An uphill start but no dramas
March 28, 2011
It wasn’t the start that we all wanted but nor is it anything to get worried about. I already said it yesterday evening at the track: 12 points is not far below the world champion’s average last year and two title contenders finished behind me. So overall the Australian Grand Prix can’t be defined as disastrous. Certainly, in qualifying we were very far from Vettel’s Red Bull and far from Hamilton’s McLaren but in the race the situation improved – perhaps not compared to Sebastian but certainly against the others. The start was a pity: if I hadn’t found myself down in 9th place at the beginning of the first lap I’d have been able to fight to the finish for the two lower steps of the podium.
I’m not one of those who believes a degree of temperature here or there can determine major changes in the performance of the car on the track. So I don’t agree that the fact that yesterday was hotter compared to Saturday necessarily played into our favour. On Friday, when temperatures were similar to those during qualifying, the car went very well. The next day, from the morning, it wasn’t so good and we have to understand why that happened by carefully analysing the data.
For me there weren’t any big surprises this weekend, particularly because I didn’t arrive in Melbourne with a clear idea of how the grid would line up. From the tests, especially this year, it was difficult to have a realistic picture of the situation. The only positive surprise was the behaviour of the Pirelli tyres which, at least at Albert Park, showed less degradation than what we saw at the test. We will see how things go in Malaysia at Sepang, on a track that is very different to the semi-street circuit of Albert Park.
I’ve stayed in Australia and I will remain here until the beginning of next week, when I will head to Malaysia. It’s important to prepare very well for the next two rounds, which are back-to-back. They are both very demanding from the physical point of view, especially Sepang where we drive in very high temperatures.