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Firestone Indy Lights: St. Petersburg 100

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  St. Petersburg 100

Firestone Indy Lights: St. Petersburg 100

Esteban Guerrieri
Sebastian Saavedra
Tristan Vautier
March 24, 2012


THE MODERATOR:  We'll get started.  We're pleased to be joined by the top three finishes from today's.  Up first is Tristan Vautier. 
Talk about what you had to do to get atop the podium.
TRISTAN VAUTIER:  It's great.  I'm really happy about that day.  Pole was a big advantage.  I just tried to hold Esteban for the first laps and take care of my tires. 
No, great day.  Really happy to be here represent Mazda.  I wouldn't be here without their help.  Big thanks to all the partners associated to the program, IndyCar, Firestone, and Sam Schmidt Motorsports who allow me to be here today. 
Really happy to be here and really looking forward to celebrate tonight. 
THE MODERATOR:  In second place, Esteban Guerrieri.  Do you think improving your position here for the first race will help you for the rest of the year? 
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI:  First of all, let me congratulate the guys, Tristan and my friend Sebastian, as well. 
So, yeah, I think it was a pretty good start to the season.  Two weeks ago, I didn't know if I was coming to race in the U.S.  It's not too bad the way we starting now. 
Very good job from the Sam Schmidt Motorsports team.  I want to thank them and my guys that did a very good job.  It's a very good start.  From now obviously we want to keep being consistent, which I didn't have very much last year.  That didn't allow me to fight for the championship in the last race. 
I think today I understood that my pace was good.  In the middle was not so great, so I had to save the tires.  In the end I just push hundred percent to try to get Tristan.  We were pushing both to the limits.  He didn't do any mistakes, so very good from his side. 
Bringing points home is very important.  From now it's a start to keep looking for the championship.  So really happy.  Thanking to my Argentinian sponsors.  Obviously they cannot hear me right now, but it would be good if you write it down because it's a good Argentinian program starting with me.  Hopefully we can keep going and for future young guys to come to race here would be really good.  Hopefully we can make this happen for these kids starting in go-karts and moving forward. 
THE MODERATOR:  Finishing in third place is Sebastian Saavedra.  Talk about your race today. 
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA:  I'm very, very happy, for sure, to be back with the team, Andretti Autosports.  It was a very interesting weekend for all of us.  We did an incredible job putting the car in a very fast pace. 
Struggled a little bit in traffic in the qualifying session.  This place takes advantage of a good qualifying.  But it was a big battle to try to pass Carbone and Webb at the end.  It was a very interesting race, something that feels good to be back on the podium.  Of course, try to bring a lot more. 
Last year Sam Schmidt guys were very strong.  This year we knew they were going to be the guys to beat.  It's not going to be easy but that's why I'm here, I guess. 

Q.  Tristan, talk a little bit about your restarts.  You had some fairly fierce competitors behind you. 
TRISTAN VAUTIER:  Yeah, yeah, for sure.  Some experienced guys.  The first one was actually tough because I did such a big gap.  No, just try to focus not doing any mistake in the last corner of the track where I have to get a good run.  Try to get good traction out of the last corner. 
Be good on cold tires, it's tough.  The first restarts, I think the tires were super cold.  Then I learned for the other restarts that we had to wait even more.  I think Esteban was the same.  We started a sketchy lap on the restart. 
It was good.  It was tough mentally because you manage to build up a small gap, and everything is to do again.  But we know on street races it's pretty often the case, so I was not too surprised to have a yellow.  When I built up the gap at first, I knew there were many chances I would have to do it again. 
Yeah, the last one was tough.  Esteban made it tough for me, he pushed me really hard.  Great job from him, great job from Sebastian.  We were I think all three very close at the end.  It's good to have such good guys to push me.  I hope we can keep it up. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA:  Starting fourth, we knew that the first thing we need to do was a conservative start.  I was not going to try to pass anyone.  I just wanted to keep my position. 
Carbone looking up big-time on my right side.  I need to give him room.  If not, I wouldn't be speaking to you guys.  I lost that position and I knew I needed to focus to pass him and not let these guys in front get away. 
It was quite a tough competitor because he was not doing any mistake at all and I needed to push him to his limits.  I didn't have a very good straightaway.  I knew that everything was going to be having a good exit from the last corner.  I just did it and was able to get a very good run into him into turn one, again, passing him and focusing on front. 
The yellow situation happened.  I think I got a little bit of my experience with IndyCar knowing it was going to be crucial to have the rear tires and the front tires in a good, warm position.  I took advantage of that and I used it in my full advantage to pass him on a very clean start. 
Finishing the third position, we needed the points.  This is going to be a battle that is going to go throughout the championship.  I'm pleased that it's two very strong guys that are trying to push my limits and everyone's limits. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA:  Very pleased to be back.  It's a strong series that matures a driver for IndyCar.  I believe we have very strong competition this year, that it's the best way to really improve and get very well-prepared again. 
I think I'm very happy for the amount of Colombians that were here.  It's amazing.  I was very happy to see that.  One thing, these numbers are growing. 
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you all for attending.  Congratulations. 

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