FIA Formula 2: Welcome to the FIA Formula 2 Championship post-Qualifying Press Conference at Spa-Francorchamps. Joining us this evening are: polesitter Nyck de Vries for PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing, in second is George Russell for ART Grand Prix and in third is Sergio Sette Camara for Carlin. Coming to you Nyck – congratulations, your first F2 pole, how does it feel to be able to deliver this for yourself and the team?
Nyck de Vries: I’m obviously very happy, it’s very satisfying and we’ve been very strong all day, so I knew that we were in the battle for pole. Unfortunately our first lap was taken away, because that alone would have been good enough for pole and it’s frustrating, but I understand that I was slightly behind the white line so that was my mistake. That meant for the second run it was a bit more pressure because I didn’t have a lap time and that was my one shot. But we took it, and I’m very thankful that the team gave me a mega car today. I’m pleased we have our first pole together, and doing it at Spa and almost my home race – and the margin we had was very good today.
FIA Formula 2: You only had the chance to run once in the middle of the gap thanks to the tyres, what was it like waiting for the rest of the session to finish, and watching it on the screens?
Nyck: It wasn’t really planned, actually, and it wasn’t really a matter of tyres either, but that was just the decision. You can obviously decide whenever you want to go out, but because our lap was taken away we just wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t run out into traffic on my second run. So that’s why we decided to quickly change tyres and make a clean and clear run, and then it was up to me to deliver. I’m very pleased we did today.
FIA Formula 2: George, coming to you – there was a bit of confusion over deleted times in that session, how many laps did you manage to do in the final phase?
George Russell: Well I only went out the once, and the team asked me if I’d cut the track at turn 4. I confirmed that I definitely didn’t, so maybe there was a bit of a mistake there. Perhaps it was my warmup lap where I went over. But there wasn’t as much pressure for me as there was for Nyck, but nevertheless we struggled quite a lot in practice with the car, even though we were P3 it wasn’t feeling great and to the usual standard. We worked really hard between the two sessions to sort it out, so I’m rather pleased with second.
FIA Formula 2: It was a challenging day for lots of people, yourself included. Do you think that the enforcement of the track limits is harsh but fair, or is it too harsh?
George: Harsh but fair, I think – obviously Nyck only went over by millimetres and it was unfortunate for him, but at the end of the day they’ve got a good system that there’s a sensor there so it’s black and white, really. I think everyone can learn from that, and moving forward there’s no reason why we can’t have it at all corners. But it’s black and white, and even Nyck going over by a millimetre shows that it worked perfectly. I’m not saying he’d have gained anything from it at all, but again, it’s harsh but fair.
FIA Formula 2: Sergio, coming to you – we saw you probably had the biggest improvement of the top few between the two runs, and improved by over half a second. Where did you find that improvement?
Sergio Sette Camara: We changed a few things in the car, but it’s also about putting the lap together and Spa is a big lap with many corners. I understand why Nyck ran in the gap, it’s tricky with all the cars and they stop around sector three, so on top of the pressure you already have you also have to worry about being in the right place at the right time. So I just got a better warmup and put it together on the second run. It’s just details.
FIA Formula 2: You were second quickest in practice, and on the second row for tomorrow. What do you think you can achieve in the Feature Race?
Sergio: I think we can stay up there, but it’s hard to say – a Formula 2 race doesn’t have a clear trend like in F1, but it can be for anyone. We just have to focus on the start, stay out of the mess, and on these low-downforce tracks there’s a lot of overtaking so you’ve got to keep your head cool – there’s normally a lot of incidents so I think it’s just about having a calm race and trying to finish up there.
FIA Formula 2: Back to you Nyck – what’s your plan for tomorrow? Are track limits weighing on your mind, or is it just about launching off the line?
Nyck: Not really. Let’s have a good night’s sleep and wake up, see what the weather conditions will be like – it could be like Budapest, but who knows? We’ll see, it’s the same for everyone and we’ll do our best to prepare as best as possible and fight for the win.