Thoughts from Zhou, Lundgaard and Drugovich
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three qualifiers for Sunday’s Feature Race here at the Bahrain International Circuit in Formula 2. Great Qualifying session and lining up third will be Felipe Drugovich, second Christian Lundgaard and taking his third pole in Formula 2 our polesitter Guanyu Zhou. Many congratulations Guanyu that was a great final lap at the end of the session you looked right on the limit, just how good was it?
Guanyu Zhou: It was probably one of the greatest laps I’ve done in F2 Qualifying, it was going quite well especially as we had a little bit of a different strategy compared all the other drivers. We went for only one push lap on both sets of tyres, so it put a lot of pressure on my side to be getting that one lap done, but we managed to maximise that one lap we had. It was a pretty nervous lap for me and I was on the limit a quite a lot, but I was really happy to get the first pole position of this year.
FIA Formula 2: And how did the late red flag effect your rhythm going into that final six minutes of the session?
Zhou: To be honest, it didn’t really affect us too much, I think most of the other drivers hadn’t completed their first push lap so we had to really slow down the car, taking care of the tyres to get them ready for the first actual push lap later on. It definitely gives a little more pressure at the end because everyone is going to be in a rush to get out from the pit lane in the last five minutes, but everything went quite smoothly on my side in Qualifying.
FIA Formula 2: One final question from me you’re under investigation for taking the chequered flag twice. Can you talk us through what happened there?
Zhou: I actually didn’t take the chequered flag twice, but basically, I didn’t go into the support pitlane after the chequered flag I went into the F1 pitlane instead. So actually I’m sure I didn’t take it twice. I went into the box instead of crossing the chequered flag for the second time.
FIA Formula 2: Thank you Zhou, that is with the stewards now, we’ll hear more later. Christian, you had pole for a while, then beaten by just three thousandths of a second but it was great lap all the same. How happy you are to start the year like this?
Christian Lundgaard: Obviously, I am happy to be sitting here but it hurts to be beat by 3 thousandths by your academy mate! Otherwise, I’m happy, definitely not expecting this after practice so I can’t be anything else than happy at the moment. I need to wait to see what the final decision will be, but otherwise looking forward to starting either P9 or P10 tomorrow.
FIA Formula 2: You were quick in testing here, do you feel that you’ve got a car that’s capable of winning?
Lundgaard: Yes and no. To be honest, I feel confident that we’ve found something even from the tests that we can use, but we don’t know what everyone else has found. So, in the end we will have to see tomorrow but if I do my job good enough then I think we have a possibility to definitely fight, yes.
FIA Formula 2: Well done today. Felipe coming to you, you won the feature race here at the end of last year and you’re quick again now that must give you a lot of confidence?
Felipe Drugovich: It does, for sure. Getting a good day like this P1 in Practice and also P3 in Qualifying is pretty good. Of course, we all want to be where Zhou is standing now but for the new format I think if you are in the top five it doesn’t really matter where you are. I just have to keep the consistency throughout the year, and I think we have the pace to do that so I’m pretty happy with the result.
FIA Formula 2: Felipe looking ahead to Sunday how will Pirelli’s new compounds change how you execute the race?
Drugovich: I don’t think it will change much on our approach to the race, but the difference between the hard and the soft tyres is bigger so it might make it a little bit more exciting, so a little more overtaking when someone is on a different strategy to you. At the end of the day, from our side the approach is completely the same.
FIA Formula 2: Great. Christian has alluded to this already, but already but a quick question about the first race tomorrow because the top ten qualifiers are going to be reversed so you are going to be starting 10th, 9th and 8th. Can we get each of your thoughts on that, and your approach to race one, Zhou, perhaps we could start with you?
Zhou: Starting P10, hopefully both of the guys around me take it a bit easy into Turn 1. You can’t destroy a race in lap one because the finish of Race 1 is the reverse top ten for Race 2. At the same time, I think the races could be quite interesting particularly at the Bahrain International Circuit where there’s a lot of degradation on these tyres. We have the new hard compound as well which could make the race even more interesting than previous years. So let’s see! We don’t exactly what everyone is doing until the actual race, hopefully it should be a good one.
FIA Formula 2: Christian your thoughts please?
Lundgaard: It’s definitely important not to go backwards, as Zhou mentioned the starting order for Race 2 is the top ten reversed from Race 1. Now we are starting at that edge, P8, P9 and P10 we need work together to get forward so we can start there again for the race later tomorrow. Otherwise, I think we are in a good position for Sunday at least.
FIA Formula 2: That’s a good point. Can we see the Alpine juniors working together in the race?
Lundgaard: No promises!
FIA Formula 2: And Felipe, your thoughts please?
Drugovich: Well, I think tomorrow is going to be for sure a lot of action on track. The start is going to be crucial to first make up as many places as we can and try to not lose any positions. I think it’s going to be pretty exciting, but no one knows what’s going to happen we have to see now. Especially with the news tyres, and not knowing what the tyre degradation is going to be like. I’m just going to start from P8 or P9 and see from there.