I arrived in Bahrain this morning, on an overnight flight from Shanghai and as always, it was lovely to have Raffaela and Felipinho with me. Today, I’ve been having a rest in the hotel, as well as working on my fitness in the gym, then tomorrow it will be off the track: the first briefing of the day is at 2.30, when I meet up with my race engineer Rob Smedley and the other engineers that work specifically on my car. Then, I’m in the FIA conference and at 5.30 comes the more general meeting with all the engineers, while in the evening, I will be at an event to launch the 458 Spider to our customers. Then of course on Friday, it’s time to get back on track and honestly, I can’t wait. On Sunday in Shanghai, I finally managed to have a “normal” race, the first of the year that went off without any particular problems. Over the weekend there, things steadily got better: I was struggling with the balance of the car in all three free practice sessions and then the situation suddenly improved in qualifying, to such an extent that my gap to Fernando was considerably reduced. Then, in the race, the car was even better, but I found myself in traffic too often and was not able to make the most of the strategy I was on. A shame, as it would have been nice to finally move off the horrible zero points mark in the classification. So, that is clearly what I plan to do this weekend, by finishing the race in the top ten. If the positive trend that began in Shanghai continues, then it should be possible. It’s true that, on paper, the track characteristics do not seem that suited to the F2012, but it will be important to make the best use of the tyres, which is the real key to success here and at some other tracks too.
The Sakhir circuit is one of my favourites, and it’s not by chance that I’ve won here twice along with a second place too. Of my eleven wins, no less than eight of them have all come from just three circuits: three at Istanbul, two at Interlagos and the same number here at Sakhir. These tracks are very different to one another, so it can’t be said there is some sort of technical reason behind these statistics. However, let’s just say that, if only for reasons of bad luck, I would have been disappointed if this race had been cancelled, given that already this year, there is no Turkish Grand Prix. Furthermore, I have to say I have always enjoyed coming here, even in the days when we ran long test sessions here. The people have always been very hospitable and cordial and, as I said already in Shanghai over the past few days, I hope the Grand Prix can be an occasion for unity, as should be the case with any sporting event. From what I have seen today, the situation seems calm: on the journey from the airport to the hotel, it all seemed just as it did two years ago and according to the guys I spoke to by phone at the track, everything is going on as usual on a Wednesday at a race outside Europe. If the decision was taken to keep the race on the calendar, it means that the conditions are right to do so and from what we have seen so far, there is nothing to oppose that view.