Under My Thumb!
Well, as I said in India, I felt the lap time speed was there in the car to fight for the top positions. Obviously, we just couldn’t use it at all after being held up by some others during the race because of a poor qualifying result.
So we went to Abu Dhabi with a good feeling from the car. If we could put everything in place with the qualifying and get a good start, the sky was the limit to fight with the leaders for the top place.
I had one experience earlier at Abu Dhabi to be forgotten, while I had my last race with Ferrari there and there was nothing left from that car to get any kind of result.
Now everything was different. We had a pretty solid practice, we tried some new parts for the last two races, but we got it right with the set-up, as well. I was quite pleased with how it went in the qualifying sessions. Obviously, it was tight as ever, but the lap was good enough to put us to P5, and, eventually, to fourth from there on, as Vettel got a penalty afterwards.
Then next on the agenda it was up to us to get a good start. I was fired up already going to the installation lap, while I felt, everything went so strongly in the practice start. Then we got the launch perfectly in place, and I was in front of Webber and Maldonado before reaching the second gear.
Hamilton had more speed, no question about that, but we didn’t have any problems to follow him. It was as predicted, this could have happened already in India. If we are free to follow the leaders, we can do it. But if there are some people in between, you just cannot do it and the leaders disappear quickly from us.
This time we didn’t have to wait until the pitstop, while Hamilton had some problems and stopped. That’s how it goes in motor racing. You hope to have the quickest car, but when you have it, you have to finish the race, too. The points are shared only after the flag.
We had the lap time speed and I could control the race quite easily until the second safety car came in. Then everything was open again. I knew I had to be able to gain a gap back in the few first laps, I really went for it – and it went ok!
We knew Alonso was there to make every effort to win this one. I saw him coming closer, but, obviously, there was not that big pressure. It’s completely different to come closer compared to try to overtake a fast car in that circuit.
It was in our control until the finish, but I have to confess, it would have been much easier, if the flag had been waved 1-2 laps earlier.
Well, winning means everything for me. It was just a great feeling to clinch the first one of the season, the first one with the new team, and get the 25 points for the first time in my life.
But all in all, it was a great result especially for the team. They have worked so hard all year long. They have had some difficult moments and we all have been disappointed after feeling how close we have been to the P1 without ultimately getting it.
Now it’s done. We all have the best reason to feel happy. Hopefully we’ll get more of these moments together again as soon as possible!