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Q&A with Spyker's Sakon Yamamoto 01 Nov 2007

Sakon Yamamoto (JPN) Spyker.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Preparations, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Thursday, 27 September 2007 Sakon Yamamoto (JPN) Spyker.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Saturday, 29 September 2007 Sakon Yamamoto (JPN) Spyker F8-VII.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Sunday, 30 September 2007 Sakon Yamamoto (JPN) Spyker F8-VII crashes into Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, 21 October 2007

In July, Spyker selected Sakon Yamamoto to replace Christijan Albers for the last seven Grands Prix of the year. Yamamoto, who had taken over from Franck Montagny at Super Aguri during the final stages of the 2006 season, settled into the Dutch team quickly, racking up five race finishes.

Here the 25 year-old Japanese driver reviews his season, including his memorable 12th-place finish at the Fuji Speedway…

Q: It has been quite an unusual season for you, not least because you switched from GP2 to Formula One racing in the middle of it. How would you sum up the year?
Sakon Yamamoto:
This year was quite a variable season for me! At the beginning of the season I was a test driver for Aguri, and I raced in GP2 as a way to come back to F1. And I got a chance. The team was different, but it was a good opportunity to join with Spyker, and I really appreciated that they gave me a good chance to drive in F1. I joined from Hungary, so in total I did seven races. In the first one in Hungary and the last one in Brazil I retired, but the other five races I finished. I tried as hard as I could and I really appreciate everybody who supported me, the team members and sponsors. So I really want to say thank you for a great season.

Q: How difficult was it to come back to Formula One racing with a different team and no testing?
SY:
At the first race in Hungary everything was really new, but at least I had experience from last year, so therefore for me it wasn’t as tough as 2006. Last year I joined F1 during the season, and I didn’t know anything. But this year I at least had that experience of seven races, and I knew how I should work with an F1 team, and that experience helped me a lot.

Q: How much did the situation improve when you got the B-spec car?
SY:
The B-spec car was better than the A-spec, it was a big improvement. For me driving was much easier than before, and also I could try to really push to get good results for the team.

Q: You didn’t have much luck in qualifying. Was that frustrating?
SY:
During the season I can say I had really bad luck to try to get good lap times, things like traffic, some accidents. But that’s motor racing, and I believe that if something bad happens, next day it can be good again, so I didn’t worry about it so much. I just tried to concentrate on my job.

Q: Which race were you most happy with?
SY:
I was really happy with the Japanese Grand Prix, because it was my home race, and it was the toughest conditions. I had a good result. But my target was always to get nearer the front, and I had hoped to do that in the final race in Brazil!

Q: It must have been frustrating to end your season with that spectacular collision! What happened with Giancarlo Fisichella?
SY:
Fisi went off at Turn One on the second lap. I was driving through the part from Turn One to Turn Two and I had already accelerated, and suddenly he was coming back onto the track. He just came onto the racing line, and I couldn’t do anything to avoid the accident. I was very unlucky, and it was very dangerous, when you think about the speed difference. He went off, he slowed down, and I was just going to accelerate. I didn’t have time to react. So I was really disappointed, because I felt that with the car set-up and the track conditions I could get my best result at the end of the season.