I have just arrived in Singapore, where tomorrow, a very important weekend in our season gets underway. I was welcomed by an impressive storm, although it did not do much in terms of making it cooler, although if that’s possible, the humidity increased. In the last two races here, we have never had to run in the rain and the forecast for the coming weekend is not particularly encouraging. There will therefore be another unknown factor in a Grand Prix that is already uncertain by its very nature. I very much enjoy the atmosphere at this race and racing at night is a really good idea. The unusual timing has never caused me any problems: I opted to arrive as late as possible, because for the next few days we will continue to live in European time going to bed in the early hours of the morning and having breakfast at the start of the afternoon, for example. For the past two years, that method has worked perfectly, with some small secret little tricks, so there is no reason for me to change anything in my approach.
From the experience of the first two races here, the track would seem pretty well suited to my driving style and indeed, having finished on the podium in both those races means I arrive here feeling fairly confident. I am well aware that another top three finish is very important for the classification and I am convinced that, if we do everything perfectly, then we can achieve that. We proved it at the last race weekend in Monza and everything is in place for us to repeat that feat here in Singapore. The track is reasonably similar to Monaco in terms of its technical characteristics, slow with a lot of undulations and requiring a lot of aerodynamic downforce. If you look at how the F10 performed in the Principality – leaving aside my own personal problems – then that’s another reason to be confident about this race. All the same, none of us is ignoring the remark that our boss Stefano Domenicali is repeating constantly, which is that we have to keep our feet on the ground, stay calm and concentrate, because our rivals are very strong and equally determined.
I have gone through some really exciting moments during these last days in Italy. Feeling so close to the tifosi that I had the impression I could touch their enthusiasm with my hand was really something special. There is a passion for Ferrari all over the world, but here it is stronger still and I was fortunate enough to be at the wheel of an Italian car winning the Italian Grand Prix. Today I was able to personally thank everyone at the Gestione Sportiva, when they all gathered in the logistics building. It was nice to once again lift the winner’s trophy in front of the people who had made the victory possible, starting with the guys who did the pit stop. I had arrived in Maranello on Sunday 5 September, confident that we could reignite our championship chances, even if I felt it would be very tough. Now, two days on from that really happy moment in Monza, we can claim to have made a good step forward. At Spa, things had not gone well, so it was hard to say beforehand what we might really be capable of. However, we knew that, as long as we did our best, we would be in with a chance and that’s how things turned out. Now our aim must be to try and do the same in the final five races of the championship.
Despite failing to score in Spa, where the accident on the first lap weighed heavily like a stone, Ferrari and I have scored more points than anyone else in these last four races. That makes us even more confident and the fact these results came on tracks with very different characteristics to one another, confirms that our car is pretty versatile. Yesterday and today, I did some work on the simulator – I was able to get a first taste of the Korean Yeongam circuit – and I also spent time with our engineers to find out about the updates we will have in Singapore.
This afternoon, I left for Madrid, where this evening I am taking part in a Spanish television programme called “El Hormiguero,” which means anteater: it should be a fun evening!
I am here in Maranello getting ready for a special event, my first Italian Grand Prix as a Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver. From a technical point of view, Monza is a very different race to all the others: its long straightsrequire a very low level of downforce and, as a consequence,unique aerodynamic elements. But clearly, this is not the only thing that makes Monza special: it is Ferrari’s home race and even if ours is a team that tackles every Grand Prix in the same way, giving it our best shot, always trying to win, there is no doubt that everyone in Maranello really wants to do well in front of our fans. You can see that on everyone’s faces, especially as, mixed in with the fans in the grandstands, many of our people will have their family and friends watching.
Even though we can no longer test on the Fiorano track, as we used to do up until a few years ago, I often spend time in Maranello in-between the races. From my very first day here, I discovered a great atmosphere in the factory: everyone is very friendly and you are soon made to feel part of the group. Apart from the work side – and there is always something to do, be it in the simulator or having meetings with the engineers – we always manage to spend a little time together as friends, maybe kicking a football around, going for a bike ride or having dinner together. And of course the food is fantastic! There is no point denying the fact this is a tricky moment of the season for us. In Monza, if we do not pick up a significant number of points and our competitors get the maximum and pull away in the lead, then the situation in the classification would become very difficult. I’m not saying it would be impossible to reach our target, because that kind of talk does not exist in Formula 1, but we are aware of the situation and we are ready to react to any eventuality.
As I said last week, in Spa the performance of the F10 did not live up to our expectations. The engineers have now carefully analysed the data from the race and from the aero test that Giancarlo Fisichella carried out down the straight at Vairano. It produced indications which led us to understand what did not work as it should have done and we have put those elements right for the next event. I am therefore confident about our chances of getting back to fighting for a place on the podium, just as we had done prior to the summer break.