THOUGHTS FROM ILOTT, GHIOTTO AND ZHOU
FIA Formula 2: Hello and welcome to the press conference with the top three qualifiers for the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here in Hungary. We are joined by polesitter Callum Ilott, for UNI-Virtuosi, in second place is Luca Ghiotto for Hitech Grand Prix and third is Guanyu Zhou, also for UNI-Virtuosi. Callum, your second pole position in Formula 2, and in really tough conditions. How tricky was it out there this afternoon?
Callum Ilott: I have to say it was very wet! I think I got a couple of times deleted early on, just from pushing to find the limit. It was very difficult to see so for that reason I couldn't get a lap in at the beginning. I waited for a couple of people to box and stayed out for one more lap, just to do it and that turned out to be the lap. It was very on the edge, the tyres were on the edge as well, so it was a good call by me and the team to stay out and get it. I came in and went for new tyres, and I think I managed just one lap before the red flag. I was struggling to get a bit of temperature in the tyres and I think that's also why other people who boxed early didn't really improve. It was a mega job by the team, obviously another top three result for both of me and Zhou, and it's good to get my first pole of 2020.
FIA Formula 2: I think I'm right in saying that both you and Zhou have been in all three of the Qualifying press conferences we've done this season. Wet conditions normally mix things up as well, they can trip people up. How satisfying is it that you continue this run even in different conditions?
Callum: It obviously shows that we're doing a good job. It was a messy session, but it was similar, although not in conditions, to the first quali of the year. We had red flags at difficult times. The thing is with us, it's just getting the lap time in. Doing it right. That gives you a bit of a buffer. We just keep doing that and putting in good efforts. I think we're consistent and showing that we've got the pace. It's paying off so far.
FIA Formula 2: Congratulations, well done today. Luca, welcome back. It looks like your Qualifying results have been improving as the season's gone on. You've been improving with each passing week. How do you sum up that session today?
Luca Ghiotto: As Callum said, it was a session. It was pretty wet outside. I didn't know what to expect honestly, because last week we struggled quite a lot at the wet race in Austria. I went into the session and tried to find the limits, understand where the car was. We worked in a good way and the car felt right today. Those sessions are always a bit of a bet. You never know what's going to happen. I'm really happy with P2. Of course, P1 would have been better but anything could have happened. I could also have been P15! I think we did a pretty good job. Now the only thing left to do for us is to try to get some points tomorrow.
FIA Formula 2: You haven't managed to turn top 10 starting positions in the Feature Races this year into big results yet. What do you think you need to do differently tomorrow to make sure that you do?
Luca: Of the three Qualifying sessions we've done, this is obviously the best one so far, but the others have been P4 and P7. We were there to fight for a podium at least. The starting position was not bad, but we had an issue in the first weekend in Austria where I didn't even start. Last week the pace, and how the car was with managing the tyres was bad and so we struggled quite a lot. I think we are learning every time we get on track. Entering as a new team is not easy, and F2 is a tough championship. It's unfortunate but there's always something to learn. I hope tomorrow will be one of those days that there are no surprises. I'll just try to have a good start and a clean race.
FIA Formula 2: Good luck tomorrow. Zhou, moving on to you. It's kind of been the opposite. You've gone from first to second to third in these press conferences - but still, it's another top three. How satisfied are you with today's result?
Guanyu Zhou: I'm definitely happy to be back here. With the wet conditions it's definitely shaky out there. We didn't get any laps in during practice, so I was really hoping for a dry session because we knew our car would be really strong. We were strong here in Free Practice last year as well. I was confident but then it became wet and it was really tough. The first few laps I had traffic in front and was trying to get my own space and a clean gap for my own pace basically. The last three of four laps, one of the guys was doing a cool down lap so I got that and got a good rhythm. I was jumping up through the field. I'm really happy I was P3 before I boxed. After that, it was really difficult with the new tyres to get grip. I think the red flag came when I was on an out lap, so that was probably a good thing. I'm really happy for the team and the hard work they've put in. Both in dry and wet conditions so far this season and getting both drivers up there in every race so far.
FIA Formula 2: Mentioning the conditions, and the fact that we had such a mixed-up practice session, what would you prefer tomorrow to try and win this race? Wet or dry?
Zhou: Definitely dry. At Budapest, if you're starting in the front positions, this track layout makes it pretty tough for the guys behind to overtake you. Even more so as there's less degradation on the tyres. It would be nice if it were dry, but whichever way it goes I'll be trying my best to get up there.
FIA Formula 2: Good luck tomorrow. Callum, returning to you. A similar question really. As the polesitter, what would you prefer from tomorrow? Is it easier to manage if the race is dry?
Callum: Yeah, definitely here. It's one of those tracks where it is very difficult to overtake. I've worked a lot on my tyre management, so I think this year should be a bit easier from that side. I would prefer dry, but clearly even in the wet we're not in a bad position either. I think we had very good pace at the beginning of last weekend's race, before it started to dry out. We just have to judge the conditions right and see what we've got. Either way we should have a good race if we stay out of trouble.