Vitaly Petrov: "I need to put all the pieces together across the weekend" Vitaly, you scored your first F1 points in dry conditions last weekend -- were you happy with your performance? Yes, of course, I was pleased to be back in the points...
Vitaly Petrov: "I need to put all the pieces together across the weekend"
Vitaly, you scored your first F1 points in dry conditions last weekend -- were you happy with your performance?
Yes, of course, I was pleased to be back in the points and to have a good race. It was quite an interesting race for me; I had a good fight with the guys around me and the car felt easy to drive. I pushed at the right times in the race and managed to make up two places at the pit stops. After that, I was behind the Mercedes, but there was no place to overtake.
The next race is at the Hungaroring -- is it a track you enjoy?
It's a circuit that I know quite well and I have a lot of experience there racing in GP2. But this will be my first time there in Formula 1 so there is still a lot for me to learn. I like the circuit and it's quite a tricky track where you need to find a good rhythm and know the secret to going well there.
What is a realistic target for the weekend?
I need to work on improving my qualifying performance to make sure I start the race in a good position. If I can do this, I think I can have a strong race because in Germany the pace of the car was good. In fact, Germany was nearly a mistake-free weekend, except for qualifying. Robert has shown what the car can do in qualifying, so I know this is where I can improve. I will work hard to put all the pieces together across the weekend and my target is to finish in the top ten and score some more points.
Robert Kubica: "Budapest is almost like a home Grand Prix for me"
Robert, you finished seventh in Germany, ahead of both Mercedes -- were you happy with the outcome of the race?
I think we achieved the limit of our car and we were 'best of the rest' in Hockenheim, but we know that there is a big gap to the fastest teams at the moment - and also that the teams behind us are very close. This means that we have to get everything perfect across the race weekend to qualify in the top ten, and finish in the points.
Is the Hungaroring likely to play more to the strengths of the R30?
I think it will be a more suitable track for our car and I hope we can be closer to the front than we were in Germany. But I honestly don't think we can hope to repeat the kind of pace we showed in Monaco earlier this season.
What challenges does the Hungaroring present for a Formula 1 car?
It's a very difficult track to set the car up for because there are long corners where you need to have very good front grip, but on the other hand you need good rear stability. It's also difficult for set-up because of the bumps and because there are lots of different kinds of corner, so you have to somehow concentrate on all areas of the set-up and car balance. And it's very demanding physically and mentally because there are so many corners and there's only really one straight, and even that is not so long. You don't really have time to get back your energy and relax, so you are always concentrating.
This is the closest grand prix to your home country of Poland. Does that make it a special event?
I'm really looking forward to the weekend and we usually see a lot of Polish fans coming to Budapest, so it's a sort of home grand prix for me and for the Polish fans. I am expecting a lot of people to come, and a good atmosphere from the crowd, so we are hoping that we can put in a good performance for them.
Robert's guide to Budapest
Before I became an F1 driver, I always got the impression that the Hungaroring was not liked, but the first time I drove there in an F1 car, I enjoyed it a lot. There are always a lot of Polish fans in Budapest because it's the closest race to Poland, so it's a kind of like a home grand prix for me.
It's a very difficult track to set the car up for because there are long corners where you need to have very good front grip, but on the other hand you need good rear stability. It's also difficult for set-up because of the bumps and because there are lots of different kinds of corner, so you have to somehow concentrate on all areas of the set-up and car balance.
The long corners and high temperatures also make it a demanding track on the tyres. And if it's really hot, you can have a really big drop-off from the tyres. Because there are so many corners, the tyres are really suffering and right on the limit. You can set the car up to have a bit of understeer to look after the rear end, but if you have too much understeer in the long corners like turns eight, nine, 13 and 14, you lose too much lap time.
For most of the lap you are simply going from one corner to another. You are touching the brakes from turn four to turn 11, but you are never putting really high pressures on the brakes. And it's very demanding physically and mentally because there are so many corners and there's only really one straight, and even that is not so long. You don't have time to get back your energy and relax, so you are always concentrating. That's why it's such a difficult track to get right for both the driver and engineers.
It's not really a track for great racing because it's very difficult for overtaking. The corners are all complex from turn four to turn 11 and there is not even one straight that is more than 100 or 200 metres in this section, so it is quite tricky. The only small chance for overtaking is turn one, but it's still very difficult. The problem is that turn 14 is very long: if you are behind someone you lose a lot of front grip, and you are slow at the apex, which makes it hard to follow another car closely and attack into turn one.
Turn 14 is definitely one of the most important corners of the lap because it's where you can lose or win a lot of lap time. It's a very long corner, which you can approach in many different ways with different apex speeds and different lines. You have to carry as much speed as you can into the corner, but you have to remember to get on the power as early as possible because there is quite a long straight into turn one. There are quite a lot of lines on entry point and your apex point can be different depending on car balance. It can also vary during the race depending on tyre degradation.