Abu Dhabi GP 2020 - GP preview - AlphaTauri
“We are real night owls at the moment with a third race under floodlights coming up. But it’s nice to race when it’s a bit cooler in the evening. I like these races and Singapore too as it makes a change from usual. I am always optimistic by nature, so I think we can have a good weekend and, even if the team’s history at this track isn’t great, I think we can change that this year. I like the track a lot, especially the last sector, which is very technical where you get into a rhythm through a lot of corners. The first two sectors are more about engine power with all the straights, this year we have made a good step forward on this front and we are competitive, so I reckon we should have a good race pace. This has been a very strange and busy season for everyone, running 17 races in five and a half months, so very intense for everyone in the paddock. For us drivers, there was not much time to pause for breath, but for all the mechanics and team personnel especially, there were so many journeys and flights with very little time spent at home. It will be good for everyone to be able to spend the end of the year with their families. That’s what I’ll be doing and it will be nice to know I got through the season and can relax a bit, even though we all have to continue to be careful with the virus.
“It’s true that with all the restrictions it’s been less enjoyable, I’m thinking mainly of the fact we hardly saw any fans at the circuits all year, so it lacked a bit of energy and atmosphere. But overall, we were very lucky to have such a busy season, because there are plenty of other sports where that has not been the case. We actually managed to get pretty much a complete season of racing which is great. Even if for some people, there were difficult times and unpleasant memories, for me it will always be a historic year as the year of my first Formula 1 win. I will never forget the emotions I felt at Monza, in what was the best ever season for this team.”
“Last weekend in Bahrain was a good one for me, I was happy with the performance on Friday and I was pleased with how Qualifying went. The race itself was strange, the safety cars didn’t really work out for me in terms of timing, so even though the team did nothing wrong, I was hoping for better from sixth on the grid. However, it was still in some ways my best drive of the year, even though the result doesn’t show it. Looking ahead to Abu Dhabi, I quite like the Yas Marina circuit, it’s a nice modern facility, although maybe it has too many run-off areas for my liking, nevertheless it’s very technical, especially the last sector. You have to be on it all the time to be able to attack it as well as possible. It has some good straights and well placed DRS zones so you can usually have some fun there in the race. In the past, I won the GP3 title there and in F1 I’ve finished in the points a couple of times.
“It’s our third race in a row under floodlights and I like racing at night. Looking back at the season overall, it’s not been too bad, even if sometimes the results didn’t come where they should have, where my guys and I deserved to score more points than we did. Sometimes it was a bit frustrating, but overall I had a lot of strong races this year, which I’m grateful for. All in all, it’s been a year of ups and downs, but I felt I grew as a driver. I had a lot more experience and I was able to stay cool when things weren’t going my way and I still managed to have a very strong second half of the year. I am happy with that. It has been a unique season run in unusual circumstances and everyone who was a part of it will remember it for a long while. Everyone at AlphaTauri has had to work even harder than usual to put two cars on track each weekend and we definitely made a step up this year.”
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