THOUGHTS FROM SCHUMACHER, GHIOTTO AND LUNDGAARD
FIA Formula 2: Hello and welcome to the press conference with the top three finishers in today's FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here at Monza. We are joined by race winner Mick Schumacher for PREMA Racing, in second place is Luca Ghiotto for Hitech Grand Prix, and third is Christian Lundgaard for ART Grand Prix. Mick, your first win of the season, and your first Feature Race win at Formula 2 level. Plus, at an iconic track like Monza. Just how special does it feel?
Mick Schumacher: It feels great! Also, being part of the driver academy for Ferrari, it is a great honour to win here and drive at this track. On top of that, to do it with an Italian team I think is even more special. The boys really deserved every single point that we scored today, because they did an amazing job getting the car ready after yesterday's incident. Therefore, this win goes to them. I'm really, really happy for them and proud of them.
FIA Formula 2: You paid them back a lot with just the start. Just talk us through your launch of the line there to make up so many positions.
Mick: Honestly, it's really the team that sets up everything. We're just basically in the role to try and do it right. We do training every day, in the car, as everybody else does, but we just manage to get that proper procedure right every time and very consistently. The only bad start that we've had up until now was in the Spa Sprint Race, so I'm quite happy that we're back on track.
FIA Formula 2: Congratulations, well done today. Luca, moving on to you. A strong second place after closing down Christian in those final laps, but the start looked a bit tricky for you. Just talk us through the first part of that race from your perspective.
Luca Ghiotto: Yeah, well, opposite to Mick I had a really terrible start. That did not help. Basically, at the start of the formation lap I almost stalled. I think went a bit too aggressive on the clutch. I had the same feeling at the start of the race, so I was trying to recover from that and then I got wheelspin, which got even worse on that side. I had no traction and I lost one or two places to Christian and Mick of course. After that, I was just stuck there behind Yuki (Tsunoda). There were a lot of fights going on in the first laps. Overall, the first stint was not great - a bit messy. A good pace, but a bit messy. I went straight off into Turn 1 once when me, Christian and Yuki were fighting. Then I lost another place to Nissany which was not great for me of course. Then we had an issue with the radio as well, so we went much, much longer than we wanted to on the options. They lasted well, so I didn't have a bad pace, but of course putting new mediums on would have been much better. Overall, the first stint did not help the final result, but luckily we had a really good pace at the end, and probably the newer tyres helped me catch up to Christian and getting P2 at the end. It's just a shame that the race finished a bit earlier because I saw I was catching up to Mick. But still, considering everything that happened, it's still a good result for us.
FIA Formula 2: Just on that radio issue, as you said, you had an offset in tyres compared to Christian. Do you think that, if you'd have pitted when you wanted to you could have been challenging even further forward, or did it actually help you in the end?
Luca: Well, the pace was decent still on the options. I think I was not more than seven or eight tenths slower than the guys who pitted. But still, that's enough to lose some time. Stopping probably three or four laps earlier would have helped. I saw that the tyres were lasting quite well at the end, so I think if I was doing three of four laps more, which is what I should have done on that stint, we'd have still been okay. I could have kept the same pace. I think that the radio did not help, definitely. I don't know if I could have won, but I think it would have been much closer at the end.
FIA Formula 2: Thank you very much. Christian, moving on to you. It's your first podium since Silverstone, and another strong drive. Was third about the best you could achieve, given how early you stopped?
Christian Lundgaard: I think we should be happy with third today. I don't think we had the pace to fight for the win. Obviously, starting fourth helped. I think in the first stint I was the first driver to box, I'm not too sure, but one of the first ones at least. We paid that price towards the end, with Luca coming past like a rocket and feeling like he had new softs on. But yeah, I think we need to be happy with scoring decent points today after scoring two points in two race weekends. I'm happy to be where I am today.
FIA Formula 2: What's your mindset at the moment? You're thirty points off the title lead after today. Do you feel like you're in with a chance of winning this championship still?
Christian: There is the rest of this weekend and then four race weekends more. The title isn't done yet, but I think we need three very good race weekends to be able to really fight for it.
FIA Formula 2: Thank you very much. Mick, you're just three points off the Championship lead, and you finished third, third, second and first in your last four races. Do you feel like momentum is on your side now?
Mick: I think we have proven before in different categories that it is possible to come from far behind. You just need to be consistent. You just need to be happy to work and have a good relationship with the team. I think all of those criteria are present at the moment. With my team, I'm feeling more comfortable than ever, working with them. The trust is so high, and I think that's really paying off now. All the hard work we did before, and, let's say, the harder races that we've had, have made us stronger for now. As you said, the momentum is on our side, and now we just need to keep it consistent and try to do our best.