Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the GP3 Qualifying Press Conference. On Pole Position is MW Arden’s Mitch Evans, second is Aaro Vainio from Lotus GP and third is Antonio Felix Da Costa (Carlin).
GP3 Series: Congratulation Mitch! Another pole, that one you left a bit late though!
Mitch Evans: “Yeh, that’s right, it’s nice. It was tough, the track conditions were very tricky out there. They were damp parts of the track on the racing line. With my first set of tyres, I was concentrating on track position and I made a little mistake. That left me under a bit of pressure on my second set of tyres to improve but I managed to put a good enough lap together at the end to get pole. “
GP3 Series: How were the tyres out there?
Mitch: “Yeh they were good. I guess the conditions helped them out, but the track was very abrasive so it killed them in pretty quickly. There is a very big window to P11. “
GP3 Series: What are your thoughts on a potential dry/wet race?
Mitch: “For sure I hope it’s one or the other. It’s a bit of a gamble if not. I’m hoping it’s dry but if it’s wet I did an ok job yesterday in those conditions so I’m looking forward to the race. I have to maximise whatever the conditions are. “
GP3 Series: P2 today, are you a bit disappointed to miss out on pole in the final moments?
Aaro Vainio: “Well the first set of tyres were ok, we were P3. The second set I had one good lap and then on my second attempt, they were yellow flags so I had to abort that one. Basically the lap I had was a good one but not the perfect one. I’ll have to be happy with P2 but Mitch was faster again and has gained another 4 points on me so that’s a bit disappointing. But for sure it’s a good place to start, the race is long so let’s see what happens.”
GP3 Series: Is that your main disappointment, losing the points in the title chase?
Aaro: “It’s all about picking up points. If the person who is P27 in the championship picks up pole you don’t care so much. With Mitch he’s my biggest rival, so yes that’s my biggest obstacle.”
GP3 Series: Are you aiming for wins or is it more about being consistent?
Aaro: “Yes it’s not always about P1/P2 for the race, of course it’s always nice but we have 14 laps to race so it’s going to be interesting.”
GP3 Series: Of course we are expecting a mixture of dry and wet weather, what are your thoughts ahead of Race 1? Do you think it’s better to be starting from P2 in the wet?
Aaro: “Basically in dry conditions P2 might be slightly better as it’s on the racing line. With changeable weather I don’t think there will be much difference between either side of the starting grid. If it’s raining braking for the first turner is going to be tricky if you are in the middle of the pack so I need to stay at the front. But let’s see what happens.”
GP3 Series: P3 after some difficult races, are you pleased with that?
Antonio Felix Da Costa: “I am quite happy. When we first pitted for new tyres I was only P5, when I went to my second set I was quite relaxed I knew what I could do. We managed to come here and get P1 in Free Practice. Myself and the team talked about what we could do to improve things after Valencia so it was good to get everything settled. ’m happy with my laptime, it’s alright, but I think it’s the same for everybody, you never get the perfect lap. I was suffering with a little understeer so struggling with front grip. I think I have to be happy with P3 in the race and I’m sure we can move forward. I think wet or dry we’ll be alright and we need to look after the tyres so they should be ok too. As Aaro said, the worst thing is not Mitch getting pole, it’s getting the four points. It’s still quite early in the championship, we are not even halfway, so I believe I can fight for it. Honestly, I have a bit more to lose than these guys but I will definitely go for it.”
GP3 Series: P3 today, fastest in free practice yesterday, what do you put that down too? Is it the circuit or would you say the performance of you and your team?
Antonio: “We were quick here in pre-season testing but not as quick as MW Arden to be honest. Carlin have been great, pretty dominant here in the past, they have had good results here too. We like this track but I don’t think this is our strongest circuit, we’ll be stronger from Germany onwards. I just want to grab some good points here for the end of the championship.”
GP3 Series: Are you looking forward to a good battle with the guys ahead of you on the grid?
Antonio: “For sure I love racing! In my last race I started last and overtook 15 cars so these two won’t be a problem” He laughs. “They are the good ones, so it will be very tough as we are all very quick!” Cue more laughing from all drivers. “On a track like this it’s quite difficult to overtake, you lost a lot of aero in the fast areas like the second sector. If you look after your tyres and stay on track anything can happen!”