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2018/04/29 13:10:00

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Chinese GP 2018 – Review

16 April 2018
“We made a ballsy strategy going on the ultrasofts to mediums. Unfortunately, the misfortune kept going with me because I knew from the safety car in the middle of the race – when I was on the very long stint on the medium – we were not going to pit. I knew it would be very difficult at the restart, and it was. I tried to hang on to P11 as long as I could but, eventually, the two Force Indias passed me. We came in for another set of ultrasofts for the last 10 laps. They were encouraging as there was very low degradation, and the car felt really good. I knew things were going to be very difficult at the safety car, though.”

Chinese GP 2018 – Advance

10 April 2018
Finding and then holding onto the tires’ proper operating window proved a challenge last year. How has it been so far this year? “It’s still a challenge and it’s still really what makes the car go fast or not. We put a lot of effort into that, and we’ve got some good people helping us to make sure we do that right.” For the first time in recent memory, Pirelli isn’t bringing a sequential set of tire compounds. There’s a jump between the Yellow soft tire and the Purple ultrasoft, with the Red supersoft not a part of Pirelli’s lineup. How drastic is the difference between the soft and ultrasoft, and will you miss that gradual change between compounds? “I guess it’s going to open strategies, especially if there’s quite a lot of degradation on the ultrasofts. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do. In China, the weather can be challenging – it can be cold or hot. A lot will depend on that.” Overtaking, or a lack thereof, has been a topic of late. What would you like to see happen to encourage more overtaking during a race? “I think that’s something Formula One is working on. Clearly, it’s not easy to overtake, but we know that Melbourne’s one of the trickiest circuits to overtake on. I don’t think we need to jump to conclusions. We can wait a few races to see how it goes.” Are expanding the DRS zones one way to increase overtaking opportunities? What are the pros and cons to that? “There are no cons, only pros. You just go faster in a straight line, and yes, it’s a way to do it, clearly.” When you’re behind another car, what does the “dirty air” or turbulence from that car do to your car? How does it affect the feel of your racecar? “You lose downforce, as if you have a smaller wing on your car. You slide more, and when you slide more, the tires overheat. When that happens, the grip goes even more, which means you slide even more. It’s a cycle. That’s basically what’s happening. Normally, you lose a bit more of front end than rear end. Generally, it just feels like you’re on a lighter downforce package.” So, after talking about operating windows for your tires and DRS zones for overtaking, how does Shanghai shape up in terms of finding the right tire balance and being able to overtake? “Overtaking in China is always pretty good – it’s always exciting. The balance is really difficult to find because there’s a lot of demands on the front tires, which makes it tricky. One of the main concerns is trying to find a way to get the best from the front tires.” In six career Formula One races at Shanghai International Circuit, you’ve had three point-paying finishes and all of them came from a top-10 starting spot. It shows how important qualifying is, but it also seems to showcase your talents. Is

Bahrain GP 2018 – Review

9 April 2018
“It was always going to be difficult starting from the back of the grid. I didn’t really have a good first lap, but after that I came back through the field quite nicely. If I hadn’t lost my bargeboard I’d have finished potentially seventh or eighth. That was a problem – losing parts as we’re just running on track. On those two laps, the car was absolutely undriveable. We had to pit to remove the part, so that was the end of the story.”

Bahrain GP 2018 – Advance

30 March 2018
The Australian Grand Prix was shaping up to be a milestone race for Haas F1 Team. How do you rebound from such a difficult set of circumstances, especially when the result could’ve been so rewarding? “Well, put it this way – I’d rather retire fighting for fourth or fifth position than finishing every race in 15th position.” Despite the massive disappointment in the outcome at Australia, you made it a point to find each crew member, shake their hand and essentially say we’re in this together. How were you able to shake off your own disappointment and be there for your crew? “It’s a team sport, and I believe my team has always been there for me when I needed them. Everything is pushed to its maximum –the driving, the engineering and the pit stops. Mistakes can happen. We’re a team, and I was happy to be there for my boys, as I know they’re happy to be there for me when I need them to be.” The silver lining in Australia was that the Haas VF-18 had speed. How comforting was it to carry the speed from winter testing into the reality of the Australian Grand Prix? “It was great, it was amazing, and it gives us a lot of hope for the future. Obviously, we need to see how it goes on different circuits, but I think it’s a very positive start. We’re all very much looking forward to going to the next race.” How did the car feel throughout the Australian Grand Prix – from practice and qualifying and on into the race? “It felt good. We’ve got a very good baseline and we know already where we can improve the car. We’re working on that. It’s exciting to see that we focus on getting some good performance from the car, rather than just trying to survive or be at the back. I think we’re in a good place. We can’t wait to get back racing.” More specifically, can the speed you displayed in Australia carry over to Bahrain? “Time will tell, but I’m hoping so, because it’s much more fun fighting at the front of the field than behind.” How important is it to have a strong finish in Bahrain, where the disappointment from Australia can be forgotten? “A good result will help us to forget Australia. Let’s get to Bahrain, let’s do our work, like we did in Australia, focus on our jobs and see where we are at the end. Hopefully, we can have another good surprise.” In six career Formula One races at Bahrain, you’ve had five point-paying finishes, including two podiums (back-to-back third-place finishes in 2012 and 2013). And in scoring those podiums, you came from seventh and 11th on the grid. In fact, in every race you’ve picked up positions from where you qualified – 24 positions in all. Is there something about Bahrain that plays to your strengths? “I love driving in Bahrain. I’ve always had a good feeling there,

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