“The straight at the Shanghai International Circuit is super long which makes it pretty different compared to other tracks. Coming off that straight, you then have to brake for one of the tightest corners on the calendar – you go from one of the highest speeds to the lowest. Turns 1, 2 and 3 are like one big corner, really long and uphill, and this makes it really tough on the front left tyre, it’s one of the toughest circuits for that which can be interesting.
“As a city, Shanghai is cool, but it’s hard for us to get to because the track is quite far away and the traffic can be pretty bad. We usually get one night to go into the city to eat out and get a view of the skyline.
“I remember one year I was at a traditional Chinese restaurant with my mechanics and everything had spice in it, and I love my spice. The pork ribs were amazing! But then you would get something simple like soup or vegetables and it’s covered in chilli so you really need to like your spicy food to enjoy the local cuisine.”
“I think the Shanghai Circuit is actually a really interesting and technical track. Turn One is a unique corner and the fast changes of direction in the middle of the lap are challenging.
“My first race there was in 2014 and we had a wet qualifying which made it challenging as we had very different conditions for the race.
“Shanghai itself is very unique and a really big city. I used to live in Moscow which is big but it doesn’t compare to the size of Shanghai. I think it’s quite an international city, with many things going on there and some nice food. The river that runs through the city is so massive it actually looks like an ocean.
“The fans in China are also very passionate, we have a great group of fans there. I even saw some of them in Australia and they gave me some nice presents. It’s very cool to get this kind of support.”