Q and A with Sakon Yamamoto Monza is the third race for Sakon Yamamoto since he joined the Spyker Formula One team before the Hungarian GP, and he’s finally had a chance to get in some testing! Rain cut down his track time at the Italian track last week, but he did enough to get a good feel for the B-spec car and the circuit….
How did things go for you at the test?
At the test we had brilliant weather in the morning – thunderstorms and torrential rain! Then all the pits flooded, so it was a good exercise before driving! After that fortunately we could run from one to six. The first one and a half or two hours were wet, but after that the track was getting dry, so we could try to run as much as we can. It was the first time to run the B-spec car, so the plan was to get as much mileage as we could.
Did you learn much about the B-spec, or was it hard to tell because the car was in low downforce spec?
It was completely different between Turkey and Monza, but generally I felt the car balance was more mild, less peaky, and I felt the car was generally improved.
Do you feel a lot better prepared coming to a track you’ve tested at?
Yes, and it was the first time for me to have a normal test after joining the team. So we tried different sets of tires, tried to see how things went with the hard and the soft. That was also good for me, to learn more about the car and the tires.
You’ve had some trouble in qualifying up to now – traffic in Hungary and a spin in Turkey – so are you looking forward to a trouble free run?
Yes, a normal qualifying session would be nice! Mainly because we have looked at the data and we know how close I am with Adrian, but we couldn’t show that to the outside world because we had some trouble. This time if we don’t have any problems I can go close to Adrian.
How did things go for you at Monza last year?
I had really bad luck in qualifying, because a tire exploded. Then I had to finish my session, because it broke the floor a little bit. The race was quite good for the first stint, but at the end of the first stint there was a hydraulic problem, and I had to stop. So it was an unlucky weekend for me. This year I think we’ll have a better race.
Looking back at Turkey, was that a good weekend for you?
I was really happy with the Turkey weekend, except for qualifying! We planned three timed laps with hard tires, soft tires and soft tires. After I set the first soft one I spun off. I recovered, but at that time there was a gearbox problem, and I had to finish my qualifying, so the result was really a shame.
You seemed to have some fun in the race. Did you enjoy it?
I had a good start and I passed Trulli when he spun at the first corner. I really enjoyed the first stint because we were really fighting with our rivals. I was right behind Sato, but then I had to come to the pits. The second stint was a bit tough for me, because of the traffic situation – I had a lot of blue flags. Anyway, I could keep pushing for the whole race. I was really happy about that.
You made it to the flag – what did you learn?
It was really good to finish the race, because I could find out a lot of things, like how the car reacts, how the tire feeling changes.
Spa is coming up – is that one you’re looking forward to?
Actually, I’ve never been to Spa. I’ve just watched it on TV. I’ve seen on board cameras, and it looks like a really good circuit. So I’m really looking forward to driving there.