Thoughts from Vips, Iwasa and Doohan
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three qualifiers for Sunday's FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here at Imola. In third place, Jack Doohan for Virtuosi Racing, in second place Ayumu Iwasa for DAMS. And starting on Pole Position, Jüri Vips for Hitech Grand Prix, many congratulations Jüri, your first pole in FIA Formula 2, what does this one mean to you?
Jüri Vips: Well, I mean, it's obviously always nice to get a pole. But I'm still thinking about tomorrow and Sunday, it's the races where you get the points and where you move up or down in the Championship. I'm very happy because we've just lined ourselves up for a very nice weekend.
FIA Formula 2: Let's talk more about the Qualifying session before we come on to the race. How tough were conditions out there this evening, both in terms of grip and visibility?
Vips: Yeah, visibility was terrible behind cars. But only in some places like, at the end of the session, actually, the racing line was dry. But once you got off the line, and there were a couple of people bunching up, especially in the, in the last sector, it was a bit more wet. You couldn't really see anything, and it's quite a dangerous spot as well going down the hill. But yeah, the session was quite tough because, in Free Practice, we just kept improving. It didn't look much more dry than free practice, but the tyre only lasted like a lap for me. On the first set, maybe two laps, I improved on the second, but then I just had no grip after and it was the same case on the second set. I actually started my lap thinking that I'm going to do a warm-up lap, but then I arrived in Turn 1 and I'm like, ok, I have the grip. So I just kept pushing and here I am on pole. So yeah, it was that kind of a session.
FIA Formula 2: Let's throw it forward to Sunday, then. You nearly won the Feature Race in Bahrain. How much do you need the win on Sunday for your Championship challenge this year?
Vips: Well, there's still a lot more races to go. But I mean, obviously, we threw away Bahrain and I threw it away in Jeddah as well. So we should have done a lot better job so far. But the potential has always been there. And I think we've shown it today as well, just as be that we've had this year. So win or not, I just want to have a good race tomorrow and Sunday, and just walk away knowing that we've all done our best.
FIA Formula 2: Good luck with that. Thank you, Jüri. Ayumu, coming to you? This is your third Qualifying session in FIA Formula 2 and you're on the front row. Just how good was the car? And how good was your performance this evening?
Ayumu Iwasa: Yeah, actually, it was quite a nice session with the car and my driving, I think. But you know, I think I was very good with that condition because the track was getting drier and drier. But I had still a driving mistake in my best lap. And also, I think I had a bit of overheating on the rear tyre during the pushing. So I should have managed that a little bit more. But P2 is still a quite nice result so I'm happy about that. And I'd like to say thank you to my team.
FIA Formula 2: So you're starting on the front row. What are your goals for Sunday's race?
Iwasa: Honestly, I don't want to focus too much on the result. If I focus too much I will make a mistake or something. But still, as a rookie, I should get good experience from the race. I will keep pushing and I will find a good difference from the race and experience and I will try to improve from the previous race in Bahrain.
FIA Formula 2: Best of luck with that. Thank you, Jack, coming to you. How difficult was that session for you? Because with little more than two minutes to go you were back in 21st place and then, bam. You put that lap time in?
Jack Doohan: Yeah, not ideal circumstances. We didn't get it right for the first two runs, and I just had no confidence to push the car any further. To be honest. I didn't really know where I was position wise after the second run and the car felt on the limit, so I thought, well, if the cars on the limit I knew that I could have the potential, so it might not be too bad. But yeah, it was P21. So, we had an issue and luckily the boys solved it. So I'm very thankful for them. Starting that the last lap, I had no confidence in the car to extract the potential so to be P3 I'm quite pleased because I don't think I extracted the performance out of the car today, due to not really having that rhythm to build on. Also, being a bit unlucky in practice again, without being able to complete laps. So yeah, to be P3, I'm quite pleased.
FIA Formula 2: Given everything you've just said, how confident can you be going into Sunday's race?
Doohan: You know we don't know yet, it's different conditions every time, so I think we need to manage each condition as it comes and try to be as prepared as we can. And then if we do everything, right, I think we should be in a good position. But the main thing for me is just to collect points, because, you know, it's four Qualifyings in a row that I've been in the top three, but I need to start collecting those points.
FIA Formula 2: Good luck with that. Thank you, Jack.