Realisation of a dream
To make my grand prix debut for ATT Williams was a dream-come-true. Formula 1 has been my goal since I first drove a kart and it was a fantastic moment for me to line up on the grid at Interlagos.
While I'm pleased with the lap times I achieved in the race, the first thing I want to say is sorry. When I came into the pits for my first pitstop on lap 31, I misjudged the braking distance into the box and hit two mechanics at the front of the car. It was an awful moment and I hope they both make a swift recovery.
That incident aside, I'm happy with how my first grand prix weekend went. The Interlagos circuit was great fun to drive and I managed to learn it quickly. I walked the track for the first time on Thursday and by the end of Friday practice, I had set a time within 0.1s of my team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Fridays were, however, nothing new because I've driven during P1 at five grands prix this year. I expected qualifying on Saturday to be much more difficult, and so it turned out to be. My goal was to get into Q2, so I was disappointed to line up in only 19th place.
I made a mistake at Turn 8, a challenging uphill right-hander, on my first run in Q1. As a result, I was too conservative through that corner on my second run and I was knocked out of the session.
As for the race, I was quite happy to finish in 10th place.
I made a good start and overtook Ralf Schumacher and Heikki Kovalainen into Turn 1. I then got stuck behind Takuma Sato for a while and it was satisfying to overtake him into Turn 1 on lap 13.
I made another good overtaking manoeuvre on lap 61, when I passed David Coulthard around the outside into Turn 1. We made contact and he spun, but I was ahead, so I think it wasn't my fault.
For the final stint, I put on Bridgestone's super-soft tyre and the car balance was excellent. I was able to lap quickly and consistently and I was very pleased to set the fifth fastest lap of the race. That lap was 1.3s quicker than my fastest time in qualifying, which demonstrates how much I learnt from Saturday to Sunday.
I was also pleased with my physical fitness because I was told prior to the race that Interlagos is a very demanding circuit. I had no problems with my neck and my only issues after the race were a sore back and sore shoulders. Both were caused by the seat not fitting me correctly and can be easily rectified.
I still don't know what I'll be doing in 2008, whether it's a race-seat in F1 or another year of GP2. Having had this taste of F1, I know what I'd like to do, but we'll have to wait and see.
Until next time,