Thoughts from Martins, Bearman and Pourchaire.
FIA Formula 2: A very warm welcome to our top three Qualifiers for the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here in Jeddah. In third place Théo Pourchaire, for ART Grand Prix, in second place, Oliver Berman for PREMA Racing. Taking his first pole position in FIA Formula 2, also for ART, Victor Martins. Victor, what a sensational lap by you at the end of that session, talk us through it.
Victor Martins: I think I had a good Free Practice. I got some good feelings about the track straight away. I tried to push as much as I could without going over the limit in FP, so then I could get some good confidence with the car and give the team also some good feedback. Then I went into Qualifying with a high confidence in myself knowing what to do and where to gain the time with the supersoft, and then I didn't think I just pushed. I did a good warmup and a good strategy as well and then I ended up getting my first pole. That was an enjoyable lap.
FIA Formula 2: Your first pole, and by a huge margin. Where did you find the time?
Martins: I think it's not really a secret. When you look at the times in Sector 1, I found something even since this morning. I felt really, really good and really comfortable with the high-speed corners. Then when I went out of Turn 10, I was just thinking I needed to be calm and finish the lap because I was feeling I had a good Sector 1. Now let's see. I'm already focused on the races. Now it's done. The job is done. So now we need to work and see what we can do during the race.
FIA Formula 2: How exciting, how exhilarating is a Qualifying lap here in Jeddah?
Martins: I would have liked to wear a heart rate monitor to see how high it was during the lap. You are at the limit all the time. You don't have time to think. You just go instinctively into the corner and see where end up. Of course, in every corner that you do, you are thinking ‘one more’ then ‘one more’ and then you finish with the last corner after the long straight where you think I need to finish this lap and not over-push the corner to get a good lap. It's always trying to manage your emotion because you need to go to the limit and that's not easy.
FIA Formula 2: Very well done to you. Thank you, Victor. Ollie, we'll come to you now. Making it an F2 rookie pair on the front row here in Jeddah. Fastest in practice, second right now. This feels like a step forward from Bahrain for you and the team.
Oliver Bearman: I think we made a big step from Bahrain, which was a pretty tough weekend for me. It's nice to bounce back with a better Qualifying. From here we can have a much better weekend than we did two weeks ago.
FIA Formula 2: Talk us through the session itself and I'd love to get your reflections on the time that Victor set as well.
Bearman: As you said, I got some good laps in FP. I had some good references to go onto the supersoft. The first run was OK. We made some changes for the second run and it was pretty good. Not enough, but I’m fairly happy with the lap. It was pretty much Sector 1 where I was missing lap time. It was a good lap anyway. Not quite enough, but still.
FIA Formula 2: What about the race then? For the Feature Race are you confident you can beat the man on your left?
Bearman: I think we've been making good starts, that’s already a good start. Hopefully, we can keep that up and then see how the race pans out. The strategy will be really interesting; we'll see how it goes. I'm confident.
FIA Formula 2: Best of luck to you. Théo, you were 0.001s behind Ollie. Are you going to agonise about where you could have found that time?
Théo Pourchaire: I'm very happy with P3 because I was very far from the pace this morning in Free Practice and at the beginning of the session, I was not feeling very confident. For sure it's a little bit of a frustration to be P3 by such a small margin, but I'm happy for the team. First, congrats to Victor for his first pole. We have the two first poles of the season as a team, so it's amazing. They did a great job. I have a good place for the rest of the weekend for both races, so this gives me a lot of confidence. I will try and give my best and score a lot of points.
FIA Formula 2: You've raced here before, obviously, is it easy to overtake? What do you need to do to get that win tomorrow?
Pourchaire: Why not? I will try, I will try but it's going to be tough. For Sunday the start is going to be important. Also, you have two big DRS zones, so you can overtake from the last corner into Turn 1. I will be focused on myself to see how it goes. We have the pace, I have a good pace, so we can do something good.
FIA Formula 2: A moment ago, you referenced the progress you've made from Free Practice into Qualifying. Can you just tell us a little bit more about what you changed on the car or were you doing things differently in terms of how you were driving the track?
Pourchaire: This morning I was trying to not put the car in the wall because in Jeddah I’ve had a few crashes and it's not good for the confidence and on the track where you need to fully trust the car, you need to be really close to the walls. You need to accept that the car is moving quite a lot between the walls. It was not easy. I tried to push a lot more in quali. I think I could have been maybe P2, a bit closer to Victor but I made some mistakes on my first push and on the second push there was a Red Flag unfortunately. Not so disappointed, P3 is a very good starting position.
FIA Formula 2: Alright, very well done to you.