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F2 - Post Qualifying Press Conference

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F2 - 2019 Race of France - Post Qualifying Press Conference 

Thoughts from Sette Câmara, Zhou and Aitken

FIA Formula 2: Hello and welcome to the press conference for the top three qualifiers for tomorrow's FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here in France. We are joined today by Sérgio Sette Câmara for DAMS, in second place is Guanyu Zhou for UNI-Virtuosi Racing and third is Jack Aitken for Campos Racing. Sérgio, your second Formula 2 pole position, but let's start at the end. What happened at the end of your final lap?

Sérgio Sette Câmara: I lost the rear, and I almost lost the rear in the pole lap. But on that final lap I lost it completely and I spun.

FIA Formula 2: Is it just a sign of how hard you were having to push to get this pole position today?

Sérgio: Yeah I was pushing quite hard. I had the feeling that everyone would improve, even if the short amount of time didn't allow for the best possible preparation in building up for that lap. I know there's track improvement at this time of the day, track temperatures are dropping even if it's only slightly. It improves performance so I thought everyone would improve. I believe I made a mistake in Sector 1 and I had to make up for it. In trying to make up for it when you are already close to the limit mistakes can happen. It was unfortunate because it was quite a big spin and maybe it wasn't the best for the tyres, but it can happen.

FIA Formula 2: You mentioned the delay. When you were sitting in the pitlane during the red flag period, how nervous were you sitting in provisional pole position and waiting to restart?

Sérgio: I wasn't that nervous actually. It was alright. I was confident. This year I haven't been very confident with the car and this was actually the worst start to a weekend I've had this year. We kept the hope and tried some things in Free Practice, and in this Championship everything is so close and all the cars are the same build, so sometimes fine tuning and set up can make a big difference. That's what happened. We started struggling a lot in Free Practice, I think I was 10th or even worse, and I was doing what I considered to be good laps. We made a few changes and I got confidence with the car. I finished Free Practice and I was very happy with the good margin that I had. For Qualifying I was very confident. I was not thinking so much about pole position, I was thinking about how good it felt to drive the car and it was nice. I enjoyed the session.

FIA Formula 2: Congratulations today. Guanyu, moving on to you. A front row start for you, second place being your best Qualifying result of the season so far so you must be happy with your work today?

Guanyu Zhou: Yes definitely, especially after a quite messy Qualifying. In my out lap there was people crashing in front and we had to abort that and then the prep lap. In the first lap I nearly spun in the last sector which didn't give me an ideal lap time, I think I was outside the top 10. I knew the tyre temperatures on such a hot day would be really high and I'd been really aggressive with the tyres. On my first push on the second set it was all going pretty well, I think it was purple in the second sector, and going through Turn 12 my engineer told me the session had been red flagged. That was pretty stressful because I'd tried to give everything that lap. I thought I'd just have to do another one to try and make another clean lap. It's such a long track that to keep it clean the whole lap is always quite tricky with little margins. It was really nice to finish my last push lap with a clean lap and I was going pretty well in the second sector. The last sector was tricky and then there was the tyre degradation, but I'm really happy with how the car has performed so far this weekend. It was a big improvement from Free Practice to Qualifying so I'm happy with my first front row start.

FIA Formula 2: Congratulations. You mentioned how the cars performing. What are your hopes for tomorrow's race? Do you think you've got a good race car under you?

Guanyu: Yeah. The race pace at Virtuosi has always been the strongest point for us. I'm quite confident about that, but obviously the race is such a long period and it's my first time here using the Pirelli rubbers so it's going to be challenging for me. There's some work for me to do overnight to learn before tomorrow's race. Hopefully I don't make the mistake I did in Barcelona in the last 10 laps and I'll try to have a good one tomorrow.

FIA Formula 2: Good luck. Jack moving on to you. You were one of the drivers that Sérgio mentioned that improved in that final run after the red flag. How did you find that interrupted session today?

Jack Aitken: It was interesting. There was a lot going on. I had a good first run which helped, I think we were P2 or P3 after the first set, so I knew that the pace was pretty good. Unfortunately I was in a similar situation to Guanyu where I was pretty much coming to the end of the lap and got the red flag, so not the best preparation. For my best lap I didn't really have any kind of a tow which can be worth quite a bit. I think it was good to get a decent result for tomorrow to start the race. A lot of people made mistakes today so I'm just happy to be up there and we'll go for the win tomorrow.

FIA Formula 2: When we look at the Championship standings these guys are right behind you, but you're ahead of the three that are in front of you. Does it feel like an opportunity to make up a bit of ground tomorrow?

Jack: Yeah definitely. I'm just happy to be in the top three because I think our pace can be quite good. It's a good opportunity to get points but I don't think I'll get into worrying about who is where and all of that because there's too much of that going on [laughs].

FIA Formula 2: Fair enough, I had to try! Sérgio, just returning to you, you mentioned the progress you made with the car during Free Practice. Finishing that quickly and having pole position, how confident are you in the race pace for tomorrow?

Sérgio: I'm confident. It's going to be kind of a new race for everyone because last year we had a bit of rain in the first race. There's also a compound change and we always see differences in how the tyres degrade over a race, even if we take the previous years as a baseline. It's always new and that's why it's always fun. You always have people misjudging set up and driving, so we have to adapt in the moment and feel what is best. We have some experience to help us at least start in the correct window. It's going to be interesting and I'm optimistic.