Another day off in Shanghai, before heading for Bahrain. I feel comfortable here: it’s a city that’s full of life and that offers so many things to do. And on top of that, the weather is really lovely today, as you can see in the photo I’ve posted on @alo_oficial. I had lunch in a nice open-air restaurant on the Bund with my physio Fabrizio, my manager Luis and some guys from the team. For once, Formula 1 did not appear on the topics of conversation as we just had a bit of healthy fun. Everyone needs a bit of break, otherwise you’ll struggle to be at your best over the race weekend, don’t you think?
Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re not thinking about the next race, far from it. I am well aware that in Sakhir, we can expect another difficult weekend, which is only natural, partly because of the track characteristics and also because the car is the same one we had in Shanghai. Both the Scuderia and I have a good record in Bahrain: the team has four victories here and I’ve got three, the last of which was also my debut race for the Prancing Horse. But the past counts for nothing in this sport and this weekend will be all about damage limitation for us. The championship is very open and there are a lot of teams that can aspire to victory, but clearly we need to make a leap forward to be more competitive if we want to aspire to coming out on top at the end. We have to take the step forward as soon as possible. I have faith in the team and I know everyone at Maranello is giving their all so that we can reach this objective.
This weekend we will do our best and I hope I can have a race where I spend less time in traffic than I did last Sunday. It was definitely frustrating not being able to get almost a single traffic-free lap because my pace, at least in some phases of the race was not at all bad. However, when I found myself behind Hamilton after the final stop, he had the turn of speed to get past the others, whereas I had to turn somersaults to overtake in rather more difficult places than the very long straight. Not only that, but I also had little hope of defending my position when others used the DRS, as was the case with Maldonaldo. I had passed him, but then he got me back just at the braking point for Turn 14.
I want to congratulate the pit crew: again in China they were the quickest and to do a time of 2”6 up to the green light, not once, but twice, as they recorded that time with both me and Felipe, is really a great time!
Today also sees the start of an important cycle in Real Madrid’s season: in just over a week, it will go up against Bayern Munich twice for the Champions League semi-final and, in between they take on Barca at the Camp Nou in the return match of what is known as “the Clasico.” I hope I can find a Chinese TV channel tonight showing the Munich match: the commentary might be hard to follow, but it’s the picture that matters!