I’ve had better races, but considering I haven’t been in a Championship race for a while I’m happy with 3rd.
Qualifying went fairly well, I was hoping for full wet race weekend but ah well. I can’t remember my exact time, but I remember it was around half a second faster than I managed in wet practice. I ran a little wide on the final corner which probably cost me a few tenths and squeezing past @Lemon by 0.08 secs made the final minute or two of the session rather tense.
For the start I knew I had some good starters just behind me so I immediately switched to rich fuel and blasted the majority of my kers off the line. Even still, @Lemon broke later than me and got the inside line into turn one, however he ran wide and had to slow to avoid a penalty, he tried to close the gap on the far side as we came out of the chicane but because of his lower speed I was able to just sneak through on the racing line (with a little bit of contact) to retake the lead.
The next few laps me and @Lemon pulled away and had a number of close calls, at one point he must have made a small mistake and I was able to pull out a small gap, however around lap 3 I broke too early going into the first corner and he was able to get level to me on the inside and came out of the chicane in front. I stayed in contact through sector 1 but made a pretty bad mistake in the 2nd sector and dropped back to around 2 or 3 seconds behind him. After that my tyres began to loose some performance compared to the primes that everyone around me were using and I pitted on lap 6 with @agentmulder having closed the gap from 3 or 4 seconds to just 1 or 2.
I came back out on a new set of options around a second behind what looked like a good fight between @McWoblin and @infernojim for 4th and 5th. Over the next couple of laps I caught them and after what looked like a small coming together between the two going into the first corner I was able to get right behind my team mate with a better exit speed. I moved to the left of the racing line to make the overtake but unfortunately he did the same at pretty much the exact same moment, I think @McWoblin planned on moving off the racing line to let me past as I had a better exit but I lost a little bit of time having to slow to avoid bumping into his back end but got past him on the following straight. By the end of the lap I caught @infernojim who must have been on quite badly degraded primes and past him. The next few laps I gunned it, hoping to put in enough fast laps to keep in front of @agentmulder and with any luck take some time out of @Lemon ‘s lead. When Snake came out of the pits I was not only in front, but @infernojim who hadn’t stoppped yet, was also infront of the Williams, giving me some breathing space to open a gap, although at this point I had pretty much given up on catching @Lemon who was on options in much better condition than mine and around 8 seconds up the road.
I made my second stop on lap 12 by which point @infernojim had also stopped on I had @agentmulder all over the back of me. I came back out in 4th, I think I was behind @infernojim. My final leg was fairly uneventful, after inferno pitted my plan was to keep @agentmulder a maximum of 15 seconds in front so I could retake 2nd when he pitted, I had to judge the distance by the mini map however, as my lap timer said he was 44 seconds infront which was impossible as I could see him on my mini map at certain points of the track.
By lap 18 I was taking at least a second out of his lead per lap and I came to the conclusion that both he and @Lemon were going for the one stop. I remembered how much time me and @Powderfinger took out of @Lemon, who tried the same tactic at Monza last season, and thought if I pushed hard enough his tyres would drop off too much and I would be able to catch him. The two leaders had clearly managed their tyres well however because I was never able to take more than 1.5 seconds out of their time per lap. I was particularly impressed with @Lemon because of this following the inital fight we had which I would have thoguht would have taken enough out of his first set of tyres to jepodise a 1 stop strategy.
All in all not too bad of a race, I’m a little disappointed with 3rd considering my starting position but it gives me something to build on going into Suzuka and New Delhi which I think of the next two races.
Congratulation to @Lemon for continuing his domination, DOTD to him for the improvement on his alrady impressive tyre management skills in comparison to last season