GP2 Hungaroring - Race 1 press conference
With Pastor Maldonado, Christian Vietoris and Sergio Perez
Q: Pastor, congratulations on your fifth feature race in a row: it must be almost getting boring for you! How was it from inside the car today?
Pastor Maldonado: It was a difficult race from the beginning, which was very confused because the first two drivers stalled before the start, so we did two laps before the real start. After the start, and I had a very good one, I took the head of the race before the first corner and was very quick from the very beginning, especially after three laps. It was amazing, my pace today! [laughs] With the strategy the team did a good job, and this is one of our best races this year!
Q: It looked very easy from the outside: was there any part of the race where you felt any pressure?
Pastor: Today, no! Today for sure not: a bit difficult again with the 2 safety cars, but in the end with both restarts I had very good ones, and all the time I was looking at him [Christian] and he was not so close to me, so I was just looking for the quickest lap, and we did it, and doing the pace for the whole race. It was really great today: this track is really difficult, physically and mentally, and for sure you need to have a good car. Maybe we were a bit lucky because the 2 first drivers stopped, but in the end we were so quick that even if the race went the normal way for sure we would be on the podium.
Q: 26 point lead over Sergio in the championship: are you ready to talk about that yet?
Pastor: It’s still open, but for sure for me I’m in a more comfortable place. Spa and Monza are 2 of my favourite tracks, so we will do our best: our team is good, my car is a bit better for sure, because we are always making some steps and always very constant: this is our strongest point, it’s so constant all championship. We are always in the top 5 in qualifying, and that’s made the difference: our pace in the race is amazing, especially in the first [feature] race. We need to improve for the second [sprint] race, but we are working towards some steps to develop the car, and to be strong for second race too.
Q: Congratulations. Christian, congratulations on your best result in GP2 so far: how does it feel?
Christian Vietoris: It’s a pretty good feeling! We’ve had a pretty tough start to the season: we’ve always been more or less on the pace during the season, but not in qualifying because of some bad luck and some mistakes I did because I’m still a rookie, but it’s getting better and better. I’m feeling more comfortable in the car, and even in qualifying since Silverstone we are doing better there. So we’re more or less on the pace, and here the weekend started pretty good in free practice because we knew we needed to improve a little bit on the car and with my driving as well, but we improved the car for qualifying and then made another step for the race.
Obviously at the beginning the race was quite interesting with the aborted starts, but I was quite happy to make up some easy places, and then I was behind Pastor with a good start, although I couldn’t quite follow him: on one lap I could go with him and hold the pace, but it’s not that consistent at the moment, although I’m sure that we will get there. But I’m really happy with how our weekend has gone up to now.
Q: It looked like it was a good start and then spend most of your time by yourself until the restart, when you had a bit of adventure with Sergio…
Christian: Yeah, it was a bit of a strange situation with the lapped guy [Arabadzhiev] at the restart, because Pastor and me had this car between us, and it was quite difficult for me to get past him at the last corner, and I lost some time which is how Perez could catch me, and then I had to defend myself for 3 laps quite hard! But finally I could manage that, and I’m quite happy with the result.
Q: Was it just that your were held up in the final corner for the restart?
Christian: Yeah, I lost a lot of time there! And as well my tyres stopped a little bit: maybe I was pushing too much in the race, and we didn’t really expect the safety car at the end, so maybe I pushed a little too hard on the tyres, but the reason for it was really the lapped car.
Q: It’s your best result this year, and you’ve got a chance for more tomorrow: what are your expectations?
Christian: It must be the game, to score some more points tomorrow: we start P7, just one behind the first point, so with a good start hopefully we can score some more points, which we need.
Q: Great job today. Sergio, congratulations on P3 and another podium, although it certainly looked like you were hoping for more…
Sergio Perez: It was a really tough race, and we were lucky, all of us, because we were given some positions, but it was pretty much over in qualifying because we were really unlucky there: we really had the pace to be top three at least.
Q: What happened to you in qualifying?
Sergio: It was just really bad with traffic: I was in a good lap but I made a mistake and then I couldn’t get a good lap, and there was always yellow flags. So then we qualified P7: we did a good race I think, although we were lucky to finish well because in the last lap I nearly crashed with Vietoris, so it’s good that we are here, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
Q: Talk us through that last lap.
Sergio: On the last lap I went into the braking and tried to overtake him [Christian], but he moved in the braking so I was really, really close to crashing into him.
Q: It certainly looked like you had a lot left there: do you think you had to pace to catch Pastor if you had got by Christian at the restart?
Sergio: It’s difficult to know: I think Pastor was really strong today, but I don’t know my real race pace because I was stuck behind Vietoris for the whole race, so I don’t know, but I think we had better pace than we showed today.
Q: Obviously Pastor has taken more points out of you today, but he thinks the championship is still open: what are your thoughts?
Sergio: It will be really difficult, as he has a really big advantage over me now. But I will fight until it’s over, I will give my best, and I think that 26 points in GP2 is a lot but it’s not impossible to get.
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