I arrived in Shanghai this morning. Two days relaxing were much needed after what was a very tough weekend in Sepang and now I’m ready for the second race in as many weekends, which also brings to an end the first run of Grands Prix outside Europe. I was disappointed not to get to the podium in Malaysia, as it was within my reach and it would have been a great result. It would also have been useful in terms of being a nice morale booster. Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we wanted and we paid a very heavy price for the failure on the system that runs the moveable rear wing. I know that the engineers, with whom I’ve been in touch a lot over these past days, have discovered the problem and fixed it. If the system had worked, I could comfortably have got past Hamilton on the pit straight and I would not have found myself having to fight him wheel to wheel and taking risks. What happened is part of racing and you have to accept it: I was quicker than him and so I had to try and pass, otherwise I would have been caught by those behind us. As for the penalty I was given, I already said on Sunday night in Sepang, I don’t want to talk about it because it changes nothing.
As we had already seen in Australia, once again in Malaysia, our race pace was much better than that in qualifying. In Sepang, both Felipe and I were running at a pace good enough to get to the podium and that was an important indication, even if we did not end up getting all we could have done. Clearly, I would like to always be fighting for the win but, at the moment, one car, Vettel’s Red Bull, seems to be out of reach.
In Maranello, the engineers are working a lot to try and improve the performance of the 150º Italia. In Shanghai, we are due to try a new front wing and a few other aero updates: let’s hope they bring us something, but we will have to evaluate them very carefully in Friday’s practice. Our aim in this Grand Prix will be similar to the one in Malaysia, which means to make the best of qualifying and try to exploit any opportunity that comes our way during the race. It should be much cooler this weekend than in Sepang, more like what we experienced in Melbourne. Starting on Friday, we will see how the tyres behave and once again we have the Hard as the Prime compound and the Soft as the Option. Malaysia produced a different situation to the first race but we still need to work out how much was down to the temperatures and how much to the nature of the circuits, in terms of their layout and surface.
I spoke to President Montezemolo after the Malaysian race: he was not happy and why would he be, as I was not either. We know we need to react quickly to make up the gap to the championship leader. It’s true that if you compare the situation after the first two races of 2010 with this year, we are a long way behind: back then, yours truly was in the lead and Vettel was quite a way off, but it’s also true that, if you take into consideration the individual races in Australia and Malaysia, I have got eight points more than was the case last year. It’s a bit of a game, but it’s also a way to understand that there are different ways of looking at things, even direct opposites. Also not to be taken seriously was the joke our President made about a hypothetical fantasy government made up of drivers: I thank him for having thought of me for the role of premier, but I’d rather stick to racing!