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GP Week : Issue 10
5 Minutes with ... KAZUKI NAKAJIMA GPWEEK: So Kazuki, how’s life in F1? It’s very good. At the moment I’m really enjoying it. It’s been quite busy with the fly-away races but now we’re back in Europe it’s not so bad. How are you managing your PR commitments? Sometimes it can be good fun and nice to be there, but basically it keeps me quite busy compared to GP2. But yeah, it’s good experience. Is it much tougher than GP2? Yeah, competitively it’s really tight at the top, but this is something I was expecting. So yeah, it’s similar to what I expected, but still really tough. How is it racing with Nico Rosberg? It’s really good to have Nico as a team-mate. Last year he did a really good job, he was quick all the time. This year he’s consistently quick and really good benchmark for me. I can learn a lot from him and his data and he helps me to be quicker. So tell us about qualifying. You seem to be quick all weekend, then come qualifying you’re finding it hard to piece it all together. How come? It’s not a matter of pressure, it’s just really difficult at the moment, because in qualifying there’s a massive change in track condition between final practice and qualifying. The track conditions are changing all the time, even during qualifying, so that makes it a little bit difficult to do a proper job. I’m sure in some way it’s coming from experience, but I need to find a way to work through these conditions and change it. You’ve come a long way pretty quickly. Last year you were in the Toyota Development Program, and I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Kamui Kobayashi was always seen at the top of the pile. But now Kobayashi is in GP2, and you’re in F1 and definitely the top of the bunch. Was that a surprise? Not really! [laughs] I think he will do a good job in GP2. He had some good races in GP2 Asia, and I know the team. They’re good. Maybe it’s not easy for him to win the championship, but he’s a good driver, experienced and quick, and I think he can challenge. Away from the track, what do you do to chill out? Just really relaxing with listening to music or reading books, or spending time with my girlfriend. So what music are you into? Just Japanese music – I won’t mention any names! Some music like Linkin Park, rock … but not too heavy! And what about the books? Again, mainly Japanese books – mystery or crime books. So does your girlfriend miss you when you’re racing? Yeah we’ve been together for a year. It’s not nice to spend such a long time away from her and from my home in Oxford. But it’s okay. I think she’s getting used to it, but hopefully I will be able to bring her to a few races. I’m not sure yet. Now tell us, have people stopped asking you about your Dad? Less than before, yes [Laughs]. It’s good for me, but I didn’t care so much about these questions anyway. So, growing up, who were your heroes? Many drivers, like Senna, Mansell, Berger … oh, and also my father. Finally, you’re always smiling. What makes you smile the most? Nothing to be honest. But if you keep smiling, I believe that good things will come. So that’s why I keep smiling. Williams F1’s Japanese hotshot has made quite a splash in F1. He was considered fast but risky in GP2. Now, he’s Japan’s only F1 driver. He spoke to WILL BUXTON 18