“We’re very keen to maintain the momentum”
After returning to the podium in Germany, Romain is keen to maintain momentum in Budapest and enter the summer break on a high.
In Germany you were on the podium, in Budapest last year you were on the podium… do these two factors help heading to Hungary?
For sure, they don’t work against you and it’s always great to stand on the podium. I can remember feeling frustrated last year in Budapest as we did have a chance to be fighting for the win before we got held up by a driver who didn’t respect the blue flags, but that’s certainly a better frustration than missing out on the podium or even worse. Taking third in Germany was great so I certainly have a positive feeling heading to Hungary.
How good was it to be back on the podium in Germany?
Really good; it was a great result for the team and we had a very strong race. I was able to push really well in my first stint and thought I had a chance at one stage to challenge for the win, but the Safety Car meant I lost all the advantage I’d built up at that stage of the race. That then decided the strategy for us and ultimately we weren’t fast enough to challenge for the win at the end. There are a lot of positives to take from Germany so we’re very keen to maintain the momentum from that good result heading to Budapest.
Are you frustrated about not having driven at the Silverstone test?
As a driver, you always want to be in the car getting as much experience as possible; especially when there’s something new like different tyres. The tyres we used at the Nürburgring suited us pretty well, so let’s hope the latest version will also suit us at the Hungaroring.
What’s the key to a good result in Budapest?
It’s a tight and twisty track so you need a good qualifying result. We showed last year that being on the front row certainly helps and it would be fantastic to be back there again this year. We’ve also seen that high temperatures work well for us and it’s usually hot in Budapest, so we’ll be hoping for plenty of sun again.
What do you think of the circuit?
It’s a circuit that I quite like and one where I have had good experiences in the past. I scored my first GP2 Series pole position there in 2008, then finished first and third in 2011 which was a pretty good weekend. In 2012 I had my third podium finish of the year and qualified P2 on the grid which was a great way to end the first half of the season. In terms of driving, it’s not the most physically challenging layout in terms of high speed corners, but the heat you experience in the cockpit can be quite intense. It can also be a difficult circuit early in the weekend as the track is not used very much, meaning it’s quite slippery when you first go out.
Hungary will take the season over the half-way mark and into the summer break; how’s the mid-term report card looking?
There’s certainly good potential, but I think we’ll look at it a little more closely after Budapest before we head into the summer holidays.