Bahrain 1 Qualifying - press conference
Quotes from Bianchi, Valsecchi and Villa
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to today’s qualifying press conference here in Bahrain. Joining us is tomorrow’s poleman Jules Bianchi for ART Grand Prix, second place Series leader Davide Valsecchi for iSport International and third place Javier Villa for Arden International. Starting with you Jules: congratulations on this magnificent pole. This qualifying session was edge-of-you-seat fun to watch. How was it from your car?
Jules Bianchi: It’s true that it was a very special session. I mean we did the first laptime with the first set. Then I improved a lot with the second set. I made a little mistake in my lap. I was still P1, but Davide improved a little bit. So I was P2. My engineer told me “Ok, last lap, you are P2”. I pushed too much in the first corner and I locked the wheels. And I asked to go for another lap and I managed to improve a little bit my laptime. To be on pole on my second race in GP2 is a fantastic result for me. But, the most important thing will be to make everything good for tomorrow because it’s going to be very difficult: Davide is really fast. So, I will try to my best and make a good start because last time it was not so good in Abu Dhabi. Then, we will see what will happen.
This morning you seemed already quite comfortable on this track, but did the fact that the track was much cleaner and faster this afternoon make a lot of difference to you?
Bianchi: Not so much. It was quite the same. I think everyone improved and we were all very close.
What is the most challenging part of this track?
Bianchi: It’s not easy to find the good reference points on this track. In the two first corners, it’s fine, but on the other parts the circuit it is very difficult to find the right braking points. I managed to sort of find them this morning during free practice and it made things easier in qualifying, but it’s still not perfect.
On top of the start, what will be the key points for a win tomorrow?
Bianchi: In GP2, it is very difficult to have a good strategy, but I think we will see after the start and depending on how good or bad it is, we will have to adjust the strategy. My engineer knows what to do. I hope everything will be ok.
Well, good luck for tomorrow. Now moving on to you, Davide, you were on pole until the final ten seconds of the session. What happened?
Davide Valsecchi: It was a really good session, right? It was really fun! I’m really happy, because I was very competitive from free practice to qualifying today. I had a really good set-up. I’m happy with P2. Anyway, during qualifying, we made a different strategy, using the old tyres for only one lap and then we put the new ones. So we were not running with everyone. So, when I made my best laptime with my first set of tyres, it was three or four minutes later than the others and I had a better and improved track compared to them. And after that, when we put the second set of tyres straight away, but we had a bit of a problem because we had to wait… therefore, we had to change our plan and we could not use the second set of tyres as much as we would have liked. But, still, we are in a good position to make a good race tomorrow and to actually make my first good start in the Asia Series Laughs. We will see if we can race to fight for the podium.
With your teammate also in the top ten today, the iSport cars look once again very strong…
Valsecchi: For sure. It was also better in qualifying compared to the Free Practice. We worked between the two sessions and the car really improved. But it is strange here, in Bahrain, because everyone is so close! Normally, it is not like this; usually, the Top three guys are more away from the rest of the field. But today, in both sessions, there is a big group and I think tomorrow, there will be a really great show during the race!
What about the tyre degradation here?
Valsecchi: I don’t know… It’s true that here the tyre degradation is more important than at other circuits. But anyway, I think it will not be a problem because everyone knows how to set up the car to try and avoid this problem. We have to focus on our set up and hope to have a good race. I know here the first corner is a bit tricky because the straight is really long and fast and then the corner is really tight. So normally, there are some incidents. If we pass the first corner, we will try to go for the win!
Thank you Davide. Finishing this press conference with Javier Villa. Welcome back! You seem to be very at ease on this track…
Javier Villa: Yes. I feel really comfortable in my car. We were a bit unlucky in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of this month so I was really looking forward to coming here and show what I am capable of. I’m really happy to be P3 – it was not easy though because everyone is so close and I really had to fight for this position. So I’m very satisfied. It’s a good step. The track improved a lot between Free practice and qualifying, especially with the grip. Our set up may not have been perfect, I still had a really good feeling.
Jules and Davide have expressed earlier their worries regarding the start. How about you?
Villa: Laughs. Of course. You always worry about it a little bit because it is such an important moment and will decide pretty much the rest of your race. You can either win a lot or lose a lot. You start P3, but if you cannot manage a good start or pass the first corner correctly, then it’s all a bit for nothing.
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