Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov says about his personal life details to F1 official website. The Russian revealed a little deeper than his statistics and came up with some very interesting insights, not least his yearning for a pet tiger, his love of Iberico ham and his tendency to be somewhat lazy…
Q: What’s been your most valuable ‘life’ lesson?
Vitaly Petrov: Every single day I learn something new about life. I meet people all the time who tell me things or show me something that can help me improve, even in a small way. One thing a friend has told me a few times is to make sure that whenever you look in the mirror, don’t think ‘how good am I?’ but think ‘how can I be better?’. That’s pretty important – making sure you don’t settle.
Q: If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
VP: Don’t be lazy. I would also ask my family to push me even more to work hard at school and to learn as much as I could.
Q: If your racing career ended after this season, what would you do with the rest of your life?
VP: That’s a difficult question now because I want to stay in F1 as long as I can and I don’t really want to think about what will come afterwards. Having said that, I have a lot of ideas about what I could do. My father’s business is interesting, he does a lot of different things and it would be good to work with him.
Q: If you had to stay in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?
VP: Another difficult question. I obviously love Russia – the forests and the cities. It’s my home and I’m very proud to come from Russia. But sometimes it’s good to get some hot sun. Spain’s great and actually I love England too. Except the rubbish weather!
Q: What animal best reflects your personality?
VP: I’m not too sure which animal best reflects my personality but I like almost all animals. Dogs and cats obviously, but if I had a big house I’d like to have a lion or a tiger, or maybe a bear but that might be a bit too dangerous. As I said, I like pretty much all animals but not snakes. I hate snakes. I really hate snakes. I even hate talking about snakes!
Q: What is more important in life than winning?
VP: Making sure my parents and friends are happy and healthy.
Q: When were you happiest?
VP: On track I’m happiest, especially after a good qualifying or a good race. But I think it’s also important to be happy away from the track. Everything needs to be working well off-track, as if there’s something bad going on with friends or family it distracts you from racing and that’s not good.
Q: If you could banish one thing from your life – for the rest of your life – what would that be?
Q: How does it feel to be considered a hero?
VP: I understand that people might think a world champion is a hero – the guy who’s won everything or done the best job – but for me I haven’t won a championship yet. I’ve done a few things well but I haven’t done anything yet that would make me really special.
Q: What is your greatest weakness?
VP: Sometimes I’m a bit too stressed. Maybe I’m a bit on the limit too often.
Q: What’s your ultimate comfort food?
VP: Of course I love Russian food – soups, salads and things – but I love sushi as well and Italian food. I really love Spanish ham – jamon iberico – and paella too.
Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get home after a race?
VP: See my family and catch up with them. Then maybe I will see my friends to play football or poker.
Q: What, or who, do you admire?
VP: I admire a lot of cool sportsmen and athletes – Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, those sorts of guys. I can learn a lot from them. I also admire the drivers I’m competing against today. Anyone who I can learn something from is someone I admire.
Q: What’s your favourite smell?
VP: Ha! Some perfume maybe – it depends what woman it is on! (laughs)
Q: Are you the man you always thought you would become?
VP: I never thought I’d become a Formula One racing driver. When I was learning to be a racer, I was just concentrating on improving every day and then, when someone showed me F1, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I’m obviously happy I am where I wanted to get to, but there’s a lot more to come.
Q: What tastes like home?
VP: When I make my own food I’m sort of back home. I like cooking. I live alone so I do a lot of cooking and I can prepare pretty much anything I want to eat, so that’s a good way of being able to eat things that remind me of home.
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