Conducted and provided by Racing Engineering's press office.
Q. Lucas, things seemed to go pretty well for you in Spa-Francorchamps until the incident during Sunday's race. Can you walk us through what happened?
Luca di Grassi: That's true. The weekend started off really well. In qualifying I was leading the field until the last seconds, when Parente "stole" pole positions from me. But I knew our car was good, so I was not worried about the race. However, then I was called by the stewards and was handed a 3 positions grid penalty for, according to them, blocking another car in qualifying. I personally don't think this was the case, but we all looked forward.
Since I knew the challenge for race 1 would only be bigger, I felt even more motivated. Saturday's race went pretty well then. Of course it's not the same starting from second or fifth, but we made another podium finish, leaving us in a good position for Sunday. And Sunday's race went well until I closed on Mortara quickly. He had a problem on his car and I tried to overtake him at the Bus Stop. The cars touched and we both had to retire.
Q. After that, the stewards decided to hand you over a 10 grid positions penalty which will be applied at the Saturday race in Monza. How will this affect your preparation for the weekend in Monza?
LdG: It doesn't change anything for me or the preparation for the weekend. We will fight for wins, like always.
Q. We have seen many incidents during GP2 races this year already. People start to wonder, if the drivers are just too eager to impress and therefore the races are rich of incidents. What is your opinion?
LdG: Up to a certain point this is true. We see drivers who might not yet be at the level needed in GP2. They will obviously try to impress which in the end, this results in penalties. On the other hand, the competition in GP2 is very tight, so no one wants to give in and let another driver pass, sometimes at any cost. As a consequence, when you know you are faster, you generally have to watch out, as you don't know how another driver might react.
Obviously those, who have been racing at this level of motorsports for a longer time, such as Maldonado, who I had a very clean fight with during Saturday's race, follows the kind of ethics that tells you when or when not to give in. I was definitely forced to learn my lesson during Sunday's race as I thought Mortara would realize that I was on a much faster pace and not racing against him anymore, but against Perez, who took P2 from Mortara just a moment before.
LdG: I didn't think he would close on me, as I was so much faster, but he did. And we ended up next to the track. Was I too eager? Well, the stewards thought so. I think it was already enough of a penalty for me to lose this podium finish, but they are the ones to decide.
Q. With Monza notably known by the fact that drivers are on full throttle for a higher-than-average percentage of the lap, what would you say are the main challenges you will have to face?
LdG: Monza is obviously an exciting race track. But we also have many other prestigious tracks during the season. So, in the end, it's just one more race weekend. And like always, I will give 100% and try to get the most out of it. I know my team had been fast there last year. They made pole and were on the way to win the Saturday race comfortably. Therefore we should have a good car and the right package to go for good points, especially as we also need to make up for those we weren't able to bring home in Spa on Sunday.
Q. Taking into account the 10 positions grid penalty, what are your options and goals for the weekend in Monza? And can it maybe be an advantage to not start in the front?
LdG: Well, it's always easier to start from the front and the best is obviously the very front. However, this is no guarantee either, as we have seen during some of the previous races in Monza. There were drivers missing their breaking points and crashing into those in the front. I hope nothing like this happens, but in racing everything is possible and for me starting from, in best case, 11th position, will obviously not make things easier. I will be in the middle of the field and a bit of luck wouldn't bother me. It will be difficult to win in Monza on Saturday, but I will try my best and am optimistic for this race weekend as well.