SHAABAN TAKES THE HEAT OFF HIMSELF More fun, less pressure is the new route for Arab driver while Hamilton loosens up at Brands Hatch Dubai, UAE: Pressure is never far away for a racing driver, and Basil Shaaban shares some common ground with...
SHAABAN TAKES THE HEAT OFF HIMSELF
More fun, less pressure is the new route for Arab driver while Hamilton loosens up at Brands Hatch
Dubai, UAE: Pressure is never far away for a racing driver, and Basil Shaaban shares some common ground with Lewis Hamilton this weekend as both aim to take the heat off themselves at Brands Hatch.
While Hamilton executes some demonstration laps at the wheel of his McLaren Mercedes MP4-23, Shaaban has the more serious matter of negotiating the latest two rounds of the F3 Euro Series, a key stepping stone towards Formula One.
As he prepared to take his Shell Dallara Mercedes back into action at the famous English circuit, Shaaban admitted that, like F1 world championship star Hamilton, he is working hard to take the pressure off himself.
"I've been evolving my mental strategies this season, and it's working well," said the Lebanese driver, who grew up in Abu Dhabi. "I'm having more fun now than ever before. Basically, I'm not taking things too seriously anymore and just relishing the challenges.
"I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, sometimes too much, and it was affecting my performance. Now I'm trying to get more enjoyment out of the opportunity I have in the F3 Euro Series."
Shaaban, who is the only Arab driver contesting the world's toughest F3 series, added: "I've worked hard to get here. This is the most competitive F3 championship in the world, and it's a big step towards my ultimate goal of earning a drive in Formula One. I owe it to myself, my family, and my sponsors, to get the best out of myself." Shaaban 2
This week Hamilton, coming under pressure from Ferrari's Felipe Massa in his pursuit of the Formula One title, has also said mental toughness is helping him to relax and cope with the stress as the World Championship moves towards its climax.
"The fact he feels this way will make him perform better," said Shaaban. "I've realised that, to perform at my best, I need to loosen up when I get behind the wheel and have some fun, and that's one of my main objectives this weekend."
Shaaban and his HBR Motorsport team-mate, Spain's Daniel Campos-Hull, both benefited from two days of testing at Lausitzring in Germany on Monday and Tuesday in readiness for Brands Hatch.
"It went very well," said Shaaban. "We were very quick. We made a key development to the front suspension and there was definitely an improvement. The car was more stable on entry to the corners so I'm happy about that and looking forward to the weekend."
Italian Edoardo Mortara goes into the first of two races on Saturday holding a slender one-point lead in the F3 Euro Series from Germany's Nico Hulkenberg, with flying Finn Mika Maki just three more points adrift.