We’re reaching the final stages of a frenetic month of July. I am in Maranello, where I came on Sunday night, directly from the Nurburgring and, early tomorrow morning, it will be time for me and the engineers to head for Budapest. In this very short break between the two races, I worked, as is usually the case when I am at the factory, on the simulator to prepare both for this weekend’s race and for the ones after that. On top of that, I took part in several meetings with the engineers, while today I also got the chance to meet up with President Montezemolo and the members of the Ferrari Board, who were meeting in Maranello. Montezemolo was his usual cheerful self with me and wanted to know how preparations were going for the Hungaroring race. It’s now a few months that our car has become more competitive and that means we have been consistently able to fight for a podium finish.
We have made up a lot of ground compared to the very early part of the season in terms of performance, but we must take a further step forward, as I have said so often before. We still lack something, especially in qualifying: it’s true that in the race we can make up for this, but it’s not always possible to move up two places compared to our grid position, as happened in Monaco, Valencia, Silverstone and Nurburgring. At the Hungaroring, the weather should be more in keeping with summer, which is no bad thing as I’ve had enough of the cold and damp we experienced in England and Germany! That goes not just for me, but also for our car: it would definitely work better in temperatures higher than the 13° we had last Sunday.
I know the Hungarian Grand Prix has a special significance for the Scuderia, as it has experienced some great moments, but also some dramatic ones, like when Felipe was injured in that fluke accident when he was hit by a part of Rubens’ Brawn. Budapest is special for me too, as it was at this very race in 2003 that I took my first ever Formula 1 win. It was a very emotional day, the memory of which will always stay with me.
As was the case in 2010, I will again celebrate my birthday at the track with the Scuderia. On Friday I turn thirty: who knows if I will get a nice birthday surprise…