The Hungarian Grand Prix proved to be the highlight, in terms of the overall performance of the VF-20, from the opening three races of the 2020 campaign. What made the difference there?
“I think we understood the car a little bit more, we tried to put it in a better place. I guess the layout of the circuit worked a tiny bit better for the car, so we were a bit more on the pace – matching the pace of others, which was good.”
Do you adjust your mindset for qualifying knowing it’s an area that so-far hasn’t been an area of strength for the VF-20? Do you feel Q2 should be achievable for both cars on Saturday afternoons?
“I think Q2 for both cars is our next target. I don’t know if that’s achievable in the next few races, but it’s definitely where we’re aiming to go. We’ll work as hard as we can and obviously try to get there without affecting our race pace.”
It feels like we’ve had a bit of everything across the first three race weekends – notably the one thing that has been consistent is the inconsistency – from variable weather session-to-session, reliability issues, qualifying performance versus race performance etc. Has it been hard to get a true feeling on where things stack up? And now that you’ve had time to reflect a little, what are you hoping for in terms of how the team develops the VF-20?
“I think now this year we start to have an idea as to what the VF-20’s like. We’re now fighting with Alfa Romeo and Williams just a little bit behind the midfield, so we just have to try to get the car in an even sweeter spot. I think we’ve done a good job, but we’re going to keep pushing and see what comes to us and see what we can improve.”
What are the ingredients for a successful weekend setting up a car for Silverstone with its long, fast corners and how much of a role does experience play in working through that set-up plan?
“First of all, with Silverstone you need to see what the weather’s going to be like. It’s Great Britain, you can have a lot of surprises, but that’s the first thing to check. Silverstone completely switches from being a fast circuit to a low speed circuit. Most of the high-speed corners are now either flat out or near flat out, the time you can gain is made into turns three, four, six and seven, and the last chicane – those are the low-speed corners. That’s where you want to be performing very well in a modern car.”
What are your favorite Silverstone moments, either from your junior career or from competing in the British Grand Prix throughout your Formula One career?
“I’ve had some good moments at Silverstone, some great wins. The 2012 British Grand Prix was quite good fun. I had contact on the first lap, it took my front wing out, so I was forced to pit. I came back from being last on the first lap to finishing sixth at the checkered flag. I remember overtaking Jenson Button in the McLaren on the outside of Copse, then Lewis Hamilton through Maggots and Becketts, I was just flying through the field having a lot of fun. That was definitely a good one.”