Robert Kubica: "I will try my best to extract the maximum from the car" Robert, Silverstone was a tricky weekend for you, culminating in your first retirement of the year. Talk us through it... In the end, we were struggling with the general...
Robert Kubica: "I will try my best to extract the maximum from the car"
Robert, Silverstone was a tricky weekend for you, culminating in your first retirement of the year. Talk us through it...
In the end, we were struggling with the general grip of the car and our feeling on the performance side was that we were less competitive than we had been at the previous race. Everything was looking grey until the final part of qualifying, but I managed to qualify sixth which I think was quite surprising looking at our performance up to that point. It was even more surprising to be third in the first stint, after a good start and a good first lap, but our pace wasn't great in the race and, even before the driveshaft problem, the car didn't feel like it usually does. I think much of it was down to circuit characteristics because our least competitive circuits this year have been Barcelona and Silverstone, both of which have a lot of high-speed corners.
Looking to Hockenheim, do you expect the R30 to better suit this circuit?
It's a more normal track with a more normal mix of corners. There are two very high-speed corners, at turn 1 and turn 12, and the rest are low and medium-speed. The track surface is very smooth, so you have to get the absolute maximum out of the car's mechanical grip, and there is also one very long straight, where you have to make sure the car is competitive on top speed. All the cars we are racing already have an f-duct system, and this makes our life harder because we may have to reduce downforce to be competitive on top speed, which could cost us in the corners. We will have to evaluate the best compromise for us on Friday.
For this race, there will be a bigger gap between the tyre compounds, with Bridgestone bringing the super-soft and the hard tyres. What challenges will that present?
At first sight, the super-soft may struggle to do even one lap in qualifying and the hard compound could go on forever! The weather and the track conditions will have a big influence on how they perform: from experience, it will be tricky to make the super-soft tyre work properly, while the hard tyre should be okay. The other factor is that we may see a big balance shift between compounds, and that may make the weekend quite tricky and interesting from the tyre point of view.
What are your performance expectations for the weekend?
As usual, I will try to do my best and to extract the maximum from the car. Most of the teams we are racing now have both the f-duct and the blown floor, so I think it could be quite a tough weekend, and we need to make sure that our pace is more competitive than at the last race. But if it's what we call a tough weekend for us is like in Silverstone, when we still could have finished P4 or P5, then I'll take it straight away.
Vitaly Petrov: "The target is to be as close to Robert as possible"
Vitaly, let's look back to Silverstone - another promising race ruined by a puncture...
I enjoyed the race but, of course, I was disappointed with the outcome. I was almost in the points when I had some bad luck with the puncture, so we could have got a much better result. But what is done is done, and it was still good to finish all 52 laps of the race. This gives us lots of information about the car and the track, which was especially important with Robert's race ending early.
You now have ten races behind you, what is your frame of mind as we enter the second half of the season?
I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and using the experience that I have gained so far. I know that I still need to improve, but I'm doing my best to work more closely with the team and Robert to improve the car. I feel that I have a really good relationship with the team and we know each other pretty well by now. We spend a lot of time together, we go to dinner together and I spend a lot of time at the factory. Being very close with them will help me get the most from every weekend.
As a rookie, each race is a big learning experience. Where do you feel you can still improve?
I think that the information and feedback I give the team is something that is very important. When we have a new upgrade, we need to have a good understanding of how it works and how it improves the car, and it's down to me to give the team the right information. Being accurate with my feedback is also important for improving the set-up and getting the most from the car so this is where I am working hard.
Looking ahead to this weekend's race in Germany, what are your views on the Hockenheim circuit?
I know the circuit because I've raced there before in GP2. It's quite a difficult track and there is usually close racing so you need to be quite tactical with your driving. There are some corners where you can overtake, like the hairpin at the end of the long back straight. Overall I think it should be a good circuit for our car.
What are your objectives for the weekend?
As always the first target is to be close to Robert's pace. Then I need to qualify in the top ten and finish the race. I think that qualifying is my number one priority for the weekend because we know how it important it is for the outcome of the race.