Welcome back ! How did you spend your summer break ?
I went back to Denmark for some time off and ignored training for a bit ! But soon enough I missed racing and got back to the gym. The second part of the year gives you a good reason to train – there’s a lot travelling and you need to be on form.
We’ve now go for the second part of the season. What lessons have you learnt from the first half of the year ?
I think we have learned that it’s a challenging year and our focus should be on just that : learning. We now know our level of performance and where we are in the field. While we need to try and get the most out of this year, we will now focus on putting everything we have learned into next year and maximising opportunities in 2017.
What are your thoughts on the challenge that is Spa-Francorchamps ?
I love it. I remember the first lap I did there in 2009 in a Formula Renault 2.0 car. That car is way too slow for the track ! You need an F1 car as it is just so big. I feel very lucky to have done it now as you can appreciate the flow and speed of the corners. I love Eau Rouge – even though it’s flat now it’s still so enjoyable to go through. On top of Eau Rouge you can run the kerb and straightline a lot so it’s a bit of a shame it’s not gravel or wall on the outside as would make it even more of a challenge. In the wet it is still a massive corner and you can guarantee it will be wet at some point over the weekend ! It’s one of my favourite corners.
How do you deal with that famous changeable weather at Spa ?
The track is so long that it can be wet in one part of the track and dry in the other. In these cases your normal cut off points for intermediate, wet and dry tyres go out of the window as you have to judge how much you will gain on slicks in some corners versus the risk of wet in other. It’s one of the main difficulties of Spa.
Which of your Spa races stand out for you ?
I have won in everything I have raced, except F1, but I have had some fun races. I held back Alonso for the whole race…he was very annoyed with me and I actually ended up getting a penalty for defending too hard, but I definitely enjoyed that one !
You seemed to take a step forward in Germany, do you think this form can continue in Spa ?
The car felt good and we were competitive in the first two stints on the supersoft tyre but ran too long on them. The two stop strategy didn’t really work but at least we showed at the start that we were competitive. With the right strategy we could have fought with Toro Rosso at the end of the race. I hope we can be at this level in Spa again.