FIA Formula 2: Welcome to the FIA Formula 2 Championship Press Conference following the Feature Race at Spa-Francorchamps. Joining us today are: race winner Nyck de Vries for PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing, in second is Sergio Sette Camara for Carlin and in third is George Russell for ART Grand Prix. Coming to you Nyck – this has been a sensational couple of days for you. You were dominant in practice, dominant in qualifying and dominant in the race – have you had a better weekend, and how does this one feel?
Nyck de Vries: I’m obviously extremely happy, especially to do it here at my kind-of home race in front of so many Dutch fans, and my friends and family were all able to watch so it’s nice to perform well in front of them. We’ve been very strong and competitive all weekend so I think we deserved it. We never gave up and kept pushing, and it was very well deserved for the team and for me. It was a tough race, because we were very strong on the option but lost a bit of the gap after the pitstop. The safety car didn’t really help, but nevertheless we kept it all together and secured a second feature race win, so I’m very pleased with that.
FIA Formula 2: It was quite hectic in the final stages; you went from the virtual safety car to the real safety car, with another car retiring as well – were you worried about the possibility of another safety car?
Nyck: I think if there was another safety car, it would have finished like that. Not that I’d have minded, but I prefer it to finish like it did. It’s never nice when you build up a gap for the safety car to destroy it, because you’ve consumed tyres for nothing and also you’re under pressure. But as I said, I’m just very pleased that we managed to keep it together and clearly we’ve been the strongest all weekend. I think we deserve it more than anyone.
FIA Formula 2: Coming to you, Sergio – we saw you have a bit of wheelspin at the start and didn’t get quite as good a getaway as Nyck did, but you managed to pass George – how was the opening phase for you?
Sergio Sette Camara: The start was really tricky, we have a throttle map that’s mandatory to use and it’s really aggressive – with 50% throttle, we’re actually at 100% so it’s really difficult to modulate and it’s low-grip at Spa, so it’s really difficult not to get wheelspin. I tried my best, I don’t know how I got a better start than George, and eventually I cured the wheelspin and got away. Anyway, it was good to finish one position ahead of where I started so if anything, it wasn’t too bad compared to the drivers around me.
FIA Formula 2: Do you think you could possibly could have done more, or was there no overhauling Nyck?
Sergio: Nyck was very competitive, he was a bit superior in the race and like he said he built up a big gap that was pretty much destroyed by the safety car. So if both packages – car and driver – were similar I would have had more tyre at the end of the race. Even though he lost it, he managed to open up the gap again so it was really difficult to keep up with him. It reminds me of last year where we had a similar race, but it was the opposite and I was leading and he was second. It’s quite an advantage to be second here with the long straights and everything, so he was very quick and doing an amazing job. Congratulations to him, but I’m still quite happy with my position and it was the best I could do today.
FIA Formula 2: And coming to you, George, you said in the immediate post-race that it was more of a race of managing for you. Is there anything you can change for tomorrow to attack a bit more?
George Russell: Yeah, I think we just didn’t really get the balance in the right window today. We’ve had great race pace all season, but Spa’s been a bit of a different circuit to others with the tyre management, so I think we just didn’t get it right today and we’ve a lot of work to do on my side with the team to sort that out for tomorrow. I think in a race like that, where I felt like I was struggling, to still come away with third position I was very pleased with that.
FIA Formula 2: At the end, you had Norris behind chasing you but you held him off – did you think you’d lost P3 at any point or were you confident you’d hold him off?
George: Yeah, I was confident I could hold P3, I was in a comfortable position. Nyck and Sergio were too quick, and I knew Lando probably wasn’t as quick as I was, so I was just managing the gap because I knew there was no way I could fight these two, and there was no point in overdriving to potentially lose more places, so I was confident and comfortable in third position.
FIA Formula 2: Back to you Nyck – tomorrow we’ve got the reverse-grid race so you won’t be starting from the front. Can you make it a perfect weekend there?
Nyck: We’ll see, I think there could still be a little bit of work to do for us to try and make it a proper good weekend, but let’s see – we’ll obviously do our best and try to achieve the maximum points – and hopefully that’ll be another podium.