So, the second race of season 2 brings us back to Sepang, Malaysia – where I didn’t fare too well last time.
My first run through here saw the race run in wet conditions and I struggled, ultimately putting the brake assist on in order to handle the circuit and conditions. This time around, I was determined to complete the race properly, even if it meant a bad race.
Practice in wet conditions saw me a second or so off the pace (quite a gap!) and really struggling for speed. Tweaks to the setup didn’t yield an especially good response so I had to be brave and push the aerodynamics for even better speed, at the expense of grip, in a wet qualifying. The first two sessions saw me scrape through to Q3, whereupon I managed to squeeze into pole! (I’m not sure how – the changes to the car must have been better than I expected).
The track is a pretty fast one but you cannot make too many concessions to speed here, as there are quite a few hard, tight corners that require good downforce. Turn 4 was an area in the wet where initially, I would slide wide, and turn 7, whilst reasonably quick, is not a corner you can hit flat out, or else you will bounce onto the grass.
Turn 9 is a monster of a left-hander and I didn’t like this corner the first time around. This time, I was approaching it with the benefit of experience, and thus it (and the deceptively quick turn 11) were not so bad.
The race itself was a lot better than last season (where I could only manage 5th). I slipped down to third to start with, but was back in the lead by the end of lap 1 and, aside from going back down to second after the first pit stops, remained in the lead for the entire race. Dry conditions undoubtedly helped me here – the track is a lot easier!
Once again I ran a three-stop race, and once again only one stint on the hard tyres. I think this is benefiting me considerably – Two wins out of two for the season gives me a four-point lead over Button already, whereas at this point before I was behind by at least six or seven points. Definitely a good turn around!