Another great result for us in Melbourne and overall, a fantastic start to the season, with the team leading both championships. I had quite a tough weekend in Albert Park, so to start fifth and finish third, to get my second podium finish in a row meant I was really happy on Sunday night. Why the tough time? Because as soon as conditions got cooler, which meant from Friday afternoon practice onwards, I struggled to get my tyres up to the best operating temperature. Fernando didn’t seem to have that difficulty, which means it is probably down to a difference in our driving styles - maybe I’m a bit less aggressive - and the way we like to set up our cars. You have to also consider that the tyres were very hard, which is why we did almost the entire race, around fifty laps apart from a few early laps in the wet, on the softer of the two types. The fact we still managed to bring home a good total of points will be very important for this championship when we get to the later stages.
The race itself was very enjoyable and good fun and I’m sure the people in the grandstands and at home liked having so much action to watch. I seemed to spend a lot of time being passed by or passing Webber! He overtook me when I made a mistake and he was able to get a tow from my slipstream, also helped by the fact that, in those first twenty laps on slicks, my grip level was quite low. But as my tyres degraded, I found more front grip and could keep him behind him.
I stayed in Melbourne until Monday evening, going out with some friends on Sunday night and Tuesday I have arrived in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia at this time of year is very hot and sticky, making the race itself very tough in terms of your physical condition. I make a point of training outdoors rather than in the gym, running and doing other exercises, so that I get used to working in the hot conditions. And you make sure you go easy on the air conditioning, as the offices at the track can be so cold, it can cause problems.
In 2009 this race started at five in the afternoon, the same as Australia and I’m glad the organisers have brought forward the start by one hour. Last year, it was a shame for us that because of the tropical storm, the race could not be restarted, because the visibility was no longer good enough by the time the track conditions would have been safe enough for a re-start. Let’s hope we don’t have that problem this time, as it is also unfair on the spectators if they don’t get to see a real race. In fact, I think we need to look again at the start time in Melbourne for the future, as visibility was beginning to be a bit of an issue towards the end of the race.
The Sepang track is very different to Albert Park and it will be interesting to see if the Red Bulls are still very competitive on this circuit also. Hopefully, we can push them harder and pick up our pace a little bit. We must wait until practice starts to get a clearer picture. We have had two good first races and now we must keep working in this direction and bring home as many points as possible, whatever the situation in Sepang.