The Maldives, 4 April – Today is my last day of a short break I have had following last week’s test in Malaysia. I chose to come to the Maldives. It’s the first time I have visited this part of the world and I am really happy with the choice I made to come here after testing. It’s a great place, really beautiful. The atmosphere is very calm and relaxing, the hotel is fine and the beach and the sea are beautiful.
I’ve doing plenty of sport and training in preparation for Malaysia and that has also been a good choice, because it feels even hotter here than in Sepang. I am not blasé about being here and realise this is one of the best aspects of being a Formula 1 driver, apart from the racing of course, that means I can come to a nice place like this when there is some time off between races.
But there is a work side to these past few days, in that I have been taking my training seriously as it is so important to be on top form going into this race. The hotel has a gym that I have been using, but of course the most important part of the programme is to train outside in the heat and humidity. Anyway, I prefer to get fit by playing sports rather than working in the gym, which can be boring, so I have been running, playing tennis, cycling and everything you can think of. The Malaysian Grand Prix is definitely the most difficult race on the calendar from the physical point of view. I feel in very good shape for the race. This time I don’t have my personal trainer with me, although I usually do, but I know what I have to do to get the work done. When it comes to Malaysia, actually there are times when it feels like driving the race car – not just sitting in it in the garage – is the coolest thing you can do!
I have seen all the recent media speculation following Melbourne, that this year’s championship is going to be easy for Ferrari. It’s not true of course, but I do have a good car. As usual, the important thing for this weekend, will be to put everything together, all the elements you need to win and we do have those elements. But the competition is very strong and so it will be very difficult, but looking at what we did in Australia and also last week in Sepang, we are looking very strong ourselves. In the first race we managed to win but we had a reliability problem with the other car, so the obvious next step is to be in a position to have both cars at the front. And that’s not easy, but we have a good team and a good package and everyone is working very hard. I am confident we will be very strong again this weekend.
The car we will race in Malaysia is the same as the one we raced in Australia, with nothing new. So from this aspect with the same package, our performance level cannot improve. But in another sense, we have done more running with the car now, and so we have a much better understanding of the car and how it works and that is very important. After having to fight from the back in Melbourne, I am looking forward to having a race from the front this weekend.