F1 2009 Season Four Round 3: China

The first of two Formula 1 related posts deals with my fictional adventure, as round three of season four comes and goes. Shanghai is the venue for the Chinese race, and there are a couple of pressure points to this track. Turns 1 and 2 (really, it’s just one big corner) can easily be taken too fast, which naturally compromises the lap. In practice, I would run too deep around 2, and therefore mess up my path around 3. Practice makes perfect and eventually I nailed the turn, but another corner would prove far trickier across every session, including the race.

The key to a good race is using trackside objects to judge breaking zones. At the very tight hairpin that is turn 14, coming at the end of a long and very fast straight, it was all too easy to get things wrong and swing wide. Even when keeping the car on the track I would go deeper than I’d planned more often than not. Still, despite this, I would manage to qualify on pole and I would make a clean getaway at the start. Lapping comfortably quicker than the rest, I pitted on lap 13 and though I slipped behind Button and Webber, I knew they’d both have to pit, therefore handing the lead back to me. Nonetheless, I wanted to consolidate my advantage, so I got by Webber and was around four seconds behind Button, when disaster struck on lap 15. My rear-left tyre developed a puncture, forcing me back into the pits. I fell back to 11th, though cars stopping in front of me saw me climb back up the order.

In fact, by the time the first stops were over, I was only six or so seconds behind Button and before long I’d caught him, diving up the inside of turn 11 to regain the lead. However, I would have to stop again for my scheduled stop on lap 26, and would lose the lead again. A short chase began, and before long I was squeezing by Button into turn 1. By the time I’d made my final stop, I was able to get in and out without losing the lead, and would not only close out the win, but move to the top of the standings, in what is so far a pretty crowded group.

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