Heidfeld: My race pace is as fast as my car will allow Nick Heidfeld looks forward to returning to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend, a race he believes to be one of the most memorable on the Formula 1 calendar. Four more points for the team in Monaco, what is your reflection on the last race?
Well, naturally we went to Monaco expecting more from the weekend. We were predicting a better performance and more points all around, we thought we would be quite strong there. I do feel, however, that we have come away from that weekend having learnt a lot more about the car, which is positive, and I’m sure we can take that knowledge into Canada and the races beyond in order to bring our performance up to a higher level.
There has been much discussion about the need for the team to improve its qualifying performances. Do you think this is currently the main obstacle to more points?
This is actually the area I focus on the most with the team, with the aim of maximizing our potential there. If you look at my race performances, I think it is as good as it can be, and that’s really helped us get the points we have this season. However, in Monaco especially, you cannot capitalize on the race pace if the qualifying is not at a high enough level. We know that qualifying is extremely important at all the F1 circuits. The Canadian Grand Prix is a different type of race with long fast straights and slow, tight corners, how will you approach it? Well, Canada is not as unique as Monaco but it does still stand out in its own way. It has slow chicanes and fast straights, so it is going to be a different kind of drive than the last race. We tend to have fast straight line speed which should help us.
You have been on the podium here in Canada before, are you looking forward to coming back? I look forward to every race, yes, but this is a very special one because I’ve finished second here before. The race itself is unique, Montreal is a big city and it must be the only venue in Formula 1 where the city lives and breathes the sport for that week. There are postcards and souvenirs everywhere, and the support really is fantastic. It’s not every day you come across an F1 venue where the whole city gets behind the race like Montreal does. You are now 6th in the 2011 Drivers’ Standings, is this a personal motivation for you to do well at each race?
This is what I targeted two races ago so it is nice having achieved this short term goal. I’m now ahead of Nico (Rosberg) and Felipe (Massa), so it is a motivation for me to keep striving to do well and scoring points to stay ahead. I am quite a way off Fernando (Alonso) in fifth position still, however the season is long and my target is to move further forward. What’s more important, though, is that we continue to understand and develop the car so that our performance improves as a team. Once this happens, the chance of securing big points will become more and more likely.
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