Russia’s first F1 podium man describes the team’s progress and looks forward to the start of the European races
Vitaly, the Turkish GP marks the start of the European season in the Formula 1 calendar - how would you summarise the first part of the season?
Vitaly: We have made real progress this year with the design of the car and innovations and it looks very strong. We have had some good races and took two podiums. We’ve also had some bad luck but we’ve still remained strong. Things are looking good for us I think. I’m pleased with my performance so far and with the results we have obtained but we need to stay focused and continue to work at the same rate.
What are your memories of Istanbul Park?
Vitaly: I have very good memories from Istanbul Park, I like racing there. I had some big successes in GP2 there (winning in 2009). My first race there as a Formula 1 driver in 2010 was also memorable, as it was the first time I entered Q3 in qualifying and then I had a good race with great battles with both the Ferrari’s – unfortunately I didn’t score any points in the end due to a puncture but my race was still very good.
What particular characteristics does Istanbul Part circuit offer?
Vitaly: I like the layout of the circuit; it has a lot of slow and fast corners, a good mix of everything but at the same time quite a technical circuit, we all know about the famous Turn 8 in Istanbul. Another aspect is that it is quite a wide track which makes it quite safe. Also, the track allows overtaking manœuvres are possible so that should help make a great race.
You are currently 7th in the Drivers’ Championship, what are your ambitions for the Turkish GP?
Vitaly: I will of course do the best we possibly can to get the best possible result. We’re expecting upgrades for Turkey which is good, and of course the other teams will react too and work hard to beat us. We’ll be doubling our efforts in order to catch the teams in front. You never know what can happen during a race weekend but both my team and I will fight hard.