I am in Dubai at the moment, having a few days break with my parents and my wife, which is the perfect way to relax after my win in Bahrain on Sunday. It was a nice feeling to win, especially after my bad start to the season. The win came at just the right time and getting my name on the scoreboard at last. It was also nice to be able to claim the one hundredth win which Ferrari has achieved since Luca di Montezemolo has been President. For the team also it was a perfect weekend as Kimi came second to give us maximum points.
I was not any more nervous than usual before the start on Sunday. We know the job we have to do and I was not affected by all the comments in the media about me. I knew I was sitting in the cockpit of a good car and would have a good pace, so I was calm and ready to do everything right.
My start went very well as I was able to pass Robert immediately. But even if that had not happened I would not have had much to worry about. If you looked at Robert’s lap times in Q2 and then Q3 in qualifying on Saturday, it was clear that he was running fairly light in terms of fuel, or at least lighter than us. I knew I would have around five laps more fuel than him which means I was confident I could have got past him at the first refuelling. But thanks to a good start, even this wasn’t necessary. So I was never really racing Kubica, as I knew we had a better car and a better strategy.
As usual during the grand prix, my race engineer Rob Smedley was on the radio to me all the time, every lap explaining to me how the race is unfolding, giving me the gaps to the car behind and some other drivers’ lap times. In Bahrain, he was absolutely spot on when he told immediately about the oil on the track on lap 2, which definitely helped me a lot, as he does at every race in fact.
One thing that is clear after the three races we have had so far, is that BMW has really made a step forward. But at the moment, it is hard to tell if they might be able to help us by taking points from McLaren or if they now have to be seen as genuine title contenders in their own right. It seems that at the moment McLaren and BMW are at the same level and we will have to watch both of them closely. It can go either way, in that sometimes this situation might help and sometimes it might not. Let’s wait and see what happens in the next race. However, our own focus has to be on ourselves and on our car; improving it all the time and that will bring its own rewards.
Looking at the championship after three races, I can’t say there is anything in particular that has surprised me, but as I said earlier, it is clear now that BMW-Sauber has made a step forward. Maybe McLaren is looking a little bit less consistent than last year, when they made life very difficult by scoring a lot of points in the first three races. This year that has not been the case, which is good for us, because although we have not picked up as many points as we could, neither have they. That can be positive as long as we work hard to deliver consistent results.
I am here in Dubai until Thursday when my wife and I return to Monaco and my parents go back home to Brazil. Then, next week, testing starts again for everyone and we will be in Barcelona, where I am testing for the first two days of the four day session.
I have been in Bahrain for a few days now, coming here after a short time at home in Brazil. So far, everything is fine, as you would expect as we have not started work yet! The weather is so much nicer than Malaysia and in fact I think it is also a bit cooler than we have experienced here in the past. At the track, after saying hello to all the guys, it was time for my usual meeting with the media. Today, they really seemed to expect me to be in a bad way because of my two bad results so far this season and I had to really spell it out to them that this is not the case! It will not change my mood, it will not change my work, it will not change my speed, it will not change anything. I am not the sort of guy who looks at what happened in the past and starts crying! The clock goes forwards not backwards so now we need to think about this race. The important thing is that we have a good car, a good team and I am looking forward to having a great result here. The only way to be happy is to have a good result, score a lot of points and this is my target for the weekend. I have good support from the team always and they are not changing their attitude to me just because of these two bad results. I am not new to F1 and I have experienced worse times than this and I can deal with the situation.
Of course, I think about the fact I won here last year and I do like this track. I also like the next few tracks. But we cannot say that just because I won last year, I will do it again this Sunday. I am not struggling with the cars in 2008 configuration. I am getting on fine with the car, it is just that I have had two bad results. These things can happen, but inside myself, I know what I’m doing and I know what I have to do to be quick in the car and to be fast and consistent. In Malaysia, I did start from pole and did some good laps, it was just in the end the result did not come. Now I need a solid weekend and a good result.
I think it is difficult to say if we have an advantage from having tested here at Sakhir in the winter. But we feel comfortable at this track which is a very quick one. I lost opportunities to score points in the first two races, but that does not mean it is over for the year. We still have another sixteen races to go and we know things can change very quickly in Formula 1. I still have the will to win and there are plenty more opportunities to do that. The time has come to turn the page.
So, what can we expect this weekend? The wind can always make life difficult here in the desert, but the sand is not a problem because, as long as you clean the track on the first day, it improves over the final two days, but the difficulties are the same for everyone. I think it is very nice to be here in Bahrain and the circuit is one of the best. BMW did a great race in Malaysia, but we must not forget that the two McLarens had a penalty that moved them further back down the grid. So we have to keep our eyes on both these teams and not forget some of the others either.