Vijay Mallya looks forward to the Singapore Grand Prix.
Sergio had a starring role in Monza – you must have enjoyed seeing him fight so hard….
We saw some outstanding racing in Monza and I really enjoyed myself. I was more a fan than a Team Principal on the pit wall because I’m basically a racer. I loved that battle between Checo and Jenson; it was great action and I think they both played it fair. As for Nico, it was always going to be difficult starting further back, especially considering that everybody was on a one-stop strategy. There was also some damage to the floor of his car, which impacted on the aero performance, so I guess it was not his day.
Singapore has traditionally been a happy hunting ground for the team. What are your expectations ahead of the weekend?
I’m cautiously optimistic. This year we’ve delivered a car that has worked on all tracks so we don’t have any concerns about Singapore. The warm temperatures and softer tyre compounds should also work in our favour. We’ve been working hard to bring some performance to the car as well, which should help us for the rest of the season.
The team is now on 109 points, matching the best ever points tally from 2012. What more can the team do in the final part of the year?
We are not giving up. We are enjoying the fight and the close competition. Fifth place is just one point away so there is all to play for. For a team like ours to be where we are, fighting with teams that have won races and championships, shows how far we have come. I’m very proud.
Driver’s View: Nico Hülkenberg
Nico Hülkenberg prepares for his fourth Singapore Grand Prix.
Nico, just six races to go this season. How are you feeling?
It feels like the season has gone by very quickly. When you start the fly-away races you know the end of the season is getting close. The last race in Italy was disappointing for me. After the race the team found some damage to the floor, which is why we had the balance problems. It made the car difficult to drive. I’m confident things will be better in Singapore and I will be fighting hard to get a good result.
You’ve already raced three times in Singapore. Tell us how it feels…
It’s definitely a tough race. It’s hot and humid, and the race usually runs close to two hours, so physically it’s probably the most difficult race of the year. It’s mentally tough, too, because street circuits are more unforgiving. The walls are close and you have to get close to them if you want to be quick. The other challenge is to get your sleep pattern sorted at the start of the week.
Is it a race you enjoy? Talk us through some of the main challenges of the lap…
As a race it’s an amazing event. The atmosphere is always very special and it looks spectacular on television. The first sector is my favourite part of the lap. It’s quick with a good overtaking opportunity going into turn seven. It’s usually where a lot of the action takes place in the race. It’s also a very long lap with some tricky bumps and kerbs, but mostly you need a car that is good in the low and medium speed corners.”
Driver’s View: Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez prepares for racing in the Singapore night.
Monza looked like a lot of fun and a great way to end the European season….
The result in Monza was an important boost for everyone in the team. It shows that we will continue to fight hard for every point until the end of the season. The battle with Jenson was very clean. Neither of us wanted to give up and it got very close at times, but I knew it was crucial to stay ahead.
Can we expect the same in Singapore?
I think we can be quick. There are a lot of slow corners and that usually works well for our car. I enjoy the track and I’ve always scored points in Singapore so I will try to keep up my record.
How much do you enjoy racing at night under the lights?
I’ve always liked street circuits so it’s up there as one of my favourites. It’s a very demanding race and usually quite unpredictable. You have to use the kerbs and attack the corners, which suits my driving style.