Round 6 Qualifying Press Conference

Round 6 Qualifying Press Conference

Leclerc, Rowland and Nato discuss the session

FIA Formula 2: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today’s qualifying session here in Silverstone: joining us from pole is Charles Leclerc from PREMA Racing, second is Oliver Rowland from DAMS, and in third is Norman Nato from Pertamina Arden. Charles, six out of six for you, and a half second advantage for pole today: were you expecting a closer fight for pole today?

Charles Leclerc: Yes, to be honest we didn’t expect anything, we were just working on ourselves and it went quite good today. We had a good free practice and we worked a bit on the car, and more on me obviously, and today it was a good session overall.

FIA Formula 2: Where does this pole position rank with the 5 previous this season?

Charles: It feels as nice as the first one, to be honest! [laughs] Where does it rank, I’m not sure: it’s probably one of the biggest gaps we’ve had since the beginning of the season in Bahrain, but that was a bit of a strange session. It feels good: probably the Monaco one was the best one because it was at home, but this is the second one maybe.

FIA Formula 2: Oli, this is your best qualifying result of the season, and you started strongly yesterday: was that the key to this result?

Oliver Rowland: Yeah I think so. It’s been quite clear over the last few races that we’ve been improving over one lap a little bit, and I knew after yesterday it was going to be a little difficult: it was three tenths but I was already close to the limit, so I knew we’d have to be perfect today. I think it’s four tenths, and I’m much happier than at the Red Bull Ring because it was half a second there, and at such a small track. I’m already closer, and the middle section was really strong, so obviously I’m not really happy with being second but I’m there to fight, and we know we have really good race pace because at every race this year we’ve been extremely strong. At least this time we’re there to fight, and the only time we haven’t been in that position was Monaco, and it’s extremely difficult to do anything in Monaco. Here we can be really strong, and I’m looking forward to it.

FIA Formula 2: You mentioned in Austria that the key was to put pressure on in qualifying and then it would be closer in the race: are you expecting the same tomorrow?

Oliver: Yeah I think so. I’m always fighting from 7th or 8th or 5th, so I’m already damaging the tyres but we also have really strong pace, so if we can start to manage them from the start and put some pressure on him we can have a bit of a fight tomorrow.

FIA Formula 2: Congratulations. Norman, this third position matches your best qualifying of the year: are you happy with this result?

Norman Nato: Yeah, I’m really happy. Free practice was okay for us, and I knew we could do something good in qualifying today: after Bahrain we really struggled in qualifying, we made progress in terms of race pace though, which is a good point, and we made a step forward this weekend in qualifying. P3 is good today, tomorrow the race is long, so we will see what it brings.

FIA Formula 2: We had practice yesterday and qualifying today: how tricky was it to deal with that, and to get it right over a qualifying lap?

Norman: It’s quite a long time to wait [laughs], because you wait a day and then you do 4 push laps, so it’s quite long but it’s the same for everybody. You have to be really focussed when you jump in the car because you have to put everything into the first push lap, and the same for the team. It was not really different, just longer, but it’s still the same in the car, you just think of one thing: to push.

FIA Formula 2: Charles, you’ve got your closest title rival beside you on the grid: does that change anything for you tomorrow?

Charles: Not really: we need to make a good start, which will be key to the race, and after that in the race it was quite good in Austria, so I’m looking forward to the race. Obviously the degradation is quite high here because of the high speed corners, so the key will be to be in the front in this section of the track and we’ll see how it goes.

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