Bahrain 1 Race 1 - press conference
Quotes from Valsecchi, Filippi and Villa
Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the press conference for Race 1 in Bahrain. Joining us today Race winner and GP2 Asia Series Champion, Davide Valsecchi for iSport International. Second is Luca Filippi for MalaysiaQI-Meritus.com and in third we have Javier Villa for Arden International.
Starting with you Davide, you have secured the win and the Series title today. This must feel incredible…
Davide Valsecchi: Yes, it is fantastic. The race was very important today. When I came here at the track five or six days ago, I was only speaking about trying to find some way to win the championship here. Because every time a driver loses the pole position at the last lap, it is always Valsecchi. I didn’t want to be the driver who loses the championship at the last race. So I knew it was in my best interest to win the Series one round before the end of the season. Anyway, today was incredible for me. As usual, I did not make a good start. It was ok, but not great. Some drivers like Filippi and Villa did a better job. I think Bianchi almost stalled. At the beginning I was struggling behind Filippi and Villa. It was not easy to keep the pace because they were very competitive. I think at the beginning Filippi was the strongest on the track. But anyway, at the end of the race, my car got better and at the end I tried to do my best to win the race because there was a chance there… I was also a bit lucky because at some point I tried to overtake Filippi and I went too wide. It was a bit too risky… So I didn’t race perfectly today. My car was incredibly fast and I should have passed Filippi earlier, but I made some mistakes. But, it was incredible to win the race. This is a very emotional time for me…
From Round 1 you became the man to beat. How did you cope with the pressure?
Valsecchi: Yeah. Normally, in my career, I was never in that position. It was new to me. It’s the first time that I am so competitive and in a position to win the championship. So for this weekend, I put too much pressure on myself I think because I came here one week earlier to train in the heat and be well-prepared. That was a bit crazy! Anyway, my best moment in this weekend was during qualifying because it’s not my strongest point. I was a bit worried to not do well. But we made a good job. My car was one of the quickest and we made it to P2 and really close to the pole position. From there, I realised that it could happen and I had everything in place to be champion today. I want to thank my team because my car was incredibly fast. Usually, it’s not easy to keep the pace at the end. We had a pitstop two or three laps later than Villa and therefore, at the end, the tyres were fresher than his. And the other thing, during qualifying, with my second set of tyres, we had to wait before getting back onto the track and we made just one fast lap with them. So my second set of tyres was almost new for this race. So after the pitstop, I had an advantage on them.
What will this title change for you, especially in the main Series?
Valsecchi: Ah… We will have to check what happens during the first tests. I feel much stronger now and so I’m much more confident and I’m always positive. I’m only worried about the start. Every time, I’m over thinking it. In the main Series, we will have to see how the car is first. In the Asia Series, from the first days in Abu Dhabi when we tested before Round 1, we were one of the quickest. In main Series, we will have to see where we are compared to the other teams. We will try to do a good job during the tests and also during the races. I just know that there are a lot of good drivers like Filippi, Villa or Bianchi… We have some of the quickest drivers in the world. So, it will be difficult. But, we will try to do our best.
With the title secured, or you still going to keep pushing until the end of the season?
Valsecchi: I don’t know… We will check how well we do in qualifying. But you know, our next round, we will be with Formula One. So, it’s always very important to do well in front of these guys and win. You know, today, when I was P3, my team told me; “Davide you have already won the championship and it’s a good position”. I told them on the radio during the first stint that I had troubles with keeping the pace. But when we realised that I was getting more competitive and it was more complicated for the others, I tried to get another win and I took some risks. So, if I have the opportunity to win again next time, I will go for it.
How are you going to celebrate now?
Valsecchi: I don’t know… I will not party anyway. I am still very focused on doing a good job in the main series and keep the pace. It will not be easy and we are prepared for some tough times as well. But if I keep my momentum, it should be ok.
Well, congratulations again…
Valsecchi: Thank you very much
Luca, what an amazing start!
Luca Filippi: I came here with the will to do something good here because in Abu Dhabi we could not deliver as good as we could. Starting from P4, I knew I was in a good position to win the race. Leading the race after the first corner was the perfect. My car was really fast. And I knew it was important to have Valsecchi behind. I tried to pull away. But then, unfortunately, after the pitstop, I was behind Villa and by then, he was faster than me… So, I couldn’t find the pace to overtake him. At the end, as usual, Valsecchi is faster. I tried to keep him behind, but since 2007 when I lost the championship against Glock I don’t want an iSport car in front of me anymore! But then again, Davide was so fast, there was no way I could have stopped him.
You lost the lead after your pitstop to Javier Villa. Do you think you could have come up with a better strategy?
Filippi: Yeah. Maybe if we had stopped one lap earlier… We could have kept the lead and then maybe it would have been more difficult for Davide to overtake Javier and then to catch me, but it is impossible to say. I’m still very happy to be second because one of our most important sponsors is here today and we wanted to get a good result today.
What about tomorrow?
Filippi: I’ll try to make a good start again because it is very difficult here to overtake. It will be tough to get back onto the podium. I know we will be quick, so I will have to look out for the tyres and find a good set up. Today, during the last twelve laps, I was having a hard time in each corner and it was hard to keep the concentration because my wheels were locking and the traction was not so good. It might be even more difficult tomorrow.
Thank you Luca. Now, Javier, P3 yesterday and again today. This must be a satisfying result right?
Javier Villa: Yes. I could have won: I had a great car again today. My team made a really good job also with the pitstop where I could overtake Luca and take the lead. We know it is difficult here for the tyres and during the last fifteen laps, I struggled a lot with the rear tyres. So I could not really defend my position. Of course, it is nice to finish third, but I have to admit that when you are so close to winning the race and you eventually end up third, it’s not the same feeling… But anyway, right now with this result, we are fourth in the championship and really close to the second and the third.
Davide Valsecchi: You set also the best laptime of the race.
This is true… Although you are disappointed, this has been a good weekend for you so far…
Villa: Yeah. We did well in qualifying, then we had a good start and a good strategy. We lead the race and we got a podium plus a bonus point. It’s unfortunate that my rear tyres were not so good by the end of the race. But sometimes, you have to give up a position and think about the points. We have to work a bit more on the car, but right now I’m very happy with the team. We work well together. Of course, for next round, we will be with Formula One, so I will not be happy with P3 and I will want to go for the win. It will be a different track, so it will be a different set up.
You must also be looking at the end of the season, being so close to the Top 3 in the drivers’ standings…
Villa: Yeah. Well, it’s not like I can hope for the title because that’s done now. But, I’m thinking that P2 and P3 are within our reach. We have another race tomorrow and I think we can fight again for a podium.
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