Thoughts from Vesti, Daruvala and Lawson
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race here in Baku. In third place is Liam Lawson for Carlin. In second place is Jehan Daruvala, for PREMA Racing and winning his first race in FIA Formula 2, Frederik Vesti for ART Grand Prix. Frederik, many congratulations. This is a big moment for you. How do you feel having won? And can we call this the most important victory of your career?
Frederik Vesti: Well, first of all, I feel really good. We've done so much hard work to get where we are now, and Barcelona was obviously a really good step forward. My start in F2 has been quite rough, so I'm really happy to finally win my first race. It is a Sprint Race win, I'm looking to win a Feature Race, so I wouldn't call it the most important of my career. But it's a good start, and we'll push on from here.
FIA Formula 2: You said before the start, that this race will be decided on the final lap. How did you know?
Vesti: Well, it's Baku and it will probably be the same tomorrow!
FIA Formula 2: It was a crazy race. You took the lead away from the line but had a big slide at the exit of Turn 1. Talk us through that first slide?
Vesti: So I had a really good initial start, I was P1 going into the first corner, but I just over-pushed Turn 1 slightly and didn't expect to slide like that. I think I was probably also in the wrong gear. I was heading towards the wall and I had to brake as hard as I could, meanwhile everyone else was going on the throttle and I lost the two positions out of the corner. I felt quite good and confident in the car straight away, so I wasn't too stressed in the race.
FIA Formula 2: Can I ask you about two overtakes? Firstly, your brave move around the outside of Hughes to take P2, and then for the win with Jehan?
Vesti: So with Hughes, I felt like it was a bit late. I wanted to pass him very quickly to not let Jehan go too far up the road. But the top speed of Hughes was really high, and it was difficult to overtake him. I think on Lap 6 or 7, I finally got him. Obviously, the safety car helped me come close to Jehan again and then when he locked up in Turn 1, I knew it was my chance to strike and I got past him.
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations. Jehan, coming to you. You did almost everything right today. Are you disappointed to come home second after leading so much of the race?
Jehan Daruvala: I would be lying if I said I'm not disappointed. But I'm still happy with the race I did. You know, I made one little mistake on the restart which definitely was my fault. The unfortunate thing is I didn't have any laps to fight back because of the constant starts and stops. So it's unfortunate.
FIA Formula 2: Talk us through the opening lap, where you leapt from P3 on the grid to P1 in just a couple of corners.
Daruvala: I had a decent start, I think everyone in the top four or five had a similar start, but I think I used my experience from last year pretty well. It's quite tricky with low downforce, and on corner one I got a good exit. Obviously, Frederik went really wide, and we were three abreast going into Turn 2. With these types of 90-degree slow corners, the guy on the inside has always got a bit of an advantage, so I just braked later and got the move done. I knew that Jake was running a low downforce setup, so I needed to break away from him as quickly as I could and to be fair, everything was going to plan until Lap 17.
FIA Formula 2: Talk us through the safety car restarts, what's going through your mind as you come back along the pit straight?
Daruvala: The straight is really, really long, so no one wants to go early. Everyone waits as long as they can. The second time I looked in the left mirror, not the right so I thought Vesti was on my inside when he wasn't. He was in my blind spot. So I locked up for no reason because he wasn't there, and I just went wide. I was braking on the exit to not go in the wall on Lap 1, and he got by me on the exit and I think it was a shame because in Turn 2, I got hit from behind by Marcus, otherwise it would have been a closer run down to zone three between the two of us.
FIA Formula 2: All right, well, well done on a good race today. Thank you, Jehan. Liam, coming to you P9 on the grid to P3 strikes me as a good day at the office.
Liam Lawson: It was a really good race for us. The start was quite bad, so after the stall and Monaco, I guess I was more nervous than normal to get the first one out of the way. The start itself wasn't great, but I had a good first lap. Then after overtaking Jake a couple of laps later, we were sitting P7. Then the Safety Cars started, and we basically kept restarting. There was a restart where I was able to get by Felipe, and then he did me straight back into the next corner. Then, on one of the last restarts, I just had doorways open up for me over the lap, and I kept luckily putting my car in the right place at the right position, and managed to go from seventh to third in that one lap. It was one of the most hectic laps I've ever had in the race car. But obviously it made the result today. The car was fast all race, and we know the things we need to work on to improve for tomorrow when we are starting off the front row.
FIA Formula 2 : You look like you enjoyed today. Can I just ask you about your move on Richard Verschoor right at the end?
Lawson: He went next to Jehan and in Turn 4, and I just got by Marcus, so I was able to get next to Richard on the exit of four. We went next to each other through five, he squeezed me quite a lot through six and then we went side by side into seven. Turn 7 is nearly 180 degrees, it's a really tight corner and he was trying to squeeze me on the entry and then go on the outside. So I was on the lock stop trying to try to turn and I think he just carried a bit too much speed and went into the wall. It was a nice battle up into that point, so it's a shame that ended like that.
FIA Formula 2: Well done to you.