A bit of a missed opportunity in today’s race. Qualifying was poor, but that was to be expected after no practice on this track and using prime tyres.
I avoided most of the chaos through the first sector. Then, I attempted a pass into Turn 8 on a Renault (?) and they turned in on me despite me leaving plenty of room on the outside. This gave me a penalty which I found was quite unfair. Then, a similar thing happened at Turn 10, this time causing me to half spin and lose time. A lap or so later, I was battling with a Force India for about 9th place, and I saw a Red Bull behind me – iamsa8. This motivated me, as I hadn’t realised he was down that far after the start, and he is my main rival for the championship.
So there was a 3-way battle down the straight with him, the Force India and myself. He got past, and I tried to follow him through – once again leaving plentiful room on the outside, but the Force India turned into me and I half spun into the wall, losing even more time. I was now second last. My prime tyres were still going well, so I kept driving and eventually got up to 3rd after others’ pitstops. Then, there were a few spots of rain and my tyres suddenly went off the cliff – more than I can ever remember. This was Lap 11 I think. I had two half-spins, the 2nd costing me about 10/15 seconds. I misinterpreted this as a slippery track, so went for inters. This was the wrong choice, and cost me heaps of time. It was a schoolboy error, and I was very disappointed, as without the tyre issues and bad strategy, I could’ve been in for a podium.
I was basically trundling around by myself for most of the next stint. Then, as the rain got heavier, and my inters were dying, I switched to full wets on Lap 19. After this, all I could do was pass people who were on the wrong tyres or in the pits.
The only notable moment of the final stint was when I was trying to pass slr around the outside of Turn 3 (he was struggling on inters), we made contact, as I guess he understeered into me, and I had a massive lose. I managed to keep it going and get back ahead of him and keep going. Luckily, I got up to 5th to salvage a half-decent result and some good points. For a while, it looked like I’d be down in 8th or 9th.
So it was a bittersweet race, it looked like it could’ve been worse at some stages, but I also could’ve done better with some more luck and a better strategy.
Well done to Steve, a great performance! I can’t wait for Monaco!