F1 » 30 August 2012
Belgian GP – Thursday press conference – Pt.1
One of the things you did during the break was visit some cities in Russia. It seems that you're going to all sorts of cities that most of us have never heard of. What's the idea behind that programme?
First of all it was part of my private sponsor, called Russian helicopters, so I visited two big cities, the first one is Rostov and the second one is Ulan-Ude. Actually, it was a good visit because it's the first time I've been there. You know, Ulan-Ude is very close to China. It's like if you go across the river you will be in China. From Moscow it's six or seven hours flying. I visited the biggest lake in the world, it's called Baikal. Unfortunately I was just there for one day. This lake it's line is for 365 kilometres and length, it's quite… I don't how much it is. Actually, it was a good experience and I hope that I will go back there maybe, one day.
Pedro, the team has obviously made strides forward, what are your own ambitions for the second half of the season and what about your thoughts professionally for the second half of the season?
Pedro de la Rosa:
Professionally? You mean racing? Well, I think that we've made progress; we've managed in this first of the season to go in qualifying, from not qualifying in Australia outside the 107 per cent, to 103.4 per cent in Valencia, so I think that's a very, very aggressive improvement. However the positions are similar. In fact we're qualifying in more or less the last two positions and then it's difficult for us. Although we're closer to pole position we still haven't made enough steps on the positions regarding the qualifying and the race finishes. So that's where we are concentrating: we still have to make the car quicker in the second half of the season. We don't have anything new for the next few races. We will have an upgrade for Singapore. That's where we are – but we are definitely happy with what we've done and what we've achieved, although it may not look like it in the results. We've still can do a lot better in the second half.
And how important will the break have been to the team? OK, you're saying they won't have brought anything for the immediate races – but for future races?
Pedro de la Rosa:
I think the break is nothing as we haven't been able to work or gain any advantage from the break, so for us it doesn't make any difference. Before the break we knew that the upgrade was coming in Singapore, if everything goes to plan – and after the break it's still the same. Until Singapore I think we will be more or less in the positions that we've been so far, and then wait for Singapore for this next upgrade.
Michael, another milestone here at Spa: 300th grand prix weekend. What does that mean to you? Does that mean a lot to you at this stage or will it in the future?
It's certainly an interesting, beautiful, nice number to be around. A number that I didn't think about, that I would do that, at the time that I retired at the end of 2006. And now here we are and I'm counting the 300 – because at one point it was the talk about whether there would be somebody able to beat Riccardo Patrese's record of 250-whatever. I said 'forget that, it isn't interesting for me', and here we are. And suddenly… it isn't anything that I'm challenging or looking for to have just a number on my board but being the 300, yeah it's a beautiful side-effect.
I think you've seen the poster down the road which says 'Michael, make it 400'. What chances?
I guess I can say not. It's obviously nice that the fans are still with me and encourage me to go on. This morning I had a beautiful welcome, becoming the honorary citizen of Spa, that is something very special to me. And that's why the 300 becomes special – because it's in Spa. It all happened to me here in Spa. First race, first victory, some beautiful victories and interesting races and 2004 the seventh title, last year the 20th anniversary and now number 300 and being honoured. So it's a full package. Spa has always meant a lot to me. I always called it my living room – now I can officially call it my living room. It's good.
But should we never say never?
For the 400? We probably say no for that one.
Jenson, during the break, not only an Iron Man but your own triathlon as well. But the triathlon didn't end quite the way you wanted to – perhaps we should share that story?
I think we should move on from that one!
The whole of Britain knows about it, so how about the whole of the world.
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