Lotus Renault press release
RACING IN INDIA WILL BE A REFRESHING CHALLENGE
With a five place penalty on the grid heading into the Indian GP, Vitaly accepts he has his work cut out but will do all he can to redeem himself
Looking at your early exit from the Korean Grand Prix, how would you evaluate your performance?
Over the course of the weekend we did a fantastic job; the whole team worked very hard. We got into Q3 comfortably and showed stronger pace than some of the teams we are fighting against. We were closer to Mercedes and I was fighting with Nico (Rosberg) and Michael (Schumacher). It was a pity the race ended the way it did. My first stint showed good pace. We had a fierce battle, but this time it was me who took Michael out of the race - normally it is him that takes me out! I apologised to him, and concluded that that's racing.
How did your incident with Michael come about?
I was fighting with Fernando (Alonso) on the straight. I used DRS to pass him, then he switched on his DRS and KERS, and passed me on the left hand side. This meant I was then on the right hand side which was a little dirty. I braked 15 metres earlier than normal, but because it was dirtier and I was travelling nearly 20 kph faster due to the slipstream, I was unable to stop the car. Not only could I not stop the car, I couldn't move to the left as Fernando was there and I was going to hit him. It was a pity, but on the plus side we were battling for high end places. We were disappointed about the weekend but there were some positives to be taken away.
What are your thoughts heading to the Indian GP?
It will be quite challenging for the teams and drivers because it is a new track where no-one has raced before. That was the same story in Korea two years ago so I know it's quite a tricky scenario. I have prepared in many ways and racing in India will be a refreshing challenge. As a new circuit, it is a level playing field for everyone.
Sometimes the car will be very good straight out of the box, sometimes not
How much do you enjoy the adventure of going to a circuit which has never been raced on before?
It is a good challenge for drivers as you never know what to expect. Sometimes the car will be very good straight out of the box, sometimes not, so it's difficult to know what will happen until you complete your first laps. When I saw the layout of the circuit I said it would be quite difficult, but for the last two races we have shown good performance even if we didn't always achieve the results we were capable of.
How will you prepare for this race?
We will arrive a little earlier than we would for a circuit we already know. Regrettably, I am starting with a five position penalty, due to the incident with Michael in Korea, so I will have to be right at the top of my game.