First round in the bag and really glad with the result. Some would have said it was always looking good for me as I was around .7 faster in practice than the others but you never know what can happen in the race with other cars spinning, so I didn’t count on anything and gave it full on preparation just as any World Championship Race.
The weather was very overcast and the track temps were really cold, which helped with overall grip
The weather had slightly less wind than what we were expecting and in the warmup we made some very slight adjustments to the aero package, which kept us in the 1:12’s. As both Woody and I were in the top 50% of times in qualifying, when asked when we wanted to go first and second in Q I selected 2nd.
Qualifying was always going to be tough and in some ways even harder than WCS, with only being allowed 1 set of tyres and not allowed a new car if you bin it in the session. There was a fair amount of pressure on the first lap when the tyres were at the best to not mess up I was about .3 off my best just with that bit of caution going on in the back of my mind.
The 13.291 was good enough to get me into the Fast Nine shot out and where we had the fastest 9 drivers from both qualifying sessions progress in to a final shot out. The same rules applied and I took it a little careful in turn 1 and 2 again but set a time 13.290 to take the pole position.
58 laps around Interlagos was always going to be pretty long and with cautions as real possibility it could go on even longer and really throw in some curve balls with the strategy. We planned for a 20,20,18 2 stopper as a 1 stop would rely on at least 3 cautions to make it on fuel.
I got a good start but knew I was under a little pressure, I think we had gone a very different way to most with the race setup and opt to have the car get better as the run went on but this would cause some pressure in the first few laps as the times were somewhat equalised to the others but felt after the first 4 laps we had the high ground. The caution came out at the end of the first lap and we would have to do it again after a couple of pacing laps.
At this point I had some tell tale signs I had a migraine on its way as I started to see bright spots in my vision along with some liquid lines running through my peripheral vision making it almost impossible to read anything on screen . Fortunately I had my old man on hand to call everything out and it slowly got better and my times lap times picked up as I was once again able to spot the apex & breaking points clearly.
From here the rest of the race was clear sailing, backmarkers were great and gave loads of room. The car felt awesome and I caught myself doing doing a Seb Vettel fastest lap push. Luckly for me Rocky was not on the other end of the radio to moan at me. In the end I had both Woody (unlucky with the accident mate) and my old man egging me on to try and lap the whole field . I started to push a fair bit (1:13.6 ) and while I got close to Jamie in the end he was just out of reach.
Congrats to all the finishers, the Podium, Ryan for a successful opening round. Thanks again to our sponsors and to the broadcast team (i really enjoyed watching that back).
See you all at Homestead