Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to the Press Conference for Race 1 at Spa-Francorchamps. Firstly, new race winner Daniel Abt from Lotus GP, second place was Antonio Felix Da Costa (Carlin) and third went to MW Arden's Mitch Evans.
GP3 Series: Congratulations on your first ever win in GP3, how does that feel?
Daniel Abt: "Awesome! For me its the first win since the end of 2010. It has taken a long time for me. I didn't expect it to be at Spa. I thought it would be at Hockenheim but there is one guy not far away who took it!" He says looking and laughing at Mitch Evans beside him who also grins. "So for me today is awesome, especially when you had a look at how the race started. I had an horrendous start, I nearly stalled. This was the first time this season that I had such a bad start. I was then behind Antonio and Mitch and I could see they were going to fight. I knew I had to stay cool and go for the right moment. When that came for sure I took it! It's a bit sad it was not a full race but anyway a win is a win."
GP3 Series: Talk us through the bold overtake on the men sitting next to you?
Abt:"I could see they were fighting and I know these guys well so I felt sure they would brake really late. So I went back to my normal line and tried to prepare for the corner and it happened. I overtook Evans in the first right hander and then I stayed on the outside for the left hander and got through on Felix Da Costa and it worked. For sure afterwards it was not easy to have Antonio behind me trying to get P1 back, it was really close. I had quite a big gap to him and then the safety car came out and the race was finished."
GP3 Series: What do you think would have happened if the race had continued, were you confident you would have held on?
Abt:"I knew my pace was good enough to go for the win. I am not sure of the exact gap I had back to Antonio but when I checked my mirrors it was quite a big one. As soon as you are out of that slipstream window you can just pull away and the others are fighting for second place."
GP3 Series: How much does this first win mean to you?
Abt: "Well I was hoping for it to come earlier than now. I felt under a lot of pressure as people expected me to win and I heard people saying that everyone who has driven for Lotus GP the past few years has won a race, so I didn't want to be the one who doesn't make it. We were really strong for the whole year but just didn't make it. Sometimes we have had bad luck and sometimes I made a mistake. I'm really happy."
GP3 Series: P2 Congratulations, talk us through your first lap?
Antonio Felix Da Costa:"Yes good start, I took Daniel at the beginning. I had to be patient behind Evans and Laine as they were fighting hard at turn four and five. I knew we could be quick in the race, we had a few problems in qualifying and thought we had fixed them. But even on TV you can see that our car was the only ones with smoke coming out of the car in Eau Rouge which is slowing us down quite a lot. To win I would have to be in the tow until the last lap. I knew they would be able to come back at me on the straights. So I got Evans and tried to lead the race but that didn't last too long as he came back. Then we fought and Daniel made a good move on us both to take P1. I was then just staying with Daniel and trying to pass where I could but we both ran wide and I had to go off the track and over the big bump. I think I had a bit of damage in the car after that, so I was even slower in the straights afterwards.
"To be honest it was a good thing for us that the safety car came out. But before that incident, I think we had the pace to win. I got the fastest lap in the race and I could stay with Daniel the whole lap and eventually I could have got the tow to pass. I think it's a great job from the team. We have been quick everywhere this year. We are not the quickest car in qualifying but we always do a good race in the races. But anyway congratulations to Daniel he did a good job."
GP3 Series: Still a good result which is good in the championsip table?
Felix Da Costa:"I only gained half a point today to Mitch in the championship so in that sense it's not that good but it's okay. It's a podium and that's what we want and need. I think it was an awesome race for the fans as there were lots of great passes and that's what we are here for. We are the crazy little guys from the paddock" he says laughing.
GP3 Series: Congratulations Mitch, P3 today, talk us through the first lap...
Mitch Evans:"We had a problem with the clutch at the start so I didn't get away that well but fortunately it was better than everyone else around me with the exception of Laine. I got a run at him down the straight going into turn 5 and unfortunately he outbraked himself to try and get passed. Then Antonio was right on me and the car was not good compared to qualifying. We were lacking pace and grip compared to earlier. I think we put in the same pace as the other guys but we didn't have that advantage we had before. We know why so it's not a huge problem. But apart from that I got my head down and I made a mistake. I didn't block over cover Antonio as well as I should and he got back past. We were going head-to-head and then we outbraked ourselves and Daniel passed us. It wasn't the best race on my behalf. But fortunately I still got good points and that was the main thing."
GP3 Series: A podium after starting on pole is still a good result for the championship though, picking up strong points?
Evans:"Obviously when you start off well you want to finish the job. That didn't happen so getting a podium and solid points was important. So it's not all bad."
GP3 Series: Do you have one eye on the championship when you are racing, how hard is it to approach the races?
Evans:" Every race is the same so you have to approach it the same. I'm not feeling the pressure at all. I've still got to compete and do my best. My mentality is still exactly the same so I've just to complete all the laps and hopefully get as many points as possible. We have got to fix the car a bit for tomorrow's race but hopefully we can improve on today."