Thoughts from Lawson, Vips and Piastri
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three qualifiers for the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here in Baku. In third place Oscar Piastri for PREMA Racing, in second place Jüri Vips for Hitech Grand Prix and taking his first pole in FIA Formula 2 our pole sitter Liam Lawson, also for Hitech. Many congratulations Liam, a tremendous first pole, how do you feel?
Liam Lawson: Pretty good, I haven't had a pole position in such a long time. I had one last year in Formula 3, but it was because in front having penalties, so it doesn't really count. To have it outright on track is pretty cool. Especially considering where we were this morning after Free Practice. Jüri did a mega lap so I have him to thank for his data, and I had a lot to work so I focused on all the main points we needed to work on. I think the whole qualifying session we were strong, both cars always in the top five. So yeah, I'm really really happy.
FIA Formula 2: Can you talk us through the pole lap, and the middle sector in particular.
Lawson: I think every lap you are getting more and more comfortable with the track, the cars are getting lighter, and the track is getting a bit better. The first lap on the second run was obviously quite good, but I knew there was a little bit of margin left so I basically just pushed a little bit harder, especially through the castle section. It was just a little bit more on the limit.
FIA Formula 2: Does this feel particularly sweet? What a way to bounce back after losing the win in Sprint Race 2 in Monaco a couple of weeks ago!
Lawson: I was just saying how we needed to sort out our qualifying because we couldn't keep doing this all year. So, we've managed to sort it out for the third round, let's try and keep this going.
FIA Formula 2: Great, well done Liam. Jüri coming to you, many congratulations to you as well this is your personal best qualifying in Formula 2. So close to your teammate as well, what does this mean to you?
Jüri Vips: It was a good session, and I also have to thank the team because to get a one-two the car was good. It gives a lot of encouragement for the rest of the year that the pace is there. I think we were pretty sure we found some things for Monaco, but we just couldn't really show it there because I didn't get to do my third lap in Qualifying. So we thought we were quite good, but now this round has confirmed it so I'm really happy with that.
FIA Formula 2: As Liam just said, you hit the ground running in Free Practice this morning, does that give you confidence for the races this weekend?
Vips: For sure, but I will learn to not do it again because I think Liam learned a lot from me! But no fair play to Liam, I made a bit of a mistake on my fastest lap, but the rest of it was pretty good. I honestly crossed the line and thought it was enough, so fair play to him for putting a good lap together.
FIA Formula 2: And well done to you Jüri. Oscar, coming to you, a great effort by you. You delivered when it mattered at the end of the session, but it wasn't a straightforward one for you?
Oscar Piastri: The beginning obviously wasn't great, I hit the breaks into Turn 1 and was probably a bit ambitious and went straight on. I think I was a little fortunate that it was a pretty messy run for a lot of field, so I didn't lose out too much in the end. It's never nice to have to re-group and get your head back in the game for your second run, but we did a good job. We made a change to the car in the middle which was a lot better so here we are in P3.
FIA Formula 2: Do you think you've got the race pace to beat the Hitech duo this weekend?
Piastri: I think so, our race pace is normally our strength. I think here you need a lot more than race pace, you need good race craft as well as a strong race car because you're trying to break out of the slip stream and DRS is going to be very tricky. With the new format we're starting eighth, ninth and tenth tomorrow so we'll still have to work our way through in Race 1, but I'm pretty confident that our race pace will be good.
FIA Formula 2: You tested the Alpine F1 car since Monaco, how long did it take you to get used to Formula 2 again at the start of the session?
Piastri: Probably the first time I hit the breaks and realised I wasn't slowing down anywhere near as fast as in the F1 car. It's very difference circumstances, an F1 car at Silverstone is obviously very high speed with not much breaking2, and here we're on very low downforce and a street track so it didn't take too long to get back into it to be honest, but I had to hit the brake pedal a bit harder about half way through the first breaking zone because I could see a wall coming at me very fast!
FIA Formula 2: Thank you all.