I really like racing in Spa because it's a track that has a bit of EVERYTHING. It has very long straights where good overtaking can take place, but also very nice corners – Sector 2 in particular is very nice and flowing. It's tough to find a compromise regarding the balance of the car and the set-up for the long straights and Sector 2, but I enjoy the challenge.
There's a corner there that's maybe not as famous as some of the others, but that I like a lot and it's one of the toughest. When you say Spa, everyone always thinks of Eau Rouge, but actually one of the most difficult corners in the world is POUHON – we drive there at around 260kph, in seventh gear, and it's a turn to always keep in mind!
Spa is one of my favourite tracks but, strangely enough, I've never finished an F1 race there...! I think the race in 2016 was even more frustrating than the one in 2015 because I had done one of my best first laps of my life – I started from P15 and I was P7 after lap 1 – but I suddenly got a puncture in the middle of the straight due to carbon fiber pieces... So unlucky! I remember being so motivated and suddenly all the highs of that first lap disappeared... I was quite annoyed. THIRD time lucky, they say...
I remember that last year it was very warm during the race weekend, warmer than in SPAIN, so it was quite a special weekend, difficult to sleep at night because of the heat! We were in Belgium but it suddenly felt that we were somewhere in Spain, enjoying the summer!
On the way to the track we drive past many bars and restaurants where you always see people enjoying some moules, waffles or fried chips... It makes you want to join them, but during the race weekend I can't ever do that... Maybe this year I can try and get away with it and have a CHEAT meal there!
Spa-Francorchamps is a legendary track and one I really look forward to racing at every year! It's definitely one of my favorite and I think every driver likes it a lot... It's just IMPOSSIBLE not to!
It's a great circuit with big history. The first thing that comes to mind when you think of this track is the legendary corner of EAU ROUGE but I have to say that, in a way, every single corner there is special and unique.
It's also the longest circuit on the F1 calendar and a very FLOWING one, which makes it a very enjoyable experience. This is the only circuit where we do the track walk on a scooter, because it's too long to walk a lap of it!
Another interesting thing about this circuit is that it's so BIG that it can be raining in one part but dry at another, so it can make racing very interesting and you need to be ready for everything!
It's also interesting and fun to race there because of the SLIPSTREAM – it's easy to find a tow at some point during the lap and this can become very useful at times, especially during qualifying.