“I’m obviously happy after yesterday’s announcement, I feel very comfortable in the team, things are going well, and I think there’s definitely more to come for us. I can’t wait to get out on track in Monza, because I feel the mojo is good within the team and the car seems to be working well at all kinds of track, in the wet or the dry. To have finished fifth, sixth and fourth in the last three races is proof of that. Zandvoort was an amazing weekend with everything going in the right direction from Friday onwards. I’ll admit on Sunday, I was hoping something might happen with the leading three and I might get to taste some of that podium champagne again, after my third place in Baku earlier in the season, but it didn’t happen.
After coming fourth on Sunday, expectations are high now for Monza. After the French Grand Prix this is very much a second home race for me now, because I live just 15 kilometres from the track. The weekend will be something new for me, returning to a race circuit where I was the last person to win the Grand Prix. I’m very keen to be there and there should be plenty of tifosi, unlike last year, which felt very strange as the fans are so much part of the Monza atmosphere – that and the high speeds. It will be something quite special, reminding me of some really unforgettable moments from last season. I hope we can get another great result again this time, but we have to consider that we will be tackling the Qualifying Sprint format for the second time. After Silverstone, we have a better idea of what to expect, but with the usual slipstreaming battle in Qualifying and the race, it will add another dimension.”
“It was a shame that we had to retire from the Dutch Grand Prix after unfortunately having my Qualifying spoilt by the red flags. But there were quite a few positive things to come from that weekend. I think I adopted the right attitude to learning the track, gradually building confidence and pushing harder and the pace from the car was definitely there. We got the most out of the package, so now I’m very excited to see how it works in Monza and hopefully have a trouble-free weekend ending with a good result.
After yesterday’s announcement I’ve been given an additional boost, I believe if I continue developing and learning in the way I have been doing in the last few races then I can start delivering results more consistently, particularly on tracks I know well. I’m now looking ahead to this weekend. This is an important home race for the team and the weekend will be made more complicated because it will be the second time that we try the Sprint Qualifying format. I remember watching last year’s F1 Qualifying with all the drivers backing up and trying to get a slipstream. So, I expect Qualifying to be tricky and I will pay a lot of attention to the best way to drive it. I like this track, and did well in F2 Qualifying last year, although I had an engine issue in the Sprint Race. Before that, I won in Monza in F3. The track is great fun to drive, usually with a lot of overtaking in the junior categories. I’ve seen from social media that I get a lot of messages from Italian fans, so I hope it will be a really nice atmosphere driving here in front of a big crowd.”