The win came at just the right time
April 8, 2008
I am in Dubai at the moment, having a few days break with my parents and my wife, which is the perfect way to relax after my win in Bahrain on Sunday. It was a nice feeling to win, especially after my bad start to the season. The win came at just the right time and getting my name on the scoreboard at last. It was also nice to be able to claim the one hundredth win which Ferrari has achieved since Luca di Montezemolo has been President. For the team also it was a perfect weekend as Kimi came second to give us maximum points.
I was not any more nervous than usual before the start on Sunday. We know the job we have to do and I was not affected by all the comments in the media about me. I knew I was sitting in the cockpit of a good car and would have a good pace, so I was calm and ready to do everything right.
My start went very well as I was able to pass Robert immediately. But even if that had not happened I would not have had much to worry about. If you looked at Robert’s lap times in Q2 and then Q3 in qualifying on Saturday, it was clear that he was running fairly light in terms of fuel, or at least lighter than us. I knew I would have around five laps more fuel than him which means I was confident I could have got past him at the first refuelling. But thanks to a good start, even this wasn’t necessary. So I was never really racing Kubica, as I knew we had a better car and a better strategy.
As usual during the grand prix, my race engineer Rob Smedley was on the radio to me all the time, every lap explaining to me how the race is unfolding, giving me the gaps to the car behind and some other drivers’ lap times. In Bahrain, he was absolutely spot on when he told immediately about the oil on the track on lap 2, which definitely helped me a lot, as he does at every race in fact.
One thing that is clear after the three races we have had so far, is that BMW has really made a step forward. But at the moment, it is hard to tell if they might be able to help us by taking points from McLaren or if they now have to be seen as genuine title contenders in their own right. It seems that at the moment McLaren and BMW are at the same level and we will have to watch both of them closely. It can go either way, in that sometimes this situation might help and sometimes it might not. Let’s wait and see what happens in the next race. However, our own focus has to be on ourselves and on our car; improving it all the time and that will bring its own rewards.
Looking at the championship after three races, I can’t say there is anything in particular that has surprised me, but as I said earlier, it is clear now that BMW-Sauber has made a step forward. Maybe McLaren is looking a little bit less consistent than last year, when they made life very difficult by scoring a lot of points in the first three races. This year that has not been the case, which is good for us, because although we have not picked up as many points as we could, neither have they. That can be positive as long as we work hard to deliver consistent results.
I am here in Dubai until Thursday when my wife and I return to Monaco and my parents go back home to Brazil. Then, next week, testing starts again for everyone and we will be in Barcelona, where I am testing for the first two days of the four day session.