GP3 Series: Giuliano Alesi, GP3 race winner. How does that sound?
Giuliano Alesi: It sounds and feels very nice of course! It’s great for me and for the team. It’s really satisfying to get this result which rewards all the hard work we’ve done outside of the circuit. It finally paid off. This is not just for me: it’s for the team and also Ferrari. They’ve also supported me even when I did not get the results. Thank you guys so much.
GP3 Series: You took a great start and remained in control after that until the chequered flag. But your job was made a bit easier when your teammate Dorian Boccolacci who was starting from reverse pole could not leave the pitlane. What went through your head on the grid?
Giuliano: When I didn’t see Dorian’s car, I knew I was basically starting from pole. It meant that I had the best chance of winning the race. I knew I had to do a good start and just keep the pace after that. On the radio they told me to keep pushing because Jack Aitken was just behind. I gave it all on the first lap and saw that I had managed to build a gap. I realised then I had the pace to continue like this. Really, it was emotional. I was really happy during the race too. It was good to drive alone: I could do what I wanted. When you have someone in front, it’s not so easy. You cannot take the corners as you want and you may have to change the line. This time, it was much easier. I could dictate what I wanted to do. That was very positive.
GP3 Series: What can we expect from you in two weeks’ time in Budapest?
Giuliano: I’d like to be I the top 6 in Qualifying. After that, I want to see what I’m able to do in the races. I truly want to stay between P1 and P8 just to keep on scoring points every single race. Then I can see where I can finish in the standings.
GP3 Series: What’s your goal for the season?
Giuliano: If I finish in the top 6 I’d be happy. If I’m further than that, I’d be even happier. That’s why I try and take points every race.
GP3 Series: Jack, P2 today. Back on the podium. It’s a good end to a challenging weekend, wouldn’t you say?
Jack Aitken: Yeah. We struggled a lot with finding the right direction for set up. Maybe my style was not quite suiting as much as the other guys. We were a bit off. And then we couldn’t really do a lot in Race 1 either. We worked quite hard last night to make some changes. I think we went in the right direction. We had a good start. In the first two laps I was really pressuring Giuliano. But the Safety Car came then and we suffered a lot at the re-start. He managed to get out a second or two for the gap. So clearly we still need to do some work. But generally if we have a bad we’re still finishing on the podium, it’s a good result. We just need to start having some good days because coming nearly to the halfway point of the season, we’re starting to build some momentum which is good. We will see if we can carry on in Budapest.
GP3 Series: DRS didn’t help attacking Giuliano?
Jack: DRS was quite affective here in generally. We’ve seen quite a lot of overtakes. I did some yesterday. But, Giuliano was quite good in those sections of the track just leading up to the DRS which meant that he was having enough of a gap to defend. I think the DRS is working well. I just didn’t have quite enough pace to gain those last few tenths to overtake.
GP3 Series: ART are currently 1-2-3-4 in the drivers’ standings. What sets this team apart from their rivals?
Jack: The drivers [laughs]! Obviously, ART have been good for a long time in this Series so they have a lot of good data to call upon, but actually this year a lot of things have changed. It’s not as simple as we look back at the old set up sheets to copy and paste. We’ve really had to work hard. The management, the engineers and the mechanics are all really good and it’s a really strong part of ART. It’s showing in the results: they work hard for each race weekend. It’s not by luck. When the team is getting result, they attract better drivers as well. We are quite a strong line up. Of course, there are a lot of strong drivers in this Series. But I think we’re the only team where you have four drivers really strong. Of course it helps as well.
GP3 Series: What will be the plan in Budapest?
Jack: We did the two day testing there so we know where we are. So the plan is to get pole and win as we tried to do in Barcelona.
GP3 Series: Niko, P3 today. This is your best result in the Series so far. How does that feel?
Niko Kari: Of course it feels great. We’ve had a pretty tough start of the season: we’ve had a lot of technical issues, still getting used with the tyres and the car. It’s getting better now. We can see that if we can hold up the same speed, we can get closer to the ART guys. That’s the main target for us. It’s getting better now.
GP3 Series: You had to fight for this result on track today. Talk us through it…
Niko: George was coming pretty fast from behind me. I was saving the DRS for the last laps to really defend from him. It was pretty tough for sure, but it was P3 at the chequered flag. I didn’t have massive tyre degradation, but I was more struggling with holding the pace really in sector 2. Still, the race was pretty good for me.
GP3 Series: Looking ahead, Budapest is next. What is your goal?
Niko: I think it should be good if we can do a good qualifying. Our pace at the test in June was fairly ok. The car since then is getting better. It’s also a track that I like. It should be good.