Round 6 Sprint Race Press Conference

Round 6 Sprint Race Press Conference

Latifi, Ghiotto and Markelov discuss the race

FIA Formula 2: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today’s FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race here in Silverstone: joining us are race winner Nicholas Latifi from DAMS, in second place we have Luca Ghiotto from RUSSIAN TIME, and his teammate Artem Markelov joins us from third. Nicholas, finally your first win: how does it feel?

Nicholas Latifi: Yeah, I’m just really happy. I was on the podium in Barcelona and could already show we were able to challenge for wins, and that one unfortunately got away from me but we managed to get this one back. We showed good pace in the race yesterday but just unfortunately got stuck behind slower cars, and it’s difficult to overtake around here. I knew the start was going to be crucial, and I didn’t get the best one but I managed to hold off the position and then put my head down, pulled a few fast laps, and managed the race from there.

FIA Formula 2: How were the nerves over the final stint, particularly after the safety car emerged?

Nicholas: I had a big gap at that time so the safety car was the last thing I needed, and in my opinion I don’t think the race should have been restarted with how late the safety car lights came out, because they’re supposed to come out at the Maggots and Becketts complex, but they only came out at Stowe: it left me no time to build a gap to the safety car and to control the pace, so that was a bit unfortunate, but I still had good tyres so I managed to control it and just pull clear, make no mistakes on that last lap, and to bring it home for the win.

FIA Formula 2: Congratulations. Luca, a strong drive under pressure for most of that race: are you happy with it?

Luca Ghiotto: No. [laughs] To be honest no, because again yesterday we had good pace and were matching Leclerc and the top drivers, the same as in Austria, so when you have such good pace in the race you always want to win. For sure we need to find out what is happening in qualifying because this time we had a mechanical issue which didn’t let me get higher than P14, and it’s always difficult starting from that far back. Today for sure there was something wrong, because we always have the front pace in the race, but today in the top 5 I was struggling the most, and we were a bit lucky with the safety car restart: I couldn’t see what happened behind but there was no one. I was trying to stay close to Nicholas but my tyres were already gone before the safety car, and in the cool down period there was just nothing left so I couldn’t follow him for even one corner. I will say that for how the race went, P2 is more than good.

FIA Formula 2: You mentioned you were struggling: were you aware that Oliver had a penalty behind you? Did that change the approach?

Luca: Yeah, I was aware that he had a penalty but the problem is I could see there were other cars behind him, so I was focused on not letting him past because as always when you’re fighting your car, all the others behind you are closing up. There could have been a chance that if Oliver overtook me then the others could overtake me too, so I think it was really important to stay P2 on track and to not think so much about his penalty.

FIA Formula 2: Well done today. Artem, you were chasing a driver with a penalty for most of the race, and that penalty was for his actions on you: can you talk us through that start to the race?

Artem Markelov: It was not a very good start for me, so after a few corners Oliver tried to overtake King and he pushed him wide outside of the track so I tried to overtake him and he pushed me onto the grass as well. I was trying to keep the gap to him close, and was waiting for a decision on him from the stewards: if he got a penalty I wouldn’t push too much, and if he didn’t I would try to push him and to support my teammate.

FIA Formula 2: You did overtake Oliver after the safety car: do you think you could have caught the front 2 if you had got past him earlier?

Artem: No, I think I would just be behind them in the last lap. I kept the points in my pocket: I was already P2 in the championship, I wanted to move forward.

FIA Formula 2: Congratulations. Nicholas, you’ve been very consistent over recent rounds, especially since Barcelona: what has been the key to your season?

Nicholas: I think the main thing compared to last year has been the improved race pace: it’s no secret I was really nowhere in the races last year except for the first weekend in Barcelona, and that’s really been the improvement. In qualifying it helps to control the races, and that’s probably an area where I have to improve a bit, because in any other series without Pirelli tyres you lead from pole into the first corner and most likely the race is over, as long as you don’t make any mistakes: that’s obviously not the case with GP3 and F2! And that’s really the big improvement from last year: I’m understanding much more since the beginning of the year how to control the tyres to control the race pace, and the car has for sure improved from last year, which helps as well. It’s a bit of a 50/50 thing, but I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to move forward from last year.

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