DRIVER #1 // ART GRAND PRIX
In the beginning
My dad used to work in London, he’d take the train in and go right past the Rye House, the karting circuit. From there, at some stage I had a go and I enjoyed it. I think as I was young, my dad said “try everything that you enjoy”, so he bought me a kart and I went at the end of every Wednesday, kind of like a club after school. I guess you progress naturally through karting and then into cars. I started at club level, and you get a little bit wider and then after about a year and a half I started doing British championships. I actually only did one or two years until I went straight to International karting as I met someone who said it was better – and I started having more success out there!
At the time, in about 2008, it was when Lewis Hamilton won the F1 championship, so there was a lot of support around for Lewis. Other heroes were Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher – one for being very quick, the other for dominating his era. Simple as that, really.
Race weekend routine
I know other drivers have very special routines, but I’m very relaxed. I arrive at the track, say hi to everyone and unpack my stuff – it’s a bit easier here because you have guys who deal with the helmet cleaning and that, we didn’t have this in Formula 3. Otherwise, I’m not superstitious or anything at all, I know a lot of teammates have pre-race routines but I just like to be relaxed before the race and have a laugh, see how I go. I do a little warm-up before, though.
On the starting grid
I focus on Turn 1! Obviously you’re very focused on the start line and having a good start; getting the best reaction time, and to be honest I try and remain relaxed and not think about much other than just replaying all the different scenarios of what could possibly happen, or of videos I’ve seen. It’s just getting through that in my head, and trying to remain calm and relaxed.
Hobbies away from the track
When I’m in Italy it’s a bit of a different environment for me, I’m trying to change what I do. We have a lot of training; I used to enjoy swimming a lot when I was younger, cycling’s always good fun, but that’s all the boring stuff. I sometimes build racing remote control cars, which is a bit of fun and sometimes drive them on tracks and stuff. It’s just a fun little thing, but I don’t have too much time for that now!