Monza at the start!
September 6, 2006
Life could not be much better than going to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix, driving for Ferrari, having won the last Grand Prix!
Turkey was an amazing weekend for me. It was a great feeling and a great moment for me and my career. Istanbul is not an easy track, very technical, so driving it is not so easy and difficult also in terms of the physical effort involved. Fantastic, to start from pole and win the race was an amazing way to win your first race and then there was the podium: on one side Fernando Alonso and on the other Michael Schumacher. This was the best way to end my first win. Coming to Monza with this win under my belt is very special. This weekend will be another very important race, especially as a Ferrari driver.
One of the best things about Turkey was that both my father and mother were there together, which does not happen so often. My father comes maybe eight times a year, but my mother not so often. It was great for them and they were very proud of me.
In Istanbul I was on the pace and quick right from the start of the weekend. Everything came together: the relationship with my engineers and the other people within the team has been improving all year and we were able to show our true potential. Step by step I am growing as a driver. If you look at the last five races, I was always in the top three at the start and almost every race finished on the podium, including four out of the last five. From the mid-point of the championship to now, things have changed quite a lot for me, as I get more comfortable with the team.
Last week we had a very encouraging test at Monza. The package we have especially for this race was really working well in terms of efficiency and downforce and our lap times were consistently quick. I think we are going to be very strong in the race.
After the test, I went down to southern Italy to a town called Cerignola. It is the town where my family came from before moving to Brazil. I think now, there might still be the sister of my great-grandfather living there, but that’s all. I had already been there to visit a couple of years ago and now, after my win in Turkey, they decided to give me the freedom of the city. It was a wonderful honour for me and thousands of local people turned out in the square for the ceremony. Coming there as a winning Ferrari driver was something that surprised the locals I think. Now I hope I also get a big welcome from all the tifosi when I get to Monza on Thursday. I can’t wait. It’s going to be a really exciting week end.