What are the essential elements of your pre-race routine?
Roberto Merhi: I like to listen to music. What music? It’s special music - I’ll never say!
What’s your essential tip for avoiding stress at airports?
RM: To be honest I find airports quite stressful, even though I’ve been through a lot of them. I arrive at the last minute, but then you get more stressed. But I hate to wait in airports. I arrive at the last minute all the time. I don’t know how I don’t miss flights - sometimes I make them by just one minute.
What is the essential corner in F1 racing?
RM: I don’t know… (long pause). You know in Monaco, you do the left-right after the tunnel and then you have another quick left hander [Tabac]? I like that. I like it because it’s narrow, it’s a quick corner and you need to have big balls.
What are the essential ingredients of a good night out?
RM: Good friends - that’s the most important thing. Then for sure you will have fun.
What essential items must you have in your driver’s room/motorhome at a race?
RM: Apart from my helmet and driving kit? Nothing interesting - it’s all quite boring.
What essential items must you always have in your fridge at home?
RM: Juice. I like apple juice. I mix it with water. I also like to keep some tuna - I like that a lot.
What are your essential qualities for a girlfriend/wife/partner?
RM: To be pretty and to be ‘real’. Someone you can talk to and have good conversations with. And not someone who wears too much make-up all the time.
What are essential qualities of a good F1 team mate?
RM: To be honest I like it when a team mate is a good friend because in one year you spend a lot of time together. Sometimes you have good team mates, sometimes really bad, but I prefer to have a quick team mate.
What app is it essential to have on your phone?
RM: WhatsApp. It’s amazing.
What are your essential requirements at a hotel?
RM: I never switch on the TV - I don’t know why, but I never do. I just want a big bed and for the temperature inside to be right. If it’s summer I want air con, if it’s winter I want it to be warm. Those are the most important things.
What is the essential Grand Prix every fan should attend at least once in their lifetime?
RM: The essential race is Macau - it’s the best as a driver. Of the tracks on the F1 calendar, probably Melbourne or Montreal.
What are your essential tips for a good night’s sleep?
RM: Good temperature. Normally a bit colder than normal and then I pull my blanket up over my head to keep warm. I sleep in just my underpants…
What are the essential items you must have with you while travelling?
RM: Running shoes and running stuff.
What is essential to help you wake up in the morning?
RM: Just a shower. I don’t like coffee.
What are the essential parts of your training regime?
RM: Running, cycling and swimming. Running is important because now we need to keep our weight down.
What is the one quality most essential for success in F1 racing?
RM: It’s speed. It’s 90 percent of what you need.