Thoughts from Zhou, Drugovich and Nissany
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of the first FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race here in Monaco. Finishing in third place Roy Nissany for DAMS, in second Felipe Drugovich for UNI-Virtuosi and winning on the streets of Monaco for the first time, our winner Guanyu Zhou also for UNI-Virtuosi! Guanyu, many congratulations on the win, you looked to have the race under control from the start just how was it from the cockpit?
Guanyu Zhou: It was intense, obviously it's Monaco so you can't rest your mind for a millisecond, you always have to be concentrating. Especially at the beginning, Christian was pushing a lot, so it made me push a lot that was not something I wanted to do because I was saving a little for the fastest lap. But then I saw Christian having a little bit of degradation, so I got a bit of a gap and then I was pretty comfortable for the whole race. When he had the problem, I had even more margin, so it was more about seeing what the fastest lap was and trying to beat that. It made things a little more difficult with the Safety Car at the end, and I as I said it was going a little too slow, so with these breaks and these tyres it was super difficult to get them back to the right temperature, which made the Safety Car restart was a bit tricky. I was really happy to get a gap straight away and come home with the victory in Monaco - it's something quite special!
FIA Formula 2: You nailed both the start and the restart you must feel very happy about that?
Zhou: Definitely, before the race we analysed the previous years' videos to see which was the best. The start as I said, that was pretty bad in Bahrain, so over the in-testing in Barcelona we definitely fixed that and I'm super happy with the start today. The goal is to continue this momentum for the following race weekends.
FIA Formula 2: Tell us about the tyres as well, how did they hold up over 30 laps?
Zhou: Pretty well to be honest. Obviously, it's not a huge degradation track Monaco, and you don't have to be at 100% for every lap. Some laps you can save a little bit and see what your competitors are doing and compare lap times. The tyre seems to be holding up pretty well, they do drop a little bit at the end, but it’s nothing crazy.
FIA Formula 2: Well done Guanyu, great job by you. Now, Felipe, many congratulations as well. Your fifth podium in Formula 2, how special is this in Monaco?
Felipe Drugovich: It's pretty special, especially being my first time here as well. I'm really happy with this, obviously. I think we had a little more yesterday to show, but this podium compensates for that. It was a difficult race for me, on the edge all the time and getting to know the streets every lap but I'm really happy with today and now I have two more races to score points.
FIA Formula 2: Tell us a little bit about the start, your teammate made a very good start but Lundgaard got the jump on you didn't he?
Drugovich: I think Zhou and I had pretty much the same start, Christian got the jump a little bit on me. Especially because the main straight is cornering into the inside so starting on the outside it's tricky to keep the position. When I braked into Turn 1, he was already on the inside of me so there was no point trying to fight that position knowing that I might end up in crash on my first race here. So, I was just being careful and I think it was the right thing to do. The start was fine, the layout of the track just doesn't help the P2 driver here, but I'm really happy with it overall.
FIA Formula 2: You say you were being careful, how was the pace of your car and do you think you had the pace to overtake Lundgaard had he not have had his issue?
Drugovich: I wouldn't know completely if I had the pace or not to overtake him but after the first five laps he was pushing a lot, and then after that he started dropping a little bit and I caught him. Knowing what these tyres are like, if you get a lot of degradation they just get worse and worse so maybe I could have passed him. The point when he started dropping oil, I was quite scared of being the first one behind and didn't want to be the first one to crash so I was trying to back off a little bit and see what the situation was like. Then it was about three or four laps until he stopped.
FIA Formula 2: As you say it's your first time in Monaco, what's been the hardest thing to learn?
Drugovich: I think to get to the floor here, especially without Free Practice when we usually do 10 or so fast laps. Also learning how the track evolves is also quite difficult, because the track evolves quite a lot over the weekend. Experience is experience, and now I know that it can only help me going into the next few races.
FIA Formula 2: Well done Felipe, thank you. Roy coming to you, many congratulations, your best finish in Formula 2, what does this podium mean to you?
Roy Nissany: It means the world. It's been a long time and you cannot imagine the amount of work we put into this session. Whether it's with training, with the simulator, with the team, with the engineers. We’re all learning as much as we can and trying to find every last bit of missing pace from what we had in Bahrain, in Barcelona we were already showing much better results. Then we had to apply it and cross fingers. Even if we have the confidence and the knowledge it's still racing, and it's still relatively open. Standing on the podium it means the world, and I'm so happy that we could make this work. Now we know we have the pace from Quali to Race, we had a little bit of luck from Christian's car but we still had to be in the right place at the time and that was thanks to the pace. Absolutely mega feeling!
FIA Formula 2: How much confidence does this result give you?
Nissany: It starts from how much it demands, to be on this podium demands a lot of confidence around the streets of Monaco so it's kind of egg and chicken. Finding the confidence and then getting it from the result. It's being on the edge of confidence to be able to get this result. From there on seal it, improve the confidence, gain more confidence.
FIA Formula 2: Well done Roy, and well done to all three of you!