After the highs of Abu Dhabi, sixth position in Austin didn’t quite deliver the wanted digestif for our Iceman. No matter, as he now heads to one of his favourite racing destinations…
Q: Looking back to Austin, what are your thoughts on the race ?
KR: It was okay but not a very easy one for us. I got a bad start and then I touched with a Force India at the second corner so I lost a few more places. After that the car was okay and I could get past some of the others. The difficult part of the race was when it became cloudy. It got too cold and the tyres stopped working for me. Then it was sunny and they started to work again, so really we were just depending on the tyres and that’s what made all the difference. The circuit was giving good racing and there were a lot of places to overtake ; for us the issue was just keeping heat in the tyres.
Q: You had a pretty exciting battle with Jenson Button…
KR: Yes it was good and I enjoy that type of racing. Unfortunately, Jenson caught me when it was cloudy and the tyres weren’t working so well, otherwise I’d have put up a better fight and maybe he wouldn’t have got past even though he was on much newer tyres. That’s how it goes. We struggled with the tyres all weekend ; we set good times at the start of the race with the softer tyres, but lost the heat with the hards in the middle of the race and then they picked up again at the end.
Q: What are your memories from Interlagos ?
KR: There is no doubt about it ; the greatest day of my career came at Interlagos when I won the World Championship in 2007 and that means I have very fond memories of this place. All in all it has been good to me. I have finished here every year since 2003 and been on the podium five times. Actually, in 2003 they gave the winners’ trophy to me but afterwards it turned out I only got P2. I have lived some of the best moments of my life at this circuit, and that’s something nobody can take away. That’s why it is one of my favourite places to go back to.
Q: What’s the main challenge of the track ?
KR: To do well in São Paulo you need to have a very solid weekend without problems. Obviously, qualifying on the front row is very important as is a good strong all round package. Also, the engine is important for getting up the hill. I think the key factor is once again downforce, but it’s also important to have a stable car under braking. The final corner is very important to get right, because it leads onto the steep main straight.
Q: How do you rate this track ?
KR: I like the old fashioned type of circuits. Interlagos is not in the same group as Spa or Suzuka, but it’s challenging and we run the laps anti clock-wise which is different from normal. The atmosphere from the crowds is always very good and you never know how the race will be as the weather changes quickly and often.
Q: Is it nice to reach race twenty in your comeback season without any DNFs ?
KR: I like racing, so it’s good to be on track as much as possible ; no-one likes ending a race early. Our record shows that the team can build a reliable car and that I know how to drive it. The last round of the season means that it’s the last chance to enjoy that feeling for some time. That’s what a driver loves ; to put a helmet on and go racing. Every time I get in the car I want to fight for victory and this is no different ; I want to celebrate a good result with the team in Brazil. That would give the best feeling for the winter and also for next season.