GP2 Series: Johnny, pole position in Monaco: how does that sound to you?
Johnny Cecotto: Amazing! Pole position is amazing, but pole position in Monaco is twice as much! On top of that I lived for ten years of my life here, and I tamed these streets to get it: millions of people know me around here, so the feeling is amazing! Finally we got a result together: it was always there in the first few races, but for whatever reason we didn't get it together properly, so this brings up the motivation for all the hard work we've done in the last month.
We waited a few minutes when the session started, because we saw in the first session that everybody improved in the last lap so we thought the tyres would be a little fresher, and when the red flag came out I thought oh, we've missed our chance because we waited those two minutes. But then I was told one lap out and push, one lap and nothing more, so I came out of the pits and started to push, and I gave everything I could: I was aiming for a sure P2, but P1 was quite far away at that point, and I almost hit the wall 3 times on that lap [laughs] One barrier has no more writing on the sign, I'm sure! [laughs] I think it was a really amazing lap, and I don't think I could have done any better.
GP2 Series: We didn't think anyone would be able to improve after the red flag either! How did you approach that one lap, knowing everything came down to it?
Johnny: I went out really confident because I was P3 already, and just a few hundredths from P2 and I knew that I had something in the middle and last sectors. So I thought I'm going to do everything, and it's going to be the lap where I do it or I crash! I went out, and that's how it worked out: it was amazing, the team did an amazing job, and it was not easy because in the end, one tenth is pretty close...
GP2 Series: Fastest this morning, pole this afternoon, you know the streets so well here: what happens tomorrow?
Johnny: In Monaco pole position is half the job done: tomorrow the first thing, the most important thing, is to make a good start and then make no mistakes, and that's the race. Just bring the car home, and make no mistakes to get the win: that's it!
GP2 Series: Max, fastest in session one today and on the front row tomorrow after a hectic qualifying session: are you happy with how your session went today?
Max Chilton: Yeah, I'm over the moon! It was all a bit touch and go: this morning free practice didn't go my way, but I knew I had the speed to do it in qualifying so I was relaxed, but then it came towards the end of qualifying and the team said 'you've got to improve this sector and that sector', and I said 'where am I?', and it was P5. That angered me so much I thought I've got to do it on this lap, and the car was going off so I thought it's Monaco, just go for it. I had a few near misses of walls [laughs], but I came out with a great lap and I was just over the moon.
GP2 Series: The times were improving all through the session, but what were you expecting with the new super soft tyres?
Max: Yeah, we didn't know what to expect, really. You would think they would last maybe for one lap, but the tyre wear isn't too bad here: they did go off after a lap a bit, but they were still there after that and we kept going. Like you said, the times were still coming down, so we just kept at it: it's Monaco, you've got to keep pushing, and you tend to push a bit harder every lap anyway [laughs]
GP2 Series: So starting from P2 tomorrow, what are your expectations?
Max: We've got a front row start, and it's Monaco, so that's not bad. Tomorrow we've just got to get a good start and then we'll see who gets to the first corner first: that will be a lot of the job done for the win, and then just make no mistakes and we'll see.
GP2 Series: Marcus, so close today but it wasn't to be, but can you find satisfaction in your job today?
Marcus Ericsson: Yeah, I'm really happy with the car and the team did a fantastic job, and I think my driving was really good as well, so all that is superb. Obviously both me and the team are disappointed that we didn't get the pole because it was so close, and I thought I had it [laughs] so it was quite tough to hear on the radio that we lost it in the end, but you know that's the way it is: GP2 is super competitive, and you can never be sure. It is a shame not to be on pole tomorrow because Monaco is a special place and it would have been nice, but we have a quick car and I feel comfortable here, so I think we can be really strong tomorrow in the race.
GP2 Series: You were saying to me today that Monaco is all about building it up lap by lap, and this session you very much did that: are you happy with how you put the session together?
Marcus: Yeah, I'm really happy with that. I think GP2 has been really clever to break it up into 2 sessions because it takes the right drivers to the front, and the guys who are quick will be up in the front, so that's really good. The qualifying was really nice, you had clear laps and okay, maybe now and again traffic, but that's motor racing [laughs] I think for me the session went really well, I was more and more comfortable for every lap that went and my best lap was a really good lap, I got it really hooked up well and I think I was almost seven tenths faster than the second guy when the red flag came out.
You can never be sure, but I was feeling quite comfortable that it was enough: we went out again after the red flag to try again, but we are on a stand quite far down the pitlane and were in a queue of people, so I couldn't get any heat in the tyres for the hot lap, so I couldn't really try again on the fast lap and I was just going around waiting for the message that we had pole position [laughs]
GP2 Series: It looked like the times were coming down as the sessions went on: how were the tyres today, and is that what helped the times improve today?
Marcus: Monaco is a special place, so it's always very low usage on the tyres: they've been working quite well in free practice and in qualifying, so you can push through the whole session. Okay, you need a slow lap now and then to cool them down a bit, but they've been working really well and I think the most important thing here is confidence, to have a car you feel comfortable with, and then you need to be lit up every corner and get a bit more brave every lap that goes: that's the key to it.
GP2 Series: And tomorrow?
Marcus: Tomorrow will be good: we start in a very good place, and hopefully we will have a very good start and be fighting for the win. It was so close for pole today, so let's go for the win tomorrow instead!