It’s been a rollercoaster season for you so far – not least in the last two races. What mindset does that leave you with heading into the break?
It’s been damage limitation for me in the last couple of races and we’ve had some difficult weekends throughout this season. But if I’m honest, looking back at it now, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Sometimes it’s nice to have things easy, but I love a challenge and I love a fight. It’s not the times of ease that show who you are – it’s the times of adversity. I definitely feel like the tough breaks I’ve had this year have made me stronger – and hopefully I’ve shown that I’ve got heart. If ever I’ve had good luck this year, it was there at the last race in Budapest – keeping me from damaging my car on the wall during that first lap. Hopefully that’s a sign that my fortunes are changing. To have taken two podiums from two difficult weekends before the break has been really satisfying and, more than that, it allows me to smile and enjoy this time off knowing that I still have an opportunity to fight for this Championship.
What are your plans for the next two weeks?
After the year we’ve had so far, which has been so demanding both physically and mentally, this break will be a really good opportunity for everyone to relax, re-energise and come back stronger from both of those perspectives. Personally, one of my focuses is to stay fit and I’ll definitely be dedicating some time to working out. I’m very, very light at the moment, but the car is a little lighter since the removal of the FRIC system so I can now put on a bit of weight – muscle, of course, not fat! It won’t just be all gym and no beach, though. I’m sure I’ll do a bit of both. I need to recharge my batteries so I won’t be going crazy with the exercise, but I feel like a stick at the moment and it’ll be nice to bulk up a bit. Next year the weight limit will be going up by ten kilos too, so I’m thinking I can afford to put on a few pounds!
Any final thoughts before packing up the suitcases?
I’m happy with our performance so far this year in terms of the pace we have in the car. The team have done a great job with that. We just need to work on the reliability, and I know that’s the priority for everyone back at the factories. I have to say, though, that over the last two weekends in Germany and Hungary in particular, the guys have been amazing – I mean, really amazing. It’s tough for everyone involved when reliability comes into play. To see these issues happen after all the long hours and hard work that they’ve put in – I know it hurts them as much as it hurts me. To then fight through, get the car back together, get me out there and not give up or lose hope – I can’t thank them enough for everything they do and that’s what’s going to keep me going right through this year. There’s still a long, long way to go and I know that both the guys and myself will keep pushing right to the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi. We’ll be back stronger than ever in Spa.