Team are only two points away from fifth place on Manufacturer Standings.
Vijay Mallya looks forward to another double points finish in legendary Monza.
Vijay, the team was back in the points in Belgium… “It was promising to return after the summer break with some points, although fewer than we would have probably deserved based on our pace. Both Checo and Nico showed a lot of fighting spirit to make up several positions from their grid slots and we were able to get five points as a reward. We could have possibly been a few more places ahead had we not started so far back.”
How does this shape the Championship battle for the final seven races? “We’re now sixth in the standings and coming away from Spa with five points was a good exercise in damage limitation. It means we are only two points away from fifth place with all to play for in the coming races. With the double points in Abu Dhabi, too, the battle is likely to remain open for us until the final race.”
Monza is one of the most historic tracks on the calendar. What can we expect this weekend? “The Italian Grand Prix is always a great event and this circuit is legendary. It is also one that should suit our car, with long straights and an emphasis on power. Both Checo and Nico have had good results here in the past and will hopefully do the same this year.”
Driver's View: Nico Hülkenberg
Nico Hülkenberg gets ready for the final European race of the season.
Nico, it was a challenging weekend in Spa but you eventually came away with a point… “It was a mixed weekend. We had good pace, but we couldn't achieve the maximum because of the mistakes in qualifying. The race was interesting; we made up a lot of positions, but we also lost some time battling our way through the traffic. In the end, we got one point and that's better than nothing.”
Monza in September is surely one of the best races of the year… “It’s a fantastic weekend and I really enjoy everything about the event: the town, the people and the track. The atmosphere is just brilliant with the energy of the fans and the history of the place. It’s also a fun track to drive. It looks simple, but hooking up a quick lap is still a challenge and it’s easy to make mistakes.”
Monza is a power track – do you think that will suit the VJM07? “I expect us to be quite competitive there. It should be better for us than Spa. It’s all about power and top speed and we know the engine will be strong. We also have a new low downforce rear wing that we will use for Monza only. Braking from top speed for the chicanes with a skinny rear wing is always tricky.”
Driver's View: Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez looks forward to racing at historic Monza.
Sergio, points in Spa was a good way to begin the second half of the season… “We had to score points to keep in touch with the teams ahead of us in the championship so we went quite aggressive in the race – flat out all the way. It was a nice feeling to score my first points at Spa because I love the track. Getting two cars in the points is the target for all the races to come.”
Is Monza a special track for you? “Definitely. It’s another favourite of mine. I think everybody enjoys going there because it’s such a beautiful location. I raced there a few times before Formula One and always had good results. I was on the podium two years ago [finishing second] – it was one of my best races in Formula One and a very special memory.”
Can you repeat such a performance this weekend? “We will certainly try. I think it’s going to be a good track for us. It’s important to qualify in the top ten to have a chance of scoring good points. It’s difficult to overtake at Monza and if you are out of position it’s hard to recover.”