The European season is done and dusted… now let’s focus on Singapore and to the flyaway races!
“I was having a solid race in Monza until I had to park the car. Our performance last weekend proved that we were doing a good job, but sometimes, technical problems occur. We had to stop the car, which was disappointing because I’m sure we were on for some big points, but now we will try and make up for it in Singapore. In the past, I’ve finished sixth and ninth here in Singapore and it’s a unique venue, featuring a very long and bumpy track with a lot of corners one after the other. It’s a big challenge, one of the most demanding races of the year from many perspectives as it’s very long and in hot and humid conditions, which is why it is so interesting and exciting for the drivers. As it’s a street circuit, that always adds to the adrenaline and driving under the floodlights at night adds to the excitement, which makes it a very cool event. Everyone talks about the fact we work at night, but honestly, it’s quite easy to deal with: you have a programme to follow, you go to bed around 4 or 5 in the morning, which is unusual, but the only really strange thing is that you don’t have any jetlag. We’ve got used to it over the years we’ve been going there. It is very hot and humid and I take this into consideration in my pre-race training. For example, back in Europe, I have been going for runs outside wearing a few more layers than usual, which looks a bit funny and you get strange looks from people in the street. In recent races, we have shown good pace and we will try and do the same in Singapore, even if it is a very different track to Spa and Monza, for example. Street circuits have been good for us in the past and this year we were competitive in Monaco, so we will be trying to put everything together and fight for points.”
“Despite the fact the final result was not what we wanted, overall the Monza weekend had some positives we could take away with us. We were strong on Friday and so it’s fair to say our performance level was maybe better than expected and we had a good race pace on Sunday. We were happy about that and so we can go to Singapore in a positive frame of mind, even though it’s a completely different race track to the last two we have raced on. We are returning to a maximum downforce configuration on the car, for a street circuit that has more in common with Monaco, but with a few more straight bits. Toro Rosso has had some good results there, even if I recall that last year I had a complicated weekend. It will be my third race this year with the team and already in Monza, I felt more comfortable with the car and we have made a step forward in how I work with the engineers. I feel everything is getting better and slotting into place. We plan to continue moving forward with this dynamic and hopefully bring home a good result this weekend. The two topics everyone talks about in Singapore are the heat and the fact it’s a night race. It definitely makes it exciting as the conditions are much tougher. We have tailored my training in these weeks to prepare by working in much hotter conditions, wearing layers of T-shirts and sweatshirts to get the body used to sweating. I’ve also spent a lot of time in the sauna which is a dry heat, and a hammam which is humid with steam, so the body adapts to the heat. That way, you are as ready as possible when you get there, which is vital as it is also the longest and the toughest race of the year. The lap runs at a very high pace with loads of corners, so you don’t pause for breath. But I like that. I love very technical, twisty tracks where you have to get into a rhythm. The race involves staying focussed for two hours in extreme conditions. Maybe it’s the most difficult race of the season, but it’s also the most exciting”