Thoughts from Doohan, Lawson and Armstrong
FIA Formula 2: A very warm welcome to the top three qualifiers for the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race, here at Monza. In third place, Marcus Armstrong for Hitech Grand Prix. In second place, Liam Lawson for Carlin and taking his third pole position of the season are pole sitter Jack Doohan for Virtuosi Racing. A brilliant pole Jack, many congratulations. Where did you find improvements between the first and the second run?
Jack Doohan: I think a little bit everywhere. I don't think it was much. I wasn't in an ideal position on the track, it wasn't as close as I would have liked to have been in the tow so I think it could have been more. However, I'm P1 so I can't obviously complain that much, and it was still a good lap. I think it was just a little bit of confidence, knowing where the limit was at the end of the first run and being able to cement that lap before the end of the run, due to a little bit of an issue at the start of the run. It was good to be able to get a good baseline and then be able to pick up a little bit here and there in the second run.
FIA Formula 3: You say you weren't in the ideal position. Just how difficult is it to string a qualifying lap together here at Monza?
Doohan: It’s difficult due to the characteristics of the circuit and how crucial it is to be in a slipstream. Seeing previous rounds and races here, and also the Formula 3 session and the games and tricks that go on before starting the lap. Everyone went quite quickly, they weren't slowing down before the last corner and to be honest, it caught me out a little bit. So I think I started my lap three and a half or four seconds behind Fittipaldi, but with our pace advantage, I think it ended up helping in Sector 2 and Sector 3.
FIA Formula 3: As you say, lots of fun and games in Qualifying. Let's look ahead to the Feature Race now. What are your biggest concerns going into it? It's a long run to the first corner.
Doohan: For sure. I think currently the biggest concern would be just making it through Turn 1 cleanly. If I drop back to P3 or P2 it doesn't really matter, as long as we can get through that first lap on track and in a decent position. Then it'll come down to the correct strategy and good pace management. It'd obviously be great to come out on top, but to be on the podium would also be a great result.
FIA Formula 2: Are you going to be giving any Safety Car restarts a bit of thought beforehand after what happened last weekend?
Doohan: I'm going to go at Ascari! When the Safety Car turns its lights off, I'm just going to follow the Safety Car. I'm not going to slow down and try and do any tricks. If you guys want to pass me into Turn 1, then pass me into Turn 1, as long as no one rear-ends me, I'm happy!
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations, well done today. Great job. Liam, let's come to you now. Just talk us through the session, first of all, from your point of view.
Liam Lawson: It was a good session. I think being second is good, especially with the way Qualifying can be in Monza. In the past, I’ve definitely come out on the wrong side of it, so it's nice to have a clean session. The car was strong, it was strong in Free Practice this morning as well, so I think we knew if everything went to plan, we should be up there up. It was nice to seal the deal.
FIA Formula 2: You say, if everything went to plan, was there much planning about tows between you and your teammate? How much preparation went into that kind of thing?
Lawson: Not so much. I think it's hard to do within teams, especially with the way that you release from the box, you just basically get a random order of cars. To be honest, I had a good tow to the car in front but I was behind Théo and we fell away from the train completely. Like Jack said before I think we all expected it to be a big bunch up before the last corner because nobody normally wants to lead, but everybody went. So we left a big gap for warm up and when we came out of Ascari there was nobody in front of Théo. I just had him in front of me, which was enough for me, but I think potentially being in that train could've helped me have a shot at the pole as well.
FIA Formula 2: Can you just talk us through your concerns going into the race tomorrow?
Lawson: I think starting ninth, obviously, it's going to be interesting. We're right in the middle of the grid, but it's a good track for overtaking. There's a bit of tyre degradation normally as well, so it's hard to know how our pace will be until we're in the race tomorrow, but the goal is to try and move forward.
FIA Formula 2: Final one from me. The sun was pretty low during this session were there any visibility concerns?
Lawson: Yeah, the first lap I came through Parabolica on the exit and I thought I was out near the edge of the track but when I got past, and I could see where I was going there were like three car widths to the outside of the track. Definitely, it’s not ideal conditions to be running in, but I think we should have some pretty cool photos to look at later.
FIA Formula 2: Alright, very well done to you. Marcus, coming to you now, a great job by you as well. How pleased are you with your fastest lap and how difficult was it for you to navigate the session?
Marcus Armstrong: It wasn't the smoothest of sessions. I think in the first run I definitely didn't make it easy for myself. I actually got safety mode before the first push lap, just before the last corner, so I couldn't prepare my lap at all. So that was essentially just an abort lap before I even started. I started my second push essentially being my first push, and sort of made a bit of a meal out of that one as well. It was good to get a clean lap in the second run and we did the job luckily, but we didn't make it easy for ourselves.
FIA Formula 2: What about the long-run pace of the car? Do you feel that when going into the race on Sunday in particular it's going to be a bit of an unknown because of Practice?
Armstrong: To be fair in F2 the long-run pace is always a question mark because we don't really have the luxury of testing that through Free Practice but in saying that it’s business as usual in a sense. I think the racing is going to be really interesting. We can fight and overtake, quite the contrary from Zandvoort. I think it's going to be really fun, and I've got nothing to lose. I'm not fighting for a Championship, unfortunately, but fortunately, I can have fun on track and attack.
FIA Formula 2: Best of luck with that.