Eastern Creek was a pleasure to drive and the conditions made it very challenging. It is a fast circuit especially the flat out first corner that has a minimum speed of 260 k.p.h. Going into the session we started with a full wet set-up and had to...
Eastern Creek was a pleasure to drive and the conditions made it very challenging. It is a fast circuit especially the flat out first corner that has a minimum speed of 260 k.p.h. Going into the session we started with a full wet set-up and had to adapt as the two sessions progressed. Here is a summary of the "Rookie" Sessions.
First Practice (Part One):
In the first practice the weather conditions were wet and we went out on new rains that had very little grip in the first few laps. The first 5 laps were used to bed the brakes and run and installation period for our new engine. Once we got thru that I set off and completed a few flying laps on the drying circuit. My lap time of 1:33.973 was 11th best as some of the drivers ended the session on dry tires improving their times. I was happy with the first practice considering the challenging conditions. The biggest concern with the car was a large under steer that developed as the tracked dried and I was still on wets, I definitely know we would have improved if we switched to dry tires in time to complete a flying lap.
First Practice (Part Two):
The second session saw the track nearly dry and everyone set out on dry tires. The track increased in grip level and for most of the session I was still in 11th place. The set-up we used for Sydney was different from anything we have ran this year and I believed we suffered when it came to traction coming out of the slow corners and turn in over steer to the mid to high speed corners. It's quite a shame that I was not able to come in and make an additional set-up change because the track kept improving and I wanted to come in with just a few minutes to go. On the last lap I was held up by Portugal and was not able to take advantage of the ever-increasing grip level. In the end I ended up 15th place with a 1:23.028, although the times were very close it was a shame we didn't progress as much as the other teams. Overall the car was not as easy to drive as in Taupo and seemed to be more like Zhuhai but hopefully the team can take information away from the rookie sessions to better the car for the rest of the weekend.
Next race: Durban, South Africa on February 24th