Thoughts from Vips, Lawson & Hauger

FIA Formula 2: Congratulations to the top three Qualifiers for the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here in Baku. In third place, Dennis Hauger for PREMA Racing, in second, Liam Lawson for Carlin, and taking pole position for Hitech Grand Prix, Jüri Vips, great job Jüri. Now, judging by your radio message, you seem surprised to be on pole. How come?

Jüri Vips: We have these mini sectors on our delta, on the steering wheel. On the second lap, I thought everyone was going to improve, and I was four and a half tenths up before Turn 3 because I nailed the first two corners and I had a bigger tow than on the previous lap. Then at Turn 3, I had the biggest rear lockup ever, and it ust completely ruined the lap. So I thought I was going to be outside of the top 10, that everyone else was going to improve and that I'd just ruined it. So when the radio message came that I was on Pole I definitely didn't expect it.

FIA Formula 2: Well, let's talk about the lap that counted, how good was the car? You looked very quick through the middle sector on that.

Vips: I don't actually know which sectors I was quick or not. But it was just a clean lap, to be honest. I don't think it was the best, but it was good enough. I think the car was also very good. We made some changes during the session, between both red flags and before going on to the second run. So twice, we made some changes to the car. At the end, when it mattered, the car was really, really good. Even if I wasn't so happy with the lap, we still made it to Pole so I think Hitech did brilliantly today.

FIA Formula 2: Now Jüri, you had a sensational weekend here last year. How much of a plan can you make prior to the start of a race here, with the potential for so much jeopardy?

Vips: You can't. Any race, to be honest, you can't really make a plan. It's sort of a guessing game, also with the strategy going on in F2. Especially for the Sprint Race, you can't have a plan. Normally here it's quite messy. I think last year was quite clean but especially here in Baku, you can't plan.

FIA Formula 2: Best of luck for the rest of the weekend. Well done today. Liam coming to you. Let's talk radio messages with you as well, because you went on the radio to the team afterwards and you also seem surprised to be on the front row. How come?

Liam Lawson: The same sort of thing as Jüri. The thing is we're at the very back of the pit lane here. We had a lucky spot in Monaco, we were at the front and it made for a really good track position. But here the warm-up was quite compromised, and basically, I never had the temp in the tyres and never had that confidence starting the lap. So the first lap, especially the first sector, was quite under the limits but it was a decent lap. And then the next one, I got halfway around the lap and going into Turn 15 there was a flag to say that something was on track. I also had a radio message as well over the lap. I didn't hear what it was, but it sounded very panicky and I wasn't sure what was going on. Finishing the lap, there wasn't a huge improvement from the first one, so like Jüri I wasn't really sure either, to be honest. I know Jüri says he had time left in his lap. We definitely did. The car was really good today. So little bit disappointing knowing the potential we had, but it's a solid start to the weekend.

FIA Formula 2: How much of a problem was it with the crosswinds this afternoon?

Lawson: In Quali I didn't notice it a huge amount, to be honest, I was a bit more set on driving the car but I definitely noticed in FP and on a couple of warm-up laps it nearly sent me into the wall down one of the streets. But it's a bit like that with this place.

FIA Formula 2: And Liam, you started on Pole last year, it turned out not to be a good weekend for you. What's the plan going forward from here?

Lawson: It's a good starting point. But as Jüri said, you can't plan out exactly how you want the race to go. Obviously, the first focus is the Sprint Race. Getting a good start and trying to make up positions on Lap 1. From there we've shown the car is fast today, so hopefully, we have that speed in the races and then we can try and move forward as far as we can. For us, we've lost a huge amount of points so far this year and we, and myself as well, need to get on top of that this weekend.

FIA Formula 2: All right best of luck with that. Thank you. Dennis, coming to you, race winner in Monaco. You're now in the top three on the grid here in Baku. Does it feel like it's all starting to click for you now?

Dennis Hauger: Yeah, we definitely made a step forward in Qualifying. I think that was the main goal this weekend. It's been one of our main weaknesses this season, so it's good to be in the top three and obviously, it gives us a lot more opportunities for the weekend. Definitely, something clicked from Monaco. I think the pace was pretty good there. We struggled a bit more but it's the first time on this circuit as well. It was all building up throughout today, and I'm happy to get a P3 here today.

FIA Formula 2: How much pressure was there at the end after Ayumu Iwasa had crashed? Just talk us through the thought processes as you went out to start that final couple of runs with five minutes to go.

Hauger: Yeah, it's always a bit messy here. Some people improved on the second push as well in the first stint. After already pushing half a lap before the red flag, I was pretty sure it was just going be just that first lap which was gonna be good. So I tried to get everything in position. It was quite messy at the beginning but in the end, we managed that quite well and I think we had a pretty decent tow as well, which was also good.

FIA Formula 2: All right, well, best of luck in the races for you.