Q. After your podium in Monaco, we head to Istanbul Park in Turkey - a completely different sort of track. What are your expectations ahead of the weekend?
RK: The race in Monaco was our strongest performance so far this season, but it's important that this result doesn't make us overoptimistic because I think it will be difficult to repeat that pace this weekend. However, I still think we can be competitive in Turkey because the circuit characteristics are similar to Barcelona where we had good performance from the car. I'm also hoping that the new updates we have for this race will help us close the gap and qualify a little bit higher up than we did in Barcelona.
Q. After six races you're less than a race win away from the championship lead. Did you ever imagine that was achievable at the start of the year?
RK: We had some idea during winter testing of what the car was capable of, we understood its strengths and we worked on maximising them. But I'm still a bit surprised to have scored so many points, which shows what a good job we are doing as a team. We have taken the opportunities that have come our way, especially in unusual races like Australia or the wet qualifying session in Malaysia.
We've also taken our opportunities when the car has been strong, as we did in Monaco. So I think we can be very pleased with what we have achieved and proud of all the hard work at the factory to bring new parts for the car every weekend. But we know there is still a long way to go this season and we need to continue pushing hard and improving the car.
Q. What do you think of the Istanbul Park circuit?
RK: It's certainly one of the best modern circuits with some nice corners, especially in the first sector of the lap. The final sector is a bit 'mickey-mouse' with some slow corners and is the complete opposite to the first sector, which means you have to make a compromise with the set-up. There's also turn eight, which is quite a challenging corner and will be very interesting at the start of the race with a full tank of fuel.
Q.Vitaly, you experienced a tough weekend in Monaco. What did you learn from it?
VP: Monaco was a really hard result for me. Even starting from 14th, our aim was to make it into the points, but we didn't manage to get the maximum from the race on Sunday, and this is something that the team and myself have analysed together. I had hoped for more, but it showed me once again that this is how things are in Formula 1: you have to be on top of your game in every area, all the time, to get strong results.
Q.Istanbul Park is generally a circuit that the drivers enjoy. Is it the same for you?
VP: Yes, it's a place that I like. You can overtake there, the circuit is wide and I enjoy the different kinds of corners - not just turn eight, but the rest of the lap too. To be honest, in GP2 turn eight was not so difficult but I will need to learn the circuit again in an F1 car. Like every race, my aim will be to do my maximum, and I'm pleased to be driving at a circuit I know well.
Q.How important will it be to have a trouble-free weekend in Turkey?
VP: Like I said, you have to be on top of everything in Formula 1, all through the weekend, if you want to get a good result. That means you're always pushing hard. In Monaco, the gaps were really close, and I was pushing right to the limit to find the extra tenths of a second when I crashed in qualifying. For Turkey, I will be pushing hard again to do my best, but the target will be to put everything together and have a clean weekend.
Q.What are your expectations for the weekend?
VP: It's hard to say; I think we will have to wait until Friday practice to see how the car is performing. In terms of qualifying, the target has to be to get in the top ten at least, and then we will see what happens on Sunday...
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