Q: The next race is Monaco and a track where you’ve previously been successful, winning twice in 2006 and 2007. What do you think your prospects are looking like for Monaco this year?
A: It has never been as difficult to predict the outcome of a race as it is this year, especially one which is always more unpredictable than the others. We have had five different winners in five different cars this season; therefore you can’t say there is any clear favourite. For our part, we have to continue down the path we embarked on at the last race in Barcelona, well aware that there is still a gap between us and the best and we must continue to push the car’s development. If we do everything perfectly, then maybe we can achieve a good result.
Q: Only six drivers have ever won the Monaco GP three times. Would winning here this year make you a legend of the sport?
A: No, I don’t think one win changes anything. It’s true that winning the Monaco Grand Prix is very nice, but it is definitely not enough to see you regarded as a legend. The six drivers who each have the three wins in the Principality are legendary irrespective of this statistic.
Q: Many drivers describe a victory at Monaco as their greatest. What makes it so special?
A: Monaco first and foremost requires total concentration, from the start to the final lap. It only takes the slightest distraction, a slip up that on any other track would cost you just a few tenths, and you end up in the barrier and you can say goodbye to the race. Even getting to the finish of the race is an achievement. However, for me personally, my wins here in 2006 and 2007 are not my greatest victories, because winning in front of my home crowd at Barcelona (2006) or at Ferrari’s home race in Monza (2010) is really something incredible, a feeling that will always stay with me.
Q: How are you feeling about the season so far?
A: We have done well to get the most out of our potential in these first five races, to the extent that, with a quarter of the season gone, no one has scored more points than us. However, we clearly cannot be satisfied with our car’s performance level; we expected more going into the season and that cannot be denied. We must improve and that’s what we are doing now.
Q: Which race of the season do you most look forward to?
A: The two races in Spain – one of which we have just had – and the one at Monza. These events have a special flavour.
Q: Speed is a big part of your profession of course. Is your life away from F1 racing fast paced too or do you prefer to slow it down?
A: It depends! When I am out training on a bike I definitely like riding fast, but there are other elements of life that should be enjoyed one moment at a time, especially when I am with people who are dear to me or with my best friends.
Q: How do you spend your spare time on the road and in between races?
A: Doing absolutely normal things, like any other guy my age. I don’t necessarily have to be climbing Everest or parachute jumping to have a nice time…
Q: Many athletes such as Usain Bolt find it hard to wind down after competing as the adrenaline is still pumping. Is this the same for you after an F1 race?
A: 200 km/h for two hours in a car definitely gives you a big adrenalin rush! It takes a bit of time to unwind, also because immediately after the chequered flag we have work to do, first with the media and then with the engineers in the debriefing. Finally, come Sunday evening you can relax, but the next day you are already starting to think about the next race because our season is very long, starting in February with testing and finishing at the end of November!
Q: F1 racing requires a high level of fitness, what kind of training regime to you follow?
A: It’s true, modern day Formula 1 requires a high level of physical fitness and it’s an element that can affect the final result. I have always tried to pay great attention to this area, right from the start of my career, and I take full advantage of the help of two great professionals, Fabrizio Borra and Edoardo Bendinelli. The type of preparation varies a great deal depending on where we are in the season; during the winter break maybe we work a lot on power, while between races it’s more a case of maintaining a level. Then, we have to take into account that some Grand Prix take place in unusual weather conditions, such as Malaysia, or they run to a unique timetable, like Singapore. In these cases, I follow a specific programme to manage my energy throughout the weekend.
Q: What is so special about the PUMA evoSPEED Mid Pro race boot that you will wear in Monaco and how does it help with your performance?
A: The PUMA evoSPEED Mid Pro race boot has been specially designed to be light and to enable us to feel the pedals, while maintaining the fire retardant qualities needed in F1. Weight is so important in F1, PUMA have done a great job making this as light as possible. It also fits very well and it’s very flexible, all of these characteristics give me a greater feel of the pedals and help me drive faster.
Q: The evoSPEED Mid Pro Race Boot is the lightest in F1. How important is this?
A: This is the most important thing for us in F1, we try to make everything as lightweight as possible and this includes what we wear. Every milligram of weight matters so anything that can help reduce the total weight and make the car lighter is really significant. Wearing the lightest race boot in F1 gives me the confidence to get in my car and know that I’ve done everything possible to give me the best chance to go faster and hopefully win.
Q: Can you tell us how it feels in that moment when you are racing full speed in an F1 car?
A: It’s an amazing feeling, it’s the adrenalin, its fun, and it’s the passion for competition. But for me, it’s not that different to what I feel when I race karts with my friends from my teenage years, when we meet up in Oviedo. I have always loved racing at whatever level I am doing it!