Vitaly: "It will be great to experience Interlagos for real" Vitaly, how are you approaching the next race at Interlagos? When you have tough races like Japan and Korea, you can't wait to get back in the car to forget those bad memories, so...
Vitaly: "It will be great to experience Interlagos for real"
Vitaly, how are you approaching the next race at Interlagos?
When you have tough races like Japan and Korea, you can't wait to get back in the car to forget those bad memories, so I'm really looking forward to Interlagos. But it's difficult to know what to expect because I've never been to Brazil before and it's another new challenge for me. It's a famous circuit because there have been so many great races there, especially in the last few years with the championship being decided. I remember watching these races on television so it will be great to experience it for real.
What are your views on the track layout?
It's not a very long lap -- just over 4km, but there are a lot of different corners in the lap. It's also quite undulating so I think this makes it more interesting to try and find the limit in some of the corners. There is a very long straight and a good overtaking opportunity into the first chicane, so clearly the f-duct will very important at this track.
Have you done any special preparation for this race?
After Korea I went straight to Enstone to see the engineers and to talk about Brazil. The team have lots of data from last year, which is useful for learning the track because you can see the gears, the braking, the line, and you can start to understand the lap more. I also went back in the simulator to help me learn the Interlagos circuit. It only takes an hour to know the track pretty well and to have the confidence to start pushing.
Robert: "Anything can happen at Interlagos"
Robert, let's look back on Korea. What were your thoughts on the race?
For me it felt like the race was divided in two halves. The first part was very difficult because I had big problems with the overall grip and I struggled to keep the car on the track. In the second half I gained quite a lot of ground when my tyres were in better shape for the last ten or 15 laps of the race. I managed to finish fifth, which was a good reward for our efforts. Of course we would like to be more competitive, but I think overall we have to be happy to have scored a good amount of points after the difficulty we had at the start of the race.
Looking ahead to this weekend, how do you think the R30 will perform at Interlagos?
Brazil is a bit of a strange track and it's really difficult to predict how we will perform. There is a long straight out of the last corner where the f-duct will give us lots of gain and this is also where the power of the engine will be important. I think that we might have a lottery with the weather because Brazil gets unsettled conditions at this time of year, so it's likely we will have some wet running, as we did in 2009. When it rains the track has very poor grip and you have to be lucky to get the perfect balance with the car.
What are the keys to a good set-up in Brazil?
It's a difficult track for setting up the car because of the long straight and the uphill sections of the track. You have to choose between top speed, or running a lot of downforce and gaining through the corners, so it's very difficult to balance those two things. The track has a bit of everything -- low speed, high speed and it's kind of an old school circuit so there are quite a lot of places where you can gain lap time. But, as I said before, it's quite difficult to get everything in the right place with the balance and the car set-up.
The Brazilian Grand Prix always has a great atmosphere on race day. Tell us about your memories of racing there...
You are very near the fans because the grandstands are very close, which makes the feeling on the grid very special. 95% of them are cheering for Brazilians, but it's still a nice atmosphere. I had a good result there last year, which came as a big surprise. It will be difficult to repeat it this year, but as I said the weather can play a big role at Interlagos and anything can happen there.