AHEAD OF THE BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX
What are you looking ahead to in Bahrain, after Shanghai?
We stay in possibly the coolest hotel of the season. I haven’t explored Manama but out near the circuit where we’re based, we stay in a hotel with it’s own beach. Obviously the weather’s great and for training and relaxing for a few days before the event, yeah, it’s pretty sweet.
Rumour has it the Bahrain International Circuit is your second favourite at Sakhir…
Ha! Yeah, there’s a really good go-kart track next to the circuit. Last year after testing you could go down there and hang out with the guys working at the track and do a few laps – obviously in your race overalls and helmet trying to look as cool as possible. Pretty good.
…and the grand prix circuit?
It was the location of possibly my best qualifying lap ever, so I’ve got a few nice memories of Sakhir. Over one lap there’s nothing that really has the wow! factor but for racing it’s a little better. Last year the race was one of the best. You can pass, and moving to an evening race spices things up a little. It kept you guessing with the tyres. Yeah, it’s a good track to race on. There’s some tricky corners. Turn 10 is a funny turning-turning-braking-braking that’s very technical, and when you get it right it feels good – but there’s nothing that feels sick…
‘Sick’ in the Urban Dictionary sense?
Yeah, that’s the one.
On to the Sakhir circuit, the first night race of the season, is that something you enjoy?
It makes a difference. The temperature is a lot easier on you as a driver, the tarmac is not so hot. The lighting is very good, there’s no real issue with driving under lights. The track itself is what I would call a kind of ‘classic’ configuration. It’s got some flowing sections, some interesting corners. I enjoy it. It’s a good racing track. The facilities are great and it’s a good paddock.
Is the circuit layout one that you like?
I had quite an unlucky race there last year but that doesn’t make it a bad track for me. I think if you’re fast and you’re winning then any track is a good one! If you hit the right lines, if you hit on the right set-up and the right approach to the weekend, you’re going to enjoy yourself.
We stay in a nice hotel in Bahrain, it’s right by the beach and the atmosphere there is really nice. I haven’t really been to Manama as it’s pretty much just hotel and track!