Interviews by Sergio Álvarez; photos by Diego Merino; also feat. screen grabs from https://www.fiaformula2.com/livetiming/index.html
With the outer track in Bahrain being labelled as an oval – likely a bent oval? – some mighty action was to be expected, especially with F2’s limited track time (remember the Domenicali wish list?). And we got our confirmation during the quali session.
What we couldn’t have possibly envisaged is a bit of a déjà vu moment for the Jr Schu: like father, like son. Seeing Mick’s car climbing all over the back of Roy Nissany’s Trident machine reminded us of Michael’s infamous assault on Christijan Albers’ very modest Minardi back in China in 2005. Weird scenes indeed.
Even the most basic social media rookie pundit would point out that it puts Mick on the back foot going into the Feature Race tomorrow, considering that his main title rival, Callum Ilott, starts in P9, which is arguably not fantastic but still… Mick’s impressive race starts may just be ticket for the newly-signed HAAS PR treasure.
Elsewhere, Yuki Tsunoda’s rise and rise continues. The pole man is a top man, he didn’t crack under pressure, he delivered what he knew he had to deliver. We’re also chuffed to bits for Yuki’s team-mate, Jehan Daruvala, who we reckon is way faster than the ‘fastest Indian in the world’, Narain Karthikeyan.
Sit back and enjoy the presser.
- Yuki Tsunoda (Carlin)
- Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix)
- Jehan Daruvala (Carlin)
Q: Yuki and Nikita, what are you going to do avoid the clash that you had earlier this season at Spa? (They nearly “found” each other on the track and some controversial penalties were imposed.)
NM: Well, two things. First, that was not a crash, I’d like to correct that, there hasn’t been a contact. And second, I’d like to hope that Yuki doesn’t cry on the radio like he did last time.
And Yuki, your reaction to that?
YT: Yeah, we didn’t have a big crash or contact. I won’t change my driving style and overtaking. I will learn from that but, like I said, I don’t change my style so I think if I drive as fast as possible then he can’t overtake me! (I will) Just drive fast.
Q: It’s a question to all three guys, now that you have completed FP and quali on this quite unique track, how different does the car feel compared to any other point of the season so far?
NM: Well, I think there’s very little high-speed corners, so I believe that there’s more of a mechanical balance forward because you can accept that on a circuit like this. At the same time, I think it’s very important to keep the rear tyres under less stress, if possible, due to heavy three traction zones. And apart from that, it’s a car with four tyres and a steering wheel like at any other track.
Jehan, any special changes or approaches from Carlin this weekend?
JD: To be honest, I just trust the team and the engineers to do what they think is right. As a driver, I try to drive the best I can and trust the team on what changes they’re gonna make. Obviously, we understand there’s not too many high-speed corners, like Nikita said, so it’s more to do with mechanical balance. But I don’t go too much into detail, I’d rather just focus on my driving than talk too much about what the car’s gonna be doing.
Yuki, any changes to your personal car set-up?
YT: I dunno, like Jehan said, I fully trust the team. Maybe there are too many bumps in turn six, so I say for tomorrow we make the car less sensitive to those bumps or else I have a massive headache at the end of the race (Yuki yoked, of course, nice sense of humour). But the qualifying pace was good so we keep the car set-up.