FIA Formula 2: Hello and welcome to the top three qualifiers for the FIA Formula 2 Qualifying session here in Baku. In third place, Théo Pourchaire for ART Grand Prix. Second for Enzo Fittipaldi of Rodin Carlin and taking his first pole position in FIA Formula 2, Oliver Bearman for PREMA Racing. Oliver, this is a big moment for your career, just how good does it feel?
Oliver Bearman: Yeah, I knew coming into the weekend we had a fast car. The team has always been really strong here in the past, so I knew we would be fighting at the front, just had to put it together – just about in that Qualifying session. I’m really happy to be going off the front row for the Feature Race.
FIA Formula 2: But how does it actually feel to be on pole position in the feeder series for Formula 1?
Bearman: Yeah not bad. I wasn’t really expecting it. I’m sure everyone knows why, I had a bit of damage on my car, so I was actually ready to pit after my first lap, but I did pole, so thanks to the team for making me stay out. It feels great and I’m just looking forward to hopefully doing a good job in the race tomorrow.
FIA Formula 2: Well Oliver, talk us through it because you did kiss the wall midway through the session, I think that’s what you were referring to. How did that affect the performance of the car?
Bearman: Well I guess it didn’t because I was on pole but for the driving it was quite tough. The steering was quite bent, so I put myself in a lot of unnecessary difficulty, but we still managed to do the pole, so I’m really happy.
FIA Formula 2: And what was it like to come here for the first time, just remind the guys next to you, you’ve got six kilometres of an unforgiving street circuit here haven’t you?
Bearman: Yeah, there’s no margin for error, I found that out. It’s a crazy track, I really enjoyed the FP to be honest, especially the high-speed corners. You have to have massive confidence to be quick through them. But the track was really fun and so far, I’m really enjoying the street tracks.
FIA Formula 2: Very well done to you, thank you. Enzo if we can come to you now. Just talk us through the session, the track just seemed to get quicker and quicker as it went along.
Enzo Fittipaldi: Yeah it was a very tricky session. Everyone was basically not wanting to be the first car in the train. It was a bit difficult to find the position on track. Other than that, we had really good pace in the whole of Qualifying and on the first set we were top five. On the second set we also had really good pace and I was very close to Ollie’s lap, I think it was just a few thousandths.
FIA Formula 2: You seemed very pumped on the slowdown lap, does this result mean a lot to you?
Fittipaldi: Yeah I think it does. I had a really difficult first three rounds of the Formula 2 season. Melbourne I also had a lot of pace, it just wasn’t my weekend which was frustrating. To get the top three here in Baku in Qualifying for me and for the whole team, I think is just a big boost in confidence.
FIA Formula 2: Well thank you very much, well done. Théo coming to you now, just talk us through your session. Just how pleased are you to be P3.
Théo Pourchaire: I’m very very pleased. It’s a nice result again. I think it’s my fifth consecutive top three if we take into consideration Abu Dhabi from last year. I’m pretty good in Qualifying now, doing a good job. I’ve improved a lot compared to last year. The car was not so good on the first run. I wasn’t happy with P6 which is not that bad but I wasn’t very confident and the second run, I had a great tow, good track position because it was really difficult. It was a complete mess in front of me, cars trying to overtake each other. Nice Quali, P3 in the end.
FIA Formula 2: How difficult is it to find some space on a lap like this?
Pourchaire: It’s very difficult because everyone is looking at each other and then as soon as the first car is out of the pits, everyone tries to come out of the pits too. I had a nice slipstream. I think I was behind Hauger on the first push, he was on pole after the first push but then in the cool lap, everyone was again overtaking each other so it was very difficult, it’s a key point here. You need a good slipstream to do the pole because there is a very very long straight. But you also need good warm up for the tyres and it was very tough to warm the tyres, especially the front tryes, but it was ok for me.
FIA Formula 2: And using your experience in Baku that you’ve already got, what is your mentality, how are you going to drive the races over the rest of the weekend?
Pourchaire: For sure I have more experience than some of the other drivers because it’s my third F2 season. I know the track very well, the races are crazy here. I will start P8 tomorrow and from P8, you can win which is great but you can also be quickly in trouble. The first two or three corners, there’s a lot of Safety Cars here. I will try to stay out of trouble and in the races we are not too bad so we can score some good points this weekend.
FIA Formula 2: Alright, very well done to you.