DRIVER #14 // DAMS
In the beginning
I’ve had a passion for cars from a very young age, for as long as I can remember really. Up to this day I can’t remember a day I haven’t had a passion for cars: mainly when I was younger it was road cars, and I still have a passion for them alongside my love of racing, but I’ve always loved classic cars from the sixties, or anything really. That’s how I got into it. I remember my first race, but not very well: I was 8, it was a winter series at a place called Bayford Meadows in Kent, England. But I can remember winning my first race, it was probably my third race there and it was a couple of months later, and I remember winning and getting my first ever trophy, and I had my first ever rival there!
Generally I do a lot of sim stuff at Red Bull to help develop me and the car as well: on average I have about a session a week. Around this time of year it’s quite hard to fit the fitness work in when you’re travelling around and everything, but I try to train at least 3 times a week: I train for a couple of hours, and it’s a bit mixed up depending on what facilities I have really. In the off season it’s a lot easier to have a better training regime. I also make a bit of music, I’ve got Logic and I’m about to get a programme called Ableton, but I don’t have a lot of time for that either but it’s something I enjoy doing, and I also play the piano and the drums. And I love PlayStation as well!
Race weekend routine
I usually do about 2 days activity before I come to an event: some teams have different pre-race stuff, but I like to do at least a day in the simulator before going to the race. Before I get into the car I don’t listen to music, I don’t have a song that psyches me up and all that: looking at my past people could maybe argue with this, but before a race I am actually quite calm, I very rarely get nervous, and the way I look at everything, including racing, is what will be, will be. I turn up, and if I’ve put the preparation in before the race then I get to the point where I know I can do the best I can do, and there’s no room for nerves. Obviously you still think I’m racing a car at 180mph, it’s still dangerous and all that, but in terms of nerves about performing, not much. A lot of people could say in terms of being a Red Bull Junior driver the Doctor can put people under a lot of pressure, but I haven’t felt that at all yet: I actually get on quite well with him, I understand his philosophy quite a lot and think we’re relatively similar people in some ways, we communicate quite well, and I haven’t been there long but so far it’s good.
On the starting grid
I can think of maybe 2 or 3 main points to focus on before the race: at that particular moment it’s about the start, making sure that you nail that, and it depends on where you are on the grid, how attacking or conservative you have to be, and depending on the championship and everything. But 9 times out of 10 it is what will be, will be: I just do the best I can, and keep my head with whatever happens.
That’s one of the only times when you get nerves, when the lights come on, because a lot of races are won or lost at the start. That’s when the heart really starts to beat, and it’s the only time I start to feel nervous, to be honest. In the past I’ve focused too much around the lights, and some people stare directly at the lights, but I think it’s not that good because you’re focusing 100% at the lights. I look just past the lights so they’re just in my peripheral, just looking ahead, because I think you can react better when you’re not absolutely fixated on one thing. Now I very rarely look around, maybe as I pull up on the grid I will look in my mirrors to see if there’s someone who hasn’t made it back to the grid, or stalled or whatever, but the focus is always ahead.