I arrived in Japan this morning and I found rain waiting to greet me this afternoon when I got to the track at Suzuka. My first thought was, “better today than Saturday or Sunday,” because this year, a wet track has not really brought us much luck. I’m thinking particularly of Canada, where we really looked to have everything required to take the win but in the end, it turned out to be our only no-score of the season so far. The forecast for the week is reasonably good, at least for the first few days, while on Sunday, the threat of rain is slightly higher. In fact, you can never be too sure what to expect here: for example last year, we had to run qualifying on Sunday morning as there had been a storm the previous day which meant the track was unusable.
I went back home after the Singapore Grand Prix. Now we have these two back-to-back races in the Far East, followed by Formula 1’s debut in India, so with that in mind, I felt it was best to relax a bit with the family before the final rush of the season. Even if it’s true we are no longer even mathematically in the hunt for the Drivers’ title, there are still plenty of reasons to retain our motivation to tackle these last five races with the right attitude. First of all there’s second place in the Drivers’ table. Given how the season has gone so far, with Vettel totally dominant, failing to get on the podium only once, being runner-up would really be a great result for me and for the team. There are four of us in the running, as I am up against Webber and the two McLaren guys and I reckon we will have to wait until Interlagos to find out who it will go to.
Clearly, if one looks at the way recent races have gone, it will definitely not be easy, as my closest rivals seem to have that little bit extra in terms of car performance, but that does not mean it’s a lost cause. We know we have to do everything perfectly if we want to reach our goal and we will be trying right to the very end. Then, there’s still second place in the Constructors’ championship, but this is a much harder target, because there’s a significant gap to McLaren, but it’s not impossible. In the end, myself and all the team just want to end a season that did not go the way we wanted in the best way possible. Taking at least one win would be the maximum, while the important thing is to always be in the fight for the podium places.
I’ve won the Japanese Grand Prix twice; once at Fuji and once here at Suzuka, the latter being the best of the two, but I’m sure no one in my current team would agree with that. I can understand that, because I can appreciate how disappointed they must have been when Michael had to retire while leading ahead of me. It’s always bad to see a car stop with a failure. In fact, the same thing happened to me a few weeks earlier in Monza: Formula 1 can be a cruel sport at times.
After Sunday’s race I will go to Tokyo, a city I like a lot. Along with Felipe, I will take part in an event organised by Ferrari Japan for the launch of the 458 Spider. We will also be auctioning a nose section off a 150º Italia used in the Australian Grand Prix, the one that carried a message of support for victims of the earthquake that hit this country a few weeks before that race. I know Ferrari Japan is involved in various initiatives aimed at gathering funds to build a school at Ishinomaki, one of the areas most badly affected. On Saturday at the circuit, we will meet some kids from that city, so it will be nice to be able to do something significant for them.