Abu Dhabi GP 2021 - AlphaTauri F1 preview
“That race in Jeddah is possibly the craziest race I have ever been in. I had to wait until I watched it all on TV to see all the battles and incidents and understand everything. Over a single lap, the track was brilliant to drive, but it got a bit crowded in the race! We showed good pace again right from free practice on Friday and that resulted in another fantastic Qualifying. In the end, I started sixth and finished sixth which is great, even though after the start I lost some places, but it’s the final result and points that matter. And speaking of points, I am happy to have reached 100 points total for the first time in my F1 career.
Last year in Abu Dhabi I scored some points, starting tenth and finishing eighth. I’ve always liked it and there’s a special atmosphere as it’s the last race of the season, the end of all the hard work over a year. And even the track itself is quite interesting, although the layout has been changed for this year, making it overall a bit faster and more flowing, so I’m looking forward to seeing what effect that has on making overtaking easier.
The weekend also marks the end of an era as it is the last time we race with these cars, the ones I’ve known since I started in F1, before the very big change to the technical rules comes in for next year, with new wheel sizes and a completely new look and design for the cars. So, it would be nice to end what has been a very good year for the team on a high note, showing a strong performance at the final race.”
“The Saudi Arabia track definitely produced the exciting race everyone had predicted, even if my own Sunday did not go as well as it should have done. I really loved driving that track, with the high speeds and the walls so close. In the race I had quite good pace, but I should have been more patient in trying to overtake Vettel. It’s another lesson to learn from this rookie season, but overall, I am quite pleased with my driving at the moment.
As for Abu Dhabi, I have never raced there, but I have driven the Yas Marina track before in a Formula 1 car when I took part in the Young Driver Test at the end of last year. I still remember that test very well. I had driven an F1 car before, but never the current car from that actual season. It was very exciting for me, especially the first time out of the garage.
But actually, there will be new things to learn this year for everyone, as they have made quite big changes to the track layout to try and make overtaking easier. My first impression is that it’s now a much faster and more flowing layout and so it will be interesting to see what effect that has on tyre wear for example, as that used to be a consideration in the past. Even if the track will be very different, I still feel as though I know what it is like from my past experience there. It should be easier to adapt, so I plan to maximise the opportunity and score as many points as possible. It will be the last time I am racing as a rookie, so I plan to enjoy my last race with this status and see if we can finish the season on a high.”
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