THOUGHTS FROM TSUNODA, MAZEPIN AND DARUVALA
FIA Formula 2: Hello and welcome to the press conference with the top three qualifiers for this weekend's FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here at Sakhir. We are joined by pole-sitter Yuki Tsunoda for Carlin, in second place is Nikita Mazepin for Hitech Grand Prix, and third is Jehan Daruvala, also for Carlin. Yuki you really needed this pole after last weekend, and you delivered under pressure. Just how happy are you with today's result?
Yuki Tsunoda: Like you said, I'm really happy. Especially from last week in Qualifying. I did a big mistake and I felt really sorry for the team. I'm really happy with the drive to say thanks to Carlin for today, for the pole. I'm really happy, and a really big thanks to Carlin.
FIA Formula 2: I was going to ask you about the team actually, with both yourself and Jehan up here. Quick in practice, quick last week here. Do you think you've got the quickest car for the race as well?
Yuki: I really, fully, trust my team. Especially the engineers and mechanics. I think we'll also have a strong pace as well for tomorrow. But you can never expect much for tomorrows race. It's a different track, well a different layout. I think there'll be a lot of overtakes. You can never expect. We don't know how we're going to be tomorrow on the pace. I'll just do my job and we'll see what's going to happen.
FIA Formula 2: Good luck tomorrow, thank you. Nikita, second place matches your best result in Formula 2, which you achieved at Spa this year, I think. Just how good did the car feel out there today?
Nikita Mazepin: I think we were strong. Obviously, it's a new track and let's say a pretty strange one. It reminds me of going back to karting days when the lap was a minute or so. You obviously cross the start/finish line a lot quicker. There's also a lot more cars around you, and everything is just different. It's a nice challenge for everyone. It's the closing weekend of 2020, so it's nice to get a bit of spice there. In regard to Qualifying, I think I started off pretty calm, and it became pretty messy towards the end. We were very close, I think the pace looked strong, but not close enough. However, tomorrow is the big day I believe.
FIA Formula 2: It is indeed. I know you didn't quite get pole, but you are still just in the title fight. With Callum (Ilott) starting in ninth and Mick (Schumacher) all the way back in at least 18th, it could be blown wide open tomorrow. Had you written your chances off coming into this weekend? Do you like them a bit more now?
Nikita: I think you know me reasonably well by now. There is no way I'm going to be writing the chances off for myself before the mathematical chances are out. That's for sure. To be honest, I don't want to sound like I'm the wrong man for the job but I'm not really thinking about the title. I'm just enjoying my last moments with my team. Like I said, it's the closing weekend. I'm definite what I'm going to be doing next year, and the guys are doing a fantastic job. I'm just enjoying the Qualifying that I've done with Hitech GP.
FIA Formula 2: Well done today and good luck tomorrow. Jehan, your first podium last weekend and now another top three Qualifying performance to go with Sochi. You're in really good form at the moment.
Jehan Daruvala: Yeah, like I said last week, things are starting to come together. Last week we were really strong as well, both me and Yuki. We were both out of place in Qualifying. We hit the ground running in practice and we both did a couple of good laps in Qualifying. It feels good to start in the top three. Let's see what we can do tomorrow.
FIA Formula 2: You said you both did good laps - the gap to Nikita was just nine thousandths of a second. We knew it would be close around here anyway, but do you think you left that out there somewhere?
Jehan: Yeah, I was kind of under-powered on the acceleration out of Turn 1, and I didn't make the most of it. The next lap I found almost six or seven hundredths in the first sector, but the rears were done by then. I think pole was definitely a little bit out of reach, but a front row lock out for the team was possible.
FIA Formula 2: We'll see how tomorrow goes for you. Yuki, just returning to you. You need a perfect weekend to be able to have any chance of winning the Championship. You've done the first part of that. You mentioned that you think the race will be difficult - how hard do you think it will be if you're leading into Turn 1? Are we going to see a lot of slipstreaming and overtaking tomorrow?
Yuki: I don't think so, well of course there'll be overtakes, but I think the FIA made the distance of the DRS zone a little bit shorter into Turn 1, so that will cause a few difficulties compared to last week. There are only a few corners in the middle sector and it's hard to make a gap from those corners. Still, I think there'll be a lot of overtakes. I'll just do my job. In this Qualifying, I think my Sector 2 was really good compared to others. I think that makes a big difference in my lap time compared to others. I have pretty good confidence in the pace. Like I've said, the race pace at Carlin last week was really strong, so we'll just do our jobs.