Thoughts from Verschoor, Iwasa and Vesti

FIA Formula 2: A very warm welcome to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here at the Red Bull Ring. In third place, Frederik Vesti for PREMA Racing. In second place, Ayumu Iwasa for DAMS and taking his third career win in FIA Formula 2, our winner Richard Verschoor for Van Amersfoort Racing. Richard, you dedicated this victory to your friend Dilano and what a way to win in his memory, 11th to first. Just how thrilling was that race?

Richard Verschoor: It was amazing, to be honest. After the race it just kicked in what happened yesterday. So, I express my feelings and especially to his family. I think it's really, really, really bad, so my thoughts are definitely with them. We had a good race, of course a bit lucky with the Safety Car, but it was a good fight with those guys, so I'm really happy with the victory.

FIA Formula 2: And does it feel somehow sweeter given what happened at this race last year?

Verschoor: Definitely! It feels much better. I was sitting exactly in the same place, but not for long.

FIA Formula 2: Now when you look at your wins, not just in Formula Two, but in your racing career, could we call this one of your best?

Verschoor: No, I don't think so. I think there was too much luck to call it my best.

FIA Formula 2: Well look, let's talk about the race. So, you start 11th, what was the pace like early on? And then how did the fresh tyres transform it with 12 laps to go?

Verschoor: Our pace was decent. I wouldn't say super good. I couldn't really keep up with Fittipaldi, I think he was just two or three tenths a lap quicker, which is definitely what we are missing. I think we could have had a good result even without the Safety Car. Then of course, we had a super lucky moment with the Safety Car. Good pace on the option, but we're of course lucky that the others were on 20-lap old tyres, but it was still a good fight. I mean it was not that easy to pass them in the end.

FIA Formula 2: And what about the threat from Ayumu at the end?

Verschoor: It was tough, he was coming like a rocket. Also, the last lap on the straights, it was interesting, but I think we had a very fair fight. It was good fun.

FIA Formula 2: Alright look, many congratulations to you Richard, thank you. And Ayumu coming to you then. The alternate strategy worked well, lots of pressure on Richard at the end. Just how much did you enjoy those closing laps?

Ayumu Iwasa: That was one of my best and enjoyable races in Formula 2 because the strategy was worked quite a lot. Also, the pace through the race was quite good, even on the prime stint. So, I think that's why I could get up to P2 even at the end. I think we did it a quite good race as a team because we were trying to find the best way to gain positions from my starting position because it was quite difficult to gain the place from my position. That's why I did the opposite strategy to other cars. Then at the end, it was really close to be on the top, but as he said, it was quite a fair battle. Then, I think we were able to enjoy that fighting.

FIA Formula 2: After a tough Qualifying session, how much better was the car in race conditions?

Iwasa: I think the car was better in the race compared to Qualifying. Qualifying was a bit more difficult. I was feeling, not badly, but still the car was not enough to be on the top. I think we could come back quite well enough with the car setup and I was able to manage the tyres quite well. Also, the reason why I missed it Qualifying, it was my track limits. I think we couldn't put all together, so I think that is one of the biggest improvements of the weekend.

FIA Formula 2: Alright, very well done to you, thank you, Fred, coming to you now. You did everything right and then the Safety Car comes out with 12 laps to go, just what were you thinking at that point in the race?

Frederik Vesti: Well first of all, it's out of my control, so there's not much I can do about it. I can just try to do the best, maximise what I can control and that was what I tried to do. Sometimes it's like this. Hopefully one day I will benefit the same way, but it’s okay. We still had a very strong race and we learned a lot. We took a lot of confidence from this weekend in general, so I'm just excited for what's ahead of us.

FIA Formula 2: Let's talk about the race up until the Safety Car now. You made a very good start and just how good was the car in those early laps.

Vesti: To be honest, it was really, really good. I could feel it almost instantly that the car was really good. Yesterday the car was not perfect, so we made a few changes. To make such a good step in the right direction with the car is completely the team doing a good job. I must say that's quite impressive with PREMA because they know what they're doing and when they make changes, they’re usually in a good direction, so it was nice.

FIA Formula 2: And these guys got past you with just over a lap to go, was any part of you thinking you could hold on?

Vesti: I mean I have to believe yes of course, but I knew it was going to be difficult. Last week in Barcelona, I was on the option tyre actually with Iwasa as well, fighting quite hard and he was on the prime. Then it's such a big advantage and I can try to fight, but also, I don't want to take an incredible risk to win the race like this.

FIA Formula 2: You're now 20 points ahead of Théo Pourchaire in the Championship, it’s been a good race as far as that's concerned as well.

Vesti: Exactly, that sounds good. I think more than that, we showed that we had a bit more pace than them today and we know again which direction we need to go, which is really nice.

FIA Formula 2: Very well done to all three of you.