GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's qualifying session here in Budapest: joining us today are polesitter Max Chilton from Carlin, in P2 we have James Calado from Lotus, and in third is Davide Valsecchi from DAMS. Max, congratulations on your first pole position, for which I guess you will be rightly delighted, although you certainly left it late enough...
Max Chilton: Yeah, I was ecstatic when they told me! It was a bit of an odd session, with the damp early on: I went out and said there's no point staying out, because it's wet and the fastest lap is going to be the last lap of the day. So we waited in the pits for quite a while and then went out, took a while getting my tyres up to temperature, and when I did finally get them up to temperature I had 2 clear laps: they said I was P22, and that kind of fired me up a bit! [laughs] I went across the line with 10 seconds to go in P7, and I thought I might as well go all out, and I managed to sneak a pole in on the last lap, which was a really, really good feeling!
GP2 Series: The session started wet because of the water across turn 11, but the same came out: how do you deal with the tyres in a mixed session like this?
Max: Yeah we went out early because there was the odd chance that it might have rained early, and we wanted to get a lap in: there were people pushing and it was a bit risky, so I just did 1 or 2 laps and then waited. I was amazed: I was only in the pits for 6 or 7 minutes but the traffic completely transformed. It was a different session from then, and the last 2 laps were the ones.
GP2 Series: It's also the team's first pole position: what does this mean for you and the team?
Max: It means a lot. Obviously it was their rookie year last year, and I kind of helped them to build the team up, and we've now got a good, solid car. It's good to have it with Carlin, because they're the ones who got me lots of poles in F3, and there's a really good team morale, ready for tomorrow.
GP2 Series: There's only one thing left to tick off now, which is the win: what can you do tomorrow?
Max: I'll try my absolute best: there's a bit more weight taken off my shoulders now I've got the pole, so I should be able to go into tomorrow a bit more relaxed, and know I'm quick enough to do it.
GP2 Series: Great job today. James, congratulations on P2 in a session where it looked like you had the top spot until the very last second, but are you satisfied with your job today?
James Calado: Yeah, but first of all congratulations on pole to Max and Carlin: being a rookie team it's a good feeling to get that first one soon, in only the second year. The session was quite smooth for me: we waited for ten minutes before we went out, we knew the track was slightly damp at turn 11, and we went out and did 2 pretty good laps and at that time it was first place. The second stint was a bit uneasy, because a lot of drivers, including myself, had a bit of trouble with traffic and things, but even so I don't know if I would have improved because I personally thought the track was better in the first stint. So for Max to get pole was a bit of a surprise for me, and on the last lap as well! All in all the session was good, and I start in P4 tomorrow, and with a good start we can score some points and get a good result.
GP2 Series: We saw a few guys go out early on the softs, but most of you waited in the pits on the super softs: was that just a case of waiting to optimise the tyres, or something else?
James: Yeah, there were corners in the middle sector where it was damp, and we thought it would be more beneficial to wait and get a clear run. I think that was the right decision by the team, and it all worked: it was smooth, but Max was just a little bit better.
GP2 Series: Starting P4 tomorrow on a very tight circuit: is there still a possibility to overtake on the circuit, or is it a case of looking to the pit strategy?
James: It's a difficult circuit: from GP3 it was a difficult circuit, and you don't know what's going to happen in GP2, who's going to start on what tyres, you don't know how fast they'll degrade, who's going to have a fast pitstop and who's going to have a bad pitstop. A driver at the front who has a consistent race throughout will be the one at the front, I think: you just never know what's going to happen. It'll be nice to be able to capitalise, but we'll see.
GP2 Series: Is it mostly about scoring points for the championship now?
James: Yes, but I am prepared to take some risks now to maximise on that, because I've had a bit of bad luck, and it's important to get as many points as possible, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow.
GP2 Series: Congratulations. Davide, congratulations on P3 today: are you happy with your job today?
Davide Valsecchi: Yes, I'm really happy. I need to consider this as one of my best results in qualifying for 3 or 4 weekends, I was really competitive and my team made a good strategy: we were not one of last on track, but like Calado said I was thinking the track was better 10 minutes from the end, but Chilton was faster than me, he got the pole in the end, so congratulations to him. Anyway, we were strong enough for P3 today, and we were really close in the laptimes: at the beginning it was not so easy because it was more or less dry except for corner 22, the fast one, and that was a bit tricky, but I think we did a good result, we start P2 because of the penalty for Calado, so we must do the maximum for a good result tomorrow.
GP2 Series: The last five minutes it looked like you were fast in some sectors, but were you surprised that the overall time didn't seem to be there?
Davide: At the beginning of the run the situation was a bit easy because everyone was pushing to have a good lap time, so there wasn't as many cars on the track not pushing so much: on the second run we maybe entered a little early, so when we were ready to push we found all the cars that were coming out from the pitlane and warming up their tyres and so on. I had a problem with traffic, but to be honest I really don't think that I was fast enough to improve my lap time: to be the fastest was Chilton, and me, I was the third best today.
GP2 Series: Starting from the front row tomorrow: how important is it for you to get a good result tomorrow?
Davide: It's important for everyone! It's important to be starting there though, close to the leader, and I hope it will be easier to avoid incidents in the first lap and we can have a smooth race to the end. We learnt in the past with GP2 that the races are so long, and anything can happen: in the last few weekends the driver starting 17th, Cecotto, won a race by far! It's not so easy to say that it's an advantage starting there, but already today we did a good job, and I hope to have a good one tomorrow also!