A race weekend with Nelson Piquet 19 Mar 2008
As debuts go, Nelson Piquets was one to forget. Renaults new recruit qualified a lowly 21st - nine places behind his team mate - and then retired barely halfway through the race with accident damage.
However, there is more to a Formula One weekend than bare statistics. We caught up with the young Brazilian to get some more background information on his time in Melbourne
Q: When did you fly in?
Nelson Piquet: On Tuesday, and as soon as I landed I came to the track.
Q: Whats your advice for dealing with jetlag?
NP: It really depends on the different weekends - at this race it has been quite easy for some reason.
Q: Do you get to do any sightseeing whilst at races?
NP: It really depends on when you arrive in a country. As we have arrived to Australia quite some time before, I checked out the town. But in Europe, where we arrive much closer to the race Sunday, its more the airport-hotel-track-airport itinerary.
Q: Any special exercise regime for your first F1 race weekend?
NP: Not really - I prepared myself as I did at all the other races at all the other classes I went through.
Q: Your preferred accommodation - city hotel, circuit hotel, or motor home?
NP: I really prefer the motor home over any hotel.
Q: Any luxuries you always bring with you from home?
NP: Actually not, oh, aside from my computer - so I can stay in contact with my friends.
Q: Any socializing on Friday and Saturday night?
NP: No, I was just in the hotel and on the track.
Q: What do you have for breakfast on a race Sunday?
NP: Whatever I like really - generally fruit and some cereal.
Q: How did you get to the circuit on this Sunday morning?
NP: My physio drove.
Q: How did you spend the morning of race Sunday?
NP: As calmly as possible - and I tried to avoid anybody bothering me. It is very important to start the race with a clear head.
Q: What do you drink over a race weekend? Especially in 35 degrees plus?
NP: I dont know the exact figure, but it is a lot of water. But it is not just the weekend, the preparations start weeks ahead.
Q: Do you have any superstitions or pre-race rituals?
NP: No, not at all. I am not very superstitious.
Q: The most helpful advice you got before your first race?
NP: It was from Flavio (Briatore). He told me that this is my weekend, and that I should take it easy and no pressure.
Q: How did you stay calm as you sat on the grid awaiting the formation lap?
NP: I knew that it couldnt get any worse, from where I was.
Q: How did you wind down after the race?
NP: I tried to figure out what had happened - and learn from that!
Q: How will your first F1 race weekend stick in your memory?
NP: If it had been a good race weekend it would have stayed for a long, long time. Now Ill try to forget about it as soon as possible and think about the next one.