Two years ago, I started from pole in Magny-Cours with Kimi alongside me and at the end of the race, he was in front of me. This year, the situation was completely reversed although I am the first to admit that I would not have beaten Kimi in a straight fight last Sunday. But for the team it was a really great result in that we started with an all-Ferrari front row, we took maximum points in the race and Kimi set the fastest race lap. And Saturday’s result means the Scuderia now has two hundred pole positions to its name. Although we had been closely matched all the weekend, on race day I was not so comfortable with my car. I was not very happy with the balance of the F2008 and I think that was the only reason Kimi managed to run at a much stronger pace than me until he had his problem. I had been very happy with the balance for most of the weekend, until we got to the final part of qualifying when we put the fuel for the race start in the car. I had a lot of fuel for the first stint of the race and I found myself struggling with the balance. That went into the race and I was missing a couple of tenths per lap. It’s nothing new where, in the same car and the same team, one driver is one hundred percent happy with it and the other driver is slightly less so, maybe 90%, but that missing 10% can make a big difference.It’s nice to be leading the championship and to see your name at the top of the sheet, but to be honest, it means little at the moment and I have to concentrate on other things. There is still a very long way to go and being the leader changes nothing for me. I prefer to concentrate on my job and look at the testing and each race as it comes. Only after all the races will we see if we did everything right. Sure, it’s good to be first and to come to the next race, leading the series and having won the last race. It gives you a boost, but that only lasts until it’s time to start practice again.I have had a particularly busy time at the moment, as immediately after Magny-Cours I headed for England and the Silverstone test. I drove the first two days and Kimi drove the last one. I am used to it now, but this event can be a real shock as there are more guests and fans in the paddock than there are during the race weekend. As for the test itself, I was quite happy with the car and the work we did. The balance of the F2008 was good and I felt comfortable in the car. We had some good results in terms of set-up and got through our whole programme. To be honest, I need to have some rest now. If you remember I had a problem with my neck in Magny-Cours and then picked up a cold bug and had to do two days of testing with some sort of influenza and now I am completely tired. I need to relax and concentrate on the next race. My neck is fine after some treatment but now I have this ‘flu. But I am sure I will be fine by next week.
I am flying from Sao Paolo where have I been since the Canadian Grand Prix to Europe and the last thing I did before heading for the airport to fly to France is watching the France - Italy game in Euro 2008. I have enjoyed watching a few of the games while I have been here with my family. As for the actual championship, I would be happy if Portugal wins, but I think Holland has a great team.
As usual when I come here I have a quiet time with family and friends. When I go out in Sao Paolo, I am recognised wherever I go, but that is not a bad thing, because the people here are really nice and give me my personal space. Okay, if I go in a really public place like a shopping mall or to a football game, it can get a bit difficult, but in normal restaurants or other places I go, I never have any problem. People come and ask me for an autograph or to have their picture taken with me and that's really nice.
I was not at the last test that Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro carried out in Barcelona last week, but of course I was in touch with my engineers to find out how things had gone and the results seem reasonably positive. We had three good days there and that means I am expecting to have a really competitive car for Magny-Cours. It is a nice track that usually suits the characteristics of our car. In recent years, people would say that Canada and Monaco suited McLaren better than Ferrari, while it was the other way round in France and Britain, but I don't think that is really the case this year, as apart from any other factors, we have to consider the BMW team in this equation. This year in Monaco Ferrari had the whole front row of the grid, even though I think we had more fuel than McLaren and in Canada our race pace was very good too. In other races we have all been very close. But I hope we will be very competitive this weekend. I like Magny-Cours: I came second here last year, having started from pole, but then I lost a bit of time in traffic and I also came third in 2006. It's a good track for me. Let's hope we can repeat last year's one-two finish, but maybe in a different order!
