After a storming drive from 17th to third at the last round, he is targeting the “good feeling” of standing on the podium once again at the Yas Marina Circuit. It isn’t his favourite circuit on the calendar – he believes there are too many second gear corners – but it holds good memories for him.
My history in Abu Dhabi isn’t bad. Last year wasn’t the best weekend for me, as I qualified tenth and did not finish the race. It was however a great race for the team, so we know what is possible. I’ve been on pole position in the GP2 Asia Series and finished second in that race, then won a GT1 racing World Championship round there. My comeback to Formula 1 was also during an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice session in 2011, so I’ve got some good memories of the place. It would be nice to have some more…”
However he is a fan of the facilities at the track and the late race time, which gives him a few extra hours of sleep. Looking ahead to the weekend and sharing his expectations, he said: “I’ll come with the same philosophy as those last few races to give and do my best. I’ve finished on the podium in Korea, Japan and India. It’s a good feeling being there. Without my engine problem in Singapore I could have been on the podium there too. I only want to be scoring points for the team and you get the most points from being on the podium!”
Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen also has good memories from Abu Dhabi after taking his first win for the Lotus team at the track. However, his first race there in 2009 wasn’t so positive and he is hoping to avoid replicating the result. Asked what his target is for the 55-lap race, he replied: “A race like last year would be good, rather than the one I had there in 2009.”
Looking back at his 2012 race win, he added: “I was very happy for the team; myself also obviously, but mainly for the all the crew and everyone at Enstone. It was a hard season so the win was well deserved for everyone and just what we needed. It was something great for all the fans who have continued to support me and the team too. For me, it was just another win on the list. It’s great of course because it had been a few years, but the wins before were very similar; we didn’t have the best car, but we fought hard and still won.”
The Enstone based outfit are currently battling with Mercedes and Ferrari for second in the constructor’s standings. Mercedes currently hold the runner-up spot with Ferrari four points behind and Lotus 24 further back.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic