ďThe first time I drove at COTA was just after making my Formula One debut in Japan in 2014. It rained in the morning so I went out on intermediates. Itís a hard track to learn in the dry and the 1 hour 30 minutes in the wet didnít help. It is a really good circuit to drive though and I enjoyed my first experience regardless, especially the first sector.
ďIn 2015 I finished 4th in very wet conditions. There was so much water but I still had a really fun race as I like driving in the wet. Even when it started to dry it made things a bit more interesting in the latter stages.
ďCOTA has elements of other circuits from the F1 calendar, for example Silverstone, but it also has its own unique features. Itís shorter and faster than other tracks with a similar layout. Turn 1 is a really fun corner. You can brake very late as you head up the hill but then hitting the apex is hard as youíre literally blind. It takes a few laps to get your references on where to turn in.
ďIn Mexico I will try my best to get on the podium this year. I was very close to it last year, but unfortunately in the end it didnít work out for us.
ďThe track is a great venue and has a unique setting. No other track we go to has a stadium section like Mexico. It just doesnít compare to any race track I have been to so far. Itís an enjoyable track but not very physical, even though itís really quick. The fans are really passionate and loud all weekend so Iím definitely excited to get back there and race this year.Ē
ďEveryone knows I love the city of Austin but I also love the circuit. Itís certainly unique with the wide apexes, you can pass in more than three areas, itís fast, it flows well and itís definitely one of the best tracks on the calendar for overtaking.
ďIn the city there is so much to see, I like going to the well-known places like Peteís Piano Bar but also some of the more local places for live music and food. I have done Barton Springs, visited a ranch and this year Iím doing Austin City limits, thereís so much to do and itís all so good.
ďSome people are asking if I have a beard plan for Austin this year, I havenít thought that far ahead yet but I still feel my little beard in 2014 was my best, so I might just bring that one back. ďThen after Austin weíre off to Mexico. It was a little confusing to be classified third there last year but nonetheless a nice surprise. I enjoyed the track last year more than I did the first year as it started out quite dirty and slippery, which didnít really give the car a good feeling. Last year it was much better and this year it should improve even more.
ďEven though the stadium section is really slow and not the most adrenaline fuelled part of the track, I really enjoy it because itís so technical.
ďThe thin air definitely makes a big difference to the car handling. We use the most downforce we have and it still feels less than Monza. The car moves around a lot and for that reason you never really feel 100% happy, but you just deal with it.
ďThe fans are awesome and I would say itís the best Driversí Parade we do all year.Ē