GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to today's press conference for the feature race here in Valencia: joining us today we have race winner Esteban Gutierrez from Lotus GP, in second place we have Marcus Ericsson from iSport International, and in third place we have Luiz Razia from Arden International. Esteban, congratulations on a great win today, your first feature race and your second overall following on from your sprint win here last year: it seems that there is something about this circuit that suits you!
Esteban Gutierrez: Yes, it's definitely a track that I like, and also it's a special result for the team and me! And also for many other aspects, because we have been having a difficult start to the season, up and down, mistakes from my side, mistakes from the team, and in general not having things on our side. With this result, we have to use this good energy and good feeling to go forward in the next few races.
GP2 Series: You told me yesterday after everything that's happened this year that you are not going to think about results, and instead you're just going to reset and go back to racing for the enjoyment of it. But this is a pretty strong result: what does it mean to you and the team?
Esteban: It's true: I tried not to think too much of the result, I tried to forget about the championship, because in the end what gives you the championship is the sum of every single race, so I tried to enjoy the car the most, tried to enjoy the race, tried to overtake as good as I could, and as many as I could. Sometimes you have to risk a bit too much to take a win, so I tried to just do my best from that side, and finally I got a good result!
GP2 Series: How much fun was it for you today? You had a lot of battles throughout the race...
Esteban: Yeah, from the beginning to the end, and especially at the beginning when we were having troubles with the tyres, because they were used from yesterday and the rear tyres were not working a lot, so to get to the front they were difficult to manage! So the strategy played quite a big role in this race, because after the pits I had new tyres, and these helped me a lot to go forward and to gain more positions, especially in the last few laps.
GP2 Series: Your teammate James was leading for quite a while, so I guess it's an up and down result for your team, but how is the mood back in the truck?
Esteban: That's true, and at some point they're happy but on the other side they are very sorry for James. I feel a bit sorry for him too, because he did a fantastic race from the beginning, he pulled away with fantastic speed, and generally I think he deserved the win because he did pole yesterday, today he was leading the race and what happened to him is something that is not in his hands, so hopefully we can do a 1-2 sometime later in the season.
GP2 Series: Congratulations. Marcus, P2 today and another fine result after your podium in Monaco: how was it for you in the car today?
Marcus Ericsson: It was good! We've been having a hard time in the beginning of the year, so to be second in Monaco, yesterday we were fastest in free practice but unfortunately didn't it to work as we wanted in qualifying, started ninth which wasn't what we were hoping for, but I think today we showed we had the pace to be with the guys in front. We had a really good race: it was a completely crazy race [laughs] with the safety cars and people overtaking and everything, and I thought 'I could be P6 or I could win this: it could be anything!' [laughs] But it worked out, it was great fun to drive and the team have done a great job again to give me a great car, and to be on the podium here from ninth, I think that's great!
GP2 Series: You were fighting with pretty much everyone around you today, and everyone around you was fighting with pretty much everyone else: how do you find a path through all that to get to where you are now?
Marcus: It was very difficult! Especially after the first safety car, which was out for a long time so everyone had cold tyres going into the last corner at the restarts: I think everyone was locking up, more or less. It is difficult with so many safety car restarts, because the last bit of the lap with cold tyres and cold brakes mean there are big risks there. A couple of times I locked up, and I even hit the guy in front I think [laughs], but mostly I managed to avoid it: it worked out in the end, I could have ended up anywhere but we had a bit of luck on our side, which is nice to have sometimes, and we had a lot of speed in the car, so I think we deserved a podium today.
GP2 Series: I guess you can see where you could have ended up by what happened to your teammate today?
Marcus: Yeah, Jo had a really good start and was really unlucky in the first corner, otherwise we could have both been up there and had a good race. He's been very strong all weekend really, so it's a shame for him but at least it's nice for the team that I could get something out of the race and get a podium for them today.
GP2 Series: It is another strong result for the team, and it seems like they are rebuilding well after the problems earlier this year: how does it feel there now?
Marcus: Yeah, it feels like we are turning a corner in form, definitely. Before Monaco I think we didn't score any points, more or less, we've been having a bad time since the beginning of the year but we have still pushed, the team has been pushing a lot as well as me and Jo, and finally the results are starting to come and we can look forward to the next couple of races, and it's good to be in the front, where we should be!
GP2 Series: Congratulations. Luiz, another podium to add to your collection this year, the season rolls on and you are firmly in second place in the championship: how was your race today?
Luiz Razia: It was really good! The start was really nice and I was behind Ericsson, P6 and 7, so from 11th it was a really good start, and then I managed my tyres quite well and I managed to overtake Nasr, and I was 5th. My pitstop was great, the team did a really good job, and I found myself 4th and then we had the safety car, which was very good because I'd just done my pitstop! On the restart when Ericsson braked to avoid the guy in front I touched him [laughs] and I broke my wing, and at that time I thought 'this is it, all the race that I've done is going to be put in the bin.'
But after that the safety car was quite long, I thought 'it's no more than 9 laps, I can do this', and at the restart the car was not feeling good, Ericsson and Gutierrez overtook me on braking, and then a safety car again, which helped a lot! [laughs] I was very, very, very happy when the safety car came out, because my car was not any good for the podium! And then we had 2 laps to go, and I thought I had to change my driving, the brakes and everything to take the car to the end, and it paid off: I finished third, and I'm really happy. This is the most we could do today.
GP2 Series: You had a big fight with Fabio over the last few laps: how much did your experience help you to hang on to third today?
Luiz: I think if he had worked a little bit harder he could have overtaken me, but I think also he was happy with 4th and didn't want to try something silly, and I was defending quite well, was braking a lot to be fast out, and it didn't work out for him. That's it.
GP2 Series: How do you manage the tyres in a race like this, where the 3 safety cars mean the tyres temperatures are dropping a lot?
Luiz: Today was a bit difficult because the safety car came three times, but also I think where the safety car [restart] line is is a bit crazy, because we had many incidents there already, so I don't think it's a safe place to have the safety car line, but there we go, that's how it is. People tried to brake late like I did, like others did, and just crashed: it was difficult to keep the temperatures in the tyres when the safety car is so slow, and if the front one also is slow then it's difficult to keep up. But this is how it is, and we have to just work with this.