Bridgestone GP2 Series: Q&A with Lucas di Grassi

Lucas  di  Grassi  is  now  in  his  fourth  GP2  main  season  and  is  currently  with  the  Fat  Burner  Racing Engineering  team.  He  has  just  missed  out  on  the  title  twice,  but  won  the  Valencia  sprint  race  last season. That puts the Brazilian driver in the hot seat for this year’s title fight and makes him a perfect person  to  interview  ahead  of  the  Valencia  round,  which  is  the  second  street  circuit  on  the  calendar. Bridgestone e-reporter finalist Tim Biesbrouck took on the role of interviewing this charismatic driver. Q: The Valencia street circuit is one of the two street circuits on this year’s calendar, do you like racing on this type of circuit? A: I really do like racing on street circuits, mainly because the feeling of speed is greater and the walls are nearer to you. And on top of that, there is no room for mistakes. I really enjoy driving on the Monaco circuit  and  I  won  the  second  race  in  Valencia  last year. Valencia is a great circuit and it was a great experience when I drove there for the first time. There are a lot of straights, overtaking possibilities are good  and  the  circuit  is  well  made  and  safe.  Valencia  is  also  a  beautiful  city  to  host  a  Grand  Prix weekend. Q: In what ways can you compare it with the Monaco circuit? A: Honestly I find Monaco nicer to drive, because it’s more technical and difficult. In comparison with Monaco, the Spanish circuit is very wide and open, so you can miss your braking point and still come back. If you make one single mistake in Monaco, you are finished. Q: Last year you drove on medium compound tyres during the Valencia race weekend and it will switch to soft tyres this year. Will that improve your overall performance there? A:  I  think  it  will  improve  my  performance.  Like  in  Turkey  we  switched  from  hard  to  medium  and  we gained performance. So, I expect the same will happen in Valencia. If it’s really hot, then the tyres will show degradation. Sometimes they get overheated, so that’s our only main concern with conserving the tyres. Of course I find it better to race with softer tyres because the grip level with new tyres is really high and you can do really fast laps. So I think it’s a really good solution to go on softs for Valencia. Q: What strategy would you use to conserve your tyres in Valencia? A: We change the set-up of the car during the weekend and you really have to think about your driving style. The race is different from qualifying, because in qualifying you need to push one hundred percent and during the race you need to take care and make sure the tyres will hold for the race. There is not much grip in Valencia, which is normal for street circuits, so I expect we won’t have high tyre wear. I don’t have concerns about it. Q: After winning the sprint race in Valencia, you moved into the title battle. Do you think you are able to strengthen your position in the championship there? A: Yes definitely. We had a good start to the season, but we wasted some points. It was not because of our performance, so I believe we are in a good position to catch up, getting back into the title fight. But the season is long and there are still many points to collect. It can turn around much quicker in GP2 than in other series. I really need to concentrate to get the most out of the weekend and we will see what happens next.

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