Q & A with Jaime Alguersuari

Jaime Alguersuari became the youngest man ever to qualify for a grand prix in Hungary on Saturday. But as he told a group of media, including AUTOSPORT, he does not care for that record, just that he did not disgrace himself on his debut

Q & A with Jaime Alguersuari

Read what the 19-year-old Spaniard had to say about his first qualifying session, the challenge of F1 and his game-plan for the rest of the season.

Q. How was qualifying, did you find it hard putting in a hot lap?

Jaime Algersuari: Yes very hard, especially on new tyres. It's quite tough to use them. With old tyres we are quite good, quite consistent on times, but definitely we need to have a much better feeling and understanding of the tyres when they are new. Because obviously I'm not, and I won't be this year, at 120 per cent of the limit of the car.

Q. What were you hoping for from qualifying?

JA: I think to be honest it was a quite good performance from me because obviously this morning was the first time that we ran low fuel in the car and I got a real feeling for that. I did a 1m22.3s this morning, and then I repeated that lap time this afternoon but in the end we had a problem with the engine. For security reasons they had to shut it down so we didn't manage to use the third set of option tyres but I believe I could have done a 1m21.7s and definitely could have got into Q2. I think we showed this performance.

Q. Are you worried about things like pitstops, have you had an opportunity to practice those?

JA: I think I am more worried about the length of the race because the pitstops we have practiced many times. The race is quite long and basically my physical situation is not at my 100 per cent best. Seventy laps will be very tough. I really hope the weather stays cool because it will be tough otherwise.

Q. Are you where you thought you would be in comparison to your team-mate Sebastien Buemi?

JA: This morning it was five or six tenths and it has been that all the weekend. Especially at the end I was getting better, and I was more or less 1.2, 1.3 away from pole. But I am really, really surprised. I never expected to be that close on the times and I can feel the improvement in myself. I am pushing a lot, I'm trying to find the limit of the car, but I am 19 years old and it is my first time around here. I really feel that I can be much better, but for sure I cannot be yet because I don't have any mileage.

Q. You seemed to be getting involved at the Nurburgring, are you trying to fully immerse yourself and get stuck right in?

JA: This is my life and this is my dream. I want to be here and I want to become world champion. I really need to work, since the beginning. I am 19, and I know that I am the youngest in F1. I know that it will be tough to win, because to win in F1 is always difficult so what you need to do is to work from the beginning and push 120 per cent to get your best performance.

Q. Did you feel the step up in pressure in qualifying?

JA: Not really no because at the end I look at this weekend, and the next weekend in Valencia, Spa, Singapore until Monza and Abu Dhabi... I feel free. Free of charge and I feel this is testing. Tomorrow there are 19 cars that are racing and one that is testing, which is me. I have this philosophy. In qualifying I was not nervous because I knew what I could do. If I knew I was not doing a good enough job. I am learning. But I did a good job so I am happy.

Q. Have Giorgio Ascanelli and Franz Tost told you to hang back a little bit?

JA: For sure. They told me you have just one target this weekend - not to make mistakes. To make all laps possible. Okay you can make a mistake for sure, you are learning, you can even have a small crash, but definitely what you need it to make all laps. This is the most important thing.

Q. So have you found that you are still pushing a bit, that you haven't yet found the limit of the car?

JA: Oh for sure. Also my performance is getting lower as the weekend goes on because of my physical situation. Yesterday I did 82 laps and this morning I felt quite exhausted. But we did a good job with the option tyres and we were there, but obviously my performance was going lower because I am not in 100 per cent.

Q. How does that effect your concentration for the race tomorrow?

JA: A lot. Because you are thinking a lot about your pain and you are not thinking that much about your driving. But tomorrow will be a different story. Seventy or 80 laps in the race for sure will be tough. It's good that today we didn't do loads of laps. What I need to do is find a good pace, a nice rhythm, stay there and finish the race.

Q. Is the pressure on the neck the hardest thing?

JA: It's not just the neck. This track is not very hard on the neck, it is general tiredness, the lumber, the upper back, the lower back, because of the brake pressure. Everything. Also this track you feel it even more because of the weather, it's very warm. It's like a kart track there is a lot of braking.

Q. So you will be in the gym every day next week?

JA: Yeah [laughs]. Next week I have a race at Portimao, which is a World Series by Renault race, and I have been doing non-stop weekends for one and a half months, but definitely before Valencia I need to get much, much better. You never know how you are going to be physically until you get in the car.

Q. You made history by becoming the youngest driver to qualify for a grand prix. Does that mean something to you?

JA: It means nothing to be the youngest driver to drive F1 cars. It means a lot to be that close in the times, in means a lot to do a good performance, which with such a short time in the business is a good thing. Obviously being the youngest ever F1 driver, you can come here and crash at the first lap, it means nothing. I have reached my first target, which was no mistakes through practice and qualifying, the next one is to finish the race. Then keep making steps up until one day I hope to win the championship.

Q. What's it going to be like going to Valencia?

JA: I think it is always a good feeling to race at home. Always there are people that are pushing for you, I know the track from Formula 3 last year and Valencia is quite near to Barcelona so a lot of people will come to the race.

Q. Some of the guys who were critical of your young debut, like Felipe Massa and Jenson Button, were young themselves when they started in F1. Did you think that strange or did you think they might have a point?

JA: To be honest I didn't really think about what other people said. In the end I work for Red Bull and they have told me to do this job, so I did it. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life so I don't really care what other people think. Red Bull's philosophy is to give young drivers the opportunity to race F1 cars and I think it is working because the talent is there and the performance is there. Red Bull has told me to learn, and the opportunity is there because they are confident in me.

Q. Felipe Massa has suggested the should FIA allow young drivers to test prior to coming in to F1, do you think that would be a wise move in the future?

JA: I think in the end it is always the same story. A good driver is a good driver. If he comes to a good series, which okay he is not fast, but you can see he has some great talent and a little bit of pace. Obviously F1 is different to past years because we are not allowed to test, but it is always good for the drivers and also for the teams to develop. And I think it would be much better to have testing.

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