FIA Formula 2: Hello and welcome to the FIA Formula 2 Press Conference following the Feature Race at the Hungaroring. Joining me today are: race winner Nyck de Vries for PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing, in second place Lando Norris for Carlin, and in third place Antonio Fuoco for Charouz Racing System. Nyck, starting with you: that was an outstanding performance – you had a 14-second deficit to Lando and then you were in the lead. Can you talk us through the race?
Nyck de Vries: Yeah, it was a very exciting race in difficult conditions, obviously it’s never ideal when so many things change from everything you have planned, and starting from the front of the grid you hope for a normal, smooth race. Things changed, but we expected the track to dry up towards the end so we didn’t put everything on too much of a wet setup. We knew things would be tough at the start of the race - which it was and I was really struggling to hold on - but luckily the timing was good and the track started to dry out, and that was the moment we needed to go and change our tyres. So the timing was good, and the others had anticipated more wet conditions than us, which worked to our advantage. Yeah, big thanks to the team, and I’m very happy to have scored our first feature race win today in Budapest – Hungary never lets me down! I’m just happy to come back after two difficult weekends.
FIA Formula 2: You’ve had two tough rounds and you’re back on top. Is this a bit of a turning point for you?
Nyck: To be honest, we’ve thought that many times during the year, for reasons that are unclear we weren’t very competitive in the last two weekends, it’s very strange that we were there all year up until the Red Bull Ring. But it seems we’re back to normal now and so I hope we can just carry this on for the remaining part of this season.
FIA Formula 2: Coming to you, Lando, that was another incredible drive from you in the wet, passing people to get up the field. How do you go about finding the right lines in those conditions?
Lando Norris: Ah, risk! There’s nothing else really, you have to know your basic lines from watching Formula 1 or whatever, and so you get the general idea from the past of what’s good and what’s not so good. But sometimes it changes, and it’s about trying new things – sometimes it works better and sometimes it can be quite costly, so yeah, most of the time I knew how it worked and it gave me an advantage. The first half of the race for us was really good, I was enjoying a lot but since our pitstop, it all kind of went downhill – I don’t know why, we didn’t focus on a wet setup too much because we knew it would dry, and when it dries it dries pretty quickly. So yeah, we were still more focused on a dry setup but we were still losing over a second a lap. It was very difficult, and I knew there was no point in fighting Nyck because you can end up in a worse position at the end of the race, and I knew I couldn’t go any faster. It’s frustrating because there was a lot of potential, Sergio was very fast again and we’ve been there all weekend. So we just need to try to get to the bottom of what the problem was.
FIA Formula 2: At the end, you were coming under pressure not only from Sergio but also from Antonio, how was that? Did you think you’d lose second?
Lando: Yeah, as soon as they caught me I thought I’d lose the podium quite easily. Luckily, there was more of a fine dry line into turn 1 so both times I went left and forced Sergio to go down the inside where there was more of a wet patch, so that was good for me and I was able to stay in second because of it. Then I saw Antonio catching pretty quickly, he managed to get past Sergio and then he was on me for the rest of the lap. So I had to try and keep him behind me wherever I could, and their incident in the penultimate corner gave me some breathing space.
FIA Formula 2: Coming to you Antonio, that was a fantastic climb from P12 on the grid to the podium, but we also saw a few hairy moments for you, did you think you’d make it to the podium?
Antonio Fuoco: I think at the beginning of the race, with the wet tyres we were very quick, and obviously at the start the rain was still there so we kept the wet setup, but then when we went onto the slick tyres, they were a bit too cold and the first lap it was quite difficult to stay on track. But by the end, the pace was good and I caught Sergio and Lando in the last three laps. In the last corner, I think everyone saw what happened so it was quite clear. I think I could maybe fight with Lando in the last corner for P2, but it was not like this.
FIA Formula 2: Can you talk us through the last corner incident from your perspective?
Antonio: I just tried to enter the corner on the outside and do the opposite on the exit, and I just felt someone touch me and I spun, to be honest I was quite lucky - I pulled in the clutch and I didn’t stall, but I think it was a dangerous move, because if I stalled I would lose so many points. It’s not the first time this has happened either, so I’m happy that I’m in third.
FIA Formula 2: Coming back to you, Nyck, we’ve got a reverse-grid tomorrow. Are we going to see a Antonio/Lando style fightback from P8?
Nyck: Let’s see what the weather conditions bring tomorrow – if they’re as exciting as today we could see another good race, otherwise I think it’ll be very long tomorrow on the prime tyres so let’s see. We’re very competitive here, so I think we can make up a lot of positions.