So the season entered its European leg with the Spanish Grand Prix at Catalunya. This track, like Bahrain, is crafted for speed, and I found it to be a great track to drive!

I was able to master the track quite quickly and began to post some pretty quick lap times, even on the hard tyre. There were no especially troubling corners (the tight turn 10 and the surprisingly quick turn 13, leading very quickly into a tight chicane, were a little tricky but also quite satisfying), and I managed to get my third pole of the season.

At the start of the race I lost out to Button, but was able to trail him quite closely, and I think it was around lap 3 (maybe 4) that I got by him.

Once in the lead I was able to push hard. I knew from practice how long both types of tyre could last and even on the hard tyre, I found myself opening up a good lead – so much so that I was able to pit and remain in the lead. On my two stints on soft tyres I was able to build up a very comfortable advantage, and even on my final stint on hard tyres, I was in control.

Yup, for the first time (with assists off), I managed to win a race!


Was this the start of something wonderful?

So round four of my F1 2009 Wii Edition career was at the Bahrain International Circuit, and I wasn’t at all confident following practice and qualifying. China had been a race of good qualifying followed by going backwards. Bahrain was shaping up to be bad qualifying and a bad race.


This is very a track made for speed. I had thought this would suit me but I was very, very wrong.

Turns 8 and 10 were the trickiest for me here – I would either run wide at those turns or be too cautious going into them, with the end result being plenty of lost time. I could only qualify in 16th (my worst qualifying of the season so far), and I suspected I would wind up with no points.

Instead, I was able to surge by several cars on the first corner, taking advantage of the AI’s tendency to be hard on braking (especially when close to other cars), and I got past some more across the opening lap. A generally controlled race saw me ultimately finish a very satisfying 3rd, which might have even been 2nd, but for a rear-left puncture, that scuppered that possibility.

Still, 6 points gained after a disastrous qualifying session was a result!

After mixed feelings following the Malaysian Grand Prix (disappointed  to need brake assist, pleased to come from 13th to 5th), I took on the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai.


In practice I was generally able to go pretty fast and put in some very competitive lap times. I dare say I enjoyed this track, which featured some meaty corners and good straights to really put the hammer down. Turns 9 and 10 were a good test (9 being fairly slow but leading into a deceptively fast turn 10), and turn 16 is one you think you can attack quickly but you do need a healthy application of the brakes!

Qualifying went extremely well. I secured my 2nd pole of the season (a tad to my own surprise), but the race was not as great. I didn’t have a great start, and was somewhat clumsy on more than one occasion, running wide here and there. I also taxed my tyres too hard (especially my soft tyres) which hindered me considerably.

5th was the best I could achieve, which was a bit disappointing considering my qualifying performance. Still, three points-scoring finishes in three races was quite good!

So, onwards to the second part of my F1 2009 Wii edition career! Round two was at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia:

SepangThis was my first experience of a wet race – and I didn’t enjoy it! My practice sessions didn’t fare too well, but with a clear track ahead of me I was able to cope reasonably well.

The problems arose when other cars were on track.

My chief issue was with the spray. Being unable to see the cars ahead, and not being able to judge exactly where they were, meant going off track quite horribly or collisions. Combine this with problems at turns four, nine and 14, and things were set for a disaster!

I can’t recall exactly where I qualified, but it was no higher than 13th, a big difference from Melbourne (where I’d managed pole). With the race being a wet one, I struggled through the first few laps, and after a while I had no choice but to turn braking assists on.

You might think this was better for me overall, and in some respects it was (after all, I stayed on track!), but the assisted braking on this game is pretty conservative, leading to you braking earlier than you might otherwise be prepared to do, and it certainly makes it hard to out-brake other cars. I was able to fight my way to an eventual finish of 5th, and four valuable points, but I wasn’t pleased with myself. Not only did I not manage the race especially well, but I wasn’t able to complete the race with the assists turned off. I aimed for better things at the next race, in China.

BMWSAUBERSEPANG(art imitates life – the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix was indeed a wet one!)

So, after a year of exciting F1 action this season, we have come to a point where F1 is absent from our screens until next March! Argh!

In a bid to not go completely mad without my F1, I started a game on F1 2009 (Wii edition). Why 2009? Well, simply put, it’s the only F1 game I am any good at!

Though I usually have brake and steering assists very much on, this time around, I decided I would do things differently. This time, I would make a concerted effort to do this properly. This time, I am in charge of braking and have nothing to help me steer. I do have traction control and automatic gears turned on, because I am, frankly, not that brave.

I somehow managed to get through testing with BMW Sauber in a fast enough time to get a seat for them, and thus, my story begins:

BMWSAUBER(my car for the 2009 season)

Round 1 – Australia

I approached the first race at Melbourne, Australia, with a certain sense of trepidation. There are one or two corners (turn three in particular) that have often out-foxed me, even with the assists on, so I wasn’t sure how things would go. Practise sessions only served to highlight for me my problems with those corners, but I knew I had to plug away if I was to have any chance of a decent points finish.

When I got the lap right, I was quick, mixing it up with the Brawns and Red Bulls. Unfortunately, I did not usually get a clean lap in, and it took every last bit of focus I had to get through to the final round of qualifying (in fact, I surprised myself by managing that).

I astonished myself by getting pole.

Melbourne(turns 3, 9 and at times 13 and 15 were tricky corners for me)

Come the race, I lost places at the start, and found myself losing ground quite rapidly to Button, and I had to push hard to remain even remotely close to him. Unfortunately a couple of runs onto the grass cost me, and though I was able to fight my way into second by the end of the final pit stops, I wound up some 35 seconds behind winner Button. Still, given this was my first true attempt to play the game properly, I was quite pleased with second!

From here, it was on to Malaysia! See you soon for Part 2!