NEWS

12/05/2012

Barcelona Feature race press conference

Barcelona Feature race press conference

Van der Garde, Calado and Coletti discuss the race

GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's feature race here in Barcelona. Joining us today we have race winner Giedo van der Garde from Caterham, in second place is James Calado from Lotus GP, and in third place we have Stefano Coletti from Coloni. Giedo congratulations on a great win today, set up by a good start and a sharp pit strategy, but how was it for you in the car today?

Giedo van der Garde: Quite good! It hasn't been easy during the year so far: I arrived at a team which was up and down last year, and they have just one year's experience, so it has been quite a struggle, but we have been working flat out the last few weeks and months, and it paid off today! I had a very good start, and after that I could do the pace from the front: I didn't expect them to pit so early, and I still had good tyres when I decided to pit one lap later, so I pushed like hell. The pit entry was quite tricky - I nearly missed the white line! [laughs] But in the end it was all perfect: we changed the two tyres, and I came out in front. After that it was just maintain the pace, and control the tyres.

GP2 Series: You changed just the rears, most of the others went for all four: was this pre-arranged, or a reaction to their stops?

Giedo: No, it was pre-arranged. Before the race we decided to do only two: after last year I learnt from my mistake, where I was leading quite comfortably, we changed 4 tyres and Charles [Pic] changed 2, and he passed me after the pits. So I said let's go for 2 and see if it goes to the end of the race, and it did.

GP2 Series: Maybe James should have watched the video from last year then [laughs]

Giedo: I think he did, no?

James Calado: I didn't, actually [laughs]

GP2 Series: You said you had plenty of life in the tyres: was it all just dictated by their stops?

Giedo: It was actually. Our planning, well, it's always hard to judge which lap to come in, but it was always from lap 13 to lap 18, and they came in quite early, so we decided to come in one lap later because otherwise you can lose a place, you never know. And that lap was so, so good, the key to the win today.

GP2 Series: After that everyone was watching your fronts to see how they lasted: how were they for you?

Giedo: There was a little understeer, but it was perfect: I could do the same lap times to the end of the race, and I think on lap 20 to lap 30 I was able to go quicker but I knew I had to save tyres for later, and in the end it all worked out.

GP2 Series: And good points for you and the team for the championships...

Giedo: Yeah, I have to thank the team a lot for all the hard work lately: they have not had it easy with me, because I've been pushing them quite hard [smiles], but it has all paid off today!

GP2 Series: James, congratulations on P2: I suspect you were hoping for more, but how was the race from your position?

James Calado: Firstly congratulations to these two: they drove really well, no one made any mistakes, and it was pretty hard to overtake. I made an okay start, Fabio's was a little better, and it was quite aggressive going into the first corner but within the rule: I left him enough room, I left him enough room going into the first corner, we didn't touch, and I think it was fair enough. I maintained a gap and looked after my tyres to start with, but then they came on the radio and said I could push a bit more, so I thought okay. We did pit quite early, which was quite a surprise to me because it was a last minute dive into the pits kind of thing: the mechanics obviously saw Fabio's mechanics getting ready for a pitstop. Even so I think it was a good decision to do that, and the pit stop was okay: obviously we changed 4, so we lost a bit of time and he came out in the lead. I was managing as much as I could after that, but Stefano was so fast behind me, so I thought what do I do, do I push more? I think I managed it quite well considering the situation, and it was an exciting race. It was nice to get the experience, and it's my first time on the podium in a feature race so I'm reasonably happy: it's some good points for myself and the team, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

GP2 Series: The pitstop is the talking point of course, with the 4 vs 2 tyres and then you and Fabio side by side down the pitlane: any qualms about either?

James: The pit exit for me, it was close but maybe it was a bit harsh to penalise him for unsafe release: I thought maybe it was a bit unfair, as there was plenty of space, but I suppose those are the rules. But it was an exciting race, and in terms of 4 tyres we did agree to do that, and it would have worked if I didn't have traffic on my outlap, and with experience I maybe could have gone a bit faster to the pitlane, so I maybe lost another 2 seconds just from that. But I can't complain: it was a good result, and I'm happy.

GP2 Series: Pole and a first feature podium, good points today: what are your hopes for tomorrow?

James: I might get on the onboard [video] from last year now! [laughs] We've got a good car, very well balanced and so different from Bahrain, so we'll see: I'm starting 7th, on the clean side, my starts are good normally, so hopefully I can take a few people tomorrow.

GP2 Series: Stefano, congratulations on P3. That start was amazing: talk me through it...

Stefano Coletti: Thanks! The start was good, but my teammate actually stalled in front of me so I had to release the throttle completely to try and avoid him, but my start was actually pretty good because I arrived at turn 2 and I was already P4. From then on I just controlled my tyres and kept pace with the guys in front, and I was pulling away from Valsecchi behind me. When they pitted I was surprised too, because it was so early and my tyres were not bad at that moment, so we pitted 3 laps later than them. I made a huge mistake coming into the pits: I almost hit the wall because I braked too late! [laughs] I went sideways and the anti-stall kicked in, and I lost 2 or 3 seconds in the pit entry, and when I came out I was maybe 5 or 6 seconds behind them, so I had to push to catch up to them, so when I got there my tyres were almost gone! I tried to pass them immediately, but I started to have understeer and oversteer behind James, so I decided to stay behind.

GP2 Series: How were the tyres for you today? It looked like you had no problems there, but how was it for you?

Stefano: Yeah, we the tyres were good for us today: in the past races we had a lot of problems with the tyres, big problems, but we found out the problem after we came back from Bahrain and that's why we had pace in the race, although in qualifying we had a gear box problem which made me only P8 instead of fighting for the top three. But the car is quick, really good to drive, and we look forward to the next races.

GP2 Series: And after the bad luck of the first races, it must be quite good for you to take this back for the team?

Stefano: Definitely, we're really happy about it, because the team worked really hard to find out what the problem was, and in the end it's nice to see that when you find it and put everything back together, you can be back at the front. It's good for the team and for me as well, for my self confidence, but the championship is long and we just have to keep working.

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