Proud to drive for Ferrari
April 24, 2006
I started fourth and finished fourth: that was the story of my San Marino Grand Prix. After what was a tough race, I can be happy with this result, especially when you look at the combined number of points me and Michael brought home. Seeing that Michael fought all through the race with Alonso in the Renault and I was fighting both McLarens, honestly it is something I can be happy about. Yes, I might have made it to the podium, but I lost some time behind an Aguri at just the critical time, which meant I was just unable to keep ahead of Montoya. On the second stint, I had some graining after the first couple of laps out of the pits. It lasted about five or six laps when it was really difficult to keep up a good pace. But then the tyres cleaned up and we were back on a goodish pace. So, after three unlucky races, I am happy with fourth and to see our team take its first win of the season.
I reckon that Sunday’s race shows we don’t need much to be exactly the same level in terms of performance as the others. We have to think carefully about how we tackle the next race, but I think we are definitely at the right level to fight with the other top guys at every race now. On Sunday night, I said that naturally, it would have been nicer to finish on the podium, as fourth is still the best I have done in my F1 career so far, with two other finishes in this position. But now, I think I can look to do better in the coming races.
After the race, I was asked what I thought was the secret behind Michael still being able to win races after so many years in the sport. For me, 37 does not seem very old. There have been drivers winning who were older than that. Michael is just motivated and that is the main thing in any sport. I am younger and I am very motivated and I would hope to reach Michael’s age and still have that same level of motivation.
Speaking of age, tomorrow, Tuesday, is my twenty fifth birthday. I am not planning to do anything special though. Since Imola, I have not gone home, but have stayed in Italy, in Milan, as I am testing at Fiorano for three days, starting on Wednesday. So, I will be spending my birthday in Maranello at Ferrari, which I think many guys my age would think is actually very special indeed. And I guess I would have to agree with them!