Interview with Bruno Senna ahead of the Italian GP

By on Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bruno Senna. Photo credit: Lotus Renault GP

With his R31 apprenticeship behind him, Bruno is hoping the weekend in Spa acted as a launchpad to greater things at the revered Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

Looking back on the Belgian Grand Prix, how happy were you with your weekend on a scale of one to 10?
In fairness I’d give it a eight and a half because apart from the two mistakes I made during the weekend, everything went smoothly. It certainly was not perfect because of my mistakes, but at the same time it was very encouraging and gave me great confidence to work hard with the team and to try and develop things further; it gave me a firm base for future development.

So, you were able to forget about the mistake on the first corner and look at the bigger picture?
Yes, of course. Mistakes happen, and what happened at the first corner potentially cost me points but what was paramount that weekend was to get some laps under my belt, and I did just that. I managed to complete the race, clock up many laps and familiarise myself with the car. The weekend gave me a good all-round experience.

Did your success in qualifying set expectations too high?
Naturally, when you do well in qualifying it raises the bar of expectation. Inside and outside the team, everybody was very happy with the qualifying and there was greater expectation for scoring points in the race. Having said that, I was the first one to point out that racing is very different to qualifying, and I wasn’t getting carried away. It was a step into the unknown, and in terms of performance it went really well but I need to polish up on my race craft, which is a bit rusty.

Having a race under your belt must instil some confidence and help settle the nerves…
Of course in Spa I didn’t know what to expect in terms of the competitiveness, but it was extremely encouraging that I managed to develop my pace quickly, and work with the team well. I have a strong working relationship with the engineers, and I am eager to get into the cockpit in Monza because I feel more confident heading into this race. As with any sport, miles on the clock and experience instil confidence in oneself.

Monza is another well-respected circuit – what is your experience of it?
I’ve known Monza since 2005, so I have been there every year apart from 2009. It’s a circuit where I’ve had a mixed bag of results. When I was younger, there were a few occasions when I didn’t have the right car set-up but I now understand the circuit much better. I’m a more mature driver now, and I’m confident we can achieve another top 10 qualifying and score more points.

With the various driving experiences you’ve had this year, your relationship with the R31 must be growing closer…
Exactly, I know the car much better now. I’m more familiar with the tendencies the car has, and I understand the direction we can take it. I’m looking forward to working closely with the engineers to devise solutions on where we can strengthen our approach.

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