What a great start to your 2014 campaign!
It had already been an amazing week in Melbourne even before the race. I have to say a big thank you to the fans who made it all the more special. Their support was fantastic all weekend. Sunday was an amazing day and I’m just over the moon. Everybody has worked so hard over the winter and now to have such an amazing Silver Arrow to drive is just unreal. The car was quick and this was the perfect start to my season. I’m really thankful to everyone involved: they have done an amazing job.
How about that start?
The car went off like a bullet; or like a Silver Arrow, I should say! The engineer who’s responsible for that did a great job, so a big thank you to him. There are some small bits and pieces in the start procedure that are different to last year, in terms of upshifting through the gears for example, but it felt great.
Were you confident of a good result from there?
I was optimistic before the race because we prepared really well. The start was incredible and, after that, the car was just really quick. The whole team did a fantastic job. I don’t think people can really imagine how hard everybody works in this team – and I’m sure in other teams too – so this is the best reward possible for them.
There was a lot of radio communication about extending that middle stint; talk us through it?
I got into a bit of a strange situation during the middle stint. I had graining on the front tyres and somehow I was losing temperature in the rubber. It started to get a bit difficult out there and I thought I was going to have to come in. The team told me to stay out, the graining cleared and I was able to push again. It was a bit of a strange period but then it was fine again after that.
How does it feel to lead the Drivers’ Championship for the first time in your career?
I haven’t thought about that as we’ve only just had the first race; I’m just enjoying sharing the moment with the team. It’s a great start and I’m really looking forward to the coming races.
Does your team-mate’s retirement bring any concerns for the team looking forwards?
I’m not sure what happened to Lewis’ car but it’s clear that we’re not 100% there yet in terms of reliability. We have two weeks before the next race and we need to identify all the things that we can do better. In testing we experienced problems right up to the last day and even leading up to this weekend there were changes to the car. There’s still a lot of work ahead of us.
What are your plans between now and Malaysia?
We have to evaluate everything we’ve learned from the weekend first of all. We still can improve a lot and we must be sure do so. There’s a long way to go this season and our competitors aren’t going to stand still. We have to try to learn as much as we can, improve the car and then get ready for Malaysia.