As most of you knows very well, not all of us Formula 1 drivers go to a Grand Prix with the same expectation levels. But when you have a competitive package and especially when you drive for Ferrari, naturally your expectations are higher than most. That’s why the weekend that has just ended was really one to forget.
Qualifying went wrong for me, as I ended in the barrier in the first fifteen minute session, so I had no lap time to my name. It was just one of those things, it was my mistake. It was a point where you change direction and although I corrected the car it was too late, because where it happened on the circuit there is really nothing you can do. A driving mistake always means a crash. We had the one hour of free practice in the morning, so I knew what the track conditions were like. We took a while to decide what sort of tyre I should use in the first part of qualifying and in the end we opted for a scrubbed set. When they are scrubbed, they need at least one or two laps to be at the right temperature and I did not have very good grip on my first qualifying lap. I was not pushing very hard but the tyre pressure was a little bit low and that caused me to lose the rear end of the car. Qualifying was over for me.
In the race, it was just traffic and more traffic, apart from three laps after the pit stop when I was able to push hard on new tyres. The car was very good for those three laps, but then I caught up to Ralf (Schumacher) and after that he was in front of me for the whole of the second stint and he was impossible to pass.
I live in Monaco most of the year, but I cannot really say it’s a home race, unlike the real home race in Brazil and now also the two grands prix in Italy. But racing here did come with the advantage of not needing to get on a plane or to stay in a hotel room. It was nice to be able to go straight to my apartment after the team’s post-race debrief, especially as my family had come over from Brazil to stay with me for the weekend. And I also got to see them a bit more than usual, because the Friday is a day off in the Monaco race timetable. That extra day does seem to make the race weekend much longer than usual and I certainly felt I was a bit busier, with more events to attend for sponsors, usually on boats in the harbour. On Thursday, we had a very enjoyable night, when all the team had dinner together on a very big boat right down the new end of the harbour. It’s an official event, but at the same time it is more of a family thing, as team members can bring wives and children and the atmosphere is really good. The fun part is a film specially made for us that takes a humorous look at members of the team and overall, it was a nice relaxing way to start the weekend.
Now, I’m doing one day testing in Barcelona, the main point of the test being to look at Bridgestone tyre choice for the next race at Silverstone. I am quite optimistic about that race and I think we can be quite strong there. In any case, as usual, “Forza Ferrari”!!!