Q. After a tough weekend last time out, how important is it for you to make a statement this weekend?
I don’t feel like I have to make a statement. Of course, many of the top drivers already have points on the board and ideally I’d be in the same situation but it’s a long season. What matters is where you stand after the last race. Naturally, you don’t want to get too far behind but personally I enjoy the chase so maybe it’s done me a favour. There are so many unknowns this year that anything can happen. In Melbourne I started on pole and didn’t finish, so it’s far too early to make predictions. I hope that, as a team, we don’t have any more non-finishes throughout the rest of the year and now it’s up to me to catch back up to the leaders.
Q. Has it given you confidence to see then potential of the car in Melbourne?
It was a good result for the team after all the hard work they’ve put in and Nico drove a great race. We exist to win and that kind of race is what we aim for every time, so hopefully there’s a lot more to come for us. This was the first race, though. Everyone has improvements to make and that will continue throughout the season. You can never afford to relax as the opposition will always be chasing you down. We have to keep pushing hard and developing the car if we want to be at the top come the end of the season. It will take a few races for us to really know where we are and whenever you have an advantage it’s important to capitalise while you can. I’m feeling good heading into this weekend and I hope we can be strong once again.
Q. Have you been surprised by the team’s performance at this early stage?
If people could see the amount of work that’s going on back at Brackley and Brixworth they would understand how strong results come about. We have an incredibly dedicated and talented group of people, so it’s not a surprise to me that we have a strong package. When I signed for this team one of the things that really stood out was the determination to continue growing and developing. Last year showed that ambition and this year we’ve come back even stronger.
Q. This race saw a close battle between the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS cars last year: have team orders been discussed?
We talked about it before we got to Melbourne and then again when we got to the circuit. We both know and understand the situation: the team wants us to race. Naturally, there are unspoken rules about respect for each other and for the team. It’s our job as drivers to honour that. As long as both cars cross the line in the right position and take home the points the team deserves we’re allowed to compete.
Q. You equalled Nigel Mansell’s tally for pole positions in Melbourne; what does that mean to you?
I don’t disregard it that’s for sure. It’s quite incredible to have worked with such great people who have given me the opportunities to take strong results. It wouldn’t do them justice to not acknowledge these things. But having said that, records aren’t what appeals to me about racing.