2017 Round 10 Sprint Race Press Conference

2017 Round 10 Sprint Race Press Conference

Markelov, Latifi and Rowland discuss the race

FIA Formula 2: Welcome to the press conference for today’s sprint race here at the Circuito de Jerez: joining us are race winner Artem Markelov from RUSSIAN TIME and with him in second is Nicholas Latifi and in third Oliver Rowland, both from DAMS. Congratulations on the win Artem: at what stage did you know you had the tyre life to win this race?

Artem Markelov: Actually yesterday was a bad race for me, but I had some experience from this and saw how the tyres were working all the race, so today we looked at the pitstop as well as going the whole race on one set of tyres, and we chose this as Plan A. I was trying to chill for the whole race and get some game later in the laps.

FIA Formula 2: What is it about your driving style that allows you to run so well on these tyres?

Artem: It’s a secret! [laughs] I don’t want to say too much, but it’s a feeling I have with them, I know some lessons on how to save the tyres for the whole race.

FIA Formula 2: Whose call was it to run Plan A today?

Artem: It was my choice, it was our choice actually. We had Plan B in case of emergency if the tyres were going in the middle of the race and the safety car was going out, but only for that moment.

FIA Formula 2: Thank you Artem and good job today. Nicholas, how are your emotions today after not managing to get past Alex Palou: disappointed, or happy to be on the podium?

Nicholas Latifi: Yeah, for sure I’m happy to be on the podium, and also a little disappointed before I did think the win was there for the taking today, or the opportunity at least. I knew it was going to be a tactical race if we were going to stick to the medium tyres the whole way, and it was like a game of chess: I knew Alex was going to start struggling with the tyres at some stage, he’s a rookie and doesn’t have the experience, and I was saving my tyres quite early but already from before King retired I was struggling with the balance and found it quite difficult. So I did the best I could, and I knew Artem would be saving his tyres too, especially when there were no Premas behind him. I saw him backing off, so I knew he would mount an attack in the end. I tried to close to Alex later but I didn’t have the pace advantage I needed, even though I was a lot quicker, to just easily breeze by, but even if I did I think Artem was still going to pass him and take the win anyway! We just didn’t have his pace today, but I’m happy to be on the podium.

FIA Formula 2: Is there anything you would do differently if you could do it again?

Nicholas: In hindsight knowing King retired maybe I wouldn’t have pushed as hard to try and overtake him, but besides that I wouldn’t have changed anything: I’d maybe change the set-up of the car a little, but nothing else.

FIA Formula 2: Congratulations. Oliver, a strong drive through the field for you from 7th: how was the race for you?

Oliver Rowland: I have to be reasonably happy: 2 podiums in one weekend is a pretty good weekend. From my side the race was pretty good, I got a good start and was able to be 4th when King retired, or I would have been a net 4th except my only mistake was letting Charles through at turn 6, I was sleeping a little bit and he surprised me, and I dropped back to 6th. When you follow 5 cars it’s quite difficult because you lose a lot of grip, and I tried to drop back and when I passed Charles and Fuoco I had 4 or 5 seconds to make up. I was always biding my time, but the pace when I caught them was maybe a bit too much and that’s why we saw Artem with such an advantage at the end and I couldn’t pass Nicky in the end. But overall I’m pleased, for me and the team, and we’ve done a great job and had a strong weekend, so a big thanks to DAMS and hopefully we have the Teams’ championship to think about as well.

FIA Formula 2: You mention the Teams’ championship: what would it mean to win that with DAMS?

Oliver: A lot: without DAMS I wouldn’t be racing, so I owe them a lot. It’s important not to take too much risk, and they work so hard so it would be nice to give them something back. I think they put in more effort than anybody on the grid, so it would be nice to give them that back in Abu Dhabi.

FIA Formula 2: Artem, how do you reflect on your 2017 season with one round remaining?

Artem: I really like the track at Abu Dhabi, and hopefully it will be a good result for me and the team, and we are fighting with DAMS!

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