Your teammate Robin (Frijns) is hot on your heels in the championship. How do you deal with the fact that you are both fighting for the title?
It’s a fun situation. We really have a very good relationship. That is not normally the case. I’ve never had anything like this in my career and then in the same team. We push each other extremely hard. Of course, we want to beat each other on track, that has to be the case, but it’s not like a bad mood arises when one of us loses out. We have two very strong crews in the team and whoever does the better job has simply earned it. In my opinion, this is a very healthy basis. I am convinced that Robin is one of the most talented racing drivers on the planet and I’m proud every time I am able to beat him. But, I’m also happy for him when he wins a race. I believe that at the moment our good relationship within the team is contributing to our strengths. We’ll see if either of us still have a chance in the title fight at the finale in Hockenheim. And then we hope for a hot showdown.
How do you deal with being the one that everyone else is hunting?
In fact, it doesn’t feel like that. For me, it is René, as the reigning champion, who is still the one to beat. He and his team have done such an impressive job over the past three years and he’s a fierce opponent for the title again this year. Even if he’s not leading the championship at the moment, he’s always up there with you. We still have four weekends ahead of us, a lot can still happen.
You confidently refuted the rumor that racing drivers who become fathers are slower. Has anything changed in your approach since there are now three of you at home?
I’ve also heard of this myth, but I think we were able to prove that rather the opposite is true. In my opinion, last weekend was the strongest I have ever delivered. And I am thinking more that our happiness with Fynn inspires us more than anything else. I’ve never felt as grounded as I currently do and I am very grateful that I have such a beautiful little family at home that supports me perfectly in my passion. So, I’m sure it makes me better rather than worse.
Is motorsport a taboo subject in your home given the short amount of time you spend at home?
No, we talk about it a lot, sometimes too much. I think that it is also necessary in order to process what happened, be it positive or negative. I often sit down with Vicky or my parents, who live next door, in the evening a day or two after the races. And then we also talk about what happened. They are all extremely excited and are probably more nervous than me on the weekends.
You also moved into your new home in August. Have you planned enough space for trophies?
There will always be enough space. And if there isn’t, that would be a first-world problem that I’m happy to take care of. It was an intense phase during the move. Everything happened at about the same time. House building, moving and the birth of our child, but we had great support from our families, which also gave me the freedom to concentrate on my job. That worked out great.
You are active on social media and also share private insights in your weekly “Driver’s Diary.” How important is it for you to keep in touch with your fans?
Social media is a good tool to give fans insights, even between races, in order to get them excited about our sport and to share our passion with them. This also means sharing some aspects of one’s private life. I try to find a healthy mix and hope that people are happy with what they see and that it helps to build anticipation for the races.
What is your schedule like for the upcoming weeks?
It remains very intense. The next important pair of DTM races on the Nürburgring sprint circuit are on the program this week. And then I’ll probably stay in the Eifel, because the 24-hour race on the Nordschleife is taking place during the week thereafter, which is always a big highlight of the year for me. After our success in 2015, my goal is to be able to fight for the overall victory again. And only after that will I have my first weekend off since the DTM opener, before we drive back to Zolder on the second weekend of October.