(On preparing for Sunday’s race): We knew that the race was going to be hotter than from all the testing we had done. I think it all comes down to the engineers and to the drivers that on all the testing days we took those precautions. Tomorrow on Carb Day, we expect to be way cooler than what the race is going to be. So we need to take those precautions and go out with the right setup and we probably need to go a little bit softer tomorrow all around the car just to make the tires work better for the conditions that we might get on Sunday.
(On last year’s race in the heat): It’s tough. Whenever it’s hotter, things get degraded faster. The tires go off way faster; if the track is cool and you have an understeer that is building up in a period of five laps, whenever it is hot it is going to build up in two to three laps at the most, so everything starts happening faster. Whenever the conditions are hot, you need to be even more aware and more receptive to the changes you are doing to your car.
We have tools inside the car that we can work with to make the car better – the front and rear bar, the weight jacker, we can change tire pressures in every pit stop, we can change downforce levels as well. So it’s all up to us to know how we’re gonna configure the car for the race.
(On his comfort level at IMS): I think even if the word ‘comfortable’ is a very relative word because no one is comfortable running at these speeds, I do believe that we have a strong car and hopefully we’re going to get the result we need to.
(On taking the green flag): It’s big. Just by the noise you’re getting, it’s pretty much a mass of energy going on, everything is vibrating; pretty much your car is floating, especially now that I’m going to be right in the middle of the peloton. It’s very nice, and it’s a great feeling to have a bit more experience than what I had in the past. Hopefully, my decisions during the race are going to be with a better wisdom than in the past, and I’m really excited.
(On starting in the middle of the field): You really don’t want to do anything crazy at the very beginning, but I’m one of those drivers that whenever there’s a hole, he’s going to take it. Obviously, thinking about the risk level and how much risk you want to take or how much you want to leave, and if at some point, I need to take risks, it’s going to be at the last 15 percent; I don’t want to do anything too early.