Debut at Spa: Pole & first Win I was always confident heading into this weekends races at Spa-Francorchamps, but leaving Spa with two pole positions, a 2nd Place, my first win and a fastest lap is just fantastic and exceeded our expectations,...
Debut at Spa: Pole & first Win
I was always confident heading into this weekends races at Spa-Francorchamps, but leaving Spa with two pole positions, a 2nd Place, my first win and a fastest lap is just fantastic and exceeded our expectations, especially as it was my first time on this famous track. I'm tempted to say it was love at first sight.
Our first free practice session was very exciting as in the early stages I was quickest, however at mid session I had to pit because my fire extinguisher went off. In the pits we then discovered that the wiring loom was damaged, this caused us to abandon the session early. All the mechanics at Carlin did a fantastic job in changing everything in time and to get the car out for the second session. In this session I then posted the second fastest time.
Highly motivated we went into qualifying and with a late effort we managed to get pole position. I spent the last five minutes in the pits waiting for the time to run down, I believe these were the longest five minutes of my life, but finally we were happy to have got our first pole position this year. In qualifying two we were able to repeat the performance, which confirmed us to be the fastest car on outright pace. I was especially pleased with this lap as it was on the limit everywhere.
Race one started in very difficult conditions, as half the circuit was wet and the other half was dry. I opted to start on slicks. At the start I comfortably pulled out a lead over my opponents which had reached 3.5 sec. at mid race, however this is when the rain started to come down all over the track. Unfortunately I was not only on slicks, but also on a full dry setup. As I found out later Yelmer Buurman was on slicks just like me, but on a wet setup. This allowed him to close in on me and during the final lap he was right behind me. Going in to the Bus Stop chicane I had a small slide and this allowed him to pass me in the second part of the chicane. I was very disappointed to have lost the race so close to the finish line.
My race two start was good once again; however Bruno Senna was able to toe past me up the hill to Les Combes. He had a small gap after the first lap which I then concentrated on closing again. On lap four I had a first try to overtake him, but it was not quite enough yet. One Lap later I was in a better position and we were side by side going into the braking area of Les Combes. I was on the outside and fully determined to make the move. I left my braking extremely late, but I managed to pass him around the outside. As it turned out Bruno had spun just as I had passed him because he also left his braking very late. Just as I thought I had a comfortable lead the Safety car came out and I had to start all over again. My restart was very good and I managed to pull away to what then became my first win in British F3. I was absolutely delighted especially for it to be at such a famous track as Spa.
Regathering this weekend, it was awesome and my main thank you goes to my Carlin team and my engineer Matt Callaghan for giving me such a fantastic car all weekend.
I will now go to Budapest where I will take part in the charity football match together with the Formula1 drivers. From there I will fly straight to Zandvoort, where this year's ultimate masters of F3 will take place. My aim for this weekend will be to finish on the podium which will certainly be difficult, but hopefully possible. And if there is a chance to win it I will do everything to take my chance.