GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's feature race here in Monza: joining us today are race winner Luca Filippi from Scuderia Coloni, in second we have Johnny Cecotto from Addax Team, and in third we have Marcus Ericsson from iSport International. Luca, your return to the series you love, at your home track, for the victory: can it get any better than this?
Luca Filippi: No. And it could get worse either, because this is what I wanted, and this is what the team wanted. Motorsport is a tough sport: you have to win so you are a hero, but if you don't everything gets difficult! The point is that it's a tough season for me because this is my first race, but you know what? I was staying at home, watching these guys racing, and it gave me so much motivation: I came here so hungry, so motivated, I knew it was a chance and I had to take it. I wanted to take it, and this is exactly what I thought it would be: I knew it would be difficult, but I came here for this reason, and I am very proud now.
GP2 Series: There were two big moments for you in the race: talk us through the start...
Luca: Yeah, I had a great start: the grip was very poor on the start line, so I had a very, very conservative start, and it worked out very well. I was actually a little bit in front of Chilton but he had a good defence and I had to cut the kerb, and obviously I had to give him the position back. He had good pace at the beginning, but we started on hard tyres and got the strategy exactly right, and I have to thank the team for that. After that we had strong pace: I didn't want to take any risks on track, and we thought we were going to beat him on strategy but actually we were just behind him [after the pitstop], but it was quite easy for me with good pace and hot tyres to push him a little bit, and he made a small mistake and I overtook him. After that I had a very strong pace, the car was brilliant, perfect, and I just had to control the pace.
GP2 Series: What does it mean to you to come back after a year away to win, and also for the team?
Luca: It's hard to say: I don't know right now! One year ago I thought it was the start of my professional career, I thought some Formula One team or some other professional teams were going to call me, but nothing happened. So now I'm still motivated, even more, and I still believe in what I am doing and that I am good, but motorsport is difficult and with the economical situation it is even worse. I don't know what to expect, but I think everybody has seen what I am able to do, and I hope that someone will give me a chance. But I am ready.
GP2 Series: Congratulations: it's a good way to remind people about you. Johnny, congratulations on P2, from some quick laps, a good strategy call and fast stop: was that your race?
Johnny Cecotto: Yeah, the strategy and the pitstop helped, but it was not only there: I had a good start, nothing special but good, gained a few places there and in the first corner, and then I was P5 behind Valsecchi. I lost a bit of time there because he closed the door quite hard a few times: I was quicker than him, and the group in the front, but I just couldn't get by him easily. He came in quite early for the pitstop - I think while I was pushing him, he was using his tyres quite a lot - and I knew I still had good pace so I could push, and I also had the advantage of new tyres from the start. I just pushed as hard as I could so I could come back as far up as possible: coming out of the pitstop it was hard because we had cold tyres, and I had to defend really hard from Marcus, but I managed to do it and to pull back some time from Max, and then to overtake him. After that the tyres were okay, but Luca was just too far away.
GP2 Series: Were you surprised that everyone came in so early?
Johnny: A little bit, yes. Especially when, just after the pit window opened, two cars in front of me pitted: I was quite surprised about that, and I knew that it was going to be to my advantage to push in that phase and then come out later on fresh tyres. I thought I was really lucky when I saw people come in so early!
GP2 Series: You were probably the guy who optimised the tyres best: how were they today?
Johnny: For me they were really good, especially the tyre: it was really good, with a really good balance, and when I put on the prime tyre the balance was not quite as good, but it was still drivable and with no big degradations, so it was good.
GP2 Series: And tomorrow, what can we expect?
Johnny: Tomorrow we start from P7, today was P8, so I hope that tomorrow I can get another podium. For sure it will be more difficult, because there is no pitstops, but I think that we can do a great race tomorrow and, if everything goes well, we can get another podium.
GP2 Series: Good job today. Marcus, congratulations on P3 and another podium for you: is the season finally coming together for you?
Marcus Ericsson: Yeah, but a bit too late, unfortunately! [laughs] But it was great to be on the podium again, it was a strong race all the way through, and I'm happy to see Luca win on his comeback: he is a good friend of mine, and it was nice. It's great for me to be on the podium again after the strong weekend we had in Spa, so I'm really pleased.
GP2 Series: Your pace was quite good throughout, but I guess the big moment was when Johnny came out just in front of you: what happened there?
Marcus: Yeah, I think we didn't really realise how quick Johnny was when we pitted, so I didn't really push to the maximum because I thought I was only fighting Chilton and Filippi! When Cecotto came out it was a bit of a surprise that he came out in front of me, and he was that quick! I tried really hard to pass him for those 2 laps, but he defended well and I couldn't really make a move, and then I had to try to save the tyres. We still had a good pace, and I started to catch Chilton, and saved the tyres until the last 8 laps to push. It was great when I managed to pass Chilton: it was a good move, and it was important because it's never nice to finish fourth, especially when you've been running third for quite a while! It's good to get another podium, and important at the end of the year to do it: it was a good day.
GP2 Series: It seems these days you can only challenge for an overtake for one or two laps because you have to pull back: is that about right?
Marcus: You need to be clever: you can be really aggressive and try to overtake, but you have to remember how long the race is, and that you need to be strong in the end. Unfortunately if you use your tyres in the middle of the race you can be struggling a lot in the end, and when you struggle with the tyres you can lose two or three seconds a lap. When I tried to overtake Johnny I had two laps when he was on the colder tyres, and when I realised I couldn't really make a move I decided let's settle in and and look after the tyres, and see if we can get up to Chilton for the end of the race.
GP2 Series: Which you did, and brought home another podium for the team...
Marcus: Yeah, and it was great to do that: obviously my team did a great job this weekend again, and we've been on the pace all weekend, the car is very quick, and I'm really pleased for iSport. And obviously Jo had P7 from 15th on the grid, so that was a good result too, and hopefully tomorrow we will have two more great results.