European Grand Prix Preview
Vitaly, you had a tough weekend in Canada. What did you learn?
First of all, I know I made mistakes in the race – at the start, I took a risk by moving onto the grass, it didn’t work and I was given the drive-through penalty. But it was still important to finish the race because it always gives you much more information, particularly about how to look after the tyres in different conditions. I will take that experience with me, and I will know better how to handle certain situations in the future. But the bad result is in the past for me now; it’s time to focus on what’s ahead.
Valencia is also a circuit you know from GP2, and you won last year’s feature race there. Does it hold good memories for you?
Yes, of course, because I won the race there last year – and also because I know all of the tricks in terms of the braking points, the line, where you can use the kerbs and even how the tyres will perform and degrade during the race. Of course, it will be different again in an F1 car, so it will still be a big challenge to put together a good performance all the way through the weekend, but I will be starting from a better baseline than in Canada.
You also live in Valencia. Does that make it a home race for you?
I’ve been living in the city for three years because it’s where my GP2 team was based, so I know everything here. It’s not like having a home race in your own country, in front of your people, but it’s a good feeling because you know the place already, you feel comfortable there and feel good. But because we don’t have the French Grand Prix this year for Renault, I think the next race in Silverstone will be more like a home race, because it’s so close to the factory in Enstone.
What are your targets for the next race?
I prefer to keep my feet on the ground and concentrate on my job rather than setting targets, but I think it’s going to be quite an interesting race. We will have a new package for this race, so it will be interesting to see how it improves the car and how I need to adapt my driving style to it. We saw that Force India were quick in Canada, so we need to make sure that we can beat them, and try to fight with Mercedes; this is the most important thing for the team.