08.12.22 NL Blog
Abu Dhabi GP: The story behind my weekend
The Canadian Grand Prix is a race I’ve been looking forward to for three years. Yep, three years. Covid scrubbed it from the calendar for a couple of seasons, so to actually be here in Montreal for my home race with the anticipation growing is fantastic.
I haven’t lived in Canada for quite a while because of my racing schedule, so returning always feels special. Most of the other drivers on the grid are European so they’ve always had the ability to go home more often. For me, it’s been a different story.
Not only have I been away from home chasing my F1 target, but I’ve actually never even raced a car in Canada before. Sure, I’ve raced karts. But nothing more than that because there aren’t any junior categories on home soil.
A lot of European drivers experience their home track before reaching F1 – the British guys race Silverstone, the Italians have been to Monza and the Spanish have raced at Barcelona as juniors. But that hasn’t happened for me.
I’ve always wanted that opportunity, and to have a Canadian Grand Prix in the city where I was born – I then moved to Toronto when I was 6 months old – is very special. I have a lot of very, very special and enjoyable memories in Montreal as a kid, coming here for weekend holiday getaways, meeting up with family and of course coming to the Grand Prix itself. So yeah, this feels like a very, very special kind of homecoming.
Looking at the weekend, we’re expecting Montreal to be one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar for a few reasons. First, as a street track it will have a lot of bumps and character, and the curbs are unique and different to those at a lot of other tracks.
We know how aggressive these cars feel and how they react on bumpy street tracks after Monaco and Baku. I’m expecting the car will feel very unpleasant with the bumps in Montreal and will be very, very tricky to get into the right window.
It’s pretty clear we’re the car that’s struggling the most for pace so far this season, and that I’m not getting the feeling I need to get the most out of it either.
Montreal is a track that, I can say with a fair amount of confidence right now, doesn’t really suit our car so much and it’s going to highlight a lot of its weaknesses again.
However, that won’t stop me and the team from working hard to make the best job possible.
But after three years waiting, I just want to enjoy my first Canadian Grand Prix. I’ll have a lot of family and friends trackside, and to race in front of them will be an incredible moment.
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