Thoughts from Daruvala, Viscaal and Shwartzman
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of Sprint Race 2 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship here at Monza. In third place, Robert Shwartzman for PREMA, in second place, Bent Viscaal for Trident and taking his first win of the season, Jehan Daruvala for Carlin. Congratulations Jehan, you took the lead at the start and you never looked back, how sweet was that?
Jehan Daruvala: I think it was a really well-executed race from my side, I got a really good start which was the plan and then I tried to break DRS as soon as possible. Also, there was a bit less of a headwind than there was this morning so the tow was a little bit less effective, which helped me out in the beginning. Once I got in a good rhythm I had a good pace and could slowly open the gap, and once we got to around five seconds I just tried to maintain my tyres and keep them in a good shape in case of a Safety Car or another VSC.
FIA Formula 2: You've been quick this year, do you feel this win is long overdue?
Daruvala: I think it's definitely overdue. We've been quick in the races, not so much in Qualifying so my goal for this weekend was to take a step forward in Qualifying and we did that. That was one step that we made and to win the race was another step as well. We start in the same place again tomorrow so if we start we did today again tomorrow I think we have another chance of winning tomorrow.
FIA Formula 2: You've mentioned the wind direction, but what about the track temperatures, how did that affect performance?
Daruvala: It was quite a bit hotter than this morning, so the delta pace was around one second slower than this morning for me. I just took that into account and found my own pace. I also felt the tyres were in a good window. Sometimes if you're in the lead and you go slow you can lose temperature so I just tried to keep the laps in and sticking to what I felt comfortable doing. It worked out well and the car was really good too.
FIA Formula 2: We saw a brilliant Qualifying session by you yesterday, you've just executed a really good race victory. All to play for from the front row tomorrow?
Daruvala: Exactly. Also, where I am right now in the Championship I'm just looking to win races and that's about it. So my goal is to get a good start tomorrow and I really have nothing to lose so I'll be on an all-out attack.
FIA Formula 2: Well done Jehan. Bent, coming to you now, what a day! Seventh place in Race 1 and now your first podium of the season. How good does this feel?
Bent Viscaal: Very good, especially after Qualifying being in P18. We know Qualifying is a bit of a weak point for us and race pace was very strong. To be on the podium now feels really good, so I am very happy with it.
FIA Formula 2: Tell us about your move on David Beckmann, there was lots of pressure and it paid off?
Viscaal: It wasn't really a move! I kept the pressure on for the whole race, even though it's Monza it was still quite hard to follow in Sector 2, which was a bit of shame because every time I was about 10 meters shy of making the move. Anyway, I kept the pressure on and saw that David was struggling with his tyres, especially in the last sector, so I knew it was my chance to go for it and he out-braked himself so luckily for me I could move into second place.
FIA Formula 2: You've already mentioned a tricky Qualifying session yesterday, what did you change overnight on the car that transformed the performance so much?
Viscaal: Not much to be honest, we know that Qualifying is really a weak spot for us. In the past five races where we've not been in the top 15 at all, although our race pace was always looking very strong. That's just something we need to figure out because once we're in the front we can fight and as you can see, we can get the podium.
FIA Formula 2: This is Trident's first podium, on home ground as well, tell us what does this mean to the guys and girls in the team?
Viscaal: It's amazing! It was a really hard season for them last year, and this year it's been ups and downs and they have all been fighting for a podium. Of course, the win would have been nice as well, but you could see that everybody is really really happy with the podium, especially on home soil. There's a lot of Italian fans here, and Dutch fans as well, so it's a bit of a double home race for me.
FIA Formula 2: Well done Bent. Robert coming to you now, many congratulations, great to see you back on the podium. After the disappointment of this morning is this result something of a relief?
Robert Shwartzman: I can't say it's a relief, this morning I did my best. We finished P3 on track but then there was that slight mistake at the start when I didn't realize that I was just a little bit off the white line, but the rules are the rules and there's nothing I can say about it. It's just so unfortunate because in the end I didn't gain anything and we're fighting so much for the podium. To lose it was a bit disappointing. But I knew the pace was good, the car felt good and I just wanted to repeat my drive and get back on the podium. I think that Race 2 was pretty decent. My start was really good but then, unfortunately, I got blocked by Jehan and Jüri and there wasn't much space so I didn't want to risk it. Then I tried to go around the outside and Jüri started squeezing onto the grass so I thought maybe I shouldn't take the risk and while I was doing that Lawson managed to pass me so I lost that position, unfortunately. I knew that the pace was there so I just patiently waited to get the position, and that's what we did. I came forward and at the end we were P3.
FIA Formula 2: As you say the pace of the car has been good in both races, after a difficult Qualifying for you yesterday do you think you have the pace to return to the podium tomorrow, even from P12?
Shwartzman: Yes, I'm pretty sure we have. The Qualifying was awful, to be honest, there are no excuses it was just badly managed by me. I made my life very complicated because I think if we could have made a good quali, or at least have been in the top five, with our race pace it was pretty doable to fight in all three races for the podium. I'm sure tomorrow with the right strategy I can be back on the podium.
FIA Formula 2: There is still a long way to go in this Championship, but what is your view on the points standings at the minute and your position in them?
Shwartzman: It's too early to look at it, it's always very tight. I think if I want to take a step up and make a difference in the Championship I need to improve my Qualifying performance because my race performance we have been really competitive and strong. Most of the time my life is made more difficult by not starting where I would like to be. We have the second half of the season in Sochi, Jeddah and Abu Dhabi where I will try to find every little thing to improve the Qualifying performance and if I manage to do that the Championship could go my way.
FIA Formula 2: Thank you very much all.