I am back home in Sao Paolo at the moment, as I am not scheduled to drive in this week's test session. As you can imagine it was a rather frustrating weekend in Montreal, even if a few points for fifth place might prove very useful when it is time to add up the final scores, when the championship finally reaches my home city in November. The weekend had started well and we looked strong on Friday, even if the McLarens were quicker, because I think we had been carrying more fuel and we seemed in pretty good shape. On Saturday morning the situation was the same, but then in qualifying, the track conditions changed completely and I was surprised that especially at Turn 10, I was losing around a second. It seemed to also affect Kimi and some other drivers. On Sunday, in the race we were competitive again. But unfortunately, my race was ruined when we had a problem with the valve on the refuelling rig as we all came into pit lane under the Safety Car. It worked fine for Kimi, but in my case, not a single litre of fuel went in the car. I guess in a way it was lucky that it happened under the Safety Car, as it meant I had come in to refuel earlier than planned. If the refuelling problem had happened under normal circumstances, I would have run out of fuel and been left parked out on track. It was a real shame because we threw away many points because of that, especially when you saw what happened to Kimi, Lewis and Nico in pit lane. It's strange that it seems to be Canada where these red light problems happen, even if mine last year was rather different. I'm not sure what happened exactly with Lewis and Kimi, because it was strange the way the incident happened. I can only think Lewis was maybe looking at something on the steering wheel, or changing some settings, because the pit lane was clearly blocked by two cars that were stopped, whereas last year, in my case I was the first car to leave the pits which means it is easier not to notice the lights. As for the rest of the race, I was very happy with it in terms of mine and the car's performance and the pit stop was the only reason to be unhappy, as we lost some possible championship points. But my race pace was very good and I had some fun overtaking other cars, the best being when I went past Rubens and Heikki at the same time at the hairpin. I was a bit further back from them, but then I saw Heikki trying to pass Rubens. I knew that corner was rather dirty off the racing line and when I saw them both go into the corner together I thought to myself that one of them would probably end up on the dirty line which would give me a chance to get by at least one of them to move up a place. Then I saw they were still fighting one another and I went for a better inside line and I was able to get both of them, pushing Heikki a bit more off the ideal line which meant I got even better acceleration out of the turn and that was it - two places gained in one move!If the Canadian result was not the best for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, in terms of the excitement in the Drivers' championship, last weekend's race has certainly added to the interest for the race fans as the top of the points table is very close now. This helps make the next few races even more exciting. Talking of excitement, while we were in Montreal, some of the Ferrari team, including Kimi, went to the famous Montreal ice hockey stadium for a bit of a game, but I have to say I gave it a miss. I don't really understand what ice hockey is about as, in case you haven't noticed, it's a bit hot in Brazil to play this game and I much prefer football. So, while I'm home here in Sao Paolo, until I leave for France this coming Monday, I've been enjoying watching the Euro 2008 championships on TV.
Maranello, 3rd June 2008 - Over a week after finishing third in Monaco, I am home in Brazil and with hindsight can see all the positive aspects of that race, which given that I started it from pole, could be seen as disappointing. But the most positive element to come out of it is that we proved that the Ferrari F2008 was definitely competitive there; the first time that has been the case for a few years now. Before going to Monaco, we could not be completely certain how the race would go after the disappointments of the last two years. While the facts show just one third place, it's entirely believable to say we could have won on the street circuit if the race had been run in normal conditions. I'm not saying we would have won easily, but victory would have been the logical conclusion to the weekend. In the end, we lost in what turned out to be a crazy race, given that we started from first and second on the grid with the best possible strategy.
It's clear we are up against two very strong opponents in McLaren and, even if they have not actually won a race yet, BMW. It's all getting very close and exciting and shows you need to pick up points in every race. So the six points we got in Monaco is not enough, but it's not bad and the fight for both championships is still very open.
Soon, I will be leaving home here in Sao Paolo where I have enjoyed a few days with my family and friends and heading off to Montreal. Based on what I've just said about Monaco, we can be optimistic about turning this event, which also has not gone too well for us in the past, into a successful weekend. At first sight, the twisty Monaco street circuit and the Montreal track have little in common but in fact, there are plenty of similarities. To start with, they both have a low grip surface that is usually very green and dirty at the start of the weekend. Like Monaco, we use very soft tyres there and also like Monaco, you need a car with good traction and stability; a very efficient car with good mechanical grip.
I like the Canadian circuit and I went well there earlier in my career, finishing fourth for Sauber in 2005. Last year was not so good, as I had that incident with the traffic light at the end of pit lane, and it was not a nice feeling leaving Canada having been black flagged during the race. It's an interesting track and all the teams will be in the same position of having had our "Montreal track" test day at the Ricard track wiped out by rain in the pre-Monaco test. I love the city and the atmosphere and I am looking forward to having a nice time there both on and off the track. There is plenty of support for Ferrari in this city and we also have a round of a Ferrari one-make series as a support race. It's nice to see a field of Ferrari road cars charging around a race track! I've got hardly any experience of racing anything with a roof, although I competed in two Super Touring races for Alfa Romeo back in 2001. In one race I crashed, but in the second one, I finished fifth and did what I had been brought in to do, namely help my team mate win the championship. It was good fun, as first time out, I qualified in front of my team-mates! Qualifying in front of the nineteen other cars in the field on Saturday afternoon would also be a good start to this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.