My best time for Quali had been a 1:24.403 I think, though I knew that if I could hook up all my best sectors, a 1:24.2 would be possible. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t do it. My first couple of laps were quite poor, in the 1:25 range, though I was pleased to see that no-one could beat it for a while, until @CommonMonsoon set a 1:24.433, taking provisional pole.
I lowered my fuel, and went out for one final run, securing second place with a 1:24.883. Not my best lap, but good enough for second, which was far more than I had expected!
In truth, I was pretty nervous at the start. It was the first time that I was starting on dirty side of the grid (Since my last race in Melbourne, which had me in the same spot, behind Ollie). Not sure what happened to @CommonMonsoon, but his start seemed pretty poor, at least compared to mine, and to my surprise, I had a clean first corner and was through into first!
I couldn’t quite see what happened behind, but @CommonMonsoon was still behind me, and though I was keeping it clean, he was still catching me by a couple of tenths each lap. By the time he was right behind me, I didn’t fight him too hard. I was willing to settle for second and just have a clean race, but again to my surprise, I was keeping up with him, and although I couldn’t quite get passed, I was able to get DRS and stay with him and then catch him through some corners.
I’m not sure what happened a few laps in, but at turn 9, I was trying to leave a gap behind, but then he went into the gravel. It was a little laggy so I’m not sure if you felt a tap from behind, or whether you our-braked yourself, but I promise it was not intentional :P.
After that, I had a reasonably quiet race, trying to keep my consistency. I pitted on lap 13 for primes, and came out about 3 seconds behind @Brooksy007. I was quickly catching him, and eventually passed him down into turn 1, though I’m pretty sure he just let me through, and if that’s the case, then thanks! :D
After that, I just maintained the gap to second place and made sure not to make any mistakes. I had honestly expected to be fighting for third at best, so to win the inaugural round is fantastic! I think that makes me the first Brit to be on the podium in Melbourne (and win as well), so that makes it all the sweeter :D
Great race guys, and I look forward to racing you all again soon!