Hockenheim Qualifying Press Conference

Hockenheim Qualifying Press Conference

Van der Garde, Calado and Leimer discuss the session

GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's soggy qualifying session here in Hockenheim: joining us today are polesitter Giedo van der Garde from Caterham, in second place we have James Calado from Lotus, and in third place we have Fabio Leimer from Racing Engineering. Giedo, congratulations on your second pole of the season: it was a strange session given all the rain, but how was it from your seat?

Giedo van der Garde: Yeah, it was strange! I think the beginning we had to do a laptime because the radar said at the end there would be more rain, but it came early than expected and I had to push from lap one. We [points to James Calado] swapped places all the time - I was P1, then he was P1, and so on for 4 or 5 laps, and that was it, when the rain came down quite heavily. Then it was actually over: we did try to go out again, but we were 2 or 3 seconds slower.

GP2 Series: It was obviously raining a lot during the session, and no one improved after the first few laps, but how much worse did it feel for you out there?

Giedo: I think it was 2 or 3 seconds slower, which is quite bad! The rain started to come down much more, the track was much more slippery, so in the end it was just the only choice to come back in.

GP2 Series: A lot of the other guys were sliding all round the place, even during the opening few laps: what was it that allowed you to set a reasonable lap?

Giedo: I think pushing at the beginning: you had to push straight away from the box, so I did, he did it [points to James], he did it [points to Fabio], even though he went off! [laughs] But you have to do: you have maybe 1 or 2 laps, and that's it. I think it was just the right order, like today: in Silverstone we learnt a lot from the rain, because the team last year didn't have a lot of knowledge about setting the car up in the rain, and last year they struggled quite a lot. So to have the pole position today is great for them, and for me as well.

GP2 Series: And what do you expect tomorrow?

Giedo: I don't know, but it will be hard: we don't know what the weather will be. They say it will be rain, but you never know here: it's always tricky. We just have to see, but the important thing even if it rains is the start, you have a clear vision from the front.

GP2 Series: Congratulations. James, congratulations on P2 in a very, very close session: are you happy with your job today?

James Calado: Yeah, I'm happy. It was important to be fast directly out of the pitlane because there was rain on the way, my engineer let me know about that, and I pushed literally straight out of the pits for 3 or 4 laps. I just did a banker you know, and I thought 'maybe it will be good enough, maybe it won't': it was good enough for second, and was very, very close. As he said, we were swapping positions, and it was quite entertaining in the cockpit, so I'm happy with that, and it's just a shame about the penalty, really.

GP2 Series: How were the tyres during the session?

James: Fine. In Silverstone I'd never driven a GP2 car in the rain before, so it was quite different to the GP3, but you know,  because of that we gained some experience, changed a few things on the car, and it was instantly quick out of the box, which is important when you only get 30 minutes in the qualifying session and 30 minutes in the practice session. I was reasonably happy with them.

GP2 Series: You didn't get much running today, and we only come here every other year: if it's dry are you comfortable with the level of data for the team to set up the car?

James: Well, in free practice this morning it was dry [before the red flag and rain] and I was very happy with the car: I had a similar feeling to Valencia, and was really confident that if it was dry for qualifying I could do as good a job as I did in the rain, so I think whatever the conditions I've just got to push as hard as I can, and aim for a top 8 finish realistically from 12th. Everything's possible, and I'll do my best.

GP2 Series: Do you think this is a circuit where you can overtake?

James: Yeah I suppose so, because you've got the long straight and heavy braking into turn 6, tyre degradation will again be important, who will go on the soft tyres at the start and who won't: you just don't know. So pitstops will be important, and a clean race to stay out of trouble is the key.

GP2 Series: Great job today. Fabio, P3 on track today and P2 tomorrow, which we'll get to, but are you satisfied with what happened in the session today?

Fabio Leimer: Yeah, I'm quite happy: it was not easy because the track was in bad conditions, and when you go out in qualy and don't know what to expect you have to work it all out, and maybe I wasn't completely at the limit and was slow at the beginning. I was building up my confidence at first, and when I thought I could go more on the limit it was already starting to rain too much, and I couldn't improve. I am positive because I can start tomorrow from P2, and we will see: already we can do a good race, and I need to do a race with no mistakes, everything works well, and hopefully it will be this time! [laughs]

GP2 Series: Your lap time was a little way off these guys: is that just the weather as you say, or something else?

Fabio: No, it was really that I was not pushing enough: in the end I could see I could go much, much faster, even when the rain was coming, and I was actually quicker in the corners. I had to push a bit harder in the start, but I was just trying to get the confidence and it was a little bit too late. I think tomorrow if it's raining I can be quite quick, like in Silverstone, but we will see.

GP2 Series: It's a fine balance, to push enough to get up to speed but not so much that you fall over the edge: how do you stay on that fence in conditions like this?

Fabio: It was really difficult because I knew everyone is going out really fast, is really pushing for the first 2 or 3 laps because it was starting to rain more and more, so I went out and was pushing, I had a little bit of traffic with Nasr and Valsecchi so it wasn't perfect, but I couldn't slow down because the people behind me were pushing and they would overtake me. So I had to push, but in the end I was really lucky because when the rain came I was already in P3, and maybe if I was 3 or 4 tenths slower I would have been many more positions in the back. I was quite happy because here it was much more slippery than in Silverstone, and also the track is not so high as Silverstone, so when you make a mistake here you are in the gravel, which nearly happened to me [laughs], but I think tomorrow we can do a lot.

GP2 Series: Yes, a front row start, and although obviously Giedo will try and do something about it, can you get a win?

Fabio: Yeah, I think so: I hope he is struggling again a little with the tyres [laughs], but we'll see! We have to see if it's raining or dry, but we'll see.

GP2 Series: And what do you think?

Giedo: [laughs] I think it was a one time thing in Silverstone, what happened there we have worked out: it was really bad, I never had something like this before, but we have analysed everything with the team, and I think tomorrow everything will be fine, be all good!

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