THOUGHTS FROM POURCHAIRE, ZENDELI AND SMOLYAR
FIA Formula 3: Hello and welcome to the press conference with the top three qualifiers for Race 1 of this weekend's FIA Formula 3 Championship round at Monza. We are joined by pole-sitter Théo Pourchaire for ART Grand Prix. In second place is Lirim Zendeli for Trident, and third is Alexander Smolyar, also for ART Grand Prix. Théo, your first pole position in Formula 3. Just how proud are you with that result?
Théo Pourchaire: I'm really proud. It was one of my goals before the end of the season to get pole position. It feels amazing in Monza. This track is amazing, so big thanks to the team. The lap was amazing. I had a big tow, and everything was good, and then my first pole. Super happy.
FIA Formula 3: Your lap looked like a very clean one in what was quite a messy Qualifying session. Were you surprised by the gap to the rest of the field? It was nearly half a second in that session.
Théo: Yeah, I was a bit surprised. I had a big tow and I think that's made the difference for sure. I was strong in the corners and everything, the car was really good. The balance of the car was almost perfect. Everything went well today, so I can just be happy with that result.
FIA Formula 3: Well done today. Thank you very much. Lirim, pole in Belgium, second here... You're on a roll right now aren't you?
Lirim Zendeli: It seems like it yeah. Well done to Théo. I think his was a mega lap, because I actually did a good lap. I missed a bit of the tow on the first straight, but I closed up at the end. In the end, we are happy with the result. We showed again that our car is strong. ART did a good job also, getting on top there, but the fight is tomorrow.
FIA Formula 3: You mentioned the team, just how tricky was the whole Qualifying session with the traffic situation out there?
Lirim: I was at the front, so I was lucky with my position. I think we all were a bit lucky with our positions. Everything from P12 or P15, to the back, was impossible to do a lap I think, from what I saw. I was a bit lucky, so I just kept my position and did a good lap. That's what counts at the end.
FIA Formula 3: Well done today. Alexander, another top three Qualifying performance for you. You did the exact same time as Liam Lawson but set the lap time just three seconds before him to secure third. How happy were you with that performance?
Alexander Smolyar: I'm happy. It's still the top three. I would have liked to maybe fight for the pole, but Théo did a really good lap. Good job to him. I'm still quite happy. Especially as Qualifying is really important here, and I have the possibility to fight for the win or a podium tomorrow. Anyway, the session was tricky, and I got a bit lucky with my position on the track at the time. Everything kind of went well today, and I'm happy with it.
FIA Formula 3: You didn't quite manage to convert a top three start into a podium last week, but you were close. How keen are you to finally get that first podium tomorrow?
Alexander: Let's give it another shot for sure! I hope we don't have the same problems we had in Race 1 at Spa. Let's see how it goes. I'm really hoping for the podium. With just two weekends left, so I'm really willing it to happen. Let's see how it goes tomorrow.
FIA Formula 3: Good luck tomorrow, thank you very much. Théo, just coming back to you. We know there's a few investigations still to be ironed out after that Qualifying session, but what were the tactics from your point of view, and just how difficult was it to handle the traffic today?
Théo: It was really difficult. Just like Trident and Hitech, ART were quite near the front, so that helped a lot for sure. Then, there is some investigation on me for impeding some cars... On the last lap I tried my maximum to move out of the racing line, and some drivers - I would say a lot of drivers - stayed on the racing line in Turn 3. I did my maximum, and we will see what decision the Stewards take. From my point of view, I did everything and it was fine.