Auto GP Portimão, Race 1 drivers’ quotes

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs took the fourth win of his Auto GP season today in Portimão, ahead of Norwegian Pål Varhaug and Euronova’s Sergey Sirotkin. Here is what they said after the race. Adrian Quaife Hobbs So Adrian, you equaled the record of 4 wins boasted by Romain Grosjean in 2010, how does it feel?“Well, surely you can’t be disappointed by something like that. It feels great, we managed to win on each one of the track we visited apart from Marrakech, and there we came second, so this means that we have a very competitive package everywhere”. The only tough moment of your race was the start, but then you seemed in full control. Tell us how was the race from your cockpit.“I was surprised by the outcome of the start. I didn’t even use the Overboost because I felt that my start was a really good one, and when I looked in the mirrors I didn’t see Regalia and the others behind were far enough to feel safe. Then Facu appeared on my right and there was nothing I could do. Anyway I managed to pass him one lap later  and I soon realized that the strategy of starting on soft tyres was paying off. We were quicker than our rivals on mediums and we managed nine laps without getting any graining, so it was just perfect. We could have gone longer with our pit-stop but as both Pål and Sergey had already done theirs earlier we decide pit not to waste our gap in case of a Safety-Car. It's difficult to rank your wins, but I think that we did a really good race”.

 Pål Varhaug It was an hard-earned second place, grabbed with a great drive and a great strategy…“It all started after yesterday’s qualifying, where a fuel pressure issue denied us a better starting position. We started from P5 but we knew that our pace was potentially much better, and that’s why we opted for a very early pit-stop. We didn’t want to be blocked by traffic and lapping in clean air we could unleash all our potential. It worked really well, it was a good team decision”.Then you and Sergey gave us the best moment of the race, a wheel to wheel battle for second place.“He came out of the pits just in front of me and I knew that he was on cold tyres: in the first corners I was going to have a big advantage and so I did my move, and it worked because he braked really early. After that for a couple of corners it was a tough but fair fight, and I managed to keep him at bay. Just the last few laps were really difficult, because my tyres were gone. Luckily I managed to keep a good pace and he couldn’t get too close”.Sergey SirotkinThe start was the key moment of your race, tell us how did you pass from P6 to P3.“I knew that starting from sixth place a podium finish would have been difficult unless I managed to pass some of my rivals at the start, and so I was really focused when the lights went off. I got off the line really quickly and then passed three cars on the inside before Turn 1. I was a bit lucky when Regalia went wide allowing me to take second place on lap 3, overall I would say that the first laps were really good”. And then came the fight with Varhaug. Did you feel that there was any chance of keeping him behind?“Maybe it would have been possible, but the problem is that I didn’t see him. On the straight the car shakes so much that you see nothing in the mirrors. So I was just surprised to see him besides me under braking, I tried to close the door a bit but it was late. Then I did my best to fight back but in the first lap on cold tyres it was too difficult, I was having a lot of wheelspin. I tried to save my tires to attack him in the last laps and actually I was a bit quicker than him in the late part of the race, but it wasn’t enough”.

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