FIA Formula 2: Hello and welcome to today’s press conference following the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here in Bahrain. We are joined by race winner Lando Norris for Carlin, in second place is Sergio Sette Camara, and in third place is Artem Markelov for RUSSIAN TIME. Lando, starting with you: you said yesterday that it wasn’t quite a dream yet after getting pole position in qualifying, but after such a dominant win, is that more of a dream result for you?
Lando Norris: It’s still not a dream! It was the perfect result for us, going from the front. I had a really good start and managed to get away pretty cleanly, my first few laps were pretty good. It wasn’t the easiest race from there, it never is in F2 - with the Pirellis it’s always pretty challenging. I did what I needed to do, to stay at the front and pray there were no safety cars or anything. Pretty clean race, but like I said there are still some things to work on and hopefully tomorrow can be just as good.
FIA Formula 2: You said on the podium it’s not the easiest race, even when you were so far clear. Tell us what’s difficult even when you’re that far ahead?
Lando: It’s managing the tyres, basically. Compared to Formula 3 last year where I could push for 99% of the race, whereas F2 it’s about having to manage the tyres, save the tyres, otherwise they get too hot and wear out, and you can lose seconds per lap. It’s trying to push the right amount and conserve the right amount, it’s about getting that balance right. You’re always having to concentrate, concentrating on braking right and not locking up and you’re not wheelspinning or sliding or anything, just every lap you’re concentrating on all those things. You can’t relax, and that’s what makes it so challenging.
FIA Formula 2: Thank you very much. Sergio, we’ll come on to you, we’re gonna start with the end and the final lap in that fight with Artem. What was going through your mind when you came under pressure there?
Sergio Sette Camara: Yeah, I think my engineer told me that he stopped one lap earlier than I did. So I had the confidence to know that whatever pace he had, he had one more lap than I did. I was just confident, and I knew I had the grip to battle with him and I did my best to get a good position. It’s never easy to get the moves done, so we did an amazing job, even though he had one lap more we still had the pace.
FIA Formula 2: We saw great starts from both Carlin cars. Can you talk us through your start in the opening stint of the race to get into second place?
Sergio: Yeah, the guys did an amazing job briefing us, making us understand the engine, how the clutch works and everything, and then we were prepared. It’s never easy, it doesn’t mean that we do all the starts good, it just means we have to keep understanding it so that we nail it. The work we’ve done has paid off.
FIA Formula 2: Artem, coming to you – what a recovery drive that was. You must be the driver up there who had the most fun today. Talk us through some of those overtakes in today’s recovery.
Artem Markelov: That was easy! I’m joking, it was a frustrating race at the beginning because the start was aborted, and then I got into the pitlane and from that moment I thought “it’s not possible” already. But I started driving, driving lap by lap. It just got better and better, the tyres were pretty good and I was saving all the time. Like Lando said before, it’s just about no torqueing, no wheel spinning, and it’s come true. The dream has come true!
FIA Formula 2: Were you surprised with the way you were able to make progress with everybody trying to look after tyres?
Artem: I really like the track, it’s always pretty surprising with the degradation of the tyre, and there’s a really nice line for driving which is already saving the tyres, and I know it so it’s helping me on this race.
FIA Formula 2: Your experience and your secret’s helping out?
FIA Formula 2: Thanks, Artem. Lando, just back to you, you tried to play down expectations at the start of the season. Surely, a start like this with the qualifying and the race is marking out Carlin as the team to beat?
Lando: Well, I think we’ve proved the hard work that we’ve put in has paid off. But it’s just race one, obviously Artem showed great pace in that race, so we still have to analyse everything. There’s still a long way to go, we just have to keep working and keep on improving like we have done at the start of the season, and keep making progress. Hopefully we can gain more advantage from the qualifying to the races, and we’re learning all the time. We’re learning a lot about the race already, so the more we can improve the easier it makes mine and Sergio’s life! The team have done a great job, I think you always have to play it down just a touch, not become overambitious, I think you have to be confident but at the same not boast about what you’re doing and how you think you can perform. So yeah, we just try to focus on our job and everything’s going well so far.