DRIVER #12 // TRIDENT
In the beginning
When I was a child, maybe 5 years old, I was trying many sports but karting was the one I loved. I started karting when I was 3½ in the garden, and then I wanted to do it on a real track because after I used it in the garden for a month the go kart wasn’t working anymore! Inside the carburettor was full of grass, so it didn’t work! We said maybe we have to go to a real track, and we found one 40 minutes from my house. For sure it was much better to be on a real track than on the grass! I wanted to do some racing, but I had to wait until I was 7 years old before I was allowed to race. Until 2006 I was karting, and my objective was always to be a Formula 1 driver, and that was how I kept the dream.
I do many physical preparations. I go to some people into the Pyrénées, and I train with Esteban Ocon. Five or six times a year I go for a week to these camps, and the rest of the time I go near my home to train, doing many driver exercises. We have to be ready when we go in the car, because we don’t go in the car often, and when we do we have to be ready to go!
Race weekend routine
I normally arrive on Wednesday and then rest, and on Thursday we do a track walk and plan for tomorrow for free practice, and also for what we can do for the whole weekend. If it’s raining, like it did this weekend, we don’t know, we can make many plans. We work on the data, on the videos, to be ready when we’re on the track.
On the starting grid
Before the race I do warm ups to be ready for when I get in the car, and it’s really important as you have to ready as quickly as possible: I do many exercises, activation and reactivity, and juggling is good for this! It’s just to warm everything up, and then I go in the car and try to be as relaxed as possible. On the way I am speaking with engineer, just to see if the radio is working, and see how the track is and focus on what I have to do. I’m not really nervous anymore: I was nervous at the beginning of my career in karting, but now I’m used to it and I can manage it.
We think a bit before the lights go on, the installation lap, and I’m a bit nervous but it’s okay, and when we get to the grid spot this is where we feel the nerves! As soon as the lights switch off everything goes away and we’re directly in the present: we don’t think of the past, we don’t think of the future, we think only of the present, and I really like this feeling! It’s really interesting: you have to look everywhere – in the mirrors, in the front – and you have to think about the clutch as well, you have to get the right pressure and shift in the right moment, especially here in Monza where there is a long straight after the start. You have to do it all perfectly until you brake, to get into a good place and to be safe also: you have to think a bit, but it becomes automatic because you do so many races in your career, and if you do a mistake you learn that you don’t do it anymore like this!
Favourite moment of the race
The best moment is when you win a race! It’s a really fabulous moment because you really work a lot for it, and you have a lot of bad moments in your career as well, so when you win it’s really special because you know everything you do for this, and it’s the result of a lot of work. It’s a really special moment, and I want to share it with my team, so I will push really hard until the end of the season.