Thoughts from Bortoleto, Saucy and Mini
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations to the top three Qualifiers for the FIA Formula 3 Feature Race here at Albert Park. In third place, Gabriele Minì for Hitech Pulse-Eight, in second place, Grégoire Saucy for ART Grand Prix and on pole position for Trident, Gabriel Bortoleto. Gabriel, what an amazing session. It was so busy, there was so much going on. How do you sum up how it went for you?
Gabriel Bortoleto: It was an amazing session for me. I would say that was one of the most difficult Qualifying I've done, with two red flags. We always need to do the lap at the last moment as possible. I managed to do my best in the last lap. I improved 0.6s from my second-best lap. On the first lap of my second set of new tyres, I was coming for a very quick lap and then I got caught in traffic. Knowing this, I knew that I needed to do the lap at the last moment because. So yeah, it was a tough Qualifying but nice.
FIA Formula 3: That final red flag with 5 minutes to go, how did that interrupt the flow of the session for you and how much did the track change by the time you went back out?
Bortoleto: When you are in the car you are concentrated and then suddenly the session stops and you need to wait, and you don't have much information about how long it's going to take to come back. Then you don't know if your tyres are at the right temperature or not. I think it's all about trusting the team as well that they would do a good job, and they did a good job. I did my part on track and we showed the real potential of Trident.
FIA Formula 3: Let's talk about the potential because of course you won the Feature Race in Bahrain. You've backed that up with pole position here, is this confirmation that you really can challenge for the Championship this year?
Bortoleto: I hope so that's been my target from the beginning of the season. I think every session that we are doing, we are showing that we can be in the top three or top five and I think we can for sure fight for the title.
FIA Formula 3: Alright. The final one from me, let's get your thoughts on the Albert Park circuit. How challenging is it? How much are you enjoying?
Bortoleto: It's an amazing track, an amazing circuit. I think it's one of the nicest I've been to. It's like a mix of a street circuit and a normal circuit. It’s very challenging because there are some high-speed corners and the walls are very close, so you need to find the limit but not go over them because then you finish in the wall. It’s an amazing track. I'm very happy to be here and I was lucky to join F3 this season and have this one on the calendar.
FIA Formula 3: Very well done to you. Good luck with the rest of the weekend. Grégoire, coming to you now so close to pole position. Just over a tenth behind Gabriel, can you visualise where you lost the time to him?
Grégoire Saucy: As Gabriel said, it was a tricky Qualifying because of the two red flags, but P2 is still good. Really good. I'm happy the car was really good. We managed to have a better car than in FP and we are more or less the same top three as Bahrain Qualifying, just in different positions. Now I need to find my 0.15s compared to Gabriel. I think I lost a bit on the exit of T10 and the exit of the last corner. We can see on the video that the last corner was, really, really close to the wall so I lost a bit of time on the exit. Now we will work for the races. I did P3 in Bahrain, and P2 here, I hope that the next one will be even better.
FIA Formula 3: Let's talk about the races. The Feature Race in particular. Are you confident of the long-run pace of your car?
Saucy: We tried to do two pushes in a row; there is not so much deg. So, I'm quite confident about the car balance. I'm really confident about it. We will work tonight with the team to get a good car for the morning.
FIA Formula 3: Grégoire, can we get your thoughts on Albert Park. Do you agree with everything, Gabriel said about the track?
Saucy: When I did my first push this morning in FP, it was really amazing. The track is really nice and it's like a normal track but in the city.
FIA Formula 3: Alright, very well done to you and Gabriele coming to you now. Tell us about your session. You seem to have made quite a jump from FP this morning.
Gabriele Minì: Actually, this morning we were very quick. I think our car was working very well, probably completing the lap at the end would have been probably P1. We struggled a bit to be honest in the first part of Qualifying. When it was five minutes to go with the last time I had, I think I would have been outside of the top 12 at the end so it was crucial to improving on the last push, which we did. I think it's not bad. We found also some better set-up changes. So, we'll see how it goes in the races now.
FIA Formula 3: How much did the track evolve during the Qualifying session?
Minì: to be honest, it evolved quite a lot and we started with the mid 1:34s and we ended with the low 1:33s. Of course, that's both on driving and on track conditions changing. But yeah, it was a pretty big change.
FIA Formula 3: All right, so throwing it forward to the races. Clearly, you say you were quick in FP. Do you think you've got a car that can challenge Gabriel for the win?
Minì: I think that's something we will only find on Sunday because we know track conditions and wind and all those kinds of things will change the performance of the car a lot. I think we just have to work hard, understand how our car is tomorrow in the Sprint Race and try to do good in Sunday’s race.
FIA Formula 3: And Gabriele, your first time at Albert Park? Your thoughts on this fantastic race track?
Minì: Well, I think Gabriel and Grégoire already said it all. The track is amazing. I think both for me and for the whole grid, it's a pleasure to drive on such a fantastic track. You cannot make any mistakes, otherwise, you're for sure on the wall. It's also demanding us for us drivers.
FIA Formula 3: All right, look. Very well done to you.