Q&A with surprise talent Kobayashi
Q: What did you think about the new Yas Marina Circuit?
KK: The new facility is just amazing and I've never seen a racing track like
that. The organizers did a great job with the facilities, which were perfect
for everyone. The track itself was interesting and fun to drive; also you
could overtake there which makes it even better.
Q: How would you sum up your second Grand Prix weekend?
KK: It was a great weekend for me and I have to thank the team for this
opportunity. Sixth place was a fantastic result and better than I imagined
at the start of the weekend, so I am very pleased with how things worked
out. Still, there is room for improvement and I have several areas to
improve, such as qualifying pace. My target was to qualify in the top 10 but
I just missed out, so there is a bit of work to do there.
Q: How did you feel when you crossed the line to score your first Formula 1
KK: I was just really, really happy because my goal since I was a little kid was
to be a Formula 1 driver and to score points in only my second Grand Prix
felt great. Actually, I had the potential to finish even higher but I lost a
little time in traffic; otherwise I could have been fighting for fourth
because I was getting close at the end of the race. It was a great moment to
come back to the team after parc fermé and see how happy everyone was.
Q: You had another exciting race, tell us about it.
KK: At the start I got a good getaway and managed to pass Kimi (Raikkonen) which was very important for our one-stop strategy. If I had been behind him
during my first stint it would have been much tougher to score points but
when I was past I concentrated on setting consistently fast lap times, even
though I had a heavy fuel load. Towards the end of my first stint Jenson
(Button) came out of the pits just in front of me. He was heavier than me
and on cold tires so I was able to pass him. Again that was important
because I needed some fast laps at that time to make my strategy work. On
the option tires I struggled a bit to start with but then I found a rhythm
and just kept going faster and faster, so at the end I was getting close to
the battle for fourth.
Q: How did it feel to overtake two World Champions?
KK: I don't think about them as World Champions; they are just my rivals on the
track like everyone else and my job is to get past them if I can. It's fun
to battle on track, particularly when you can overtake, but I'm only
thinking about my race position, not about what another driver has won or
Q: How did you prepare for this race? Did you concentrate on anything specific
KK: Well, I didn't know for sure I would be driving until the week of the race
but obviously there was a chance because of Timo's injury. So I spent as
much time as I could in Cologne at the factory; I was only at home in Paris
for one day after Brazil. We looked at all the information from Brazil and
identified areas to improve - things like car set-up, tire management,
communication with engineers. We studied everything and thought about
improvements, which really paid off. One area I particularly worked hard on
was race pace because that wasn't perfect in Brazil, so when I started the
race I was confident I had the potential to get into the points.
Q: Were you happy with your qualifying performance?
KK: It was not bad but I was aiming for the top 10 and I definitely think I had
the potential to do that. In the end I was just a tenth of a second away
which was a bit disappointing. But as we proved on race day, I was close
enough to finish in the top six so everything worked out well.
Q: What will you do now?
KK: My first priority is to take a holiday! For the past two years I have hardly
had a day off with GP2, GP2 Asia and Formula 1 testing so I am really
looking forward to a bit of a break to relax and recharge my batteries.
After that, we'll see what happens.