“We are on the right path”
“I think that we have done a very good job during testing and completed a lot of laps. We have done our homework at the tests which is the most important thing, every time I was out on track it seemed we were in quite good shape. Exactly how good, only time will tell. It was my first time working with Honda and it went smoothly. They are very hard working, but performance wise, we will have to wait for the first couple of races to see where we are.
“As for being back with everyone at Toro Rosso, the attitude of the team is very positive. I see everyone working hard and in a well-focussed way, so now we need to keep it that way at the races. We are on the right path.
“I am looking forward to the first race of the season. It will be cool for me to back in Melbourne, especially after a year off. I’m very excited, I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while, but we must concentrate on our job rather than think about the excitement of the first race.
“Melbourne is a very technical track and has a variety of corner types. It’s also very bumpy which is a good test of your car control. It’s tricky and can catch you out with shadows falling on parts of the track, with the sun setting towards the end of the race – you need to be alert at this track, as it requires a high level of concentration. When you manage to put a good lap together it always feels very nice. If I had to pick out one section, it would be the high-speed chicane. In these current cars it will be very nice to drive. As for the slower corners, you need to be clean and precise and get them right.
“To sum it up: we prepared well in testing and now let’s go to Melbourne!”
“The first weekend of living my dream”
“After the sessions in Barcelona, I can’t wait to get to Melbourne and my first F1 race. Before testing began, there were some pre-test nerves and I was keen to know if I would be able to learn about the car quickly enough and be comfortable with it. Having done my four days, I think Toro Rosso and I can be happy with how it went. For my first drive in a Formula 1 car, I found the car really impressive. Your mind can’t really understand how quick it is until you actually drive it. The cars are just at a different level to anything I’ve driven before. On the first day, despite all the training I had done, I felt my neck muscles a bit, but that got better and better every time I drove the car because your body adapts.
“By Day 2, I started to feel I had a good understanding of what to do in the car to be quick, but it was only on the last day of the test that I began to feel comfortable on the edge, even if there’s still a way to go. My team has been very helpful, also because Toro Rosso has so much experience helping rookie drivers. They are very open and they know what rookies struggle with. I found it relatively seamless working with my race and data engineers as they got me up to speed as quickly as possible.
“My only experience of Albert Park is on the simulator. It’s a really bumpy circuit so understanding the bumps and the kerbs is important as, in order to be quick, you need to know exactly where on track to place the car. I will also have to get used to the track evolution from FP1 through to qualifying as the circuit is not used during the year. Apart from actually driving the car, I will have to get accustomed to the fast pace of a race weekend, particularly qualifying for example, so I was pleased to be able to simulate that on my final test day. I’ll just have to experience it for real once we get to Melbourne.”