Posted 12 March 2018 - 09:24 AM
Qualifying went very well for me. I set a personal best of 2:49.25, good for 4th on the grid. (Just for a reality check, Robert, on pole, driving the same car, was almost 3 seconds faster. He's just on another planet right now.) But I approached the start feeling good, knowing that I had made progress on this circuit over the last week and could drive consistently in race trim.
Then going into Curva 1 and down the hill into Curva 2, I got very confused. I heard a Honda to my left. A Honda? Where the hell did that come from? There wasn't a Honda within two rows of me. Before I entered the cockpit, I noted that there was a Ferrari, two Lotuses and a Brabham behind me. I was prepared to look and listen for them. The sound of a Honda engine momentarily broke my brain. I simply could not compute how a Honda could be there. Was I imagining it? It never appeared in my mirrors. Ultimately I decided that it must be there and that I needed to hold the outside line through Curva 2. It's a good thing I did, because the Honda was, indeed, there. The replay explained everything, of course. Still it's hard for me to believe. I've never seen such a perfect start in the Honda before. That was amazing, Yannick.
That was pretty much the only excitement I had on the day, however. Once we got into single file order, nothing of interest happened to me. I got through the opening lap without incident in the same 4th place where I started, still very much in touch with the trio ahead. Over the next several laps, things spread out in both directions and, well, that's how it ended. Until the very end, I stayed close enough to Michiel such that I would be in position to capitalize on any mistake he made. But he didn't make any. Behind me there was a little jumbling of the order, but no matter who was in that spot, the gap kept increasing until the checkered flag.
Throughout the race, I was fully aware of driving very consistently. In fact, I would say that in all my years of racing, this is the most precision I've ever achieved through a whole race. My line through the corners was spot on everywhere. I hit all my markers, apexes, and exits like clockwork. So it was a thoroughly satisfying performance, just not particularly exciting from a racing standpoint. It seemed more like an extended practice session than a race. But there's nothing wrong with that. I'm not going to complain about a satisfying day at the track!
Congratulations to the podium and all finishers.
Thanks, Pablo, for another outstanding track. I'm looking forward to Tandil : another of Pablo's creations!