GP3 Series: Welcome to today’s GP3 Series press conference following Race 1 at Circuit de Catalunya. Joining us today is race winner Nirei Fukuzumi from ART Grand Prix. In second place, we have Leonardo Pulcini from Arden International and in third place we have Alessio Lorandi from Jenzer Motorsport. Starting with you Nirei, congratulations. GP3 Series race winner, how does that sound?
Nirei Fukuzumi: It sounds amazing! I had a good start and then I tried to manage the tyres as best as possible. But then Jack was quite close so that complicated things a lot. When I tried to challenge him, he had a problem with the car. I am quite sad for him, but anyway, I am so happy with this win. I would like to thank Honda, ART and my sponsors for making all this possible.
GP3 Series: Do you know what happened to Jack exactly?
Nirei: He had some issues with the throttle pedal I think, but I am not sure…
GP3 Series: After your teammate retired, you were six seconds ahead of your closest rival, Leonardo Pulcini. What was going on in your head at that point?
Nirei: Until the last five laps, I was mainly focused on managing the tyres, but after that I pushed for every lap. I was quite pleased because the tyre degradation was not so high for me today.
GP3 Series: You will be starting from P8 tomorrow. What can we expect from you?
Nirei: This time I may have to use the DRS! Starting from P8 means that I will have to master overtaking too. It will different from today, but I am really looking forward to this as well. It should be good!
GP3 Series: Thank you very much and best of luck for tomorrow.
GP3 Series: Leonardo, P2 today on your GP3 debut. It’s a great result for you and your team. How was the race for you?
Leonardo Pulcini: I’m very happy with today’s result. It’s my first race in GP3 and we showed that we’re already quite competitive. I was trying to manage my tyres, but I still had to push a bit more than I would have liked to try and maintain the gap with the ART boys. But, I thought the tyre degradations was going to be higher than it was. When I saw Jack had a problem, I was bit calmer. I knew then that I was going to be on the podium for sure. It was a very hard race for me because I never the DRS. As we compare my laptimes with Nirei’s you can see that we were very competitive. Tomorrow will be another story: I will be starting from P7. IT will be fun because I will have to overtake some cars and the goal is very high.
GP3 Series: Today was more about defending as during the the final laps, you also had to defend from Alessio Lorandi. How was it from the car?
Leonardo: Well, yes it was all about defending, but I was quite confident because if he had come even closer I still had some tyres left to push a bit more and keep him behind. So I was quite confident. I’m very happy with P2. I would like to thank Arden: they did an amazing job. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.
GP3 Series: Good job today.
Leonardo: Thank you.
GP3 Series: Alessio, P3 today. It was an eventful race for you. You were out of DRS opportunities by the chequered flag. How was it?
Alessio Lorandi: First of all, I want to thank Jenzer and my dad and everyone who supports me. I’m really happy to be here, with this team, chasing podiums. My race today was eventful as you said. I didn’t have a perfect start then I was side by side with my teammate in Turn 3. He sent me off. I was quite pissed off because of this: my tyres were all dirty. Then I started to manage the tyres, but I realised that I had the pace so I gave it a try. I think I was the first one to use the DRS. I passed my teammate and caught up with Boccolacci. I passed him too. Then I got close to Leonardo. Unfortunately, with ten laps to go, I had big flat spot at the front left so that hold me back for some laps. Then I used one DRS and I got really close to Leonardo on the braking, but I knew it was the first race and I didn’t want to crash so I could have probably gone a bit deeper on the braking, but I thought “ok, be safe”. Then, for some reasons, the tyres were still very good. I heard on the radio that I still had a chance on the main straight and to wait for the final lap because I only had one DRS left. Unfortunately, I got very close to him in the main straight but the race was finished. I was really close, but you know it’s racing. We will learn from this: I will be more careful with the radio next time… But P3 is still a very good result. We need to keep it like this.
GP3 Series: You will be starting from P6 tomorrow with only four DRS tries. Will you find other places to overtake than the DRS zones?
Alessio: Yes definitely! That’s the challenge. I also will try to have a better start than today. I knew there was a lot of grip on the track so it was easy to bog down. I didn’t risk so I didn’t have a good run into Turn 1. It was not ideal so tomorrow I will try to be more aggressive and try the same strategy. We’ll see how it goes. We have the pace, but it will be hard. Still, I will be starting from a better position than I did today. I’m looking forward to that.