2012, April 27

Chinese Grand Prix


China is always China. Nothing has changed since we went there first ever time. There is non-stop chaos on streets: no one respects red traffic light, no one stops, and it is still impossible to go through crossroad on your green.   

Week-end was good for us. The most important thing – our car was reliable and we continued to improve it. Unfortunately, it was wet on Friday, so Giedo van der Garde, who drove my car, couldn’t test all our updates properly. We will work with them once again in Bahrain.

It was enjoyable to see many Russian flags and banners on stands. I’m already recognizing my most loyal fans! At the end of event there was a big group near our garages, about 40 people. I’m really grateful to them – and all others – for their support.

On Sunday I had some wheelspin on the start and my main rivals went ahead. I tried to return positions as soon as possible, but first turn it is very tight in China and it was difficult to overtake there, so Timo Glock still was in front of me. Our strategy before the start was to try our best to do as many laps before first pit stop as we can, so I didn’t push at the beginning of the stint, managing my tyres. Then, after DRS became enabled, I overtook Glock easily and started to catch up Heikki. Finally it was just some tenths between us, but it is difficult to overtake in Shanghai, so I was just waiting for pit-stops.

We discussed by radio, who was first to pit – and finally it was Heikki who changed his tyres a bit earlier and kept his position in front of me. But then he suddenly lost his speed after second pit-stop and I no longer had direct competitors till the finish. In such conditions I tried not to make any mistakes, to be stable with lap times and to bring maximum possible data to the team - that was really important. I tested different engine mappings and KERS setups. It became much clearer for us what is good and what is not.

The team is moving forward. This time I was lapped by race leader just a few minutes before the finish, while it was around lap 40 at previous Grand Prix. We’re well prepared, although other teams are also not standing still. We need to continue hard work, keeping our heads down, and if in second half of a season we will from time to time overtake one or two drivers from established teams in Q1 – it means our target is reached.