I am in Maranello for a few days to be as well prepared as possible for the final part of the season and specifically, the Belgian Grand Prix, the first round on the calendar after the summer break.
We have moved into the final third of the season, so it’s time to sum it up so far. I think we can be pleased with what we have done to date. We are still in the fight for the championship, which is the most important thing. It’s true that some races have gone better than others, just as there were some lucky breaks and times when bad luck seemed to follow us around, but I believe these things tend to balance out. Over the last two races, we have considerably reduced the gap to the championship leader. There are five of us all within twenty points, so it’s as if we are starting from square one: from now to the end of the championship we can expect seven finals. We must have a lot of respect for everyone. McLaren has been very strong, especially Hamilton and Red Bull has shown it always has a competitive car. This is a time to stay cool, without succumbing to the tension that will grow with every passing race, on the track and away from it. We will need to be clever to manage this situation, staying calm at all times.
We always aim for the win, but there was no chance of that in Budapest, which I was definitely not pleased about. However, we know some tracks suit our car more and others are more suited to our competitors: we must try and win the races where our car is strong and finish second in the others, as was the case in Budapest. Continuity will be the cornerstone to this title fight. It was surprising to see how the relative performance between us and Red Bull changed in the space of a week! I reckon that actually our performance is pretty similar, especially in comparison to McLaren, Mercedes and Renault and that maybe in Germany, the Red Bull car was not so competitive, while it was at its maximum in Hungary on a track that was a perfect match for its characteristics.
The break comes at the right time. July was very busy with three races in four weeks: drivers, mechanics, the whole team, we all need a rest after this rush. We set ourselves the target of reducing the points gap and we did it. Now is the time to ensure we have the right spirit in which to tackle the final seven races.
I won’t be doing anything special over the next few weeks. After leaving Maranello, I will stay with my family, partly in Switzerland and partly in Spain: no travelling, no airports, just relaxing! In my career, I have been in the fight for the title three times, from 2005 to 2007. Twice I was in the role of the hare, so I can appreciate the different situations that arise, even if does not mean much. When you are in the lead, it is very stressful if you lose points, but when you are trying to catch up you are aware that you cannot afford to make any mistakes, even if it is a nice feeling in a team when you know you are starting to fight back. As I said earlier, for us the most important thing from now to Abu Dhabi is to try and always finish on the podium: it won’t be vital to win at all costs, but whoever gets six or seven podiums will be champion.
In a few weeks, we will be at Spa, definitely the most enjoyable circuit to drive. It is a very long track, with every type of corner and climbs and drops and it gives you a fantastic feeling. There are tracks as nice as Spa, for example, I like Malaysia a lot and Monaco has a special atmosphere, but all the same, the Ardennes track is unique.