It’s been a long week of work, starting on Tuesday May 3 with a session on the simulator. It has only just finished today as we kept working with the engineers to prepare as well as we can for the coming races. In between came the grand prix in Istanbul, where we took our first podium of the year. It was about time because we’d missed out on finishing a race in the top three for too long, but what was especially important was to fight for the top places until the end. That already happened in China with Felipe and in the two previous races we were also close to the podium: finally we have now achieved what we were capable of.
Third place was also important for the morale of the team. We were all unhappy with a start to the season that did not live up to expectations and we know how much good it does to see that the efforts expended every day are paying off. But we certainly can’t be happy with a third place and what matters most is that we must be much more competitive in qualifying. If we always start from the third row or lower it’s a struggle to fight for the podium. We have a lot of irons in the fire and we hope that as early as next week in Barcelona we will have new parts that allow us to take an important step forward in qualifying as well.
You know I like playing with numbers – and as I travelled backwards and forwards between home, Maranello and Turkey, I made a comparison between my first four races of last year and those of this year in the corresponding grands prix. What came out of this little game was that compared to 2010 I’m eight points short (49 versus 41) but in the same four races, this year I’ve brought home 13 more points compared to last year (41 versus 28). It’s true that my current gap to the top of the drivers championship is much greater (52 points) compared to what I had after Shanghai 2010 (11 points) but I well recall that after Silverstone we were 47 points away and we only had eight races left. Today we still have 15 grands prix to come. This shows that you can look at the same thing in two different, even completely opposite ways. What matters are results and we’ve started to make the podium: we must do that regularly and if so I’m convinced that we will again be able to fight for the title.
On Sunday morning in Istanbul there was a serious accident in the GP2 race, which involved our driver, Davide Rigon. I’m very sorry for him as he will have to stop racing for a while. We hope that he recovers soon – and I say that also for selfish reasons because he was doing precious work for us in the simulator.
Now I’m returning home: a few days of rest before a very demanding double-header made up of Barcelona, one of my home races, and Monaco. Now we hope to keep going down the road we took in Turkey.