Reflecting on the triple-header, Qualifying went well at all three races and I managed to get into Q3 every time. So, Saturday’s performances were always excellent and I particularly enjoyed having a good race in France in front of a home crowd. The second race in Austria also ended well, even if it hadn’t been easy, so we were always in the game. On the downside, the first Austrian race ended immediately for me, but overall we’re doing a good job as a team, the car is working well and everything seems to be going in the right direction, so I hope that will continue at Silverstone.
The biggest change this weekend will be the race on Saturday, which means we only get one free practice session to set up the car before Qualifying. That’s a major change, so it will be even more important than usual to be very well prepared before going out on track for the first time. We will need to have a good baseline in terms of car set-up right from the start. The new format means how the car works in race trim takes on greater importance and we know this is where, maybe, we have a bit more work to do compared to how the car has been performing in Qualifying. I think generally that is because we over-perform in Qualifying, doing better than some other teams that struggle a bit with Quali and then, in the race, we are more or less where we ought to be. But overall, it should be fine, because we saw in Austria, running a different strategy, we finished four or five seconds off the top five. So, even if we have a bit more work to do for the race, we are nevertheless in the mix, which is definitely positive. We’ve worked a lot with the engineers, and I’ve been in the simulator, looking at all the possible scenarios for the new format with the Sprint Qualifying race. It should be good fun. We’ve also got new tyres from Pirelli. It’s been done mainly for safety and from what I experienced, trying them in Austria, I think they will feel pretty similar.
I love Silverstone, it’s one of my favourite tracks, especially the run through Maggots and Becketts, which is one of the most exciting sequences of the season. Although overtaking is meant to be difficult at Silverstone, it is possible and I managed some good passes last year, having some enjoyable fights including passing Seb (Vettel) round the outside at the right hander before the chicane.
I enjoyed racing in front of the fans in Austria and for Silverstone they’re announcing a full capacity crowd, the atmosphere should be great and I’m looking forward to it.