“After struggling quit eabi t for aco uple of races i tw asn’t easy mentally .I was quite confused. Yo ust a rtt odo ub ty ourself ”
definitely seen that pattern on the smooth surfaces. It was always better for me this year, and I haven’t seen the pattern in the last years. With this car, it really highlights the differences of how we drive.
Your team-mate became a fourtime world champion this year.
What have you noticed about the level he drives at compared to your previous team-mates, and how do you plan to take the next step?
I always knew that he’s really talented, and he’s quick in any circumstances, always. But that also comes from hard work – he works hard with the team. I think this year what he’s been doing better than me comes mainly from experience. He’s reacting to different conditions, different situations, different set-up issues, different things with driving. Ultimately, mechanically, the [Mercedes] car hasn’t changed much from the past few years, in terms of how it behaves, but it was very different from how the Williams behaved, so there have been many things for me to learn, and I’ve been catching up on things all the time. Experience helps a lot, just making the most out of every single situation. With what I’ve learned this year, I believe I can be much more complete, a quicker driver on average next year. I also think starting the season with a team I now know is going to be different mentally.
Did the new contract make any difference, because you got the extension and your form dipped, so it might look like you relaxed the intensity? And do you feel the oneyear extension is fair, or do you think you deserved a longer-term contract?
I can for sure say that it had no effect – I didn’t have it on my mind at all. I was just focusing on my goal
– to be quicker, and better. With the one-year [deal], I’ve been kind of always in a similar situation, so it’s nothing new for me, and I understand the team also wants to keep all options open. I need to prove myself next year that I deserve [to be] long term with the team, and if I perform, as always in Formula 1, then everything will be good.