Thoughts from Piastri, Daruvala and Zhou
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three qualifiers for Race 3 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship here at Monza. Starting in third place, Guanyu Zhou for UNI-Virtuosi, in second place Jehan Daruvala for Carlin and taking his second consecutive pole position, our pole sitter, Oscar Piastri for PREMA Racing. Oscar, that was a very hectic Qualifying session, particularly in the dying moments but you won through in the end. Talk us through your fastest lap. How good was it?
Oscar Piastri: It was a solid lap. I wouldn't say it's the best lap I've ever done. I think the Silverstone pole was a more deserving lap. I made one pretty big mistake in the second Lesmo today and besides that, the rest of the lap was very good, and I got a nice slipstream in Sector 3 which helped. It was pretty good, and clearly just good enough for pole.
FIA Formula 2: Which raises the question, where is your focus ahead of a session like that is it perfecting the set-up of the car or is it all about track position?
Piastri: Most of it is still about the car set up. I think if you had have asked in Formula 3 it would have much more about track position but in F2 you don't need to be quite so close to the car behind to get the benefit of the slipstream. So I think the car set-up is still the number one factor and also there are still quite a few corners at Monza that you have to get right as well, so having a good car to do those corners and driving well through them is more important to me than getting a slipstream. However, there's obviously a trade-off between having an easy life on the straights and getting a tow or having clean air for the corners.
FIA Formula 2: How easy is your life going to be on the run down to Turn 1, talk to us about that dash at the straight. It's a long run, it's tense, is there room for two cars through Turn 1?
Piastri: There's room for two cars, but Sprint Race 1 tomorrow starting from 10th I think is going to be very interesting. We haven't raced for a while so I'm hoping nobody misses their braking points at Turn 1, myself included! In the Feature Race, I'll try and get a better start than in Silverstone and hold the lead to Turn 1, but there is no better spot to be starting.
FIA Formula 2: Well done Oscar, thank you. Jehan, coming to you, well done to you as well. Your first front row start of the season, does that come with a sense of relief for you?
Jehan Daruvala: I think it's probably about time in terms of the front row, so I'm pretty relieved. When I crossed the line I looked up at the board I saw I was P1 and there were only a few cars left behind so I was pretty gutted at the time to be in second, but I'm still happy to be on the front row and I'm looking forward to the races.
FIA Formula 2: You were so close to Oscar, just four-hundredths of a second behind. Can you picture in your mind where you think you lost time?
Daruvala: It was the exact same corner as Oscar said, Lesmo 2, I went in too hard and lost over a tenth on my previous lap. I think I was closer to the car in front on that lap as well, so it's a trade-off, you lose a bit of downforce in the corners so if you carry the same speed as the lap before sometimes it can go wrong.
FIA Formula 2: Jehan, what are the objectives for you this weekend? We've seen you on the podium, but not in a Feature Race. Talk us through your ambitions for the rest of this Formula 2 weekend?
Daruvala: Tomorrow we start ninth so like Oscar said, Turn 1 is for being aggressive, but also careful. This is a track where you can overtake if you're quick enough, so I think tomorrow the goal will be to move forwards as much as I can in both races and for Sunday to have a good start and try to win the race.
FIA Formula 2: Well done. Guanyu coming to you, a great lap by you as well. You were just five hundredths behind our polesitter. How did it all come together for you during the session?
Guanyu Zhou: To be honest, the first set of tyres I wasn't really there and I didn't have the speed to be fighting for the pole position. So I knew that I really had to put a lap together. Then on the second set of tyres, I became a bit more comfortable on my side and I was able to explore a bit more with the tyre and also with the car. To be that close to pole position, it's pretty much nothing, and I think every driver makes tiny mistakes here and there so it's all about whoever can put a lap together. Today's Qualifying was actually messier than last year's Qualifying due to a huge traffic train during the prep lap, which meant everyone had a pretty low tyre temperature for Turn 1.
FIA Formula 2: Talk us through the second Lesmo, how was it for you?
Zhou: The second Lesmo was alright! I think the last sector I was missing a little bit compared to these two guys.
FIA Formula 2: You won the Feature Race last time out at Silverstone, how confident can you be coming into Sunday's race from third on the grid. Do you think it's possible to pass here?
Zhou: I think if you can find a place to pass there's no better place to do it than here in Monza. It's easy to pass, easy to force another driver to make a mistake, so everything can happen. Last year I started P18 and finished P5 in the Feature Race. I think we have a good package for the race, but we'll find out more after tomorrow.
FIA Formula 2: Thank you very much!