Maranello - Four days after the German Grand Prix is obviously much too long to go for a racing driver without being on a race track! So after going home to Monaco on Sunday night I travelled to a place called Lonato, near Lake Garda in Italy to have some fun karting. It was like a Formula 1 race here, there was Michael (Schumacher), Kubica, Glock, Liuzzi and Nelsinho (Piquet) and Klien. It wasn’t a special event, it wasn’t even a race, we just decided to come here and have some fun driving 125 karts with gears. I think we all miss the F1 testing and this is a good way to keep fit and busy. Thursday afternoon, I travelled to Maranello as I attended an event there which involves driving some of our customers around the Fiorano race track.
Going back a few days to the German Grand Prix, being on the podium was a good feeling but also a strange feeling at the same time and it was definitely something I’d been missing. In a difficult season this was nice because it’s a sign of the improvement going on within our team. In the past few races we’ve been scoring points again, always in the top five so to do even better and finish on the podium was good, not just for me but also in terms of motivating everyone in the team and at the factory. It proves we are still fighting but it is important for us to keep working.
At Ferrari we are often asked why we have continued to use KERS and if you watched the helicopter shot of the start of the race you would have seen that me and Kimi and the two McLarens were in a class of our own, making up a lot of ground off the line. The point is that if we are lacking the downforce levels of the guys who are winning, at least KERS gives us an advantage in another way. I had a good weekend in Germany and there were some surprising performances, some good some bad from other teams and I think this is because, apart from the two top teams, everything is so close that if you have the slightest problem or one lap that isn’t as good as it should be you can slide down the time sheet from fifth to fifteenth.
After my day in Maranello, I’ll be heading home to Monaco and I will stay there until Wednesday when it will be time to go to Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix. I haven’t got very good results at this race but that doesn’t mean I don’t race well there: if you remember last year I had the win in my pocket, but then my engine unfortunately let me down with just two laps to go. It’s a nice circuit to drive even if it’s not really one of my favourites, but ask me how we will get on in this race and to be honest I really don’t know. I hope we can carry on making improvements to our package, carrying on in the same direction as in Germany.
Maranello - “I arrived back in Europe earlier this week, having spent the longer than usual break since the last race, at home in Sao Paulo. It was an enjoyable time, but rather quiet, as I just wanted to enjoy spending some time with my wife, who is pregnant, expecting our first child in November. Perfect timing from us for the baby to arrive conveniently after the end of the Formula 1 season! Everything is going well and it is a nice feeling knowing I am soon going to be a “papà.” Apart from that, I took part in a karting race with some friends. It was nothing serious, just some fun, driving a small 125 cc kart. Well, with an extra week in between the Grands Prix I had to get some racing done!
“I’m in Maranello at the factory at the moment, then this afternoon (Wednesday) I am travelling to Germany because I am playing a football match for the Nazionale Piloti team, with some other F1 drivers and some guy called Michael Schumacher. The game takes place in Wiesbaden, so I hope a good crowd turns out, as we are playing for charity as usual. I play up front as a striker and if you ask me if I am any good, I would say that, for a racing driver, I’m quite a good football player, but there is no new career waiting!
“Here in Maranello, I have been taking part in the presentation of a new car, the Ferrari 599 XX, which is used in a similar programme as the FXX one, where owners can actually contribute to the technical development of this “laboratory car,” running it with full factory support at various race tracks. I did quite a few laps with it on the Fiorano track and, as my brother and father are here with me, I was able to give them some exciting moments in the passenger seat. It’s a great car and fun to drive.
“On Thursday I will arrive at the Nurburgring and I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the F60 again. The layout of this track should suit it better than the fast corners of Silverstone. A lot will depend on how we get the tyres to work and even if we have some new components that Kimi and I will be trying on Friday, it is impossible to say at this stage what we can expect from the weekend. The first half of the season was very hard to predict and I don’t see why it should be any different as we go into the second half.”