Points in Singapore; a very short race in Malaysia: Kevin Magnussen knows which scenario he prefers as he heads to one of the drivers' favourite circuits on the calendar.
What are your thoughts on Suzuka?
Kevin Magnussen: It's one of the best tracks on the calendar and it's always a pleasure to drive there as it's really enjoyable. It's a fantastic track. I'm really looking forward to it.
It's an iconic circuit. What are your memories of your very first lap around it?
KM: It's one of those circuits you already know before you've been there as you've seen it so many times on television and you've seen so many on-board laps that it's part of your subconscious. It might sound strange, but even on your first lap there's a rhythm there. It's just fantastic how it flows and how it gives you a challenge on every corner.
What do you think of Japan as a country?
KM: It's very different from anywhere else I've been in the world. The Japanese fans are crazy about Formula 1 and they are so welcoming to us. It's always a very pleasurable experience to visit Japan.
What did you take away with you from Malaysia?
KM: I took a lot of positives away from Malaysia. I didn't have a smooth weekend up until qualifying - with a fire in FP1 then trying to catch-up in FP2 - yet we got it together in qualifying to get P14, which was a pretty good result for us, yet we could see that even more was possible. That gave us a positive outlook for the race but as can happen in motor racing, our potential was extinguished in such a short space of time. On the other side of the garage, Jo scored a point with P10 which showed that the car had good race pace once again. I would have liked to have seen where I could have finished.
Talk us through what happened in your race...
KM: It was a first corner incident as simple as that. The contact between Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg ahead meant that everyone behind had to take evasive action. I was positioned well on track on the inside of the corner but first was hit from behind by Daniil Kyvat - which damaged my rear diffuser - then my front wing and brake cooling drum fence were damaged as Esteban Gutiérrez came across. We were able to replace the front wing but it was impossible to do anything about the brake cooling fence which was not doing its job because of the damage. This meant it both affected the aero and wasn't cooling the brakes. We could have lived with the loss of aero, but the brakes were overheating and the team had to make the call to retire the car.
KM: Frustrating yes, but that's motor racing sometimes. Overall I left the race with a positive vibe. Even though all the technical development is going into next year's car the team are still making good improvements on how we use the potential of this year's car. We definitely feel more on top of things to get the maximum out of the car in any situation. If this carries on to Suzuka and for the rest of the season we should be able to maintain this level of performance.
Jolyon Palmer scored a hard-earned and well-deserved first Formula One World Championship point in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Buoyed by this, he heads to Suzuka eager for more.
How does it feel to get your first point on the board?
Jolyon Palmer: I'm very happy and just a little bit relieved too. For the last 15 laps of the race I had Carlos Sainz just a couple of second behind and in my mirrors, and on fresher tyres, so I had to keep focused and consistent so to cross the line and get that point was very satisfying.
You were very frustrated after qualifying so how did you turn everything around?
JP: I was pretty hard on myself after qualifying and we knew we had a lot of work to do. All day Friday and on Saturday morning we'd looked good but in qualifying everything went away from us. We looked very closely at the data and on Sunday morning we could the causes of my qualifying difficulties so with that understanding I could focus on the race and my confidence was much higher again. In the race we took a gamble on the strategy and went really long on the hard compound in the first stint. We had an A plan and a B plan, but in the end we could keep the hards alive so long that we were able to create a new plan and make one stop for the softs, which ran to the end of the race. The guys on the pit wall were really fluid and we did a great job as a team.
What's your mindset as you head to Suzuka?
JP: Positive. I've never raced there before and I've only driven one lap there, which was an install in the wet in 2015 so I'm looking forward to learning it! The track looks very exciting and it's very technical, quite a specialist type of track with a lot of change of direction; especially in the first sector. It's old-school and everyone seems to like it.
How do you prepare for a track you haven't driven before?
JP: The track walk on Thursday will be extra important. You can pick up references and get a good eyeline. Because it's the second of a back-to-back there's no time to return to Enstone and go in the simulator so I'll be watching a lot of on board footage before heading out for four hours of practice across Friday and Saturday. I think FP1 will be a lot about learning the track and getting up to speed.
What do you think of Japan as a country?
JP: They embrace Formula 1 like no other country and Suzuka is always wired when F1 is in town. From visiting last year as a third driver I could see the passion of the fans. There's crazy merchandise and crazy hats there and everyone really shows their support. That's what we love to see! The history of Formula 1 and Japan is well-known. As for other aspects, I'm quite partial to sushi and teriyaki so I'll be eating well when I'm there.
More points on order?
JP: Most definitely. There's nothing to say we can't carry on from where we left off in Sepang and I've definitely got a thirst for more points. I've never tried sake so let's hope for a good race so I can celebrate with some on Sunday night with more points on the board!