Q. How do you feel the season has gone so far?
Vitaly Petrov: At the beginning of the year we didn’t know how quick we would be, because pre-season testing didn’t give us a clear idea, and there was also Robert’s accident. This of course was bad news for the team and affected our preparations too, so it was a difficult way to start to the season. Having said that, we achieved podiums in our first two races which was great for our morale. The team has worked hard but we would like to, and can achieve, more. We need to continue to work hard and if we do, we will get some good results.
Q. How have you improved since last year?
VP: I know a lot more compared to last year and I think I have made a big improvement at all the tracks. I know how Formula 1 works and I feel that I am a completely different person within myself compared to last year.
Q. Do you now live somewhere different?
VP: I moved to Oxfordshire in the off-season. I find that it is very good as it is very easy for me to visit the factory whenever there is anything new for the car. Whenever my engineers want to talk to me, I can be at the factory within half an hour. This has been very important for me and helps me in being a part of the team. In many ways, where you live is not too big a thing, because you are only ever home for three days before you go off travelling again.
Q. Do you get distracted by things going on away from the track?
VP: I prefer to stay focused and not become involved in too many activities. Sometimes I even have dinner alone because it is quiet and you don’t get many opportunities for peace when you are at a race meeting.
Q. Monaco, Montreal and Valencia are all street courses – how do you find these?
VP: It is just a different type of track. They are completely different from a permanent race circuit so you need to prepare in a different way. You need to stay very focused and concentrate all the time as street courses do not allow for mistakes.
Q. A big change for this season has been the Pirelli tyres. How have you found these?
VP: For us drivers there is a big difference from before because we are now experiencing big degradation, and it’s not easy to drive when the tyres are almost finished. This is a new challenge and one where we have to work very hard with strategy. For spectators it has been good as they can see a lot of strategies and a lot of overtaking, so I think for them it is more interesting to watch Formula 1.
Q. Did you expect to have such early success this year?
VP: We did not really expect that podium in the first race of the year, and for everyone it was a good experience. The performance from the car was strong and our preparation and tactics were better than our opposition, so we did a good job in Australia. Of course, we know it’s not easy to fight with strong teams like Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren, but we have shown that we can battle with them. For the rest of the season, I want more and the team wants more and as we all want more, eventually it will happen.