A week after the British Grand Prix, I’m home in Monaco enjoying some summer weather which seems to have been missing at the last couple of races. Looking back at Silverstone, some people have suggested to me it was one of my best drives and I guess they could be right, but only in one way. It might have be one of my best drives, it might have entertained the crowd but I cannot consider it one of my best races at the moment. To be honest, I enjoyed the driving and having a very good race starting from the back and ending up in a strong position. It was a very positive result, but it was also very negative because of what happened at the start. In some ways, I could not enjoy it. When I finished the race, even if I had delivered a fantastic performance, I could not be happy. It was a race where I should have been fighting for the win. When you look at the championship situation and how competitive it is this year, then when you see so many points escaping from you, it’s not possible to be happy when you look at things in terms of the championship.
During the race I could see people in the grandstand waving me on and cheering and after the race many people congratulated me. Even the team greeted me as though it was my best ever result and their reaction was even stronger than if I had won. But the feeling inside was all about the frustration at losing points.
I did not have too long to think about the disappointment, as a couple of days later, I was testing at the Spa circuit where we will return for the Belgian Grand Prix in September. We did not race there last year and I cannot say the modifications they have done to the track make a big difference. The famous “Bus Stop” chicane has gone, replaced by another one which is just a little bit different in that it goes to the other side of the track. In terms of overtaking, in my opinion, it will offer similar opportunities to the old one.
From a technical point of view, the Spa test was really good and the car seems to respond very well to changes. We managed to complete all our programme, even though there was some rain, which at least allowed us to evaluate car performance in the wet, which is always likely over the Spa race weekend. The car was good in the dry and possibly even better in the wet.
Now, I’m just relaxing at home and then on Wednesday, we go to the Nurburgring where I expect the F2007 will again be very competitive. Last year in the European Grand Prix I finished third and it was my first ever Formula 1 podium. Hopefully this time, we can be back on the podium but in a better position. I have good memories of last year, but we always want more!”
Looking back at Magny-Cours with a few days to think about it, I cannot say I am unhappy to end up second, having been in the lead for much of the race. In fact I am happy to have contributed to a Ferrari one-two, the first time I have done this with Kimi. But, I am just a little bit disappointed that I was not the one in front at the end of the race. Everything worked perfectly that afternoon, except that, at the key moment in the race I was not very lucky and last Sunday, Kimi had all the lucky points in his hands. That’s the way it goes sometimes. In qualifying he gained an extra lap being the first man out, then at the start of the race he was lucky to pass Hamilton and then he was lucky I got stuck in traffic. That is why I could not win the race, but apart from that I was quickest all weekend, taking pole position and the fastest lap in the race. Unfortunately, luck was not on my side, but I am still happy that we got a great result as a team. We need to be happy and focus on getting many more good results like this in the rest of the season.
On the subject of the traffic in the race, the biggest problem was that the cars I was trying to lap were fighting among themselves. I know that when you are in a fight of your own, you don’t want to lose any time, but I was the leader and I should have been let through. Of course, it is even more difficult when you are the leader, because you are the first to have to fight your way past the backmarkers. After I eventually got by, they would see another Ferrari in their mirrors, understand the situation and move over much quicker. If a driver is involved in his own battle, he should let me through and then start his own fight again: that is the way it is supposed to work. In France, many of the slower cars were not very correct about letting me by. For more than six laps I could see the blue flags being waved at cars in front of me and they were not really taking much notice.
Now we come to Silverstone and the British Grand Prix and I think it will be very good for us. We have a car that is fantastic on this track and it was very quick all through the test we did there before the French race. I am convinced we will again have a very competitive car. Of course, we need to keep an eye on McLaren, but I think we could have a little bit of an edge over them. There is a good chance we will have to cope with a wet track this weekend and I like to drive in the rain, even though a wet track can make things a bit of a lottery. Whatever the conditions, I am sure we can be very competitive. Overtaking will again be very difficult at this circuit, almost impossible in fact, but all the same it is a great track to drive and one of the most challenging of the season for us drivers, with some very fast corners. For my driving style and my experience of quick corners, I love the challenge of Silverstone, which reminds of other great fast tracks like Spa.
For generations of Brazilian F1 drivers, the British Grand Prix was like a second home race, as the British junior series was the “school” for many of them when they first came to Europe. I am one of the few Brazilians who started their real career in Italy rather than in England and I am actually very happy to be a bit different in a way. I can show that it is not just England which can help form drivers for the top level of motor sport. I enjoyed my time in Italy, but I do like Silverstone which I think is the best track in England.