2011, May 17

Spanish Grand Prix Preview

"F1 never stays the same”. Russia’s first F1 podium man describes the team’s progress and looks forward to the start of the European races.

You achieved eighth position in Istanbul and scored four more valuable points for the team…
VP: Firstly, it is of course very important that we both finished the race - if you achieve that, you will have a lot more data and information on tyres and other technical aspects. It was also good that we both finished reasonably well and took some good points for the team. On the other hand, I was a little disappointed about the incident with Michael (Schumacher) because that cost me some time and points.

You are currently seventh in the Drivers Championship standings with equal points to Nick - how much does this team competition help?
VP: It’s good. We are both fighting for the points, which can only be good for the team because it helps bring our performance up a level. It’s very important to get as many points as we can for the team and to fight for the Constructors Championship. Mercedes are now quite strong and taking some points, so we must stay focused and work even harder to try and stay ahead of them. We’ll now look to the next race and both of us drivers will be trying to get the maximum number of points we possibly can.

You tested at the Circuit de Cataluña before the season started - do you enjoy driving at this track?
VP: I’ve been at this track many times before, and I have a lot of experience of racing here in GP2 and F3000 when I won some podiums. I’ve also driven here in Formula 1, and of course the testing earlier this year. However, the weather then (during testing) was quite cold so the preparation this time around will be different. It’s going to be an interesting weekend because everyone knows this track quite well, so it will be a close fight and the lap time gaps will be quite small.

We’ve had four races this season already - how far can LRGP go in Barcelona and throughout the rest of the season?
VP: F1 never stays the same, it is always changing. Things change on a daily basis, with teams building new parts and working on new aspects. In Turkey, Red Bull were quickest, but before that McLaren won and of course we’ve been third quickest in two races already this season so things never stay still. It is impossible to predict what will happen throughout the season because anything is possible. We’ll be bringing new parts each weekend to try and improve the car further; we will take it race by race and stay focused.