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Round 4 Race 1 press conference

Round 4 Race 1 press conference

29 JUL 2017

Thoughts from Aitken, Fukuzumi and Hubert

GP3 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the GP3 Series press conference following Race 1 at the Hungaroring. Joining us today is race winner Jack Aitken from ART Grand Prix. In second place, we have Nirei Fukuzumi also from ART. And in third place we have Anthoine Hubert from ART as well. Starting with you Jack, congratulations. Does this win feel like monkey off your back?

Jack Aitken: Not really, no. We wanted to win from the start of the season. It’s just been some things getting in the way. I won last year already a race which helps. If I had not won at all, it would probably be worse. It’s just nice to see we’ve finally got the result we wanted and I can go to the summer with a bit of a smile.

GP3 Series: From the outside, it looked easy although we know it’s never easy… It looked like the job was done at the start. How was it from the car?

Jack: The start I had was sort of okay, but Nirei was catching me into Turn 1 so I tried to cover him off. After that, it was just managing the tyres. When you’re in the lead, it is so much easier to do that. Even with the Safety Car restart and the VSC, I never really had any issues. I managed to keep Nirei behind the whole time. In the end I had the luxury to try for fastest lap as well. It was quite a simple race in the end. I could see on the big screens some fights in the back of the packs. Some people seemed to be struggling more than others with the tyres, but when you’re in the lead, you can control the pace. It was quite easy.

GP3 Series: Were you expecting a bit more of a fight with Nirei behind you?

Jack: I wasn’t really sure what to expect. When we tested here last month I was quite quick so I was quite confident that if I could get out in the lead then it would be pretty good which is what happened. He came pretty close at the start so if it had been switched around it would he been really difficult.

GP3 Series: Starting from P8 tomorrow will be a different story…

Jack: Yeah, very. I have to try and figure out how to pass around the hardest track in the calendar. Some people were doing it today so it’s not impossible.

GP3 Series: How important were those 31 points scored today?

Jack: It’s really good. I have not seen the standings yet but obviously it’s a lot closer now. It’s unfortunate what happened to George. It would have been a close fight with him as well I guess. In the end, it’s him, Nirei and I who had a win in race 1. In a way it’s an open play field. Hopefully there will be no more problems for the rest of the year and we’ll see.

GP3 Series: Congratulations. Nirei, from P3 on the grid to P2 on the podium. The start was made a bit easier with George Russell not being able to join the starting grid. How was your race?

Nirei Fukuzumi: I want to congratulate Jack first of all. I had a good start but Jack did to. I tried to overtake him at Turn 1. He defended well so I could not pass him. After that, I tried to keep pushing to try and overtake for five or six laps. He had a much better pace than me. I’m a bit disappointed in mine, but I’m still happy with P2 today.

GP3 Series: It sure is a nice improvement from your pointless weekend in Silverstone…

Nirei: Yeah. It’s really good to score some big points again after a very disappointing weekend in Silverstone. It’s very important for the championship and it feels really good to get back on the podium.

GP3 Series: What will be your plan to score some more points tomorrow from P7?

Nirei: I don’t know. I will see what happens at the start and after that, I will try and overtake on every lap. I am looking forward to seeing how effective the DRS can help me with that. It should be quite interesting and no matter what, I will try to get the best result I can tomorrow to go into the summer break with as many points as possible.

GP3 Series: Thank you and good job today. Anthoine, P3. Your race was a bit more eventful than for your two teammates. Can you take us through it?

Anthoine Hubert: My start was okay. It was not special, but I kept my position. I was fourth on the first laps during the safety car and the VSC. Then I had quite a good fight with Dorian Boccolacci. I made a good move at Turn 2 around the outside. It was quite cool I have to say! But when I was finally thru Dorian, I was already quite far from Nirei. So at that point, I knew it was going too difficult to try and catch him. After that I just managed my tyres to try and get bonus points for fastest lap, but in the end, Jack was too quick! I’m quite happy with P3 toady. I was fifth in qualifying this morning which was disappointing because I think I had the potential for more. When we came testing here last month I was struggling a lot so I’m really happy to be on the podium toady.

GP3 Series: Tomorrow you will be starting from P6. And you prove today that it is possible to overtake here…

Anthoine: It is [laughs]! I will try and prove it again tomorrow. Let’s see what we can do. Once again, the tyre management will be key. If I can get some positions in the first laps, let’s see what we can do from there. My job will also to make sure these two guys [Jack and Nirei] don’t pass me because it’s important for the championship, but I’m not thinking too much about it. I just take it race by race to try and get the maximum points. Let’s see where we can go from P6 on the grid…