Q. How's the start of the season been for you after the problems you had with the car last year?
If you only look at the papers this year should be worse because the tyres are much harder. It's harder, because you have 20% more grip at the front. It's a little bit difficult, I can't hide it. This is the exact opposite of what I need. I mean, that's my weakness and I know it, and I assume it. It still doesn't mean that I can't go fast with these cars.
It's just that I have a bit less room to operate properly. In Malaysia I was a bit more comfortable, and the potential of the car has been raised significantly. You can see where Red Bull is, and us, making it to Q3 is quite a big step. But for me, basically I'm happy with the car for most of the track, but there are two corners where I lose time. But the rest is alright, it's going according to plan.Q. Is it a similar problem to last year?
With the STR3 the main problem was the entry. For sure traction was a bit of a problem, but at the entry and under braking it was really unstable. This year the problem is the exit. The car is actually quite steady going in. But the rear tyres are not big enough.
It can always be improved. When we have the new floor that always tends to center the car a bit more rearwards. And it helps traction dramatically when you have more downforce. I think it will get into the right direction eventually. First of all, for sure we haven't explored everything on the car. We don't have the same knowledge as Red Bull, for example. But it's all part of the learning process.Q. Is it a problem that the car came out late and it's taking time to understand it?
The only problem is that you have no consistency. It's not like starting from scratch because you have the knowledge from the previous car and you apply it to the next one, but it's always... So far we haven't had the same car going from one weekend to another, which is a good thing, because otherwise it's just plan slow.
But at some point you need to understand and compare and make smalls steps and start working on the set-up, because right now is like we are in the middle of an ocean. We are just trying to explore things and obviously it's a bit difficult to control everything during these three weekends.Q. Could the double diffuser help you?
It will be in two steps for us. In Barcelona we will get what Red Bull has, which is a significant thing because along with a big wing, so it's pretty major. And that's what we are hoping for, seeing what it's going to do and hopefully by then not everybody will have a double deck and we can look quite good.Q. If you get the rear sorted, do you think you can go faster?
Like I said, I don't want to resign myself to saying 'On paper it looks bad for me, and it's going to be bad the whole time'. Otherwise, you go and play poker. This is racing.
Last year the cars were supposed to be missing balance, but I have never seen a Ferrari oversteer at any point. Anyway, the car was pretty fast and we didn't have any rear issues. It's the same regulations for all, just a different car, and I do believe that when we evolve to a certain extent, it will reduce the problems for me.Q. Seeing your team-mate ahead on the grid, is it good because you can see what the car is capable of doing or is it bad because he's ahead?
We have a great relationship, so I'm really happy for him. But again, what can you do? You keep doing what you know and try to do the best you can and then what happens just happens.
Everybody know that when you are fighting in the midfield, between the car that makes it to Q2 and the car that makes it to Q3 there's very little. So if you don't get your last run right, for any reason, you are done. You are not making it. That's why this qualifying format is interesting for the fans, but it's quite stressful for us.Q. Do you feel under pressure?
Yeah, there's is always a pretty high pressure in qualifying. Because of the way the format is the pressure builds up. You know even before the start that it doesn't matter how good you are in run one and run two. You know it's still not going to be enough to secure advancing to the next step so it's always last attempt, last chance.Q. Last year the team was very supportive with your problems, do you get the same feeling this year?
Yeah, and even more, because it's not like anybody pretends they have the answer or knows what's the best. Nobody knows, because we start with different cars because we feel we have to try different things and learn from this. One day one guy is going to get the good end and one day it's going to be the other guy.