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GP Week : Issue 34
The grooved tyre cars ... although I’ve been able to win in each of the variations of Formula 1, and I’ve adapted to all the different eras of what have been very different versions of Formula 1, I never really thought the grooved tyre cars were great, although it was interesting to develop the tyres with the tyre manufacturers because you could really see how the tyre was working with the graining and grooves. But from a pleasure point of view from 1998 to now it has not been a classic era of beautiful cars to drive. Favourite race track? It’s Spa that I’ve always enjoyed. The challenge of that track, although Eau Rouge is relatively easily flat these days, it’s still exciting to come up over the rise. You get a real buzz. I think Monaco ultimately is a track where, although I didn’t have a particularly good year this year, is just such a great challenge. It’s the ultimate street track. Singapore had its challenges but just didn’t match Monaco. I think that’s the ultimate challenge for a driver. Finally from these little questions, your best team-mate and your favourite rival? I’ve been asked about team-mates before but I don’t have a positive or a negative to say about any of them. I’ve always recognised the importance of working with your team-mate to develop the car. The fact that they were your main rival on track was important, but I’ve always chosen to want to work with my team- mates rather than against them in any way, and I enjoy the process of trying to take a team forward. My biggest rival, of course, will be Michael because he was just such a difficult guy to ever acknowledge that he might have done something wrong. While other guys might say ‘sorry,’ I’m not sure I ever heard Michael apologise for anything. He was a great champion and undoubtedly the benchmark for the history of the sport and the future. It’s who people will always be compared against. Looking back to 1994 and your first race, how much do you think you’ve changed since then? 26 Of course I’m a bit more worldly, a bit more picky about what I like and what I don’t like. When you’re young, dumb and full of cum, everything’s exciting isn’t it! You stand in the paddock talking shit to anyone. As you get older your private time and using your time for private things becomes more important. You see it. It’s the same thing for everyone. When I was a test driver and trying to get into Formula 1 I probably knew most of the people, the journalists and that sort of thing. But as you get older and your life develops, you start spending less time in that situation and more time at home or with the team, and you lose contact with other people. The days of being the good old boy who was very approachable, they come and go unfortunately. Lewis, a few years ago probably spoke to everyone in the paddock for as long as he wanted. Now he can’t because he just has so many demands on his time. You have to become more picky, but then you fall into the category of ‘Oh, he’s changed, you know ...” You’re set to become a father, you’re about to get married … how much are you looking forward to the future and your life to come? I’m extremely excited about all of those events and especially starting a family. Karen has a daughter already and I know how she looks after her and I know she’s a great mother and I can’t wait. Definitely the highlight of the year. Really looking forward to it. And finally, any regrets? You can always look back on your life and say you wished you’d done things differently. [Long pause for thought]… Even when you think you’re working hard, you can always work harder. If I was doing it all again, I would have maybe realised that earlier. Also, it’s good to have experiences in life, but I wish I had been in my current relationship situation earlier in my life. But it wasn’t possible and it didn’t happen … if only to use more of my living years in that scenario. I’m technically half way through my life! So far, so good, but I’m only half way!