What do our drivers’ think of when it comes to China?
It was a very nice feeling to stand on the PODIUM in China last year, I have very good memories of that moment, it was cool! This was the second PODIUM of my career, after achieving my first one in Hungary 2015 – definitely two big highlights!
UNIQUE I have to say it's a track I really enjoy driving at – it has very unusual and UNIQUE corners like Turns 1 and 2, where you can take many different lines; then it also has long straights where you can have good battles and take advantage of the many overtaking opportunities; and the fans are also very passionate there, which is good. I always receive a lot of support from them, which is nice!
PANDA The strangest present a Chinese fan has ever given me is a PANDA teddy bear with a picture of myself on it – also for my trainer Pyry! We look quite weird on it, but it's always a good laugh!
HONEST I've never got too close to any type of Chinese food, if I'm HONEST. When I visit the country I still prefer to stick to the food I know and not experiment much.
TRADITIONAL I've walked around Shanghai quite a few times with my trainer. We have a few favourite places to eat over there – it's European food though, I'm quite TRADITIONAL in this aspect, but it's very nice and we always try and go every year.
Back-to-back race weekends don't really affect me in any way. You just approach each race with the same mentality, keeping in mind that you have two CONSECUTIVE GP weekends. The toughest part is getting used to the time change quickly, but that's not usually a problem for me. You just go for it – this is the first back-to-back of the season so it's still early in the year to feel tired!
DUCK I love Pekin DUCK, it's actually one of my favourite dishes when I travel to Asia, especially China. Of course I always miss the Spanish or Italian cuisine, but I don't complain when there's Pekin DUCK on the menu!
DINNER I have very good memories of the driver's DINNER we organised in Shanghai last year – all 22 of us got together in the city centre and it gave me the opportunity to do some sight-seeing… It's the only time I've been able to be a bit of a tourist over there!
NIHAO The only word I can say in Chinese or, better said, the only word I always remember every year is 'NI HAO'. It's a useful one to know, as I can say hello to everyone – I'm a very friendly person!
ENORMOUS I have to say that the Paddock in China is the biggest one I've ever seen, ENORMOUS! Before a session starts, I usually give myself about a minute of time to go from my room to the garage, but here in Shanghai it's a minimum of three minutes because the distances are so big! This means I need to change all my routine and schedule for China!