How do you sum up your Spanish Grand Prix weekend?
It was a tricky weekend and in the end it was really disappointing. We all hoped for a lot more from the Spanish Grand Prix so to finish in 10th place was way below our expectations. Clearly our performance in the race did not meet the high standards we set earlier in the season but we are working flat-out to respond in the next races.
What can you say about the upgrade package the team took to Spain?
The guys back in Cologne worked incredibly hard to prepare several upgrades to the car, and I'm grateful to them for such a big effort. When you see how much work went into this you can really appreciate the dedication and commitment we have. We had some mechanical and aerodynamic upgrades which we tested on Friday. It's a bit different for us this year because of the testing ban, which means we have to try out new parts on Friday when anyway we are pretty busy working on set-up, tyres and strategy. In the end we decided not to use the aero upgrades but we did use some of the mechanical stuff.
Are you concerned that other teams may have made a step forward compared to Toyota?
In Spain we seemed lose a little ground but the team is pushing really hard to develop the car and there are more upgrades coming in the near future. Last year we improved continuously as the season went on and one of our most competitive races was the final one, which proves we have the ability to close the gap on other teams during the season. Obviously it's a challenge and sometimes things don't work out as you expect but we know we have to continue to develop every area of the car because the other teams are doing the same. We have the determination and the potential to do this.
After qualifying in the top six, things looked positive but what happened in the race?
We had quite an aggressive strategy and we were definitely expecting to score points from the third row but unfortunately things went wrong at the start. The car didn't pull away properly so I lost some position, then there was a big mess at turn two involving Jarno, when Nico (Rosberg) squeezed him on to the grass. After that I was stuck behind Nico for the first stint. I could have gone faster but I couldn't get close enough to make a move and, with the strategy I was on, this really hurt my chances.
Was it possible to overtake in the race?
Overtaking was very difficult. Every time I got into the slipstream of Nico my tyres started to go off so I just couldn't get close enough to him. Towards the end of the race I was putting pressure on Lewis (Hamilton) but it was the same situation; I was quicker than him but overtaking was really, really tough. It wasn't just me either, apart from the situation with Felipe (Massa) at the end there weren't many passing moves in the race.
What are your hopes for Monaco?
Obviously the main target is to get back into the points and hopefully fight again for the podium. Personally, I'd like to have a straightforward race weekend because with starting from the pit lane twice and some issues with the weather, you could say I've had an interesting start to the season!
Is Monaco a special race for you?
I really like Monaco but one of my strongest memories from there brings back quite mixed emotions. When I came back to Europe in 2006 to do GP2 I wasn't in the best car and it was a hard start to the season. At Monaco, I fought my way up from 17th to fourth and things finally were looking pretty good for me, but then I had a gearbox problem and had to stop. That was a real low point and at that moment I seriously questioned if I could ever get back into Formula 1. But, happily for me, on the strength of that performance I was offered a drive at iSport, also in GP2. I finished second in my first race for them and everything changed. The pivotal moment was in Monaco.
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