Josef Kral admitted that driving an F1 car for the first time was one big "wow" moment, after completing his young driver test for HRT at Abu Dhabi. The 20-year-old from the Czech Republic, who outpaced both the Lotus drivers, discussed his experiences.
Q. Are you happy with the way you drove in your first F1 test?
Josef Kral: "I'm definitely really happy. I'm glad that I could test with an F1 team, so it was a really good day. Also, the performance was quite good."
Q. Was it easy to adapt to the car?
JK: "It wasn't that bad. I had some problems fitting in the car because it is built for smaller drivers and I'm quite tall. It was quite tricky to fit in, but it was the only problem I had. I could go quite fast from the first moment and I was improving throughout the sessions."
Q. Is this test, and your good performance during the GP2 finale last weekend, a good way to finish the season for you after missing so much of the GP2 season with a back injury?
JK: "Yes, it was quite a tough season for me. But I think that the finish was very good, especially when I came back and was nervous before the GP2 weekend. It all went well and then the chance to test the F1 car was like a present for me, a dream come true! It was unbelievable that after four months in the hospital I got this opportunity.
Q. Are you fully recovered?
JK: "Yes, I'm 100 percent. All the time, through the weekend I was fine and also when I drove the F1 car. I'm happy that it's all gone now and I'm looking forward to next year."
Q. Did you have the chance to do a proper quick run?
JK: "I think it was reasonable because in the morning the lap times were slower than in the afternoon. So I think that the lap time I set was quite good compared to the others, especially from yesterday morning. I'm really happy with it and I'm hoping that the team is happy."
Q. Was it a big help to drive on a track where you had raced at the weekend?
JK: "Of course, it can help you because you don't have to learn the track and you can concentrate on getting confidence in the car. That definitely helps as it takes a bit longer when you don't know the track at all. But it would have been no problem to do it somewhere else."
Q. How did it feel when you first pulled out of the pits in an F1 car – was there a point when you thought to yourself 'Wow, this is amazing'?
JK: "I had this moment nearly in front of the pit-lane exit tunnel! It was just amazing from the very first moment when I was in the car. It was already amazing just to sit in the car without even driving it. Especially after the first lap, it was really fast and everything was working 100 percent. Every lap for the first five or 10 laps I felt a massive difference in the forces in the corners and on the brakes."
Q. How does this help you for the future?
JK: "I hope that driving a faster car will help me for the future. I just need to do more practice because I missed half a season of GP2 and before that I did the smaller categories which are not like F1 or GP2. Every time you take a step higher, do some practice and then step down to a lower category, it is just much easier. I hope that it will help me and we will see what is next. Next week is the GP2 test for next season so hopefully this will help me next year."