Q and A with Nelson Piquet Jr ING Renault F1 Team test driver Nelson Piquet Jr., who graduated from the GP2 Series to a test driver role with the Formula One World Champions for the 2007 season, provides an insight to the seventh round of the Bridgestone-backed GP2 Series which will support the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring (3-5 August). Piquet Jr. is the only driver in the history of the GP2 Series who has scored a maximum of 20 points during a race weekend - taking pole position, winning both races and setting the fastest lap in each race - in Hungary 2006.
What are your memories of racing in Hungary with the GP2 Series in 2006? For the whole of last year we [Piquet Sports] had a good car at most of the circuits and had seven pole positions after ten races. But in Hungary, in particular, it seemed that the other teams just didn’t have a close pace to us.
What was the key to managing your tires at the Hungaroring? For us last year we had a good set-up, and I managed to drive in a way that meant we kept the Bridgestones good for most of the race. It is the hardest track on the tires out of the whole year. My engineer did a very good job and in the race I was able to save the tires, something which we managed to do better than the other teams.
What areas do you have to look out for? The circuit is high on tire wear because it’s a bumpy track. It has no grip so finding traction is difficult and also it’s really hot. For qualifying you are always trying to push the car to its limits, but for the race there you need to be really careful not to use your tires too hard too soon. Usually there’s a big difference between the qualifying and race pace in Hungary, as you have to back off a lot in the race.
Would you say it is a fast circuit? It’s not a really fast circuit; it’s a bit tricky with lots of bumps and curbs that you have to use. It’s a circuit where experience helps a lot, and I have raced there twice with the GP2 Series.
How good an introduction to Formula One is the GP2 Series? It is really important, especially for the tracks as you learn them very well. The GP2 car is a tough car to drive, it’s not easy at all, it’s quick and it’s very snappy. I think the quick drivers in GP2 will be successful - GP2 is as competitive as Formula One. Hopefully Timo Glock [iSport International] will be in Formula One next year - I think he really deserves to be.
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