It is always some concerns about safety in Brazil, but this time organizers worked on this area really well: we lived in the same hotel as last year, had a car with tinted glasses and a driver, and felt absolutely no danger during the whole week-end. There were a lot of police officers along the road to the circuit – it was clear there’s nothing to worry about.
I arrived to Brazil at Wednesday morning, later that day we had some event, where I drove Lotus road cars with local celebrities as passengers. From Thursday on it was normal intensive work on track. Romain Grosjean drove my car at FP1: of course, you’re never glad, while someone substitutes you – every on-track kilometer gives you advantage. But it was team’s decision and I accepted it.
There was no need for me to learn the track, but in Brazil we had some development parts for next year, and I, of course, wanted to drive a car for as much time as possible to explore them and understand, does it worth to use them in 2012.
Week-end ran smoothly – but only until second part of qualifying. On my first out lap I let Lewis Hamilton through at final corner. My idea was to use sleep-stream behing his car to obtain higher speed on main straight. But this plan turned out to be wrong: I gained a bit, but then lost much more time in first corners. It was mistaken decision. At my second attempt I faced a lot of traffic and once again couldn’t be fast enough. Finally I had to start from 15th position.
This time we had no technical issues and made right calls – every time I had my pit-stop exactly in time, no sooner and no later. It’s a pity I found Toro Rossos in front of me just after mid-distance and sat behind them for long, which prevented me from obtaining higher results. I was faster, but couldn’t overtake them even using DRS, because they had good straightline speed.
Finally I finished 10th, although could have been 9th or even 8th if not loosing so much time ay that stint. Of course, it is always a bit disappointing, nevertheless I’m glad to finish my second season in Formula One with some more points.
I had to flight home on Monday night, but changed my ticket to return earlier and visit our base, where we had long and detailed talk with engineers – we spent almost three hours, analyzing 2011season race by race. I’m sure this will be really helpful for me next year.
Now I’m looking forward to the Race of Champions. It looks like we will enjoy a great fun, I hope to get a lot of positive emotions and some interesting experience – let’s wait and see.