Disappointment and satisfaction for ASM in Macao. There was both joy ands sorrow for the ASM team in Macau this weekend when Loïc Duval lost an almost certain victory after he was hit with a drive through penalty for a jump start. With a strong lead over his rivals, almost five seconds, he was forced to drop down the field after serving his penalty and eventually finishing in sixth place overall.
However, there was satisfaction all the way around in regard to their drivers and team performances, in particular by Sebastian Vettel, who secured a third place finish on his first ever attempt around the urban circuit, which has a solid reputation when it comes to the single-seater category.
Duval's weekend was perfect until the jump start on Sunday, the Frenchman well integrated in the team and was hailed as one of the hot favourites for victory in the 52nd Macao GP. He had secured pole position for race and dominated the first day taking victory in the first round.
Meanwhile, qualifying on the outside of the sixth row after being hampered by traffic and multiple yellow and red flags in qualifying, Sebastian Vettel improved to start from eighth the following day after a great first leg charge. >From here he soon made his way to fourth on the first lap, and went on to confirm his enormous potential by finishing on the podium on Sunday.
It is a fantastic result! Qualifying wasn't ideal as I never profited from a clear lap, and my 12th place on the grid did not reflect our potential. It was frustrating because I think that I could have been as high as 5th position. But the most important thing was to work well, remain focused and not give up. The first round went well, and my start in the second was excellent. I was 4th at the end of the first lap! But then Loïc' penalty helped me move up to third. I could then have gone any quicker but Kubica and Di Grassi raced each other hard and I did not want to be too close to them in the event of an accident, so that I could have time to react. I hoped they made a mistake, but they didn't although it was a close call sometimes, and I secured a place on the podium in the end, and that was important for the team and myself. A huge thank you to the ASM team! We worked very well together, I get along well with all the members of the team, who really helped me, and it was a very pleasant atmosphere: studious and friendly. I have nothing left to do, except improve my French!
The weekend was almost perfect, until the last round. I quickly adapted to the car and team and we worked very well together. We were always at the top end of the timesheets, either in free practice or qualifying, and the pole position was a great satisfaction for everyone, especially with a 0.8 second lead on my nearest rival. Race 1 proceeded as hoped: after a good start, I could extend the gap in the first laps, and I could then manage my lead without taking risks. The only objective then was to secure the 2nd round... unfortunately, at the start of the race, the hand brake slipped between my two fingers; so therefore it was off and I slipped 30cm. A drive through penalty when one gets a large advantage by leaving 1 second before the others is normal, but in my case I didn't get any benefit from it and the sanction hurt, even if was in agreement with the regulations. But for me, it was still a positive weekend as I leave there a lot more grown up: it was a huge responsibility to try and be as competitive as Hamilton, but I proved I was, thanks to the team. They missed the icing on the cake, and it is frustrating because we had the means to take the grand slam. I thank ASM for giving me this chance, thanks to them I am now stronger in terms of my level of competitiveness.