This is a big weekend coming up for me in Russia. It’s not only the first time there’s ever been a Russian Grand Prix, but if things go to plan I could end the weekend as GP3 Series champion!
The Sochi circuit is based around the old Olympic village, and it’s brand-new for everyone. But there have been a few demo laps done there, so I’ve been trying to watch as many on-board videos as I can to get a feel for the track. Also, I’ve been on the simulator at Red Bull – it’s incredibly advanced so I’ve been putting a lot of effort into driving the track. Any piece of information you can get is valuable – you just have to take what you can from every little scrap, because it’s those small things that make the difference.
It’s four weeks since we last raced, at Monza, but it’s gone really fast. I don’t know where the time’s gone! I’ve always been busy doing something, whether it’s preparing for the race on the sim, or paying visits to the Carlin team who I’ve had such a great season with this year.
I also went on a Red Bull Junior training camp in the Swiss mountains for four days. We did a 10-kilometre hike, and that felt quite long! I think the peak we got to was 3000 metres or something – that was really good and is a big help for keeping us all in shape.
But it’s back to sea level at Sochi – or the Black Sea, to be precise. There are 48 points available from each weekend, and there’s only one round to go after this one, in Abu Dhabi. So, if I end this round 48 points in front, that makes me champion. At the moment my closest rival, Richie Stanaway, is 50 points behind me, so you can see that clinching the title is very realistic – but he has a load of people only just behind him, with five guys within 22 points…
I just have to treat this weekend like any other to be honest. We’re in a nice enough position not to have to think too hard about the mathematical permutations. The one thing I’m looking out for most is pole, and the win and fastest lap in the opening race – all that would give me 31 points, so whoever is behind me in the points going into the second race would have to pull something pretty special out of the bag.
I’m always confident, and my main concern is that we can’t afford to not finish. It’s not a stressful situation – we just have to do a good job and score points.
Of course, we’re well into the silly season now, and over the Japanese Grand Prix weekend we learned that Daniil Kvyat was being promoted to the Red Bull seat for 2015. That leaves a Toro Rosso drive up for grabs alongside Max Verstappen, and I’ve had a lot of messages from friends and fans wishing me well and asking if I’ve got a chance. But it’s all wishful thinking until anything’s decided. I’d love to be in the running to be considered, and I know a good performance this weekend would help impress the right people. I know what I can do but it’s not up to me!