NEWS

31/08/2012

Spa-Francorchamps Qualifying Press Conference

Spa-Francorchamps Qualifying Press Conference

Haryanto, Calado and Gutiérrez discuss the session

GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's press conference here in Spa Francorchamps: joining us today are polesitter Rio Haryanto from Carlin, in second place we have James Calado from Lotus, and in third is his teammate Esteban Gutieérrez. Rio, congratulations on your first pole position: you must be delighted?

Rio Haryanto: Yeah, I'm very pleased with the result! It's been a long time coming, and I think everything was working very well, I was in the right place at the right time, I had to push for a good lap, but I am very pleased with the result, and I am looking forward to tomorrow's race!

GP2 Series: You've always gone well in the wet, and It has been very wet all day today: how was it for you in the car?

Rio: It wasn't easy! I had to push without making any mistakes, and I think we were quick straight away from the beginning: the car was very good today, and I have to say thank you to the team.

GP2 Series: It seemed that any time these guys pushed a bit harder, you could go out and improve your time again: were you just that comfortable today?

Rio: Yeah, I was really confident. In the practice we knew that we could go much quicker, and we made some changes on the car: on the outlap I was really confident, and I could really feel the grip, so I tried to push right from the beginning, and improve each time.

GP2 Series: And what can we expect tomorrow?

Rio: Hopefully the weather will be wet, because today we were quite quick! But you never know, but a good start and a good strategy for the race, and we can maintain the position.

GP2 Series: Congratulations. James, congratulations on P2, just a tenth off pole: all things considered, are you satisfied with your job today?

James Calado: Yes, thanks, we did a great job. We knew right from the start of free practice this morning that both mine and Esteban's cars were capable of being at the front: we made a few changes and went out, and it felt pretty good. It took me a while to get into a rhythm, because I made a few mistakes: we made a few changes in the pitlane when I came in, put some new tyres on, and it all seemed to click. I managed to do 2 laps which were quite similar speed, both with tiny little mistakes which maybe could have put me in front of Rio, but he did a better job today and is a tenth in front, so congratulations to him on his first pole position. A great job for Lotus ART, we are second and third, and in contention for a race win tomorrow.

GP2 Series: Full wet this morning, pretty much full wet this afternoon: how do you approach a qualifying session in conditions like that?

James: I think the free practice is important to build your confidence, and it's nice to know that the decisions you make are in the right direction, and I had that even and could feel it even on the outlap. I was a little bit stressed after the first half because I hadn't really put a lap together, but I kept my cool and knew I was capable of a quick lap, which luckily I did. It is very difficult, especially in a circuit like Spa where you have very high speed corners and you need a lot of confidence in the high speed stuff to be quick, so it was a good job by all of us, I think.

GP2 Series: You mentioned the tyres: how much of a difference does it make to change the tyres in wet conditions like this?

James: Well, you never know: the conditions around Spa are constantly changing, and we changed the tyres and I went back out but I couldn't feel much difference and I thought 'oh, this is going to be a bit difficult', but there was a bit extra rain in the first sector, and when the rain stopped the grip came, and Eau Rouge was almost full throttle, just a small lift! It's the best feeling, my first time in a fast car round here, and to do it in sixth gear in the rain! So it was great to just have that grip and just dive in there!

GP2 Series: Congratulations. Esteban, congratulations on P3 today: considering the conditions, are you pleased to have have through them and finish as well as you have?

Esteban Gutiérrez: Yes, it was a good session, we came second and third in very tricky conditions for qualifying and free practice as well, and generally we got a good feeling for how the car was behaving and tried to adapt to the circumstances. We thought were could be very quick, and luckily we managed to put it together and could be quite consistent, so it was a good session for us.

GP2 Series: How differently do you approach a session like this, compared to a more normal qualifying session?

Esteban: I think it depends on many things: it depends a little bit on yellow flags and the conditions, which were very slippery and it was very easy to make a mistake when you're pushing, but it always comes down to it being the same for everyone. It's very special at this track, and to drive it in these conditions is something that I really like: I was okay with it, was trying to enjoy it as much as I could in free practice and in qualifying too. In free practice the car was moving, was aquaplaning a lot, and in qualifying it was still but the feeling was nice, and I could put a lap together. Of course you can always get more, it's never perfect, and hopefully before the end of the season we can put a perfect lap together and get pole, but third is a great result and the other drivers did a great job, because I was pushing hard!

GP2 Series: Considering the championship, the result isn't too bad with you in P3 and the guys ahead of you in the championship well behind: do you see tomorrow as a big opportunity there?

Esteban: Honestly the championship is not in my mind: I am just trying to enjoy it! We have 3 very important events: Spa is one of my favourite circuits, Monza is a very fast circuit where there is a lot of overtaking, and Singapore is one I'm really looking forward to it, a street circuit which looks very interesting, very dynamic. I am really just taking everything race by race, the aim is to win every race, and the rest is not in my hands: in the end we will see the results.

GP2 Series: It does seem that, wet or dry, tomorrow is going to be a lot of fun...

Esteban: Yes, and this is the main thing: it is a very interesting championship, and GP2 is a great competition and the most competitive series, so I am very priviledged to be in this position. The drivers are at a very high level, with James and Valsecchi and Razia and many others, and everyone is very respectful. The main thing is to enjoy it, because we all have one thing in common, which is that racing is our passion.

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