So, having taken a trio of wins at the last three events (Spain, Monaco and Turkey), I came to Silverstone feeling moderately confident, despite not traditionally enjoying this track on F1 games (the fast turns from 2 to 6 in particular have a tendency to outfox me, and I would usually drift wide through at least one of them. The rest of the track is pretty straightforward, but for this race the extra variable of rain stirred things up.
In the practice sessions I didn’t fare too well, usually around 7th or 8th. I found the wet conditions to be tricky and even in dry weather, I wasn’t especially quick. I was able to get a better handle on the Becketts section, and was able to approach it at speed, meaning my sector times in the first sector were surprisingly good. Unfortunately I would lose time in the final sector (quite a lot of time in fact).
When it came to qualifying, this lost time was crucial. I managed to ramp up a good enough set of times to get into Q3, and somehow parked the car on 4th, but pole position was always going to be a forlorn ambition.
At the start of the race, I lost out almost immediately to end up in 5th, but some brave overtaking moves at turn 8 (a tight left-hander) saw me get up as far as 3rd after a few laps. Unfortunately I just didn’t have the pace to sustain a charge up the field, and the intermediate tyres wore out quite quickly, affecting my grip.
I would lose several places at each of my three pit stops, but crucially, was able to keep pace with Button’s Brawn, getting past him repeatedly and staying ahead of him as the race progressed.
Fuel was more of an issue. At each pit stop my fuel, which is normally guaranteed to be enough to make it to each stop, was critical. At the end of the race, I was worried that my car would grind to a halt on the final lap, but fortunately there was just enough left in the tank to get me over the line!
Once we hit traffic I was able to lap the backmarkers fairly easily, but the same couldn’t be said of Button. He lost of a lot of time at one stage (I can only assume backmarkers were the reason) and ended up finishing down in 7th. I came home in 5th, comfortably clear of Hamilton but nearly a whole lap behind eventual winner Webber.
Still, in the end, I was able to close the gap on Button to just one point.
Standings after 8 races:
1st: Button 57 points. 2nd: Me, 56 points. 3rd: Webber, 46 points.
Next up is the German Grand Prix!