'It finally worked out' says overjoyed Leimer
6 July 2012
Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer was savouring clinching pole position at Silverstone on Friday, proving himself to be untouchable in the most difficult conditions that the drivers have had to face all season so far.
"Finally it worked out, I am really happy," said the 23-year-old. "In free practice, when I drove in the rain for the first time this season, I already felt really comfortable and we saw that today a lot was possible."
Leimer was only tenth fastest in the midday practice session, but knew even at that point that there was plenty more to come.
"I was already one second ahead in sector one, but always had yellow or red flags in the following sectors," he explained. "We hoped for the rain to be a bit less as it would allow a proper qualifying and this is what happened.
"I pushed already for a fast lap when my tyres were not yet 100% there, but when I heard I was in P1, I felt really good as I knew that I made several mistakes during that lap and therefore there were further improvements possible," he added.
Then came the mid-session red flag for cars stopping out on track, allowing him to get a second set of wet tyres, only for the rain to ease off and make it difficult for anyone to go faster in the variable conditions. Not that it matter as far as pole position was concerned: Leimer was already so far ahead that no one could close the gap before the chequered flag came out.
"I am extremely happy with today's results and want to really thank the entire team as the car was very, very good today," he said, after a wet qualifying experience that had clearly meant a great deal to him and taught him a lot. "[Previously] I didn't feel too confident in wet conditions, but now I really like the rain," he laughed.
His team boss at Racing Engineering, Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, was also delighted with the pole position performance by his lead driver.
"Fantastic work by Fabio," he said. "First pole of the season and it was about time as he proved to be so fast and therefore so close to it during all the previous weekends."
Unfortunately things did not quite go so according to plan for Leimer's team mate Nathanaël Berthon, whose first experience in driving in wet conditions in GP2 was hampered by late yellow flags for more cars stopped out on the track, which prevented him from improving his lap time at the end.
"Before the red flag I was in P9 and this could have been my best qualifying result so far," he said. "But when the session restarted and I had the second set of tyres mounted, I couldn't improve my lap times anymore. I tried to defend the position with this second set, but unfortunately it didn't work out as planned.
"The conditions were generally quite difficult - the visibility was really bad in free practice, but improved for qualifying," he pointed out, before going on to praise the work of his team mate in the session. "Fabio did a really good job today, so I would like to congratulate him to his pole position."
Now Leimer has to convert the pole position to a race win on Saturday, but the Swiss driver was confident that this would probe to be possible - and could even be helped by the forecast of changeable conditions and possible heavy showers.
"Today we showed that we are always quick and there under both wet and dry conditions," he said.
The 29-lap feature race 1 will take place on Saturday afternoon at 2.40pm after the F1 qualifying session, while the shorter 21-lap sprint race 2 is on Sunday morning at 9.40am. All the GP2 sessions are scheduled to be shown live on Sky Sports F1.