“I can look ahead to the final two races of the season taking some encouragement from the fact our performance level in Austin and Mexico was pretty good. Sure, I had penalties both times which meant there were no points, but in both places we were fighting for the top ten and I hope that will also be the case in Brazil.
It’s always special to go to Interlagos, as I got my first podium there in 2019 and last year I finished seventh. Generally, I’ve gone well in Brazil, and I also have a lot of fans there. I’m looking forward to the weekend, even though this year, everywhere we go has been a bit tougher than the previous season, so we know it’s more complicated to fight to finish in the top ten, but it’s not impossible. We will be aiming for the points that we need to get ahead of Haas.
We know the weather can play a big part at this race and currently rain is forecast for Saturday and Sunday, so we will have to be ready to take our chances. The track is bumpy, but we found in Austin and Baku that it is not particularly difficult to deal with in these new cars and it didn’t worry me too much in the simulator. However, physically, it is tough, being an anti-clockwise track as well as the fact that none of the straights are actually straight! It’s another Sprint weekend and that’s something that has not gone very well for us up until now, but we will deal with it, do our best and the extra race might mean an additional chance to go and chase the points we need in our championship fight, which is no bad thing.”
“I will be racing in Brazil in a good frame of mind after Mexico, even though I retired from the race, as overall it was a positive weekend. I had to adapt quickly to the track, as Liam (Lawson) drove my car in FP1. From FP2 onwards I built up my pace and adapted quickly enough to be prepared for Qualifying, even if I could not make it to Q3. In the race, up until the collision, I would say it was my best race so far in terms of tyre management. It’s just a shame how it ended.
Last year was my first time at Interlagos and it was a busy weekend, as I had never driven the track and only had one free practice on Friday as it was a Sprint event, same as this year. However, I think I managed to understand the circuit quite quickly and this year it will be more straightforward, as I know what to expect and I’ve recently driven it again on the simulator. So, I am confident I can be on the pace right from the first laps and have a good weekend, with the usual targets of Q3 and points.
One thing that I felt even on the simulator is that the track is very bumpy, and it will be interesting to see just how aggressive the bumps are, as that will make things tricky, especially in the braking zones. I expect it to be difficult in that respect, but otherwise, all good! It’s a left-handed track and I remember last year, I found it quite demanding physically, especially on the neck. It’s definitely one of the toughest races of the season from that point of view, but I am fit enough to deal with it.”