Thoughts Lawson, Daruvala & Pourchaire
FIA Formula 2: A very warm welcome to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race here at Paul Ricard. In third place, Théo Pourchaire for ART Grand Prix, in second place, Jehan Daruvala for PREMA Racing, and taking his third victory in FIA Formula 2 our winner, Liam Lawson for Carlin. Liam, many congratulations, great job by you today. Jeddah must feel like a while ago, how much did you need this win?
Liam Lawson: It's very important, Jeddah was the second round of the year. We had a great start to the season with three podiums, and then it's been difficult since then, honestly, so it's nice to have this weekend's win. Obviously, Sunday is the day that we want to be achieving these wins, but it's definitely a step forwards. I think considering the Qualifying result, we had to make the most of today in a situation like this. So I'm really, really happy. The car was very, very good. I had a bad start and dropped back to third. Then basically, from mid-race onwards, the car was just really strong and I didn't seem to drop off so much. So yeah, really, really happy.
FIA Formula 2: As you say, you had to make the most of today. So tell us what were you thinking as you were getting too much wheel spin away from the line? What were you thinking at that point?
Lawson: I was thinking "Oh my god, another bad start", honestly, because I've had a few of them. So yeah, pretty frustrating but once the first couple of laps are gone, you can sort of start to judge how you are pace-wise to the guys around you. Straightaway from the start, I felt at least equal with the guys in front if not a bit faster. So I was able to attack Marcus quite early. Then from there, we had the midway Safety Car. That didn't help so much, but once the race got underway again and everyone started to drop off a little bit that's where I think we were we were quite strong.
FIA Formula 2: You were able to drive a very aggressive race. Where was the car particularly strong today?
Lawson: Braking was very, very good. It's something that I noticed very early. To be honest, the move into Turn 1 on Marcus was half accidental, I wasn't planning on going there but he braked so early that I ended up having to sort of avoid him and at the same time overtake him. I realised then we were good on brakes. I think in sector one as well, the car was pretty strong. Overall, over the whole lap, I think it was it was consistently good. So big thanks to Carlin, they did a great job.
FIA Formula 2: There was a little bit of contact with Jehan when you were going wheel to wheel, was the car affected by that at all?
Lawson: I don't think so. I don't know what it's called, but there's something next to the mirror that fell off and was hanging there for a couple of laps. But no, he was sort of in a blind spot that I couldn't quite see, so I didn't know if he was still there or not. To be honest, I don't know if I left him enough space or not but we got through it ok and the car felt fine afterwards.
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to you. Great to see you back on the top step. Jehan, let's come to you now. And can we just pick up on that point about the battle with Liam? How do you read it?
Jehan Daruvala: I think to be fair, he made a good move. I wasn't really expecting it. I saw him on the outside, so I braked a bit early to prepare for the exit and he just sent it around the outside. It was a pretty good move from him. I tried to roll off the brakes to see if I could come back, but he put his car in a good place and I really had nowhere to go. The corner kind of closes in and we were both on the limit and just made a little bit of contact. Luckily as you said, we both got away unscathed and managed to get through relatively cleanly.
FIA Formula 2: Jehan, it was interesting because you went very early after the Safety Car period, but you just couldn't quite shake him off?
Daruvala: Actually, I saw in the W Series race that later was going really early so I tried to do the same, tried to surprise him. I think he was a bit surprised, but the gap wasn't that big. I think to be fair, he just had a bit more pace than me. Every lap he did was quicker than me today. It was definitely frustrating. I was giving everything in the car, but I just didn't quite have the pace yet.
FIA Formula 2: You had to fight hard throughout. Did it remind you of your karting days?
Daruvala: Yes, but unfortunately I was on the wrong side of it! I was the one being overtaken not the other way around. It was still enjoyable, for sure. I needed that breathing room with two laps to go because I think Théo was coming quite quickly through the field and another couple of laps, and I'd probably be fighting with him.
FIA Formula 2: Now you say you didn't quite have the pace of Liam today. But were you happier with your car over a race distance than you were over one lap?
Daruvala: To be fair, I think our car has its strengths. I was still really strong in Sector 3. I'm just struggling in Sector 1, but I think I know why. Hopefully, that gets sorted out tomorrow. It's really important because Sector 1 leads on to Sector 2, which is the DRS zone and to be attacking that's where I want to be strong tomorrow.
FIA Formula 2: All right, very well done today. Thank you. Théo coming to you from sixth on the grid. What are your expectations coming into that race?
Daruvala: I wanted to do a podium in front of my home crowd. It's my home race, so I wanted to do a good result. The pace was good, but the start was not very, very good. I struggled a bit. I think my teammate was in front of me by Turn 1, but then I did a very good Turn 3 with a double overtake I think. From there I tried to push as much as possible. I struggled to overtake today, I don't know why. I think it's difficult to overtake on this track for sure, but Liam was doing it a bit better than me and I couldn't follow him. I was a bit angry, behind the markers. I was P4 and I didn't want to finish P4. I prefer to not finish the race than finish P4. I wanted this podium, so I gave everything and in the end, it's P3. So yeah, amazing.
FIA Formula 2: Talk us through the battle of those closing laps, because you had Felipe Drugovich on your gearbox. You were racing, Marcus Armstrong ahead of you. How difficult was it to manage all of that?
Pourchaire: It was very difficult because I felt like I was attacking and defending at the same time, so it was a lot of pressure. The last two laps were very, very difficult because I did not have the DRS from Jehan. So I was pushing, I was trying to take the slipstream as much as possible but Felipe was behind me in the DRS so I knew I was under pressure. Finally, I was P3 so no more pressure. I'm just happy. I just want to enjoy it.
FIA Formula 2: Deservedly so. Well done.