GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today's feature race here in Spa Francorchamps: joining us today are race winner Marcus Ericsson from iSport, in second place we have James Calado from Lotus, and unfortunately third placed finisher Davide Valsecchi from DAMS is unable to join us, as he is at the steward's office. Marcus, congratulations on a great win today: it's been a little while since the last one, so how does it feel?
Marcus Ericsson: It's fantastic! It's been 2 years since the last one, so I've waited a long time [laughs], but it's great to win here in Spa. It was a strange race, and obviously Nigel had a big crash and we all hope he's alright, but when it finally got restarted I had a really good race: good pace, the car was great, so it's fantastic to be on the top of the podium!
GP2 Series: It seemed like you had another of your usual fast starts, and that set you up for later around the lap: is that how you saw it?
Marcus: The actual start of the line was not the best maybe, but I had a good first corner and then had a really good run through Eau Rouge, and that let me get a good run on Esteban. The rest of the lap I did really well: I managed to overtake James, and then Haryanto the next lap, and the car was really good from the first corner, and I was aggressive and managed to get up to P1. Then Haryanto only changed the rears, so we lost that position in the pitstop, but lucky for me he spun behind the safety car! [laughs]
GP2 Series: After the red flag there was quite a long period on the grid, and it can sometimes be hard to keep your racing head on, especially as you had 4 guys in front of you at the restart who you know need to pit, and you've got to manage your tyres: what were you thinking during that?
Marcus: It was quite a difficult situation because, as you said, there were 4 guys in front of me who had to stop again, and I didn't know if they were going to struggle for pace or be really quick. If they were going to struggle then I knew that I'd have James and these guys would be all over me and try to pass, so it was a bit difficult to know what mindset to have when the race restarted. The first 3 guys had good pace and just pulled away: I had to fight a little bit with Trummer but I managed to pass him, and after that I was really all about controlling the race. The car, as I said, was really good, so I could make sure I didn't use the tyres too much, keep myself calm, and just count the laps down.
GP2 Series: As you said, it's been a while between drinks: what does this win mean for you and the team?
Marcus: It means a lot: it's been a tough season for me this year, nothing like what we hoped for before the season started, and before the break the last few races were really bad. But we had a break, I could recharge my batteries, and really look forward to the last 3 weekends to see what I could do, and to get some good results. And winning the first race back is a pretty good result!
GP2 Series: Great job today. James, congratulations on P2: how was the race from your point of view?
James Calado: I made an okay start, enough to maintain second behind Rio: there was a bit of an incident between Rio and Esteban which I don't believe Esteban is too happy about, but even so I maintained position. I was struggling a bit because I hadn't driven in the dry, it was all a bit new, and I was braking a bit too early and wasn't full through Eau Rouge for the first few laps. So Marcus overtook me going into the last chicane, quite easily actually because I braked too early, and he was much, much quicker and driving really well and his car was quite good: I have to say it's nice to see iSport and Marcus back at the top again, where they probably belong, so well done.
It was a bit of a boring race for me really: I was just sat there, doing the best I could do with what I had. I eventually settled in, I had a few big moments and we've got some work to do because we need to find maybe one second to try and catch him up [points to Marcus], so it's going to be a busy night!
GP2 Series: The biggest moment as far as for the results is that Marcus got past Trummer and you couldn't for a while: why was that?
James: He was able to get past Trummer because he was far quicker, and I wasn't anywhere near as quick as Marcus, which is why I took longer. I was sliding a lot, and I knew that my tyres wouldn't make it to the end of the race if I drove too aggressively, so it was a compromise between should I be aggressive and use my tyres to overtake or should I just wait for him to make a mistake. I knew Davide was good on tyres, so I thought I'll just wait for a mistake, and I finally overtook him at turn 5 and was in clean air. Even then I struggled with grip, quite surprisingly really because the last races were pretty good, so it's something we need to look at for tomorrow.
GP2 Series: You mentioned the tyres: was that the reason for the lack of grip, or the set up, or something else?
James: I mean, it wasn't good on the outlap, and we made some quite significant changes before the lights went green again after that long wait, and there was no improvement, so it's a bit baffling this one, but I'm sure we'll find it. It seemed to be a bit down on the straights as well, which is quite unusual, so we've got a lot of things to change and be worked on.
GP2 Series: Still P2 is not bad, some more points for the championship if you're looking in that direction?
James: It's a good result, 18 points, and I'm happy with the points but unhappy I didn't get the win. I'm always striving to win, and Marcus was just better than me today, so there's a bit of work to do to get back to the top step.