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Many eyes were on GP2 rookie driver Nico Hulkenberg in Bahrain and Qatar but a podium finish in Bahrain and 2 points in Qatar's feature race were a stunning start to Edoardo Mortara's GP2 career. GPUpdate.net caught up with the Italian who will start from first row in today's (Saturday) sprint race.
How do you look back on your GP2 debut in Bahrain? You were on the podium after your first GP2 race ever.
Fortunately, Bahrain was a nice weekend. We had a good free practice session, a good qualifying session and a good first race. I was a bit surprised by what we did in Bahrain but pleased. It was a lot to take in with the new car, the clutch differences and the pitstops, but I learnt a lot and in very little time. With only thirty minutes for free practice I think we took a big step forward in first instance.
You're main rival in the F3 Euroseries, Nico Hulkenberg, also performed great in Bahrain. More prove that the F3 Euroseries is a good learning place for a driver?
I am not surprised Nico Hulkenberg did well in Bahrain. He did really well last year and he is a test driver for Williams F1, so I was expecting him to be competitive. I am sure that the F3 Euroseries is a very competitive series for the step into GP2. It is really important for the drivers and the gap difference between the series is very close, so you really need to be on top every weekend. It's a series where you can develop the car with your team, so it teaches you a lot about the way you have to set up a car and helps you develop a relationship with the engineer. I am happy that I had the chance to compete in this series for 2007 and 2008.
What's the biggest difference between the F3 car and the GP2 car you are driving now in the Asia Series? And what are the differences between the GP2 Asia car and the GP2 Main Series car that you've tested last October?
The two championship cars are completely different. The GP2 car is a lot more powerful but a lot heavier and the F3 is not really as powerful but it is really light. When driving the F3 car it is light and easy to change direction and it has a lot of grip in the corners, the GP2 car is unalike. The GP2 Asia and GP2 Main Series car difference is hard to gauge as I have not driven each of the two cars for a long period of time, not enough to give you a real comparison, but the GP2 Asia car seems to be less powerful than the GP2 Main Series car.
What are your thoughts on the night race in Qatar? Did you expect any problems or difficulties for the drivers?
I am quite excited about the night race in Qatar. Some experienced drivers joined this event but we all had the same problems as the situation was new for everybody. However, even though it was a new situation some drivers adapt more quickly than others and I think it was going to be pretty hard for everyone. It's not the night race that is the problem, it's more the sand and wind on the track, even more so than Bahrain. However, for this race I have made the same preparations. Although it is nice because you can sleep more, so you are more relaxed. Approaching this race was like other races, there have been no changes to my routine.
What are your expectations for the rest of the season?
My expectations are to perform well in the 2009 season. I will aim for some top 8 finishes and I will try to score some points as often as I can. I know that at the beginning it will be harder for me but I hope during the season I will improve and be constantly in front. So, I will do four races with Arden and this is very good for me. I can already train in the Asia Championship and start my preparation for the Main Series.
What are your plans for 2009 after this season is over? Would you like to stay at Arden?
For the moment my plans are to participate in the GP2 Main Series. Of course this will depend on my results and on the way I am improving during these four Asian races. I would really like to stay with Arden, it would be nice to continue the collaboration for the GP2 Main Series. I am starting to build a relationship with them so it would be advantageous to race with them in the Main Series too. At the moment its going pretty well so there is no reason for me to change.
F3 Euro Series
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