I contacted Toto soon after the Canadian GP to know if it might be possible to spend time with the team at the track during this grand prix. The answer came back, let’s do it! It’s amazing but since 2010 and the return of Mercedes in F1 with his own team, we’ve been able to establish a very special relationship, starting initially with the return of Michael Schumacher to active competition in 2010. I met Michael in 2005 during practice for the Grand Prix at Spa and he has always had a place in my heart, and then later on, I was regularly in the garage during winter testing from 2010 to 2012 to listen to the radio communications.
I became friends with Nico Rosberg during these difficult few seasons for Mercedes. Nico has to be one of the smartest, friendliest and most humble drivers I’ve ever met. I also got to know Lewis when he arrived in 2013. He is a very interesting, charismatic champion. And from 2014 to the present day, the Mercedes team have been on top of the world in F1.
This is the first time that I’ve ever been to a circuit outside Europe, and I have to admit that I was a little stressed out, because in Europe, the motor homes and hospitality facilities are all different and are always positioned in the same place, so just by touching a hospitality, I know which team it belongs to and therefore where I am in the paddock. In Singapore, the hospitalities are more or less all the same and it took me some time to find my bearings. What I always find fascinating in the paddock is that from Thursday onwards, drivers have a whole series of meetings to attend non-stop.