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The season started so well in Melbourne but since then it's not been matched, what's happened?

What happened is we had a great start in Melbourne because we were very well-prepared with all the systems in the car and very early we got to a high level of the car and used all of the potential of the car very early. Then all the other teams caught up, got their systems under control, got the maximum out of the car and we fell behind because we didn't have any more potential; we got there very early. Basically that's what happened. We're lacking downforce and we're trying to catch up. We're coming back to the top just very slowly.

What was the reaction like in Denmark after the podium?

I wasn't home unfortunately so I didn't really see everything. Obviously I knew because my family and friends told me, but it was very big news in Denmark. They haven't had a Formula One driver on the podium ever and they haven't really been successful in Formula One before. So for them to get this new guy in Formula One, he's with McLaren and then suddenly first race gets on the podium: massive expectations. I was going to win the championship and I was going to be the new thing and obviously that's not how it works. I knew already from Melbourne that this is bad in a way because we're not going to be able to keep this up.

I'm happy about the result and I'm love that we got on the podium in the first race but it was tough as well because straight away expectations were massive. I had the second best result of a rookie or something like that in the history of Formula One. It was very special and to have those tough races afterwards was extra tough because of that result. Now I have my expectations in control again and I can see positive things in a P5 finish or P6, whereas straight after Australia we finished eighth or ninth and even P5 wouldn't have been satisfying.

Do people in Denmark see P5 or P8 as a success

No, they're still massively disappointed! It's fine, I don't really mind because I'm not happy either. It's fine that they just want to see me win, but I'll get there one day.

Do you feel like a national hero?

I didn't think about it. When something like that happens to you it takes a long time to sink in and for you to understand. Suddenly you're a different person in many people's eyes; in my mind I'm the same as I was before Formula One but in a lot of people's eyes you're different. So to understand that it takes time.

What about your friends? How did they react?

I'm lucky to have very close friends that I've had since childhood. It's weird for them as well, suddenly everyone knows who their friend is and it's strange but I think they're enjoying it as well.

Since that point it's been a bit up and down, but as the season has gone on the focus from the press has been on next year and whether you'll still be here. How hard is that for a rookie? You're trying to focus on your first season and perform but you've got all this going on about whether next year will happen or not...

The way I see it is I've always known that if I don't deliver this year then that's it. I've got one chance and I think I'm doing OK. It does put pressure on you because when the press starts talking about it because then it makes many people talk about it and you can feel a bit of negative energy coming from that. But you have to deal with it and it's not a massive problem because I knew when I pushed to get this seat that if I go for this seat it's my one opportunity and it's going to be make-or-break. I knew what I was going in to and I think I'm doing OK.

With this opportunity that I have with McLaren, the way I look at it is if I can't succeed straightaway with McLaren now and be good enough for them then I won't ever be good enough. So there's no reason for me to go for a smaller team and work my way up because if I can't do it straight away then I'll never be world champion. I'm not here for anything other than world championships. I don't want to be here driving around and finishing races and scoring points. I only want to win and if I can't do that - if I can't see that I have a future with wins and championships - then I'm not up for Formula One, I'll do something else where I can win. I believe I can win, I've proved to myself that I know I can do this. It was a big change but at least I'm convinced, so I need to just keep doing hard work and show that I'm doing everything I can in every race.

Does that self-belief come from having good friends around you and a father with F1 experience? Do you have the perfect bubble around you?

Yeah, I have a really good background. I really love my life outside of Formula One as well. That helps. There's a lot of things in Formula One that can stress you and it's important to have good family and good support from home as well. I'm really glad that I have that.

When you father was in F1 he was able to enjoy the life - smoking, drinking, they all stayed together, girls - but it was very different. Do you enjoy F1 to the same level or do you sometimes discuss it with your father because there's a different way now?

I think me and my dad are very similar in many ways. I'm not in Formula One for that kind of lifestyle that comes with Formula One. That's not why I'm here, it's purely to compete and to win races hopefully in the future. I think my dad was not educated well enough, he didn't know it was wrong. He grew up as a kid watching James Hunt and Keke Rosberg and these guys and they were smoking and he got to Formula One and suddenly it changed.

It was a different culture, F1 was part of life and the impression with some of the current generation is that F1 is their life, is that how you see it?

I think you can do both. Certain drivers in Formula One, it seems to me that all they have is Formula One and other drivers seem like it's just a job and they enjoy that job and still do great in it. So I think you can do both, as long as you are committed to everything that goes with the job. You have to find a good balance; just because Formula One is not everything to you doesn't mean that you are not fully committed. You have to be fully committed otherwise you can't do this. It's not just an everyday normal job, you have to be very committed.



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