Valsecchi, Leimer and van der Garde talk about their race
GP2 Series: Davide, another win today, the third one in a row. How does it feel?Davide Valsecchi: It was really good. I was a bit worried to tell you the truth before the start because it seemed that today was going to be difficult: we had traffic during qualifying, the track conditions were different from last week, and some drivers who were fighting with me last weekend were no longer there today like Gutierrez. So, the conditions make this week harder, but we saved the situation with a really good start. Van der Garde was much better than me, but I could maintain his pace at the beginning, but after three or four laps I took a bit of confidence and I could close the gap. I overtook just before the pitstop. I knew I could still be quick on the second part of the race. We had a good pitstop. We had an early stop because we were not far enough to the others. I was afraid that I was too early, but since everyone did the same, we were both in the same conditions to finish the race. We could maintain the pace and the gap with Leimer.GP2 Series: Your pace was impressive in the second stint...Valsecchi: Yes, but Leimer was also very competitive. He was getting closer to me so good for me and I’m glad that we could maintain the pace. And then we got the bonus points for fastest lap because we were not the fastest on track but we were lucky that Calado did not finish in the top 10. That’s lucky.GP2 Series: You talk about luck, but it’s not just about luck isn’t it?Valsecchi: No, we were fast and we drove well today. We had a good start. I was the only one to maintain the pace with van der Garde at the beginning because Leimer was around three seconds away from me in the first few laps. So, as soon as van der Garde was struggling, I caught him and I overtook him immediately. That gave me a bit of an advantage for the rest of the race. It’s the perfect situation to be leading before the pitstop. We were lucky but we were also competitive.GP2 Series: What about tomorrow?Valsecchi: You know I feel that it is much more difficult this weekend. So, I was confident during the race. I had a good car today, but before the start, I was not feeling too confident, so for tomorrow we will try to regain some positions if possible. First, I would like to have a good start like today and then we will try to do our best to score some points. I will start from eighth and that’s already some points. So if I can do something better than eighth it will be fantastic. Also, we have some good drivers like Razia in front of me, so I will try to get close to them and have at least the pace to follow. Then we will see. What I’m sure of tomorrow will be hotter, so it will be another race. It will not be so easy from my point of view.--GP2 Series: Fabio, P2 today. First podium of the season. Happy?Fabio Leimer: Finally! I’m really happy because we deserved it in Malaysia and here last week but in the Feature Race we did a small mistake with the strategy and at the end we were losing too much time and today finally everything was working well. I’m really happy. We had a good start and gained P3. I was saving the tyres at the beginning and I saw that Giedo was pushing hard, but then he started to struggle and he slowed down a lot. I tried to overtake him but I was behind him for one lap and I was losing quite a bit of time on Valsecchi. Then we pitted at the same time with him. At the end I tried to push a bit more in the middle of the race to get closer to Valsecchi but he was playing slowing down, then going quicker again before slowing down again. I realised that I could not do anything and I was happy with the second place. Then I had to manage the rear tyres. We’re happy. It’s the first podium and we will see tomorrow. It will be a hard race and we will see who will be able to save their tyres better.GP2 Series: How was the tyre degradation today?Leimer: It was a bit worse than last week but it was still manageable. But it probably has something to do with the fact that F1 is not here this week so it changes the grip level. It’s still okay, but we have to see how this will affect the race tomorrow because I think it will be harder than last week and it will be very important to save the tyres as much as possible and then actually do the same as Valsecchi did last week: saving until the end of the race and then push through the field. But it’s not easy because when you are driving behind someone who is pushing all along, you have to make sure you maintain the gap and not be too far from them. Same thing if you have to defend your position. It will be a long race tomorrow. It will be hard for 23 laps with one set of tyres, but I think we can manage it and score points. I lost quite a lot of points last Sunday so I need to take as many as possible tomorrow to get closer to the front in the standings.--GP2 Series: Giedo, from pole to P3... That’s definitely not what you were aiming for.Giedo van der Garde: No, absolutely not. I’m not happy. It’s obvious that when you start first and you finish third it feels like losing and I do not like to lose. But, I have to be happy however because this is a good result still for the team, the best this season. We have been working quite hard. It’s not been easy. The aim is to make it better with every race and I think we’ve made a big step from last week already. We scored no point, but we still need to improve more. In qualifying we showed that we can do a good job and now we have to improve things for the race.GP2 Series: You looked like you started to struggle with tyre wear very early in the race...Van der Garde: I had a really good start and I pulled away quite easily and I was not even pushing. I knew it was going to be hard on the tyres but so fast? I did not think it would happen like that. By Lap 8, Valsecchi overtook me. I tried to hold him, but it was impossible. Same thing for Leimer. I had no tyre left. All you can do is survive. We pitted and it went well. After that I had a good pace. I good follow Fabio and close the gap a little bit. We have to see and analyse where we can improve, but we are going in the right direction.GP2 Series: That’s a good result for sure. Tomorrow will be another story though.Van der Garde: I think we need to work on the tyre management but we always have a good start so let’s try to do another one tomorrow, gain some places and hopefully the car will be better and we will make another step. I hope we can score some good points and maybe another podium.
Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, president of Racing Engineering:"Fantastic race from Fabio. He deserved this podium, although we would have obviously preferred a win. But second is not bad considering last weekend's circumstances. He starts from 7th position on the grid tomorrow, so it won't be an easy race. But I am sure he will give it all he can to get back onto the podium. A pity about Nat, he got all the way to 10th before making contact with Crestani. And following the outcome of the race, he most probably would have finished 7th or 8th and be starting tomorrow's race from the front. But that was not to be and Nat actually finished the race outside the points. Although giving credit to him, I have rarely seen a driver overtaking as much as he did in this race. A special thanks also to all the boys who did a wonderful pit stop for both drivers. Now let's get ready for tomorrow."
Fabio Leimer:"It finally worked out! We really deserved a podium finish in Malaysia and also during the last weekend in Bahrain, but there was always some kind of problem keeping us from it. Today I am really happy with my podium finish in second position. There is still some potential to come and I am pretty sure we are one of the best teams at the moment. I have seen again today that I can manage my tyres really well and make them last longer. Starting from P1 might have brought a different result, but from P3 to second place is also good and I obtained quite a lot of points. Tomorrow we will see what's possible. The goal is definitely to score more points. Starting from 7th is risky. I will try to have a safe first lap and then we see how the race develops. But today was a great day. The entire team delivered a superb job with a good pit stop. Today everything worked out really well."
Nathanaël Berthon:"I am really disappointed with today's race. I had an incredible stint before I came into the pits for my pit stop. I overtook many cars, but our strategy didn't work as planned and after the pit stop I had to overtake many cars again. One of them was Crestani and when I was behind him, he didn't keep his line. I was at the same time defending my position from Gutierrez, and turning into corner 8, Crestani braked too early and I slightly touched his car. I dropped back to 18th and recovered to finish the race in 12th position. But I am very disappointed as I could have finished the race in the top 8 and tomorrow could have been a very good day."