Senna: Pressure not to blame
Brazilian says he's been leaving too small a margin of error
By Mike Wise in Singapore. Last Updated: September 22, 2012 11:49pm
Bruno Senna has denied he feels under increased pressure despite his error-strewn weekend continuing in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Having brought out the red flags when he hit the wall on Friday, the Brazilian also got too close for comfort during the final free practice session 24 hours later.
A most unwelcome hat-trick was completed during the second qualifying session, with Senna then having to sit and watch while team-mate Pastor Maldonado showed the potential of Williams' FW34 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit by qualifying in second place.
Question marks over Senna's future at the team have been raised for some time now. However, whilst freely admitting he has made mistakes so far this weekend, the 28-year-old reckoned there was no connection between the two.
Instead, Senna said it was more a case of him failing to leave a sufficient margin of error on the unforgiving track.
"I think pressure shows when you are making mistakes into braking areas, going off and hitting kerbs and flying off the track," Senna said. "This way was just not giving enough margin for any eventualities and yesterday the same thing happened.
"I pushed. I was confident I would have enough margin to get near the wall but obviously the grip level near the wall is not as high as on the track and there was a little slide I got on both occasions.
"You can see the amount of damage on the car is small, meaning that the actual contact with the wall is not big. So these two things were really just...not leaving enough margin for error. And of course an error happened. There's no forgiveness.
"I have to accept that I made mistakes but I'm not kidding myself over it."
Senna has struggled more often than not during qualifying this season and admitted he has found it difficult to get his tyres - the front ones in particular - into the right operating zone.
"The tyres have been changed from last year to this year. Whatever I do, it's a random event if I can make the front tyres work or not. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't work and the lap time reflects that," he said.
"One of my greatest pleasures in motor racing is qualifying. You have loads of freedom from pushing a lap the whole way. I've always been very good in qualifying in the past; everything I've done, I've got pole positions.
"This thing in qualifying goes away in the races. In the races, I'm always very strong - even with these tyres."
Senna is going to need strong performance in the race given that a gearbox penalty has dropped him even further down the grid from 17th to 22nd.
Looking ahead, he added: "Doing what everybody else is doing is not going to gain me any positions. I need to gain as many positions on the first stint as I can to try and jump people.
"It's a big war between being aggressive with strategy and tyre degradation figures here. I don't think anyone has got a perfect idea of how the tyres are going to work for this race.
"It's going to be a long race. Fortunately I have some decent tyres left and hopefully it's going to work out that we can jump a few people.
"The odds of a safety car tomorrow are high. It's going to be an eventful race and we can never count ourselves out. It's a two-hour race and hopefully we're going to be right up there at the end...with some luck."