For Istanbul, we will have another small step in terms of aerodynamic development, which should improve the car still further and that is down to a big push from the guys in the factory. We want to continue to improve as quickly as possible, to try and win some races. If will be fantastic if we find we are in a position to fight for the win in Turkey.
I have a very good record in Istanbul, having won for the last three years starting from pole position each time. I find it difficult to explain why I should be so strong here, other than the fact we had three fantastic weekends in Turkey, when everything worked perfectly, with the car performing very well right from the first session. It would be nice to carry on in the same direction. I just like the track and feel comfortable there, but it’s hard to pinpoint why it suits me better than some other circuits. I do prefer fast flowing tracks and have a feel for all the corners here, as it’s not good enough to only be fast over one particular section of the track. I think I’ve also found a good way to set up the car perfectly for this circuit. It’s not just Turkey though, as I’ve won in Brazil for the last two years and actually, it should have been the last three in my home race. In fact, it’s been suggested to me that maybe the reason is that they are the only two anti-clockwise circuits on the calendar. Who knows? Maybe I’m better than others at driving through left handed corners!
Turn 8 in Istanbul is an amazing corner, where you hit one of the highest lateral G force levels of the season, which puts a lot of stress on your neck and body. On top of that, in the middle of the corner, you have a big bump, which can give you a problem in terms of stability. It is a really a tricky corner, with different lines to choose from, depending on how your car is behaving: sometimes you have too much understeer, or oversteer in the middle and all these factors make it very challenging.
The last few years, I haven’t had to give much thought to the overtaking possibilities in Istanbul, starting from the number one slot on the grid. This year, given how competitive the front of the field is in qualifying, it is going to be a very interesting Saturday afternoon, but at least the track does provide some passing opportunities, especially with the long main straight. Last year, Lewis (Hamilton) changed his strategy to a three stop and was easily able to pass me.
"I had hoped for slightly more than sixth place in Monaco. Having found a really good set-up, I felt I had settled into the track well and was comfortable in the car. That showed in practice on Saturday and then during Qs1 and 2 of qualifying. Only getting sixth in Q3 because I was caught up behind Barrichello on my fastest lap, was therefore disappointing.
"I was pushing hard in the race and passed Massa and Vettel early on, but our pace wasn't quick enough to finish any higher than sixth. That's still a solid result for us though and we're hoping for more in the next few races.
"Turkey is usually a good track for us and we should be able to score points there. I like the circuit, and it's a completely different proposition to where we've just come from. There are definitely some good overtaking opportunities around the lap as the track stretches to about 20m wide at one point and there are lots of large braking zones.
"We'll have some upgrades for Turkey, so I really hope that maybe we can make a step forward and pick up points. It's so difficult at the moment though. There are teams that have come from behind us and are now in front, like Ferrari, and then teams like Red Bull, Brawn and Toyota are still ahead of us.
"It's going to be very challenging for us to score points, but I really hope that we can beat one or two of those cars with the upgrades we'll have. We need to keep getting a handful of points from each race."
"The main upgrades will now come in Silverstone so we have to be quite realistic about the performance this weekend. We have to keep pushing and try to have another strong qualifying that sets us up for the race. I enjoy the track and you can actually overtake in some corners so I hope we can have some good fights and be able to move up the field. I think we're solid midfield contenders now so we have to get to the finish and see where we are."
"The Turkish Grand Prix is always a race that I look forward to as I really enjoy driving the Istanbul Park circuit and have been quite competitive there in the past. Hermann Tilke did a great job with the layout of the track here and the changes in gradient are great fun and quite challenging for the drivers.
"We've seen some excellent racing at Istanbul Park with good overtaking opportunities at turns one and three. You can also pass down the hill into turn nine and at turns twelve and thirteen if you brake late enough and get it just right. Turn eight is obviously the corner that everyone talks about and it's probably the longest corner that I've ever driven.
"It's quite high G-force, up to 5G for seven seconds, which puts a lot of stress on your neck. You have to be as smooth as possible through the triple apex and if you get it right and take it flat, then it is one of those corners where you exit with a huge smile having made up a lot of time."
"The Monaco weekend went pretty well, bringing home a point, which is always good for morale, especially at such a prestigious race. It was a good race and I hope we can continue to move forward with this momentum, starting in Turkey. We have begun to get a better understanding of what we are doing with this car, which should allow us to get more performance out of it now.
"In Istanbul, we will run the car in a way which we hope will provide the key to a good step forward in terms of extracting all the potential out of our package. So far this year, it was often a case of waiting for Friday practice to see how the car would work and then establishing a set-up, but this weekend we will start with a good idea of what we want and that should see us being able to make more progress over the rest of the weekend.
"It's always good to arrive at a race track in these conditions. As for the Istanbul track, it's fun to drive, even if it lacks some grip. The stand out corner is Turn 8, where you need to have a car that is stable over the bumps which characterise the corner, but Istanbul isn't just about the one turn and pure performance involves having a car that is well balanced everywhere."