What is the atmosphere like arriving at the circuit in Japan?
It is one of the best in the world, the fans are unbelievably passionate and they love their motorsport – they treat us like real gladiators, so it’s a special atmosphere.
Could you describe the Japanese fans for us?
Extremely knowledgeable, they follow the whole season which is evident when you get there, they want to talk about your season, they want to give you gifts and photos, they even know your birthday. I’d say they’re personal, they’re personal in how they approach following you as a driver
What is your favourite part of the track? The most challenging?
My favourite part of the circuit is the first sector and the most challenging corner on the track is Degner one.
What is it like to drive a lap of Suzuka? Suzuka, my favourite track! It is the most beautiful race track along with the Nordschleife and Macau, it is a dream to drive. Starting with corners one to five – you have to see the ‘S’ Curves as connected, you drive through them in a rhythm at around 240 km/h, always on the limit and you can feel the centrifugal forces in both directions. There are extreme bumps too that pull on your neck like hell. Spoon Curve: it is extremely fast and has two apexes. You have to be brave to get on the throttle early through here. Then there is a long straight, leading into the ultra-fast left kink which is 130R. You go flat out, but it doesn’t allow for any errors or technical issues since the run-off area here is not great. Finally, Casio chicane: you drive in second gear and the apex is very hard to see. Overtaking is harder than it looks here. It is possible to misjudge the braking and if the car in front does not cooperate, then there is a chance to have a collision.