Thoughts from Iwasa, Pourchaire and Leclerc
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here at Albert Park in Melbourne. In third place, Arthur Leclerc for DAMS, in second place, Théo Pourchaire for ART Grand Prix and taking his first Feature Race win of the year for DAMS. It's our winner, Ayumu Iwasa. Ayumu, what an incredible race for you, it looks like this one meant a lot.
Ayumu Iwasa: It was not an easy one. I think the pace was good until the last Safety Car because I was able to keep a good gap behind me. But I think after the final Safety Car, it was quite difficult to keep the temperature in the tyre, so that's why I was struggling a bit. Still, it was enough to keep the position but the last lap was quite tight.
FIA Formula 2: What does this mean going forward? You're the first repeat winner of the season. You're now in the Championship lead. Does this put more pressure on you?
Iwasa: Honestly, no, because even before this weekend, I didn't think about this so much. I just wanted to go for a win. Also, we were just thinking we wanted to improve as a team so together we are trying to improve the car and our performance. That is the reason why we have a double podium in the Feature Race. As a team, it's really big points.
FIA Formula 2: Well, done to DAMS and well done to you. Thank you. Théo, coming to you. Back on the podium, how do you feel after this one? Is it a little bit of relief?
Théo Pourchaire: Back on the podium and back in the points. It feels really good. It's amazing for the confidence, and for everyone in the team. We had a really good pace all weekend and I'm very happy about this. First time in Australia with big points at the end so it's been a pretty good weekend. Congrats to DAMS and to Ayumu and Arthur, because they were really quick all weekend. They will be difficult to beat this year, but I’m ready for it.
FIA Formula 2: We're going to have some stunning battles going forward, aren't we? But can you talk us through your race? Starting at the start, it was pretty close with your teammate down to Turn 1, wasn’t it?
Pourchaire: I had a bad start. Not a very, very bad start, but I had a bit of a clutch spin at the beginning and then a bit of wheel spin in the second part, which was difficult to manage. Then I tried to brake really late, but my teammate broke really, really, late and he was off track. We were really close, I mean, it's a dangerous situation between teammates but we did a good job. We didn't crash. The team is happy, so yeah, it was all fine.
FIA Formula 2: Very well done to you as well. Arthur coming to you now, your first F2 podium. What does this one mean?
Arthur Leclerc: It's amazing. Yesterday we just touched the podium, we did P4 really close. We were P3 at one point but got overtaken by Maini. So, to be on the podium really means a lot to me. It means that we are going in a good direction. We just keep pushing as a team and I keep pushing as well to work on my driving to get the best.
FIA Formula 2: I feel there's so much to ask you about in that race, but I'm going to pick one battle and that is the one with Fred Vesti. Talk us through those closing laps.
Leclerc: It was really hard. I knew that he had new softs, I could see the tyre difference in all the corners. I knew that I had to do really well on the exit of Turn 6 to try and have a chance to keep him behind so that's what I did. I was really under big pressure but in these last laps I pushed maximum and we managed to bring back the podium.
FIA Formula 2: Ayumu touched on this a moment ago, but until now ART has been the team to beat this year. They've had brilliant pace both in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Do you feel that DAMS has made a breakthrough here and that you can challenge them going forward?
Leclerc: We did a really good job this weekend. As I said, we have been working massively since the beginning of the year. ART was quite strong, let's say in the first two races, especially in Qualifying. This weekend was wet and especially as well on the new track, so obviously it's new for everyone. Let's see on the following tracks. But one thing is for sure, we are doing a really good job with DAMS and they gave us a really good car all weekend long to finish on the podium and to take the win.