Happy New Year everyone! Let it be known I was cutting up a video for you lot as the clock ticked over to 2013… :-P
So, anyway, whatever. Qualifying for me was pretty good. I did three separate one lap runs on super softs with my first being ruined due to a mistake, second not particularly quick and third quicker but ruined by the fact I ran out of petrol. SIGH. But a question: I know you have to start on the tyres you qualified on in dry conditions, but do I also have to use the other sets of options I used in qualifying when I come in for tyre changes during the race? Or do I get the fresh sets I didn’t touch?
I made a pretty average start, took a cautious approach into turn 1, ran deep, swept around the outside to avoid contact, @Shyguy1992 either ran deep or was squeezed into me, we made contact, but we both made it through safely. I think. And, happily, I was still in second behind @JamieFranklinF1. But I got a penalty for something. I’d love to see the start from someone else’s perspective because I’m still a bit confused by that!
On lap 3, after being cautious behind Jamie for the opening laps, I used the DRS zone to breeze past the defenceless Catheter in a manner only @Magnificent-Geoffrey would be aroused by. I left the door open into turn 1, but he didn’t try a move, so I turned in, rounded turn 2, looked behind and he was gone. I was a bit worried I’d spun him but apparently it wasn’t the case. Phew!
I built a handy lead of around 15-20 seconds (it fluctuated a bit, but not too much) and I realised there was remarkably still some hope of me taking the win! I put in decent laps on the options until Jamie was starting to take a few tenths out of me, so I pitted for primes. I’d been informed rain was going to make an appearance, but I could hardly believe that given the fact there was not a single cloud in sight… If everything went according to plan, my primes would last long enough to prevent an extra stop (as opposed to being on options that would wear out before the rain, forcing me to pit for more dry tyres before pitting again for wets) but only a few laps later, coming out of the final corner, everything quite suddenly went grey. And rain began to fall.
Now, if this had been Korea, I’d have dived straight for the pits, but @Olliekart and Jamie showed that the weather doesn’t actually affect the cars very realistically… So I stayed out for a considerable number of extra laps until I was quite literally forced to pit. As I approached the final chicane, I braked, tried to turn in, but everything locked up and I decided not to fight it and continued in a straight line into the pits. I took it as a very well-timed hint from the game!
I exited on intermediates and immediately ran into @Spud, who was caught on dry tyres on what was suddenly a very wet-looking surface. We both dived in the same direction as he was trying to let me by and we had a synchronised spin into the wall. Unfortunately, I picked up a second penalty. Not only had I lost my 10 second buffer; I’d have to rebuild it and then double it to win now! That was the moment I realised I’d probably thrown it away…
After just two laps on the inters, I was getting lots of wheel-spin and finding myself short-shifting just to accelerate out of corners, so I came in for full wets on lap 20. I had a quiet stint by myself on the blue-marked tyres and somehow, my lead was back to 15-16 seconds. Hope reinstilled! But I lost concentration briefly when approaching the final chicane on lap 27 and turned in too early. Instead of correcting the mistake, I decided to lift off and minimise the damage, but the game slowed my car down automatically, and as I clumsily clumped the second kerb, the car snapped and I was no longer in control. Another front wing bites the dust! And my third chance of winning the race despite penalties was gone. Jamie pitted on the same lap that I crashed, so initially, it looked as though my lead had not been affected at all!
But the gap was down to just 3 seconds after we’d both switched back to intermediates, and Jamie was now faster. I made a mistake on lap 30 and ran into the gravel, which allowed him to close right up and then pass me coming across the finish line. I was still sliding all over the place, and I very nearly lost it into the wall on the next lap. Somehow, my thrashing at the wheel to counter the slide did the trick, and I had to put it in slow-motion in the video because… well, I can’t believe how lucky I was!
However, it suddenly appeared I was able to go slightly quicker than Jamie, and he wasn’t managing to build a gap. Of course, being tucked up behind meant I was able to judge the corners based on what he did which made life a bit easier! But this also caught me out on lap 33 when Jamie appeared to lock up and spear into the gravel into the chicane before the hairpin, with me following him in sympathy! As we fought our way out of the run-off area, several lapped cars whizzed by. It was quite an unusual moment and certainly one of the most interesting ways I’ve scrapped with someone for position!
Anyway, the final lap really crept up on me, and I suddenly realised I’d have to pass him if I was to have any chance of winning! And that was providing he also had two penalties. Yeah, not likely. But anyway, I tried some different lines, piled on the pressure and almost tried a move at one point before he appeared to be attacked by some weird lag into the corner where Vettel lost the lead on the final lap of the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix and… well, lost his lead! I crossed the line a few seconds ahead, but unfortunately for me, Jamie had kept out of trouble and secured zero penalties, thus giving him the win.
I had a huge amount of fun in the last few laps and it reminded me of my last-lap battles with @Electrolite and @slr in Malaysia and Singapore respectively last season. Not sure about you Jamie, but it really gave my heart a workout!
Edit: Lots of exclamation marks in there! Oh well! My excuse is that it’s 6 AM so I’m going to bed!