Quali – 2nd:
My ultimate lap before entering the race today was a 1:24.620, which I knew I was going to struggle to repeat. My first lap was a 1:25.6xx which was enough for second, but I then put in a 1:25.123, putting it on provisional pole, before Ollie put on options and set a 1:24.4. Even my best lap wouldn’t have competed with that, so a well deserved pole, and I was glad to be on the front row.
Race – 2nd:
Before the race, there was a mass disconnection, so we all had to re-join and do a rolling/safety car start. I almost hit Ollie a couple of times on that slow lap, which was a bit unnerving, but when we got around to the actual race, things were looking good. For the first couple of laps, I was just keeping with Ollie, and slowly pulling away from Alfie. I was able to get DRS on Ollie, but mis-judged the braking zone, and Ollie was never to be seen again. He was very quick today, and I was a little too cautious on many of my laps.
Alfie seemed able to keep my pace, though I was gaining a tenth or two here and there. I can’t remember what lap it was, but we were catching the back of the pack. Ollie had managed to get passed Soza, he was 5-6 seconds down the road, and as I tried to come through just after turn 5 I think, Soza (@Formula-1) sweeped to the left and almost took me out. It was pretty close. I was lucky to get through unscathed…Alfie, however, wasn’t as lucky.
Due to this unfortunate incident, I was pretty much in limbo. I was quicker than those behind, and not as quick as Ollie ahead, and had no intention in trying to go balls out and try to catch him, for risk of making a mistake.
I came in for primes on lap 12, coming out in 4th place, 3-4 seconds behind Shyguy. I quickly caught up to the back of him, and nervously overtook him in the DRS zone. Melbourne is quite a tight track as you all know, so I tried to leave as much room as possible, in case he threw one up the inside, but it stuck, and I set about chasing Tom. I think he pitted on the next lap (possibly to put on options?) and the gap was 17 seconds to him, and 15-16 seconds to Ollie.
I’m not sure what happened after that, obviously there was a crash, and the safety car was brought out. I dived into the pits for options, hoping the 17-18 second gap would be enough, or that Tom would pit. It wasn’t the case, however, and I lined up behind the SC in third. It was then that I noticed that Tom was definitely on options, with Alfie behind me on old primes.
At the restart, I was pretty quick on new options, and got the jump on Tom out of turn 2, I tried to take the inside line, and I’m not sure what happened, but I spun out, luckily not damaging the car. It could well have been my fault, and if it hurt your chances, then I am very sorry (@RagingInferno).
Despite this, I caught back up to Alfie and Tom reasonably quickly, after a Red Bull (I think) let me through in turn 5 (Thankyou!). Alfie managed to get passed Tom and as I was braking into turn (9?), Tom out-braked himself and went onto the grass, I gave him room to get back on to the track, so that I wouldn’t be inadvertently taken out, and carried enough speed to be in 3rd as we came up to turns 11-12. I didn’t know at this point that Alfie was on old primes, but it sure was great to see when I had caught up with him!
There weren’t many laps left, and I had a lot more grip than Alfie at this point. I didn’t bother with any half-assed moves, I just stuck right up the back of his gearbox, until the final bend, when I unleashed my KERS and DRS to fly by him. This then gave me the DRS out of turn 2, and enabled me to stay in front for the final lap.
Thoroughly enjoyable race from my perspective. Some great, clean battles with Tom, Shyguy and Alfie. Driver of the day has to be @Olliekart simply because he drove supremely well in both qualifying and the race, and never faltered. Congrats!