Interesting race today. First of all, it was very annoying that the settings weren’t correct, and why I had to drive with a default setup, is beyond me. Based on testing from yesterday, this put me at an immediate second per lap disadvantage (Or 9 tenths to be more accurate), which was very frustrating.
I got a half-decent start, considering I started on primes, but as I was trying to keep out of people’s way, I got hit into turn 1 by a Marussia. But, nevertheless, after the long straight, I found myself in 7th, just ahead of @Bradley13. I could see @Asanator and someone else battling ahead, but I was then hit by my teammate, which threw me into the Marussia as a result. He let me back through, but it was still a bit of a grievance.
On lap 2, I was catching a battle between @Sirspuddington and Abbmacher, whilst holding off Bradley from behind, who made a mistake at the end of the lap. Abbmacher then made a mistake at the beginning of lap 3, and graciously didn’t put up too much of a fight when I had DRS on him. By lap 5, Bradley was back with me, and passed me during the DRS zone, but I took a wider line into the chicane to get a better exit, and re-took him in the second zone. Bradley proceeded to have a bit of an off at the end of that lap, and again afterwards, and fell back.
By the end of lap 8, I had caught up to the battle between Harry and @Sato-113, I think they were beginning to struggle for grip on the options. I didn’t really want to get involved too much, knowing what the consequences could be. I had a chance to pass the Ferrari on lap 9, but backed out of it. I was closer than ever at the end of the long straight on lap 10, with Harry and Theo going side by side through the chicane. I was contemplating trying to take both of them with the DRS…but instead, they ran into each other, and gifted me second place.
All was quiet until lap 15, when Asanator destroyed his vehicle and brought out the Safety car. I had originally planned on pitting for options on lap 17/18, but I couldn’t miss an opportunity to pit under the SC and possibly get the jump on @Olliekart. I turned up the engine mix and flew into the pits. 13 laps was going to be a bit of an ask, but the alternative probably would have been slower. I caught up to the SC, with Oli just in front…and there he was in primes…I felt pretty confident at this stage, despite my setup.
Oli then pitted at the end of the lap, which I thought was a little odd, and got DSQ…that was a little bit stupid of the game, but he really should have pitted the previous lap.
At the restart, @Sato-113 was a bit quicker than I expected, and on lap 20, tried a move up the inside of the chicane after the long straight, and spun me. It was always going to be a bit of a risky move, and given his pace and our positions, wasn’t really the smartest thing to do. He could easily have won the race, had he just waited for a better opportunity.
Re-joined in 3rd I think, and passed Bradley when he spun. So then I had 6 laps to catch a very quick Harry Westwood, who was about 5 seconds ahead. It wasn’t until lap 24, that I set the fastest lap of the race, and started putting serious pressure on Harry, hoping he’d make a mistake. I was punishing my tyres, and I could feel that if I pushed a little too hard, then I’d spin. The grip level really was that fragile, and I did have a couple of moments when I almost lost it. I was only 1.5 seconds down on him by the final lap, at the end of sector 2, but at this point, I had been told that he had a time penalty, so I wasn’t going to do anything stupid.
For how I thought it would turn out, I think it was a very fun race, and I have to say that both Theo and Harry had some great pace today. Glad to be the provisional winner (Despending on Harry’s penalties), and a fantastic way to end a great season!