Thoughts from Shwartzman, Vips and Lundgaard
FIA Formula 2: Congratulations to the top three finishers of Sprint Race 1 of FIA Formula 2 here at Silverstone Circuit. In third Christian Lundgaard for ART Grand Prix, in second place Jüri Vips for Hitech Grand Prix, and our winner Robert Shwartzman for PREMA Racing. Robert, what a fantastic win for you, it was very convincing, the foundations of which were made at the start. Talk us through it?
Robert Shwartzman: The start was pretty impressive to be honest, I didn't expect to launch that well. We were expecting some wheel spin because we were starting on the hardest compound plus the track was pretty cold and generally it was not high grip. Also, me and Jüri had the shade from the building so it was already even less grippy, but the warmup was very good and generally the start I managed to pull was really nice. When I launched, I noticed that Jüri was having a bit of a slower start, so I just went down the inside. I thought Christian was going to be somewhere on the left, so I thought I was going to pass Jüri and going to have a fight with Christian. Then I looked to the left and there is no one, so coming to the first corner I was first, and I was like 'well that's a good start' and then it was time to just push. So, I defended first into Turn 3 and Turn 4 and after that tried to make a gap to Jüri and there was straight away a safety car. There was a lot of safety cars in this race, three or four I think, I lost count. With the safety cars it was a bit tricky because you're planning after the restart to make a gap and push, push, push, and then again there is safety car, and all your gap is reduced again. Generally, the car balance was really good, I saw Jüri was quick, but it didn't seem he was much quicker than me, so I was keeping some gap to him. After than I tried to run a normal race, not make any mistakes so Jüri couldn't do an attack and I think I succeeded. Also, after the first safety car I had an issue with my radio, so I had no radio at all with my engineer. The radio started cracking so I had to pull it off, so most of the race I had no radio, so it was like the old times in the 70s when you had no radio it was just you and the car. It was quite cool.
FIA Formula 2: Any dramas at all once the race had got underway? What about tyre wear for example?
Shwartzman: I think in that situation the safety car helped all of us because we were not constantly pushing so there was time to cool down the tyres a bit. Towards the end I felt a little bit of tyre wear, but I think for everyone it was pretty similar. It wasn't that critical to be honest, compared to last year for example. Last year for us it was a bit worse.
FIA Formula 2: It's very tight at the top of the Championship now with you and Oscar Piastri, it's been a great race from you from that point of view as well?
Shwartzman: Well, it's the first race, we still have two to go. The Championship is tight, I think Oscar is doing a really good job plus he's going to start tomorrow from first place so it's going to be a big challenge to stay in front of him and to beat him in the Championship it's not the easiest. We need to improve step by step, I'm happy we took this win, it's a good amount of points and now we're starting from P10 in Race 2 and it's going to be important to get a good start like we did this morning.
FIA Formula 2: Good luck with that. Jüri coming to you. Let's talk about the start, how good was your getaway and how surprised were you by Robert's start?
Jüri Vips: Well, before the race we aimed to overtake Christian. I actually didn't see Rob come at all, I just saw I got a bit better launch then Christian and I said 'well this is nice' and then I saw Rob come past me like a rocket. To be honest, I didn't expect that he would have such a good start and would be so far ahead, but I knew that I my launch wasn't perfect, so we have a bit of work to do with that. Robert just had a mega start and pretty much then if he didn’t make any mistakes the race is over because we didn't have a lot of tyre degradation today and it's very hard to follow.
FIA Formula 2: You did close up the gap in the closing laps, how good was your car at the end?
Vips: In the end it was good, but it was always up and down. Whenever I got close to him the tyres would overheat a lot and I would drop the pace for two or three laps. I had to cool my tyres down otherwise I would have dropped back in the field if I kept on pushing. Then I would try and attack again and it would keep going on and on again like this. As soon as I got into the dirty air within DRS it was very difficult to stay there.
FIA Formula 2: Good weather here at Silverstone, but the track temperature is going to ramp on as the day goes on how much harder do you think is that going to make Race 2 this afternoon?
Vips: To be honest we didn't have a lot of degradation this morning, and I saw some of last year's races and it seemed pretty hectic. I think we're going to have quite a different picture in Race 2, I think the track temps will be like 20 degrees higher. Even two degrees makes a very noticeable difference so I think we've going to see a completely different race, we have to be sure to be ready for that.
FIA Formula 2: Christian coming to you. Welcome back to the podium, great to see you up there again. We’re going to talk about the start as well. That was the decisive moment in the race, wasn't it?
Christian Lundgaard: Thank you for finally being back. I guess it's a bit the same for Jüri, I expected a better launch, and a better second phase of the start which we didn't have. I actually saw Robert quite early having a decent launch because I was looking at Jüri and I saw this PREMA come flying. I think it kind of decided the race, we'll have to look into that for this afternoon's race as we'll be starting further down now.
FIA Formula 2: What about the pace of your car during the whole race, and how do you think it's going to go this afternoon in these hotter track temperatures?
Lundgaard: For this morning's race I do believe that we had the car to win, but I think most the field would have too if they would have had clean air and would have led the field. The pace between all the cars is so evenly matched, the top three we were quite consistent and quite close to each other but without really being able to do anything even though you could be a couple of tenths faster on a few laps. Like Jüri said, if you're too close for too long you need to leave a gap and cool down the tyres, so definitely that will be a little bit trickier for this afternoon.
FIA Formula 2: Christian, it's been a tough season for you so far, tell us how it feels to be back up on the podium and how much of a boost this is for you?
Lundgaard: Well, the podium itself, I'm not too focused on. It's more about actually getting some points finally. We were unlucky in Monaco, and then let's say the rhythm of that bad luck, or poor performance, continued on to Baku. So, I'm happy to be back here because it's a track I know from last year and we had decent pace last year. It's a good crowd base and we'll build on that for this weekend. I know we were P10 in Qualifying but we were on pole this morning, so it slightly paid off. We will see this afternoon where we are really at.
FIA Formula 2: Great stuff. Well done again.