FIA Formula 2: Welcome to the press conference for the FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race here at the Yas Marina Circuit: joining us are race winner Antonio Fuoco from Charouz Racing System, in second place is Lando Norris from Carlin, and in third place is Roberto Merhi from Campos Vexatec Racing. Antonio, congratulations on your second win of the season, a lights to flag victory: how was it for you?
Antonio Fuoco: We knew already the start was the key to this race because it is difficult to overtake and you can destroy your tyres when you’re behind another car, so it was quite good to jump in front and then I tried to manage the gap to Roberto for all the race. In the end it was positive for us, and to score another victory in Formula 2 is always nice, and it is good for the team because they are rookies: they did a good job, and I would like to give thanks to them for the work they did here, and all year.
FIA Formula 2: Temperatures were dropping towards the end of the race: was that having an effect on the tyres?
Antonio: Yes, similar to yesterday where we lost the fronts, especially on the last lap. It was quite tricky but I think everyone was struggling with the tyres at the end, and we kept a bit of tyres for then.
FIA Formula 2: Lando, P2 in the race and the championship: how was it for you?
Lando Norris: It was a good race: yesterday we had decent pace in the car if we could get the set up right, so we made a few tweaks knowing it would be much hotter than yesterday, and everything as going pretty well. Early in the race I couldn’t get past Roberto so I had to save the front tyres, which was the limiting factor for everyone, and drop back a bit and manage the pace. I did a good job, because I managed to come back in the end and drop the guys behind, so it was a fun race because I was able to drop back and then come back, although obviously the spin at the end I was just caught out! I was on the kerb when I hit the brakes, and the tyres were destroyed so I just lost the rear, that’s all!
FIA Formula 2: You were pressuring Roberto at the end: was it the pressure that got him, or did he just run out of tyres?
Lando: I definitely had more pace, but when I got close I started to lose the front, and it was made more difficult by having no DRS and I had no radio so I didn’t know if it was just me or everyone. It was quite tough, I didn’t get through as easily as I wanted to, but I knew I could push around sector 1 and to get a decent slipstream down the straight: obviously he locked his tyres, which made it a bit easier, but it was still tough to defend at the second chicane. Thankfully I saved more tyres in the middle of the race, which gave me an advantage at the end.
FIA Formula 2: Roberto, you had trouble at the start: was that caused by the aborted start, or something else?
Roberto Merhi: Not really, I think I just had high water temperature because of the extra install lap or something. I was trying to cool the car and the tyres on the warm up, and I think I had too much wheel spin at the start and Antonio had a good one, because I was about the same as the others, and then I followed him for most of the race and tried to get DRS, but it wasn’t possible because he did a good job of managing the pace. I was struggling a lot with the tyres, and I tried to change more to the rear to use them more, but it meant that I was slow around turn 7 which is the worst place to be slow! On the last lap I tried to hold my position from Lando, but he had more on his fronts and I couldn’t stop the car at all: I had to cut the corner and then I just followed him home. But the car was good, the team did a good job, and I’m happy to be on the podium again today.
FIA Formula 2: Do you think DRS was a factor in your race today?
Roberto: At the beginning of the race it was working, and he attacked me with the DRS but I defended the position, and then he dropped back a bit because he was struggling a bit with the fronts. He closed up at the end of the race, but with DRS or with no DRS I could not defend from him. The problem for us was the start: if I had a good one I could manage the car like Antonio because you have clean air and don’t suffer too much.