QUICK CHAT: Gary Paffett
Four races, two wins: what has been your formula for success so far this year?
Gary Paffett: The car is good and very quick. My engineers and I were also able to make sure that the setup was perfect for me. Because it’s not just important that the car is fast; it’s also crucial to know how I like to drive it – and we’ve been successful in that regard on both weekends. We also tried a couple of things at Hockenheim and at the Lausitzring that I didn’t like, but for the races themselves, we managed to get it the way I like it. Maybe it has something to do with the change in the aerodynamics this year that I just feel more comfortable driving a car that has this level of downforce. Ultimately, it’s all about making the car easy for me to drive.
You’ve just mentioned the changes to the aerodynamics. Maybe the experienced drivers can handle that a bit better than the younger ones?
Gary Paffett: Maybe, but I also think that the drivers who have more racing experience running different tyres and cars are the ones that have been more consistent over the first four races. Of course, some of the younger guys have really good races because they are really fast drivers; no doubt about that. But you also need racing experience if you want to replicate that performance all the time and change the car to give you the best balance for qualifying and the race. And I think, so far it has been shown that the guys with more experience are getting the best out of the car on a more consistent basis.
The last few years have not necessarily been the best for you and Mercedes. Did you ever doubt yourself at some point during this period?
Gary Paffett: I had a couple of rough years. The 2011 season was really difficult and 2014 likewise. Other than that, I’ve always been pretty happy with the year. Sometimes, I just had the feeling that we didn’t get the car right or that I made a mistake. But I’ve never lost confidence in myself. There have been a couple of years where it was a bit of a mystery why the results weren’t coming and why our performance was not up to standard. But I’ve never lost confidence in this team; everyone works really hard, and in the past regulations haven’t gone our way. This year, it is a lot more equal between all the manufacturers with the new regulations. I really don’t feel that there is any reason why one car has an advantage over all the others. The cars are virtually all the same now. But our engineering team is doing a great job with the car, and our mechanics are also doing a great job putting them together.