FIA Formula 2: Welcome everybody to the Qualifying press conference with the Top 3 qualifiers of the FIA Formula 2 ahead of the Feature Race here in Jeddah. In third place we have Jak Crawford from DAMS Lucas Oil, second is Kush Maini from Invicta Racing and in pole position Oliver Bearman from PREMA Racing. Ollie, how good does that feel, your fourth pole in F2 and quite the way to bounce back from a tough weekend in Bahrain, talk us through it.

Oliver Bearman: It was great to come back. Bahrain was such a difficult weekend for us, and it left a lot of question marks. Last year we were really strong here so we knew that this would be a great baseline for us. To be here on the front row, on pole position is really nice and I am happy to be back.

FIA Formula 2: It was a very close fight between you and Kush, did you know it was going to be that tight going into the final run?

Bearman: I mean after 6 years of having the same car, the gaps in the first few rounds were like 1 second. I remember I was sitting here one year ago, seven tenths off in P2. I think seven tenths off today would have put me outside the top 15. It’s definitely brought the field closer this new car. I knew it was going to be tight and you have to put a really good lap together to be up there. As tight as it was, I wasn’t expecting this maybe. The Qualifying sessions are always like this.

FIA Formula 2: What was the difference today compared to Bahrain?

Bearman: Well, there were a lot of differences, first of all the finishing position. It’s quite a bit higher. I just had a great feeling already from Lap 1. It was like being back in the old car. In Bahrain I never quite got a great confidence with the new car, and it really hurt, especially when the field is so close. I think the gap to pole in Bahrain for me was the same as it was the year before but like we said the field spread is much less. I just knew that it would be a good weekend already from Lap 1 in Free Practice. I didn’t get that in Bahrain so I think we are back to normal performance now and I hope we can keep it up.

FIA Formula 2: Congratulations on today’s results Kush, another strong showing in Qualifying by you and the team. You said you gave it everything on that last lap, was pole just out of reach today?

Kush Maini: I think the first lap on the second set I don’t feel like I maximised it. The second lap I feel like I did but I just ran out of tyres at the end. I think Ollie did a great lap. I think I could have challenged a bit harder if I had put it together in that first lap, so that was the radio message you heard where there was a bit of frustration. All in all, happy with the front row – hopefully I keep it this time, we will see.

FIA Formula 2: We saw a little lock-up into the final corner on your last lap, did that make the difference between pole position and P2 today?

Maini: No, I think even if I nailed that last corner on that second lap I wasn’t getting Ollie. I had to do it in the first lap and unfortunately, he did a better job.

FIA Formula 2: You looked quick on several occasions last year but that’s two back-to-back Qualifying performances that have put you in contention for pole. Do you feel like you’ve found the sweet spot at Invicta?

Maini: I think the team and I are working really well. It’s a great atmosphere with the team, good banter and we have fun through the weekend as well which is very important. It’s a good relationship with my team mate as well. We are constantly pushing each other. I think it’s too early to say but I am happy with the progress we are making.

FIA Formula 2: Good job today, thank you Kush. To you Jak, a late improvement but it’s better late than never. How tough was that session and how satisfied are you with P3?

Jak Crawford: Very satisfied considering Bahrain. Qualifying didn’t go the best and, in the end, we ended P10, but it had potential for so much more. In the end the team did a great job. Our goal going into the last run was to be there on the last push. We knew for us that it was going to be there. I made a mistake on my first push, and we didn’t have the car in the right window. I knew I had to put it all on the line in the last push and in the end, it worked out.

FIA Formula 2: We saw a few drivers getting a little bit too close with the walls around the track at some points, how tough is it to find the laptime going into that final Qualifying run?

Crawford: It’s very tough around here. I think I gained from my first push to my second push on the last set, I gained five tenth in Sector One, so I really put it all out there. You just have to be so brave, and you also have to have the car, so credit to the team for giving me the confidence to push. It’s really hard here, here and Monaco are the toughest for sure.

FIA Formula 2: That’s two top 10s in Qualifying for you this year already, how important is that especially with you joining a new team in DAMS Lucas Oil for this season?

Crawford: It’s been very good. I think the Bahrain Qualifying was actually a big disappointment. I think in testing we showed great speed, but we didn’t execute it properly. It’s good to finally execute as a team and do what we can do and what we could have done in Bahrain. Luckly it was Bahrain, so the race matters more but here it is good to qualify up the front and be there for the Feature Race.

FIA Formula 2: Thank you, Jak.