QUALIFICATIONS : VERY HOT ! I arrived in France after the very long break, feeling as if I hadn't driven for ages. And, of course, on Bastille Day, the weather was unbelievably hot and sunny. I was one of the first drivers to go out, and got...
QUALIFICATIONS : VERY HOT !
I arrived in France after the very long break, feeling as if I hadn't driven for ages. And, of course, on Bastille Day, the weather was unbelievably hot and sunny.
I was one of the first drivers to go out, and got caught out in one corner almost immediately and spun, but I was able to get going again without any further problems.
The four fastest drivers after that opening session were Adam Carroll (GBR) - Super Nova International -- 1.24.456, Hiroki Yoshimoto (JPN) - BCN Competicion - 1.24.624, Nelson Piquet Jr (BRA) - Piquet Sports -- 1.24.636 and Olivier Pla (FRA) -- DPR Direxiv -- 1.24.792. I finished eighth in 1.25.265, ahead of my team-mate Lewis Hamilton (GB) with 1.25.275. The real problem was the track temperature. After two laps the rear tyres were really loosing their grip and were finished. The weather made it very tough on the tyres, so it was a much more technical day than usual trying to set the car up to conserve the rubber.
We knew straight away that qualifying would be a difficult affair in similarly hot, if not hotter, conditions this afternoon. The first and second sectors of my best lap were okay, but Gianmaria Bruni (ITA) -- Trident Racing - got in my way in the third so the result is not fantastic today. What a shame, when I think that I was on pole here last year.
Tomorrow for the race I will be starting seventh after recording a best time of 1.24.334. Jose Maria Lopez (Arg) Super Nova International finished up fastest in 1.23.911. Behind him there are 14 of us in the 1.24 bracket... What a close performance! I must have a very aggressive race tomorrow. It will be tricky. I just hope that not too many competitors make the sort of mistakes they did today, or that if they do I manage to avoid them and capitalise on the situation. I really need to score some decent points.
RACE 1 : CONVINCING PODIUM IN DIFFICULT FIRST RACE
To finish second on the podium at my home Grand Prix is a fantastic feeling. Last year I had grabbed the pole but was unlucky in the race. This year I started from seventh and finished second and scored eight points, which is great for my championship.
The start of the 41-lap race one of the weekend was quite something. It was so hot with air temperature at 35 degrees Celsius and the track at 50 degrees.
I started from seventh, but quickly climbed up to fourth. All in all I had an event free race and all went well. I was determined to be aggressive and this is the line I maintained all the way during the race. I was on a good strategy and the race went well. I had a late refuelling strategy and pushed hard to eventually climb up to second. At the end I cooled the pace off and made sure we got second safely at that stage there wasn't any point taking any risks especially as my tyres were getting quite worn.
I'm looking forward to race two tomorrow!
RACE 2 : FANTASTIC RACE !
Here I am, on the podium again for the second consecutive time of the week-end. I had to start from seventh place because top eight positions are reversed and I finished a fantastic second in race one on Saturday.
The start could have gone better. I was forced to go wide into the gravel on the first lap because Piquet blocked me and that dropped me way down to seventeenth, and not much time to fight back as the second race is only 28 laps. I was determined to fight back and that I did, passing my team-mate at the chicane and pushing hard.
By the end of lap three I was already back up to tenth and five laps later I was eighth.
I came up behind Amermueller, Jani, Piccione and di Grassi and in a sequence of moves I stormed past them. I then found myself behind Glock and the challenge was more difficult because there was a 9.7s gap to him. But in the end I got him as well and made it onto the podium.
I think I deserve some kind of award for the most of overtaking moves in one race! My car was strong and I was doing well and despite pushing so hard I had to still try to look after my tyres in these very hot conditions. I also had to try to keep my team-mate behind me.
Without a doubt the most exciting moment was when I could see the podium finish again and it was hard work to get past Glock because at that point my brakes and tyres were on the edge. I made it to third but there wasn't time to go any faster. To be on the podium in both my home races is incredible and I'm so happy for all my fans, friends, sponsors team and family that we can celebrate here at Magny Cours.
What a race!
Friendly, and see you soon !