Backing up his first Formula 1 points last week in China with his first podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix this afternoon, Romain is flying high, and aiming even higher…
Romain, your first Formula 1 podium and it's only the fourth race of the season; you must be over the moon?
For sure it's great. It's a strange feeling so far, I don't think it's quite settled in yet. I'm very proud of the team and all we did in the race. We knew we had a good car but I think we were surprised at the beginning by how quick we were. We chose a different strategy to Kimi, but it turned out to be not too bad at the end. Our car is very competitive in what so far has been a very tight season. I'm very, very happy to be on my first podium. It's quite a good feeling I have to say!
After a difficult start to the season, you must be happy to follow that up with two strong results?
Absolutely, this is much more like it! I was saying the goal was first to get points, then finish in the top five, then get a podium, but I jumped one step. The next step will be victory, but that will take time. For now I think we can be happy to use the week off to enjoy this result and get to work back at the factory to find the six or seven second gap there was to Sebastian.
Another fantastic start for you today, it must have given you a real boost for the rest of the race?
Yeah, it was! We've been getting some pretty good starts so far this season, except of course in Melbourne. In Malaysia, China and now here we have some very good starts. I think it was important for me to be straight up to the front. I have to say that I really enjoyed the first stint, the car was fantastic on the option tyre and I could overtake Mark (Webber) and Lewis (Hamilton) without too much trouble which is a strange thing to say!
Was there a point in the race where you thought you could challenge for the win?
I thought I would come back a little bit on Sebastian (Vettel), and then we chose to go for the prime on the second stint which appeared to have a little bit less grip. It was difficult to close the gap and Kimi was starting to move up behind me. He passed me and then unfortunately the tyres went away. I think the last two stints were pretty good and I was very comfortable with the car. Maybe with a fresh set of the options we could have been closer to the lead, but I have to be happy with P3.
Two cars on the podium is a great result for the team…
The team can be proud of what we achieved today because the field is so tight that it's very difficult to be at the front, but we have two cars on the podium which is extremely good. We're working very hard as well, trying some new upgrades, mixing the old and new parts to see what works best, but it's always difficult; every small detail makes a huge difference. I think we can be very happy with the result, and look forward now to building from here.