane pretty well.

My major spot to pass people was no longer available in turn one, then I really had to wait. That's what I've been doing after that in the second half of the race. I just waited and tried to save fuel when I had to, tried to go fast when I had the clean track and clear track in front of me. That paid off. It feels really good to bring a first 1 and 2 in this 2005 season with Oriol. We obviously miss Bruno quite a bit. But Oriol and myself are doing a very good job and we just still going to try and bring the thing home to Newman/Haas Racing.

ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Before we get started with questions from the media, unofficial points standings after seven events, Sebastien Bourdais is your points leader with 182 points, Paul Tracy is second with 161, Justin Wilson is third with 152, Oriol Servia moves up to fourth with 135, AJ Allmendinger is fifth with 122.

Q</I>: Oriol, you had a moment coming out of the pits where it looked like you might be close to contact with Sebastien. Was it that close?

ORIOL SERVIA: I mean, honestly I was a little frustrated because I run into Nelson Philippe those two or three laps that I knew it was going to be crucial. I actually didn't know exactly it was going to be Sebastien. But I knew we were pitting on different laps, me, Sebastien, Paul, all those different guys. I knew those middle laps were crucial. I was on cold tires. Nelson was not. I was trying to get past him, but he was a lap down. I just couldn't. Just when he let me, I saw him going out. You know, it's very easy to make a mistake. You know, I obviously tried, but he was ahead, so there's not much I could do. I tried later in that lap.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  I really thought I was not going to be able to hold
him off.  I braked late for turn 10.

ORIOL SERVIA: We both lock wheels. At that point I thought, "Okay."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I didn't think I was going to have a chance to stay in front of Oriol, especially since I ran into some back markers also in my fast lap when I really needed to go fast. I thought, "Well, this is it." You see I turn probably a 1:03, something like that, two laps before pitting. I thought that was not going to happen, but still made it.

Q</I>: Paul, would you say that this is an unfair track, you were talking that there were no passing zones here.

PAUL TRACY: I wouldn't say there's no passing places. I think there was more passing for the lead in this race than we've had in a long time. But it's demanding. It requires you to be very, very committed to the corner. If you make a small mistake, you pay for it big - not only in terms of your lap time, but it's so easy to hit the wall on the exit. You're going so fast that you want to push to the limit. But if you make a small mistake, it really bites you hard.

ORIOL SERVIA: I have a suggestion. It was a great event. If you want to have the greatest ever, let's use the full airport next year (laughter).

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: The real thing, I think what people don't see, it's really bumpy. I mean, when you look at the damper velocity, it's the highest velocity ever we've seen. It's not extreme high berms, but it's small undulations and small bumps here and there. It just kills you. I mean, it grabs the steering wheel out of your hands. As you know, we don't have power steering or anything like that. It just makes your life terribly difficult at the end of the race.

Q</I>: Sebastien, how do you feel about the win today?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  Well, it was obviously a pretty unexpected win
today.  I really thought I was going to score a top five.  But, you know,
win the race, just...  I knew we had the speed because this morning we
were the fastest car in warm-up.  The first practice, we were the
fastest.  So when we had an opportunity to show what kind of speed we
had, we were right there.  But it doesn't really matter.  Everybody is
pretty fast in the field.  It's not easy to go by people.  I think we've
seen that.  So I wasn't expecting it.  You know, I take it for sure.

Q</I>: Sebastien, talk about the support of the people of Edmonton.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, to see such a commitment from the city and to have such a crowd, the setup was great. I mean, there definitely are a few holes that could probably be avoided and could open some room for mistakes. But it also obviously bites you hard. As Paul said, if you make a mistake, you're going to pay full price for it. That definitely makes it even harder for everybody.

Q</I>: Paul, did you feel better on the red Bridgestones or on the regular tires.

PAUL TRACY: Well, my car was good. In the beginning, obviously I was on reds. I felt good the first half of the race. I'm looking at the times now. You know, AJ was a 59.9. The three of us were 1:01.3, 1:01.5, 1:01.5. Obviously, they had the handle of everybody today. They were almost a second and a half quicker, both him and Justin. So, obviously, their cars were phenomenal today, but obviously didn't make it to the end.

The last stint for me, I mean, I just for whatever reason, from when the track started in the beginning of the race, when the track was lower grip, my car was really good. As the track gained grip, my car started to become a little bit ill-handling, the steering became very heavy. I was having locking problems. That was really my issue. Yeah, for sure it was faster. But I think, you know, for us we just had too much caster in the car. The steering became too heavy at the end of the race.

Q</I>: When Justin spun, how close was he to taking you out?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  Well, I was quite surprised, but I was ready to stop
my car.  He was quite sideways in the middle of the track.  But he backed
it up.  I saw he was going to try and restart quite fast.

PAUL TRACY: He almost hit me. When he had spun, the tires were spinning, and he was coming basically right at me to turn it around. So he was in a hurry to get turned around.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, definitely he was probably not very proud of himself, that's for sure.

Q</I>: How do you spin a car under yellow like that?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It happens to the best ones, and he's a very good one. It shows how difficult these cars are on restarts and under yellows. When the tires are hot, you grab anything on the racetrack. Obviously, there was a one-line deal here. Every time you would put one wheel off, you would be struggling for a full lap. It was so easy to lose it on restarts. It happened to Justin under yellow. It happened to AJ two laps in after the race start. For five laps, the car was really, really tough to drive.

Q</I>: How tough was this track?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah. Well, I think, as everybody said, we knew it was a real physical challenge because, you know, clearly my car was better than 1:01.3. Past 50 laps, I couldn't get the best out of it. The steering wheel got so heavy, I just couldn't use the best out of it.

It's too bad, but that's the way it is. We knew as a consequence people were going to make mistakes. When you get tired, lose your concentration and vigilance, then what happens is you make mistakes. Yeah, some people are going to spin it. Some people are going to stuff it in a wall, because there were quite a few opportunities to do that here. We just decided to maybe go slightly slower when we felt that -- both Oriol and I think when we saw we couldn't play any harder than that, you just have to play with what you've got. That's what we did. We had a pretty trouble-free race and that paid off big time.

ERIC MAUK: All right. Thank you all very much. Our next event takes place July 31st, the inaugural Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose. Thank you very much.

-ccws-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Nelson Philippe