Nasr, Vandoorne and Marciello give us their thoughts
GP2 Series: Welcome to today’s press conference following the feature race in Spielberg. Joining us we have race winner Felipe Nasr for Carlin, Stoffel Vandoorne for ART Grand Prix and Raffaele Marciello for Racing Engineering. Felipe, congratulations. You must be over the moon now that you have added a first feature race win to you tally. How was your race today?
Felipe Nasr: I guess it all came down to the start because turn 1 is a bit tight here so I was concentrated on having a good start and everything went perfectly. I had a good getaway and I got in the lead into turn 1/ After that it was all about building a gap and putting good laptimes. It’s not easy though because in the race we had a lot of traffic as well. I saw some guys getting closer so as soon as I hit traffic, I had to overtake them quickly. And then, the team did a perfect call on the strategy as well. The other guys were coming close. IN the end, I had the soft tyres so I just waited for them to heat and then concentrate on putting some good laptimes until the chequered flag. It feels really good. For me, it’s an amazing place to be here today when you know I was at the hospital on Thursday. I was in a bad shape. So to win today is a good victory for myself.
GP2 Series: Your team told you on the radio that you had to push a bit more. Did that put a lot of pressure on you and made you nervous about the pace of the guys behind you?Felipe: Did they say that…? I didn’t hear it. In the end, my goal was to make sure I would not make any mistake or getting into trouble. As I said, the strategy played out quite well today. I had a good start, a good pitstop, clean laps. The car was good today…
GP2 Series: And that’s a whole lot of points in your pockets as well…Felipe: Yes exactly. We have to catch up at some point! And it’s a good thing that we started today…
GP2 Series: What about tomorrow?
Felipe: I saw these guys did a good job overtaking people so I think it is possible to pass on this track. Hopefully I will get more points tomorrow…
GP2 Series: Good job. Stoffel, you had a very exciting race. How was it from the car?
Stoffel Vandoorne: Yes, it was a pretty exciting race. I’m very happy to be back on the podium. We’ve had quite a few difficult races without scoring points. I’m very happy to be back up-there. We knew we always had the pace. It feels really good. First of all, our starting position today was not the one I hoped for: we came into the weekend much more competitive than we did in the previous rounds. But P6 was a bit disappointing in qualifying, but it was very close compared to the top guys. Today, I had quite a good start and made a few positions, but Evans had a monstrous start! That was pretty awesome from him. So my goal was to overtake him pretty early which I managed and then I could build a little gap and catch up with the guys in front as well. Then, the team performed a perfect pitstop and a perfect strategy. We said before the race that the key was going to be to get clear laps after the pitstop to push hard and outperform the others in the pitlane. That’s what happened: every time I exited at turn 1 there was a car getting out of the pit and I had to push really hard to overtake them. That was pretty exciting. In the end we managed it and it was a pretty good job from everyone.
GP2 Series: It’s a good thing too that the tyre degradation seemed to be pretty low today…Stoffel: Yes we had to push quite a lot. But the degradation was still quite high on the soft tyres I think. I mean it’s less than other tracks but it was still an important key for this race. We saw that both strategies came very close. Felipe had the other strategy than me, but in te end both worked out pretty well.
GP2 Series: Since Bahrain feature race, you have scored zero point. Does the result today mean that your season has re-started?Stoffel: Yeah, I hope so… We’ve had some bad luck during the last races. I think we didn’t really show our true level of performance every time. Things just didn’t go our way and you know in
GP2 that if you don’t qualify well then you have a very difficult first race. It’s very difficult to score points over the weekend so in the end we did not manage to do a good job in those races and from now on, I hope we’re going to keep up like we did today and next round I’ll be stepping even higher on the podium.
GP2 Series: But first there’s still a race to go tomorrow. What are your goals?Stoffel: Tomorrow is probably going to be a hard race. The start will be a key point… There’s no strategy going on tomorrow so it’s all about overtaking I think. It’s possible. I had a bit of practice today so I know how to do it now! We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.
GP2 Series: Thank you. Raffaele, you scored your first GP2 points today and also pocketed your first podium. Happy?Raffaele Marciello: I’m happy, yes. We did a good race. It’s also good for the team. We had really bad races before so it’s good for me and the team to score a lot of good points. I think my championship starts now. During the first few races, we almost had everything and it was a good experience. Now we show that we are fast. I still need to improve my starts because I was P10 into the first corner. That’s not the best situation, but at least I had a good pace, good enough to overtake and recover to finish on the podium.
GP2 Series: You had a very strong race today. How was it from the car?Raffaele: It was really intense. From P10 I overtook four cars I think. We had good tyre management and I was able to push every lap. It was a bit difficult to stay close to the others in corners 5 and 6 because of the downforce, but the car was really good so I was able to stay close and overtake the cars. We did also a good strategy and I was P4. I was able to overtake Palmer. I tried to pass Stoffel but he was too far. I’m happy with third but we also showed that we could do more. If I had had a good start, I would have been able to score more point. We’re already on the fourth round. The championship goes quickly. We had a bad start of the season, but I think we can recover as early as Silverstone.