• IN WORDS: Lewis & Valtteri Talk Belgium

Our drivers look ahead to F1's return at Spa-Francorchamps...

'Under pressure is when you try the extraordinary'

With F1 hitting the track for the first time in four weeks, Lewis is looking forward to the intense battle at the front of the field continuing in the second half of the season.

"I think going into the break, we did an incredible job as a team," he said. "Maybe we weren't the best in all elements, but I think we did a solid job to come away with the points we did.

"We know the areas that we need to improve on. They are still the same today, but we also know that it takes time to see results.

"You can't just make a change to the aero characteristics or engine today for tomorrow, it takes weeks and months. The second half is the same - we don't know what is going to happen.

"I think we've got lots of positives to take into the second half of the season. The pressure on me is as great as it can be, but I wouldn't want it any other way.

"I welcome it. Under pressure, that's when you try to do the extraordinary, try to evolve, to be better in all areas as a team and as a unit.

"That's the excitement of this battle against Ferrari, such a historic team that hasn't won a Championship in a while. We want to win, we feel equally as much if not more."

'It's going to be extremely close'

Valtteri is expecting another close fight between the top teams at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.

"We think again it is going to be a very difficult weekend to try and win," he said. "We have seen in many races this year that it is going to be extremely close.

"With the improvements that Ferrari have made especially with the straight line speed they are going to be strong here.

"But, we still come to the weekend knowing that we have a chance for the race win.

"Myself last year in the race I learned a lot here as I have been doing all through last year and the beginning of this year.

"From my side I am confident in terms of my performance for this weekend. If we are going to be quick enough, that's something we are going to find out."

'Fashion and design are a way of expression'

Outside of F1, Lewis is about to launch his first capsule collection with Tommy Hilfiger and he's excited to see it all coming together.

"I'm super excited about it, I designed it months ago and it's been a while already to finally see it come out," he explained.

"I'm already designing the third collection. I got a lot of messages form around the world, that's pretty cool.

"It's been an incredible experience and I feel incredibly privileged for that. The collection is just the first one. Each time you learn a bit more, things you like, the dos and don'ts.

"I have my first fashion show in two weeks. That's big. It's in Shanghai after Monza, I can't wait for it. It's just a really exciting time.

"Fashion and designing are a way of expression, and an outlet for creativity. I'm really happy that it has come out the way it has. Until you try something, you don't know if you are good at it."

'It was a great success!'

Valtteri made the most of the summer break, finding time to relax. But, he also hosted his second Duathlon event, which was raising money for charity.

"For the second year in a row, I had the duathlon in my home town in Nastola, Finland," he explained. "It was a great success, again, with a nice event for all levels of athletes.

"Even if you haven't done any sports before, you can attend. There were families, a nice atmosphere. We did it for charity and raised 10,000 Euros for Starlight, with around 200 participants and around 3,300 spectators.

"For a small town, it was a good event. It's run, bike, run. A 5km run, 20km bike and 2km run. I competed again and this year I was 10th and improved my time.

"Again, I have a new target time for next year! Mika [Häkkinen] participated as well but only in the cycling bit, we had fun and it was great the Häkkinen family could attend and enjoy it."

'Pouhon might be flat this year'

Spa is one of the most popular tracks amongst drivers and Lewis is eager to see if the fast right-hander of Pouhon is flat in this year's car, but he's wary of making predictions.

"It's not been a bad track for us, but we saw last year how close it was between us and Ferrari," he said. "This year they seem to have at least towards the break made quite a step up in power.

"This is a balance circuit, I don't know how we will fare against them power-wise but I think performance-wise we should be quite close.

"It's still a great track to drive and it's exciting to think that Pouhon might be flat out this year, which is awesome!

"I don't look at the calendar and say: here we should be strong, there we should be strong.

"Of course, I look at these two races and we had two great results last year.

"The next two are circuits we really need to work hard to come away with great points going to Singapore where we have typically struggled.

"We have to make sure we deliver what we did last year and capitalise on it."

'I just want to get the most out of myself'

Valtteri's main target for the season remains the same and he knows that, if he gets everything right, he's always in with a great shot at victory.

"I just want to win races, go weekend-by-weekend and get the most out of myself and the car we have," the Finn explained.

"I am just going for it and trying to get some good results. Later on in the year, we will see where we are and what is still possible.

"I feel this year, in terms of performance, I have been on par with Lewis so far.

"Sometimes the differences have been really tiny, sometimes I have been ahead.

"I go into each weekend knowing that if I get everything right I have the chance to win. That's exactly the same this weekend."