What sort of weather do you prefer when going racing? Rain or sunshine?
It depends how I feel on the day, but honestly I don’t mind. I like conditions to be different so sometimes wet and sometimes dry.
How does it feel to be the first Russian driver in F1 with the hopes of a nation on your shoulders?
I feel proud to be part of his country and I just want to put the Russian flag at the top of the podium.
When you were a child, why did you decide to become a racing driver?
In fact this was never really something I thought was possible because motor sport was not very popular in Russia. But I certainly knew that I enjoyed driving. When I was a child my dad would take me to a closed area and let me drive his car, and I always enjoyed that!
Talk us through your usual approach for learning a new circuit?
The best thing is to walk the track and see it for yourself. Then, I like to do some laps on my bike to understand as much as I can. You have to look at things like the kerbs and the run-off areas. All this is helpful, but you obviously learn the most during the first free practice session. It’s important that you know the lap by the end of this first session.
What is easier for you psychologically: to keep a competitor who is closely behind you or to attack guy in front?
For me it is easier to catch up, while defense is harder task – you have to drive fast and clear and look at attacking guy at the same time. But I know even harder thing – to be in the middle of a tight pack and attack and defense in the same time. You have to keep your eyes open!
What is your favorite city or town, if not consider Vyborg? What circuit and turn do you like?
Why not consider Vyborg?! At the rest of the world I like Barcelona. As for circuits – I don’t have favorites at all. It is no difference for me where to race – the main thing is to prepare myself well and find proper car set-up.
Do you watch races afterwards? If yes – what do you feel while doing so?
Yes, of course. Almost after the finish we sit with the engineers and begin watching not only the race, but all practices. It is not for fun, but part of our work. We examine how different cars behave on racetrack, which is very useful experience. I have copies of all sessions on my computers and watch some of them not once but a number of times.
What is your day’s schedule? How many times do you visit gym during the week?
I prefer to wake up and go to bed in the same time each day. As for gym – six times a week is my normal schedule. As a rule I do my training twice a day, but not always in gym. When in Valencia I prefer to run along the beach, it is really nice. Sometimes I do bike trips and particularly like them in mountains: it combines good physical load and training for the heart.
What human qualities do you rate highest? And what do you dislike in peoples?
I really hate those who lie to me. And I think devotion is a feature I prefer in peoples.
Which type of car balance do you prefer – under- or oversteering?
Neither. I like neutrally balanced car.