Emilia Romagna GP 2020 - GP preview - Red Bull
How does it feel to achieve your 40th career podium?
I don’t really pay much attention to the numbers and of course it is nice to be adding more podiums but we are all here to win so we need to keep working and trying to become even better as a Team. Our goal as a Team always has to be getting on the top step.
F1 has not raced at Imola since 2006, what sort of challenges do you think we will face?
I don’t think it’s going to be easy to set-up the car because we only have one practice session which could make it interesting, especially for the engineers! I don’t expect the anti-clockwise track to be a problem, even though there aren’t many on the calendar, but this track is quite narrow and there are a lot of kerbs you have to take. It’s going to be important to find a good compromise between top speed on the long straight and also having decent cornering to hit the kerbs well.
The track is narrow and renowned for being difficult to overtake on but you went from 11th to 2nd in an F3 race, what do you expect in an F1 car?
I’m really looking forward to racing there in an F1 car, the last time for F1 was in 2006 and I think the circuit has changed a little bit since then. I raced there in Formula 3 and really enjoyed it, especially coming through the field in the race. You need a decent amount of top speed as well as a good set-up but there are some overtaking opportunities. Of course F1 cars are harder to follow than F3 cars so overtaking won’t be easy but we’ll have to wait and see what is possible. If we can get qualifying right then hopefully we won’t need to overtake too much. Overall I think it’s going to be a really cool addition to the calendar.”
What are your thoughts on last weekend’s race in Portugal? It was a strange race with cold tyre temperatures affecting several teams.
It was a strange and messy race. I had a poor start and the first few opening laps weren’t good as we were struggling with cold tyres and no grip. For whatever reason, the soft compound just wouldn’t work properly so it was like driving on black ice for the opening laps where we were just sliding without any warning. Once the tyres were up to temperature everything was fine but by then the damage was done and we were stuck in a DRS train which just killed our tyres.
Aside from the race, how would you sum up the weekend in general?
In my opinion, over the Free Practice sessions and qualifying, it was one of my stronger weekends this year. I felt like we were pretty solid and whilst qualifying could have gone better, in general it has been improving throughout the year which I’m happy about. I feel like I’m getting better and feeling more at home with the car on short runs so now the big focus is on race starts and getting off the line well as that’s what compromised us in Portugal, together with the cold tyres. I’m looking forward to putting it behind us and having a solid weekend in Imola which is a track that I’m excited to drive at again.
You’ve driven at Imola before, what is it like as a track?
I drove at Imola in my first year of car racing, back in Formula Renault. It’s a really cool circuit and super historical so I’m excited to drive there in a Formula One car. Imola is very, very quick which is always fun for a driver and it’s similar to Suzuka in that it’s about high speed precision with very little margin for error. I think it will be important for us to qualify well and be up there so that we can race in clean air and fight at the front so we don’t lose time battling other cars.
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