F2 - Post-Feature Race Press Conference  | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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F2 - Post-Feature Race Press Conference 

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F2 - 2019 Race of Barcelona - Post-Feature Race Press Conference

Thoughts from Latifi, Aitken and Zhou


FIA Formula 2: Hello and welcome to today's FIA Formula 2 press conference following today's Feature Race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Joining us are the top three finishers from the race, your race winner Nicholas Latifi from DAMS, in second place is Jack Aitken from Campos Racing, and in third place is Guanyu Zhou from UNI-Virtuosi Racing. Nicholas, your second Feature Race win this season, you looked like you had to bide your time a bit more for this one though?


Nicholas Latifi: Yeah definitely. After the pit stops, even just before the pit stops, I tried to push at the beginning to just try and get by and into clean air obviously in the first lap. Then there was a safety car, and then right after the pit stop I think I got a bit unlucky as we came out behind a slower car and I kind of went off the track a little bit and he was able to pull out quite a big gap at that point. I tried maybe one or two laps just to push to see if I was quicker at the beginning, but I matched the pace so I said 'OK, it's going to be one of those long races, just biding my time.’ It definitely wasn't easy, I mean we didn't have the hard tyre in the winter testing here and I think we did 30-odd laps or so just not knowing what to expect. It was a bit of an unknown let's say. At one stage he was pulling away quite a bit and I said 'There's no way, I don't think I can do this pace and make it to the end,’ and then I'd hear the about the pace of the guys on the other strategy. I was just kind of doing my own race, letting it come to me, and trying not to stay too close in the dirty air but then also staying a little bit in front of Nyck [De Vries] to not have too much pressure from behind. I was biding my time and picked a moment to push, see what the tyres had and yeah, obviously it was quite a bit of pace still at that stage in the race. I think once I got in front it wasn't that I just checked out but those few laps I spent quite close to him for sure overheated the tyres a bit, but that's quite normal here. At the end I wasn't pushing flat out once I got in front because I was just thinking 'yeah, OK, let me just bring it home because the deg's already high.’


FIA Formula 2: Well congratulations. You were also successful in Baku and leading the Championship. Are you happy with the consistency you've shown at the start of this season so far?

Nicholas: Yeah definitely. I think in any championship, consistency is probably one of the biggest things, I mean it’s all well and fine to win a race here and there and dominate certain weekends, but you have to be consistently in the points. There's going to be races where we might not be there, both me as a driver or the car as a total package, so on those weekends I think it's about scoring the maximum points you can. Obviously so far we've been quite competitive so I'm really hoping to keep that but definitely the consistency is key.


FIA Formula 2: Well done today. Jack moving onto you. It was P8 to P1 in Baku, P8 to P2 here. Nearly the same, but how was the race from your perspective?

Jack Aitken: Pretty exciting. Actually it was not to dissimilar to how Nicky described it because we were quite strong on the Option so I managed to pick off a few guys and De Vries at the end of the stint as well. Actually a lot of guys pitted a lot earlier than I was expecting, so we tried to extend it just a little bit, save ourselves a bit of tyre life in the second stint and that seemed to work out. Like Nick was saying, it was at the start of the second stint people were going at quite a high pace so I kind of sat back a bit. I did lose out to De Vries on the first lap and just sort of stalked him until the end. I saw he started to struggle so I turned it up a bit and saw that I was catching these two as well. Then I got the call on the radio that I was fighting for a podium now so that was quite nice to hear.

FIA Formula 2: We saw some great overtakes there as well, I think one on Matsushita around the outside of Turn 5. How much risk did you have to take as you fought back through the field?


Jack: It's just having a bit of fun, it's not really calculating the risk as you go. I'd gotten a bit of confidence back in Baku as well and yeah, I just thought I'd carry that here and make the move stick. If you go all in you've got a better chance so that was kind of the approach I wanted to take.


FIA Formula 2: Well done today, thank you. Guanyu moving on to you. Congratulations on your first Formula 2 podium. You held off Nicholas for so long in that race, are you happy with the final result or is there a bit of disappointment not to be able to hold on for the win?

Guanyu Zhou: After starting with such a good start it's always a bit disappointing but on the other hand I'm really happy to score my first podium. Basically, I got told on the radio that Nicolas was pitting that lap so I have to come in and pit as well, which was really early for these tyres. I think the Soft could have actually lasted a bit longer like Jack was doing. The whole race I was just trying to control the pace. When he tried to attack me I tried to pick up the speed again as well, and at the end of the race, in the last 10 laps, I felt the tyres were struggling quite a bit with a lack of grip. So I had to take care of the tyres, not to push too much over the limit, and basically they both passed me. In the end it's a good job to the team. They gave me a great car so far this weekend and hopefully I will learn something from this race for sure and try to improve on that for tomorrow's race.

FIA Formula 2: Just on those closing laps when you were fighting, how tough was it to judge how hard to try and defend when, like you say, you were trying to protect your tyres as well?

Guanyu: Yeah, especially with Nicholas. He had really great pace the whole race which gave me a lot of pressure for the whole race. I managed to defend well the first couple of times and the next one he got a bit closer in the straight lines, so he just braked later and there was nothing I could do. The main thing is to keep scoring points and not make mistakes because if I make a silly mistake I might start on the back of the grid for tomorrow, so it was all those points. I struggled a bit with the tyres but at the same time tried to defend my position as well. It was probably the hardest race of my career so far.

FIA Formula 2: Well done today. Nicholas, just returning to you. We mentioned consistency a little while ago. It's been yourself and Jack at the front a lot, UNI-Virtuosi looking very quick as well but not always picking up results, so what's going to be key to maintaining this run?

Nicholas: For sure a bit of luck! I mean in motor sport you always need a bit of that. As long as I'm always doing my job, the car is always in the window, I think we'd be consistently at the front. But I think you could always have the bad luck of other drivers causing accidents or something at the start which obviously is always a bit of a gamble. It's probably the most high pressure situation where you just kind of want to make it through, not do anything too risky, so the key is just going to be when the package is there and when I'm feeling on form just to maximise it. If we have those races where things don't go our way, just try and bounce back but obviously try and minimise those races to begin with.