Nico, fastest in all practice sessions, fastest in all qualifying sessions, I guess you might call that a perfect job so far?
It’s a perfect job only if it works out tomorrow. Up to now, of course, it’s been going well and it’s the best place to be heading into the race. But of course I need to make it happen on Sunday, unlike in Austin for example.
You’ve been very calm all weekend. Is the pressure different now you’re in the position you’re in, compared with earlier in the season?
The pressure is pretty much similar. The adrenaline is there, the tension, the excitement. It’s not been changing that much – I’m just here, I’m going for it and I’m pushing myself to stay optimistic all the time. I have learned from Austin and I know what I need to do better. So, from that point of view, I’m feeling good to go for tomorrow.
It’s a particularly tricky first corner here...
I’m sure the start is going to be great to watch. But I’m on the clean side of the grid and it’s not such a long run down to Turn One, so that should definitely be helpful.
After your pit stop in Austin you suddenly lost performance and Lewis overtook you. What happened exactly and do you think the story will be different here?
I understand what I needed to improve in Austin: I didn’t find my rhythm in the race. We looked at it and so I’m confident that I can improve for tomorrow. Anyways, it’s a different situation – a different track and here we’ve done more long runs. We even did a long run this morning in exactly the same conditions as we expect tomorrow. So all those things should be very helpful.
You mentioned the wrong settings – did that happen by accident?
No, it was not by accident. It’s a progression from one run to the next and you learn with every run. But then the decision is, OK, I know my settings are wrong but if I change them now the car will be different and that can be quite risky. In qualifying you’re really going flat out on the absolute edge and when you’re on the edge the car is different. It’s not necessarily going to be quicker and it’s more risky so I just took the decision to stay as it was and that was the right decision, so that worked out well.