Thoughts from Doohan, Vips and Vesti
FIA Formula 2: Congratulations to the poleman of today's Qualifying session here in Barcelona, Jack Doohan for Virtuosi Racing, in second place we have Juri Vips for Hitech Grand Prix and in third place we have Frederik Vesti for ART Grand Prix. Starting with you Jack, it’s your second pole position of the 2022 season. It was a busy session, especially towards the end, how was it from the car?
Jack Doohan: It was an interesting session. A lot of people on different strategies. It was kind of almost split into 33.3% for the grid doing either two and two, or two and one, or one and one in the gap, or together and in the gap. Everyone was doing a different strategy, so it’s kind of difficult to know where you were, but I felt comfortable on both runs just on single pushes. Kind of like in Bahrain, we switched the strategy around and it worked out quite ok. Grip levels are definitely not where they were in testing. I think it’s eight tenths off where I was in testing, but obviously a lot more temp here, the track is greasy and a little bit more difficult to drive. But it was a clean lap, I wouldn't say it was a mega lap, but it was not the way to get pole.
FIA Formula 2: It’s a second pole position, which is a great result. However, we heard the team radio at the end of this session, and you didn't celebrate that much. Can you explain why that is?
Doohan: Well, for the past five races I've qualified in the top three and really haven't transferred into many points at all. So definitely trying to just stay mellow as there's a long weekend ahead and I need to finish the job.
FIA Formula 2: Starting tomorrow you will be P10 in the reverse grid, we know that it’s a very technical track and it’s hot out there. What can you expect starting from this position?
Doohan: It's obviously a session to learn as much as we can for the conditions come Sunday, even though it will be at a different time of the day. It will be important to learn about the hard tyre and if we can pick up a few points on doing so, that'll be amazing. I just want to stay out of trouble or stay clean and see what we can evolve.
FIA Formula 2: Thank you very much Jack, good job today. Jüri, it's been a busy day for you so far. It's another strong result, but you did mention that it was quite difficult for you to adapt from the F1 car to the F2 car, so can you tell us how it was?
Jüri Vips: I did only one push on each set of tires. So yeah, the first lap I did on the first set of tyres I was just lost. I think I was like 1.2 seconds off Jack or something like 1.1 off Jack. He was the reference on the first set. But then I put it all together on the second set. It was definitely very nerve-wracking because you see the top ten and even after I finished my lap I wasn't there. I saw a lot of people jump up there so I knew I was like bottom 15, but I was actually last when I started my lap. During that last lap, everything felt natural again felt normal. It was all pretty good. There were a few little things that we could improve here and there, but generally, it was a clean lap and it merited us a front-row today so very happy with that.
FIA Formula 2: Once again, Hitech has the pace during Qualifying. What did that tell you for the race tomorrow starting from P9 and the reverse grid?
Vips: Well, tomorrow the approach is to be very aggressive because there are not many points in the Sprint Race and starting from where I am then it doesn't really make a lot of sense to just be patient and wait around. So I'll be going for moves, and I'll be quite aggressive tomorrow. But then my problem, as well as Jack's problem this year, is that we've been very, very strong in qualifying, but in the Feature Races I just need to take a step down. F2 is always going to be hectic and Pourchaire's now won two Feature Races with not having good pace at all in the race pace but just having a clean race and surviving it. So that's going to be the objective in the Feature Race. I've completely changed my mentality after the mistake in Imola and we'll hope it works.
FIA Formula 2: Can you rewind a little bit and talk about FP1, that must have been an incredible experience. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Vips: It was just amazing, as a racing driver you always want more so I wish I could have done a push lap in the end but I had a set program to go through where I couldn't push, unfortunately. But the whole experience was just amazing. When your engineer comes on the radio like 'Hamilton ahead' or 'Hamilton 3 seconds behind' and names like this that you see on TV your whole life when you're growing up and suddenly you're in a session with them. It feels amazing. I've driven an F1 car before and the first time is amazing as well, but taking part in a session in the F1 weekend. It was the next step that felt really, really good.
FIA Formula 2: Congratulations for today and good luck for tomorrow. Frederik joins us for the first time in a Qualifying press conference. A wonderful result. P3, can you tell us how it was from the car?
Frederik Vesti: I'm really happy with today's Qualifying. Obviously, the last three Qualifyings in Bahrain, Jeddah and Imola have been really tough to get used to the soft tyre. It's been a bit of a challenge for me but I've gone through a lot of work with the team and a lot of work with myself as well to be where I am today. It's just really good. I've been very happy since I did the result! Now I'm looking forward to the races.
FIA Formula 2: It's been quite an eventful end to the session today. What do you think makes the difference for you to get to third position?
Vesti: I think first of all the ART car was strong, it's been good today in Qualifying. After the first run, there was nothing for me to change on the car. I had some things definitely to change my driving, and that's what I did and I managed to put it together for the second run. When I crossed the line I knew it was a good lap and I knew it was good enough to be at the top. When you finish a lap like that, that's why we are racing drivers and it just brings back so many feelings that were great.
FIA Formula 2: Tomorrow you'll be starting from P8 in the reverse grid, it's going to be the shortest race, but also maybe the hottest race. We know that tyre degradation is high here. What can you hope to do from this starting position?
Vesti: It's the first time I start within the top ten this year so I'm looking forward to that. P8 and I have the chance to do a good race. Tyre management is going to be very important. It's very hot here in Barcelona and it's not easy to manage tyres in a race. So if we can manage to do that as a team and for me as a driver I'm sure we can make some moves and score some points tomorrow. That's the goal.
FIA Formula 2: Thank you very much, and good luck for tomorrow.