Dear friends,Turkey was in every way a good result and as I said on Sunday night after the race, the Istanbul track is becoming a good place for me and definitely something special after two consecutive wins and two pole positions: special can be the only word. And from a team point of view, it was the best possible result, as we secured maximum points with a one-two finish.
“It is particularly good to have these Turkish successes as part of my F1 record, because I think this track is highly regarded from a driving point of view. I feel that the track is comparable to Spa and to Suzuka, in other words it is a “real” drivers circuit. I also like Spa and Suzuka. Last year in Japan I was on pole and was going well until I had a puncture and, in the past, I also had some very good results in Spa. I like these kinds of circuits and really perform well at them.
“In Turkey, Saturday’s qualifying was also very good. I got a great lap in which I got the most out of the car, especially when you consider I was not at all on an aggressive strategy in terms of fuel load. In the race my car was much better on the hard Bridgestone tyres, but importantly, it was still good on the softer rubber. During the race, I felt pretty much okay physically, even though it was very hot, with no particular problems right the way through to the end of the event. As for concentration, I had no time to relax as there was someone right behind me, pushing hard for the whole race, lap after lap. That meant I had to push hard also and when you do that, you can end up making a mistake and that’s what happened when I did make a slight error in the final stint. I had to concentrate and push hard every lap.
“At the moment, all four of us at the top of the Drivers’ championship have each won three races and it is quite possible that at the end of the season, I might have won more races than the others and still not be champion and it is also true for the other three drivers. We know that victory on its own is not enough and we have to be consistent throughout the year which has not always been the case for us this season. But we still have five races to go.
“It was nice to have my father in Istanbul and he was very happy at the end of the Sunday afternoon. He has followed my career from the very beginning and when I have a bad day, it is a bad day for him, when I have a great day it is also a great day for him as well. It was nice to see him enjoying this victory. On Sunday night, we had a small party in Istanbul to celebrate.
“When you win, it always brings an important boost. After I won in Turkey last year, I know I improved a lot mentally. Now we just need to keep improving, to keep pushing hard and this win has certainly made me even more committed to do that over the last few races. Before the next race, I am doing just one day’s testing at Monza and then we will have Ferrari’s home race at the same track the following weekend. It will be a very important moment in the championship.”
The summer break is nearly over and although I’ve had a great time, I am really looking forward to going racing again, starting with Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix. Of course there is the serious side of trying to win the championships, but I have to say I am also looking forward to the enjoyment of driving a Formula 1 car again.
I am in Miami now, having come here from Brazil last Thursday and I will be leaving for Turkey on Tuesday. I’ve had a long weekend here relaxing enjoying the warm climate and doing the usual holiday things, going to the beach. I say relaxing, but I have of course had to think about my fitness and every day, I have been doing a work-out to make sure I stay fit and do not lose condition before the final races of the year. Miami is a popular place for Brazilians, but I have not seen so many this time as August is just a normal working month back home: one month earlier and this place would have been full of Brazilians!
I am looking forward to Turkey, which will always have a special significance for me, as it was in Istanbul last year that I got my first ever Grand Prix victory. It is still fresh in my mind and it is a great memory and a nice feeling to be carrying back with me to this year’s race. It was a great victory for me. I love the track and the city and I really hope to repeat the great result from last year, when I was very strong all weekend, starting from pole position and winning on Sunday. I hope we can do it again. Istanbul Park is a really great track and everyone talks about Turn 8, which is definitely one of the best corners of the season. I like this corner, and it is really challenging. To be quick at this point on the track, your entry has to be perfect and then you have to make sure you make no mistakes all the way through the middle and then the exit. It is a tricky corner to get right and it also plays an important part in the race itself as it is very tough physically to go round it quickly on every lap.
I have been keeping in touch with my engineer back in Italy to find out how things are going. The team has had a chance to rest a bit but there has been a lot of hard work going on as well in the factory. In fact, for this race, I will have a new chassis, which is not especially significant, as it is normal for us to change chassis after a certain number of races. Turkey last year I was a first time race winner and in the space of twelve months things have changed as I am now chasing a title. As a team, we try and have a package that is competitive at every circuit, but Istanbul is the first of a series of quick tracks and I think these will suit us particularly well. Last year, from Turkey onwards I had a great championship, so that is an encouraging sign. In fact, I like the all the tracks that are coming up now, so I hope we end the season in style.
“At last, I am back home here in Sao Paolo after several weeks in Europe and now I am relaxing with my family, my girlfriend and friends, recharging my batteries and renewing my energy levels before the next round of the championship.
“Looking back at Hungary, it was definitely a frustrating race for me, in fact I can go further and say it was actually the worst race in my whole career. Everything started from the problem on Saturday afternoon, because if I had started from the front row, which was a definite possibility, I had a very good chance of fighting for a podium finish. But anyway, Saturday’s events were not nice to live through. It was a combination of mistakes from the team and driver, which lost me the chance of having a fight on Sunday. The race itself, starting towards the back and basically staying there, without any real opportunities to pass anybody, was very frustrating. Of course, we had chosen to start with a very heavy car in terms of fuel load and that meant it was not so easy to fight.
“At the start of the Budapest weekend, I was asked if it would be another situation like Monaco where we were not competitive on a slower track. For sure, it was not a good track for us, especially as could be seen in qualifying, although it was much more competitive in the race.
“But all that is in the past and now we have to think about the present and the future. I trust the team and I am sure we can repeat some of the very good results we had earlier this year. Fortunately, many of the upcoming circuits will be much better suited to our package and I am sure we can win some races. It is true that some circuits did not suit us so well this year and that our main rivals have been more consistent than us in terms of performance and in fact in terms of reliability, as they had no real mechanical problems during the races. We have had some problems, which is why they are ahead of us in both championships at the moment. But we still have six races to fight back. We just need to keep working hard, but it won’t be easy to be ahead of them in every race. There is no testing now for a while, but at least that is the same for everyone and of course, the guys are working hard back in the factory.
“At the moment, I am also working on the organisation side of the big go kart event we hold here at the end of November: it’s a sort of race of champions, when lots of F1 drivers come and take part and this year, even Michael Schumacher is going to come over and join us, which I am very pleased about. It is giving me a change of focus at the moment and helping me to relax. On Wednesday, I will be going to Miami for about five days to spend some time there as it’s a great place for a break and then I will head off straight to Istanbul to start the final part of the championship.”