MELBOURNE (April 7, 2022)- The Australian Grand Prix will be a first for me. It feels weird saying that, given this is my third year in F1. But I was supposed to make my Melbourne – and Williams – debut there in 2020, until Covid put paid to that.
A cancellation on the Thursday of race week was a massive disappointment for me, but I guess it makes this weekend’s event just that little bit more exciting.
Melbourne itself has a very similar vibe to the Canadian Grand Prix because the circuit is in a park and you can walk to the track with it being so close to the city centre. That’s really cool and a nice way to start each day during race week.
Looking at the Albert Park circuit, it’s undergone a bit of a revamp for this season. They’ve re-profiled a few corners and completely changed the layout in the middle to try and help the overtaking and racing. For me, this is a good move because historically, it was never a track that produced particularly exciting racing. I’m looking forward to seeing the new layout and experiencing it for the first time.
We come into this weekend after Saudi Arabia which obviously didn’t end too well for me. It was the second race weekend with a brand-new car and there was lots of learning happening. It’s clear we currently have a car that’s not where we want it to be in terms of pace or drivability.
I’ve found getting on top of that difficult so far, but that’s something I’m expecting to improve as we tick the sessions off and make up for the time we lost with some disruption during pre-season testing. The challenges we’ll face in Melbourne will be different to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, so we’ll be going into the weekend with a flexible and pragmatic approach.
My aim is to have a smooth weekend, build momentum and take some good learning away. Ultimately, the biggest and best contributor to that learning process is driving the car and turning as many good laps as I can. That’s my target.