It’s definitely a novel experience waking up at home during a grand prix weekend. You open your eyes, lie there in your own bed for a moment and then get the jolt of suddenly remembering: ‘Oh, I’m driving a Formula One car today!’
It’s a great thing to be able to do. It’s nice to come home from the track in the evening: you tend to relax a little bit easier because you’re in your normal environment. Being in my own house, surrounded by my own stuff makes it feel like a normal day and easier to switch off.
Living not too far from the Silverstone circuit I can confirm that yes, it’s been raining quite a lot in England this summer. Many of the drivers were, I think, avoiding the queues around Silverstone last weekend by coming to the circuit by helicopter. I used a slightly less hi-tech approach and just got up really early. We played it safe and I was driving up from Milton Keynes for around 7am. That kept us out of the worst of it and I didn’t have any problems. Obviously not everyone was so lucky. I think everyone in the garages was pretty impressed with the way the crowd still packed the grandstands and made a lot of enthusiastic noise over the weekend, despite the circuit being virtually under water for most of it.
'The silver lining, with all those clouds, is that our low fuel pace looked pretty good'
My race was… let’s call it ‘OK’. The start was pretty poor, I got a lot of wheel-spin when the lights went out and, as usually happens in those circumstances, lost quite a few places. That meant the early part of the race was about fighting back. I got in front of JEV in the first stint and was able to pull away a little bit. After that, the rest of the race wasn’t too exciting.
Having looked at it again I don’t think I did anything wrong. Maybe we chose the wrong clutch setting, or didn’t do enough burn-outs as we approached the grid, or did too many. I don’t know, and it’s something we’re looking into because our starts aren’t consistent enough. The couple before Silverstone were pretty good but before that I’ve had a few bad ones as well. The procedure is going OK but I’m sitting there spinning my wheels. It’s one of those things the team will analyse and figure out what’s going wrong.
Having fought back up the field what we could really have used is a nice, chaotic rain shower to hit the track – but the one afternoon where we really wanted rain was the one afternoon it refused to fall. I think our performance had looked stronger in the wet than it had in the dry and I think we could have had a much better afternoon had it been slippery. The silver lining, with all those clouds, is that our low fuel pace looked pretty good. In the last ten laps, with the fuel burnt off, our pace was competitive with the front-runners.
'It doesn't make sense for me to move... although I can see why the British drivers go to Monaco...'
After the race I went off to the Grand Prix Ball – which isn’t something you get at every race – and then again the novelty of being able to go home afterwards. When I first moved to Europe I originally settled in Italy. I moved to England when I started racing for Carlin and living here seemed more logical. Gradually I was spending more and more time using the simulator in Milton Keynes to the point where I’m now using it so often it really doesn’t make sense to move anywhere else – I’d just be on the plane every week coming back to Buckinghamshire – and so I’ve settled here because it’s the easiest option and I’m pretty comfortable now.
– though looking out of the window at grey skies and yet more rain pelting down I can definitely see why all the British drivers move to Monaco…