Qualifying was a lot more exciting than in Malaysia, albeit very similar. I started out on a set of primes, throwing in a time of 1:24.xxx, claiming provisional pole, before coming back into the pits to see if anyone could beat my time.
It didn’t really take much, as it was a pretty lousy time, but soon my team mate, Tom, crushed my time with a 1:23.7 I think it was, around 8-9 tenths quicker than my own, on the primes as well.
Alfie was looking quick as well, having set a sector 2 faster than mine by half a second, before destroying his vehicle, meaning he had to start last :P
I went back out with five minutes to go, preparing myself for one more lap, which would hopefully take me to my second pole position, and what a lap it was :D – Purple sector all around the lap enabled me to post a time of 1:22.907 and claim my second pole position by nearly eight tenths of a second, I was very pleased :D
1. Jamie Franklin
2. Tom Robson
4. Alfie Widger
My start wasn’t the best I had ever gotten, and I was pretty much mugged into turn 1. Someone kindly bashed nudged me off the track going into turn 1, which I believe was the Mercedes, and put me last, whilst Alfie in the Sauber was able to create a gap.
I spent the next 2 laps fighting with my team mate and Gareth, of whom the latter was quite aggressive. On more than one occasion, he muscled his way passed me, seemingly without a second thought to how it could effect me.
However, I was able to capitalise on Tom and Gareth fighting, and take second place, which left me 5 seconds behind Alfie, with him on options, and me on the primes.
The lap times were quite equal until the end of Alfie’s stint, where he pulled away a little bit, but when he pitted, I was in first, and extending the gap to Tom, whilst saving fuel and my tyres.
Alfie all the while was catching me, whilst I trundled on, losing time to him every lap, but knowing once again that I was on a fabled one stopper :) – although my tyres were not lasting as I had expected them to, and on the lap I pitted, I lost about 2 seconds to Alfie, which would be crucial later in the race.
Once I switched to the options, I was flying, and I was only behind Alfie by about 8-9 seconds, and I knew that he was going to pit again. My times began to tumble, but unfortunately, I took too much of a corner, after braking too late, and then got a penalty. I instantly though – “Great, I have to win by 10+ seconds now”, but that wasn’t the case, because I hadn’t hosted the race, and Alfie had, and he had obviously put rules to realistic instead of reduced, meaning that I had a drive through penalty! YAY!
I pushed as hard as I could for the next two laps, and extending the gap by at least another second or so when I shot into the pits, knowing that I could very well lose the lead…
As I came back out, I could see the Sauber in my mirrors, a mere second behind and doing some quick times. However, what I will say is that I saw Alfie use more than the track itself more than a few times, which I had already explained was not allowed, but maybe I hadn’t made myself clear.
At the end of lap 22, Alfie had backed off, I don’t know why it was, but I’m guessing it was fuel related, so I was able to use mix 3 on the last 2 laps to extend my lead and win the race :).
1. Jamie Franklin
2. Alfie Widger
3. Tom Robson
A good race, and a lot closer than the previous one. My fastest lap was a 1:22.843, but the overall fastest lap was Tom’s – 1:22.2xx