Thoughts from Zhou, Ticktum and Piastri
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race at Silverstone. In third place, Oscar Piastri for PREMA, in second place Dan Ticktum for Carlin and taking his third victory of the season our winner Guanyu Zhou for UNI-Virtuosi. Guanyu what an emphatic victory, very well done, and what a way to make up for a difficult Saturday!
Guanyu Zhou: Definitely, yesterday was a day to put behind us but obviously today was a completely new day. The main focus was to try to win the race, but we saw that Oscar’s race pace was extremely strong compared to all the others in the previous two races and yesterday we struggled a little bit in general. On my side I only had only had one race to feel the balance, so the team and I went through quite a lot of data to get a few changes made on the car. After I got the lead in the start, I was controlling the race quite well, then we saw the guys behind start to struggle a little bit on the option tyres and after doing the pitstop we knew the main competitor was Dan because he was the guy who was chasing up to me. So, I tried to follow the same pace as Dan basically, but also driving my own race. Getting all the back markers was super difficult, DRS didn't have too much effect on the back straight, so it made it a bit tricky. Nonetheless, all the way to the finish I was quite well in control and the car felt amazing.
FIA Formula 2: You say the car felt amazing, can you tell us a little bit more about the changes you made to it over night?
Zhou: Definitely not… because everyone is listening! Especially with two main competitor teams sat here, but definitely there were some being made. Yesterday there was like a train in the Sprint Races, so you can't really make your way forwards. Against the people at the back, it's a little bit easier, but with everyone in DRS it was so difficult.
FIA Formula 2: Talk us through the start then, that was a very significant moment in the race for you?
Guanyu Zhou: Yeah firstly, with the new rules at the start me and Dan had to change the start procedures which made it a lot more difficult because Baku was only a short circuit before Turn 1. So, we had one practice session on the grid before the race, and basically every session I was trying something different. Today I tried something completely different to yesterday with the procedures and it worked out pretty good. It wasn't easy but I do look forward to going to Monza where we should have a little bit more start sessions during FP. It was difficult.
FIA Formula 2: A very well done, thank you. Dan coming to you, P4 on the grid to P2 is a good day’s work. Talks us through the key moments in your race please.
Dan Ticktum: Definitely a good day in the office, it was very nice out there. Well, the start, as Guanyu just touched on, we've changed out procedures. It's a bit of a boring and arduous thing to explain, but we used to have a throttle stop on the side of the tub which gave us a gauge of where we were with the throttle. We're not allowed to use that now because of reasons like it catching and then the throttle staying on. So the start procedure effects a lot of things, how we use the clutches, how we use different maps. It's quite a big change. My first start this weekend was pretty average, the second one was good and the last one was really good, so I definitely improved the starts through the weekend. Back to the question, the start was the probably the key part of the race. Also, the lads did an amazing pit stop, the out lap was pretty fast, I got the tyres into temperature pretty quickly and that meant when Oscar came out on his cold tyres, I was just able to get past. That was very important. I was a bit worried he was going to understeer into me at Brooklands because when you come out of the pits, you have no grip at all because we don't have tyre warmers. I would say the start and the out lap after the pitstop were probably the key points of the race.
FIA Formula 2: We say a few lockups from you on the hard tyre, how difficult was it late on in the race in particular?
Ticktum: I mean, starting with last year, we had massive front degradation last year. It was really bad, so that was the limiting factor. I'm sure all the teams in their prep meetings this weekend would have been very conscious of that, but we haven't seen any front degradation at all. So over the weekend we've sort of put the car back to a normal base line for a race run, and it's actually been rear limited for most of the weekend, especially thermally. You can't punish the tyre at all, you've got to be very delicate with the throttle and not hits the brakes too hard. You play around with your brake bias to help the rears as much as possible and maybe towards the middle of the race I went a bit too far forwards. Like I said, there was no front deg so I could afford to damage them a little bit to rebalance them if that makes sense.
FIA Formula 2: Dan, when you passed Oscar could you hear the roar of the crowd from inside the car?
Ticktum: I wish I could, I wish I could. I was really not expecting the reception I’ve had this weekend to be honest. I've got my fans, but I've also got my haters, so you know! Yesterday when I got out and I was on the podium, I just thought I'd give them a wave because I'm happy to see them, but they all cheered, and I was like wow, I wasn't expecting that. I'm massively appreciative for the support from the crowd. It doesn't go unnoticed. It's just amazing, so thank you very much to them for all their support. It's been a very good weekend.
FIA Formula 2: Great stuff, thank you Dan. Oscar coming to you, well done on getting to the podium. You had to work hard for it in those closing laps, talk us through it?
Oscar Piastri: It was a tricky one from the word go basically. I just didn't quite have the pace of yesterday and then once we caught up to Nannini, I just couldn't get past him, I didn't have the pace to get past him. Which is surprising, and rather disappointing to be honest. It made life quite difficult and even after that I didn't have the pace of Richard. So yeah, the last few laps were putting my defensive skills to the test but I'm pretty happy that I was able to salvage a podium given how the race went.
FIA Formula 2: Given your pace over one lap, to set pole position on Friday, how much tougher was it? Were the track conditions very different?
Piastri: I don't think the track was massively different to be honest. The temperature was sort of in the middle of the two races we had yesterday, so it wasn't a completely different ballpark. For some reason we just didn't have the pace we had yesterday and Friday. Even in the races yesterday we were super quick, especially in clean air. You know yesterday we got fastest lap by quite some margin so it's a bit strange that we couldn't replicate that today but nonetheless it was still a good weekend.
FIA Formula 2: Just a word on your start as well please?
Piastri: Let's just not talk about it! It was not great, we'll have to look at it after, but it clearly wasn't good enough so something to work on.
FIA Formula 2: Let's end by talking about the positives, you're leading the Championship and we're set for a very exciting second half of the season.
Piastri: Like I said overall it was a mega weekend. Getting pole and then the two races yesterday were super strong, getting fastest lap on both and improving on our starting position. It was just a little disappointing to not convert the feature race, but like I said, coming out in the Championship lead at the midpoint in the season is a pretty solid first half of the year.
FIA Formula 2: Thank you!