Sprint Race Press Conference, Monaco

Sprint Race Press Conference, Monaco

De Vries, Cecotto and Malja discuss the race

FIA Formula 2: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today’s FIA Formula 2 sprint race here in Monaco: joining us are race winner Nyck De Vries from Rapax, in second place we have Johnny Cecotto also from Rapax, and in third we have Gustav Malja from Racing Engineering. Nyck, it’s your first win at this level. Tell us: was it as easy as it looked?

Nyck De Vries: Well, no. Firstly, I had to stay out of the walls which is a challenge here. It’s been an unbelievable weekend: we started quite well but we had some difficulties after qualifying with two grid penalties. I was back to P14 which was tough to take but, you never in Monaco and we kept fighting. Surely everything went our way yesterday to get back in the top eight which was crucial to have a shot today. From the front row, we took the opportunity: I had a very good start. It was a very long race to the end. I lost concentration a little bit at some point and hit the apex at Turn 12. At that stage, I really told myself to keep it together. I’m extremely happy and thankful to the team and everyone involved.

FIA Formula 2: You mentioned the good start you made, how much confidence did you have turning in on the outside with your teammate on the inside?

Nyck: You got to take some risks. You know overtaking is pretty much impossible here. I had a good start and once you have a better start, then you can attack. If you have a worst start you have to defend, but this time I was able to attack.

FIA Formula 2: Congratulations. Johnny, moving on to you: it’s your first podium this year, but starting from pole I can imagine the disappointment…

Johnny Cecotto: At the start, and already in the formation lap, we didn’t find the perfect balance. We were looking at that on the grid. But we didn’t find it 100%. It was not the best start, but Nyck had one that was a bit better. I couldn’t defend on the inside. It was a bit of a risk for the whole team… But anyways, I wouldn’t have managed to keep the lead because I was struggling with issues with the car which for some laps stayed completely locked. We already had the same issue yesterday during the race. For some laps, I was struggling with huge oversteer and was off pace. I think in those laps, Nyck would have been able to pass me. So it was the best I could get today and that’s 1-2 for the team so that’s ok.

FIA Formula 2: How difficult to deal with the pressure coming from behind?

Johnny: It was very difficult because one I had to try and drive a specific way to not have that issue. So that meant to not touch the kerbs. On such a narrow track to not be able to use the kerbs means you have to go slower. On top of that, in every corner, I was not sure if the car would turn in or if I would have huge understeer. With Maja coming closer, it was quite difficult. I just tried to keep him as far as possible. The rest was about saving the tyres to be ready to push again in places on the track where I knew he could not attack me.

FIA Formula 2: thank you very much. Gustav, moving on to you: was your focus more on trying to pass Johnny and keeping Luca Ghiotto behind you?

Gustav Malja: I was looking at Johnny, but first of all I am really happy to finish on the podium. We knew we had a good pace. We could have fought for the win: I was hoping for a good start. Unfortunately, it was not as good as it usually ease and we were not able to fight for a position in the first corner. But I managed to keep my place. I’m really happy to finish on the podium. From there on, I was basically trying to catch Johnny. He was very strong in the beginning, but in the end he struggled with the tyres. I could manage to catch up with him, but I could never get past. After that I tried to manage the gap. I’m happy to finish P3.

FIA Formula 2: That’s all consecutive point finishes for you now. Do you feel like you’re coming into form?

Gustav: It is getting better and better, especially in the last races. Obviously, we had a poor start of the season in Bahrain. We found some good pace since then and for sure we will get even better.

FIA Formula 2: Back to you Nyck, you’ve mentioned the turn-around of your weekend here in Monaco. It’s a 1-2 for Rapax today: do you feel like this was all a kick-start to your championship challenge?

Nyck: To be honest, it’s the first time we were able to show our pace. Since the start of the season, we’ve showed we had the pace in qualifying but we didn’t manage to turn it into results in races. We were struggling with starts, race pace, pitstops… There were a lot of areas to improve on. I think this weekend, everything fell into place. We were strong to comeback from P14 to win the race today.

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