Auto GP Valencia, Race 1 drivers’ quotes

After an exciting Race 1 in Valencia, here is what the drivers said:Sergei SirotkinQ: First of all congratulations Sergey! It seems that the start was really the key to your win, as after passing Quaife-Hobbs you managed to pull away.A: “Yes, definitely. I really managed to be quick off the grid, and that’s what I wanted because with a clear track ahead of me I could really make the most of my race pace and of my tyres. I pulled away easily and I have to say thanks to the team for deciding to send me out on the new set of mediums: the soft tyre is quicker for just a few laps, but the medium compound is the most consistent one and even towards the end of the race the car was still easy to drive”.Q: Did the Safety-Car worried you? Working so hard to build a gap and seeing it disappear can be frustrating…A: Well it surely was frustrating, and I was a bit worried because you never know what can happen at the restart. Anyway my worries disappeared just after the restart, when I saw that my advantage was increasing quickly. There I realized that I had won the race”.Q: It’s a really busy weekend for you, and before the Auto GP race you had already contested the first round of the Italian F3 weekend. How did you feel after another 21 laps on the Auto GP car?A: “Frankly I didn’t think about fatigue at all during the race, I cared only about pushing as much as I could. Now obviously I’m a bit tired but that’s not the most difficult thing. What’s really hard is jumping from one car to another and be competitive on both, as they require completely different driving styles. Anyway it seems that I have a really good feeling with the Auto GP car”.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsQ: Immediately after the race you told us that the tyres where the key of the race. Can you explain us why?A: Well I really believe that they were so important. I was supposed to go out on the fresh set of mediums, but then we saw that everybody, including Sergey, was on the used softs.

As yesterday I was quicker than the competition in all conditions, we decided to be a bit conservative and do what the others were doing, and so we switched to the softs just before going to the grid. Unluckily, Euronova switched to the new mediums at the same time and so I had different tyres from Sirotkin. I think it was the turning point of the race because with new tyres he had much more grip than me at the start and in the first laps, and that’s what made the difference.We managed to cut the gap at the pit-stop, as the team did a good job and my in and out laps were really quick, but today with this temperatures the soft tyres were wearing really quickly, so I didn’t have a real chance to fight.Q: The Safety-Car gave you a last chance, but Sirotkin seemed just too quick…A: As I said, the rear tyres were really worn, so also in that last lap I was fighting with the car, sliding everywhere, attacking Sergey wasn’t possible in those conditions. Obviously I’m disappointed because I was starting from pole and yesterday I was much quicker than everybody else, but the result is still good for the championship so it’s ok”.Pål VarhaugQ: When you say a really deserved podium finish! The outside pass on Regalia that gave you third place was really great stuff, give us the cockpit view.A: I had done my pit-stop one lap earlier than him, so he was on cold tyres while I already had some heat into mine, I had to make the most of the advantage. We were already close when he came out of the pits, and then in one lap I was on his rear wing: on the main straight I just made my move: I chose the outside because I already raced here and I know that if you go for the inside then the space at the first corner gets really tight and clashing is easy. Forcing him on the inside instead, he had to brake earlier and the job was done”.Q: The Safety-Car could have given you a chance, but backmarker La Rosa was between you and the leading duo…A: Yes, I hoped that the Safety-Car was letting him through to rejoin at the back but it didn’t happen. So he was there, between me and Adrian at the restart, and surely it didn’t help. Luckily he braked really early at the first corner so I passed him without losing too much time, but anyway Quaife-Hobbs was gone, and there was no chance of getting him in less than one lap.Q: You also had to change engineer during the weekend, and that surely didn’t help…A: “Yes, my engineer had to fly home because of a family emergency, and so we had to make a switch in the middle of the meeting, and that also wasn’t easy to cope with. In such a competitive scenario everything counts”.