Spa GP2 Feature Race press conference

Marciello, Vandoorne and Cecotto talk about their race

GP2 Series: Welcome to today’s press conference following the feature race here in Spa. Joining us are race winner Raffaele Marciello for Racing Engineering, Stoffel Vandoorne for ART Grand Prix and Johnny Cecotto for Trident. Starting with you Raffaele, your first win in GP2 must be a special feeling…

Raffaele Marciello: Yeah, I’m really happy because before Spa we had some bad moments. So I’m really happy to win this race especially here in Spa and in very difficult conditions. Me and Stoffel deserved to finish ahead because we were really fast. The car was really good to drive. After the pit stop we had a very big lead on the rest of the field. I’m really happy to be the winner of this race.

GP2 Series: After your pitstop, your team told you to push and that Stoffel was within your reach. How confident were you?Raffaele: Before the pitstop, Stoffel was quite far, something like four seconds. So when he stopped, I had two laps to push. I had some tyres left. I was able to reduce the gap. After my pitstop, I had fresher tyres than him and I was able to overtake him. We had a great fight. I pushed but not too much because the track was drying up and I did not want to destroy the tyres. The car was really easy and fast to drive.

GP2 Series: You were close to this first win before but missed out. What does today’s victory mean to you and the rest of your season?Raffaele: For sure, we were really close after Silverstone. We could have won earlier, but something was missing. Now we proved that we can be front runners. The championship is too far for us now, but we can win some more races and score some good points in order to show we’re fast. I think today we showed that. Hopefully we will be fighting for good points again tomorrow starting from P8. It’s not easy, but there are overtaking opportunities on this track. If I make a good start tomorrow and it is dry, I think we can finish in the top five again tomorrow.

GP2 Series: Thank you Raffaele. Moving on to Stoffel, P2 today. That’s a strong result, but you were probably aiming higher. It was a tough race from start to finish. How was it from the car?Stoffel Vandoorne: Yeah obviously it’s never a nice feeling to come home second when you’ve been leading for most of the race. It’s the same as in Hockenheim when I was leading for the most part but still finished P2 and P3. I think today was still a good race in terms of performance. I’ve been leading a lot of the race and until a bit after the pitstop. I think me and Raffaele were really on another planet than the others because we finished 35 seconds ahead. So I can’t really complain to be honest. Raffaele was just a bit quicker after the pit. I could not really keep him behind. I tried everything I could but we had a good fight on track. In the end, he won. It’s still good to finish P2 in front of my home crowd. It’s good points for the championship again.

GP2 Series: What do you think made the difference between you and Raffaele today?Stoffel: I don’t know… I think our car was set up for the dry because we thought the track would dry up. Maybe they had more of a rain set up. I mean I don’t know. In the end, he wins and we finished 2 seconds behind. Overall it’s a good result. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow and hopefully we can get a good result then as well. I will start from P7. It’s not an ideal place to start from, but you can still do good things from there in Spa. We will see what the track conditions will be, but no matter if it’s dry or wet, you can always overtake here. I will need a good start and then I hope we can get some places.

GP2 Series: Thank you. Finally, we have Johnny Cecotto in third. Good job today. You’re back on the podium, but that was quite an eventful race for you. Talk us through it…Johnny Cecotto: Well I did a fantastic first start. I went from P5 to P3 before the first corner. Then during the safety car period, Mitch had an issue on his car and I gained another position. At the re-start, I did a nice overtaking manoeuvre on Stoffel into the first corner. I was quick into Eau Rouge, but I just lost the braking a little bit in the chicane, but I had quite a bit of a lead coming into the chicane. I cut it, but I let Stoffel back. Nobody could say that I gained an advantage. In the first lap I was really quick and I could build a bit of a gap and all of a sudden on the radio they tell me that I had to give the position back. What position? I never gained a position cutting the chicane… I had to do it though. Even Stoffel did not understand what was happening. He told me after the race that he did not understand what happened. I still gave the position and at that point these two guys were just on another planet. I could not find the grip that they had. I just had to follow them and try and bring home the third place.

GP2 Series: This result must be a relief after the past few races…Johnny: Yeah we had a few races which were very unlucky with a few issues. Since free practice here, we knew we had the pace. In qualifying we were a bit unlucky because on my second set of tyres I had traffic so I only qualified fifth which was still a good position to start from. Today, it was the best result we could get because we had no chance to do any better. It’s positive and we collected some good points. We’re happy for that. We’re doing a good job and we keep pushing. That’s the way to go until the end of the season.