Interviews by Sergio Álvarez.
Today we’ll find out all about Jehan’s mysterious braking points, Juri’s mind games and what’s best team in Formula 2. Also, what will happen should F2 introduce 4 races per weekend starting from 2022. Stuff you won’t find anywhere else online.
Welcome to Iberianmph F2 Podium with Imodium Rapid.
It’s not real, this feature but let’s imagine, for once, that Imodium would actually like to sponsor this column. F2 drivers are human after all, a good lick of Imodium Rapid can save your race day if you had rotten fish for dinner at a restaurant so you can quickly go back to being rapid again, excuse the pun. Can you imagive a TV spot with Giuliano Alesi plugging Imodium? His dad did that shampoo thing rather wonderfully back in the 90s.
Sprint Race 1.
Shwartzman, Ticktum (who only gets quoted by other drivers), Zhou.
Robert, in race trim you’re King around the Baku street circuit, do you think you can charge through the field in the next two races here in Azerbaijan?
RS: “Well, yeah, I feel like we have really good pace and even though I’m gonna start in both races P10, I think the (Sprint) Race 2 is gonna be a good practice to start from P10, from that position. For the main race, I feel like if we gonna do a good start, we can actually get some positions and we can get also a podium, like Dan (Ticktum) showed. He started what, P6? Then he was P7 and then he got back to P6 and he finished P2 with really strong pace. It’s Baku, anything can happen here. You know, if you do a good race pace, you can actually come back and after this race I feel we have really good pace and I will do my best to come back through the field and get to score some more good points.”
Guanyu, to what degree are you starting to think about playing it more conservative on street tracks to get some good points? We is feeling all pointy this time.
GZ: “Not really, not much because obviously it’s too early to play for the championship, thinking too much about the standings but at the same time, with this new format, it forces all the drivers to be more consistent, to not doing any mistakes. Particularly in Race 1, I guess. I was expecting to be more cautious for other people at the back but after I saw two runner-up guys crash I was quite surprised. In general, you know, Race 1 it’s important to finish in the top 10 and, like Dan (Ticktum) said, to qualify in top 5 to give you a good (opportunity of) points scoring at the weekend. And then it’s a long championship, we’re heading to new tracks. Some tracks we are strong, some tracks we are lacking performance so you never know. But overall, you always have to be on top of yourself, on top of the car and just keep scoring these points in the bag.”
Is Dan like the new guru of F2 now that everyone is quoting him! For many a driver in Formula 2 he’ll be like Maharishi to the Beatles in a way. Transcendental racing-ation. Apart from the Race 1 podium, Baku must’ve felt abysmal for the current championship leader, having turned Ticktum around at the start of the second race (never meet your heroes) and not being able to turn up the pace later on, plus suffering a bit of infamy over the team radio.
Sprint Race 2.
Vips, Beckmann, Daruvala.
How much has the sunlight disturbed you in the PM today? Did you set the controls for the heart of the sun or not really?
DB: “Actually, it was not a big deal, I thought I make both helmets ready, I’ve one with a bit lighter visor, but actually I chose the darker one because I was a bit scared that with the sun really, really low it’s really bad. So better to have a dark visor because you cannot see over the horizon, but it was not too bad, with all the buildings (around the circuit) you never looked in the sun, I think just at Turn 13. It was not a big deal.”
JV: “I think we were lucky the way the sun sets. I think there was quite a lot of sun breaking into Turn 1 but it was sort of coming from behind us, it was fine. The first five or six laps it was pretty bad for me because I run the medium visor and I didn’t even think of changing it to be honest. That was pretty bright for me and you have to be quite precise as well. From lap five or six it was pretty easy there because there was like a shadow that came up. It was fine.”
JD: “Similar to what Juri said, I felt it mainly at Turn 1, I couldn’t really see my reference board any more so I had to use something else. That was the only change and it didn’t really take long.”
What else did you use? For braking points and such.
JD: “I don’t really wanna say.” #shy
JV: “Oh let’s see, like a tree or something?”
JD: “Yeah, shadow.”
JV (laughs): “It was twenty metres every lap.”
And Juri, why do you think your team, Hitech, has adapted so well to Baku?
JV: “I dunno. It’s the best team, that’s why! I dunno, I really don’t, the car has been…” Amazing, probably.
Lovely mind games, what a smart kid: one can’t give anything away in this championship. We would’ve taken “we worked hard together with the team to get on top of our issues, but I can’t tell you what it is at the moment” kind of thing.
F2 moves to Silverstone next in a month’s time. Stay hydrated, wash your hands. Toodle-pip.
PS If you do the math correcty, with 4 races across the weekend Formula 2 could reach 200 races mark a lot faster.