After this latest round of my little F1 career, I’m starting to sympathise a little more with Lewis Hamilton, given the mechanical problems he’s had in 2016. A race which was looking to be a routine victory… well, I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
The Nurbergring is the 2009 German Grand Prix venue, and this track, which holds a lot of history, is one that is quite quick and quite enjoyable. Turn 1 is a sharp, tight right hairpin that I would frequently run wide around, but thankfully, without too much cost to my lap times. Turns 5 and 6 feel quite satisfying, as is the superfast Schumacher S (turns 8 and 9). The Ss in fact provide a challenge, for if you clip the kerb on turn 9 as you come up the hill, you can easily bounce yourself clean off the track.
The chicane that is turns 13 and 14 is probably the scariest section of track, coming at the end of a very fast run, and it’s all too easy to overshoot the corner. Once again there are high kerbs, so once again, you have to judge the turn right, or you’ll bounce.
In practice I was marginally quicker than everyone else, but in both Q1 and Q2 I wasn’t the quickest – fast enough to get into Q3, but I wondered if I would be in for a close race. Instead, Q3 saw me easily take pole by nearly a second from the next man down the order, Jensen Button. He would get the jump on me at the start of the race, and we would bump wheels throughout the first lap as we fought for supremacy, which ended with me trying to get around him on the outside of turn 13, and subsequently nudging him off the track, an act that I drew a drive-through penalty for. In my view, this was a bit harsh, as he’d been squeezing me wide earlier in the lap, but there’s nothing I could do about it, so I set about putting in one extra lap before having to take the penalty, which resulted in me actually holding onto the lead, albeit receiving a caution when I rejoined with the Red Bulls right beside me into turn 1. They left me no room, so a collision was inevitable, but I got away with it.
After that, I controlled the race. I was cruising, and had not long taken my second stop when I started to lap backmarkers. This is where my race would come to an early end.
Someone – I’m not sure who but it might have been one of the Force Indias – didn’t give me enough room through the Ss to get by without running offline – I clipped the kerb and my car bounced hard. Suddenly, my engine wasn’t working properly. I pulled into the pits to see if they could solve the issue, but to no avail. I couldn’t retire (the game doesn’t let you), so I got myself disqualified to bring the race to an end. The result of this is that I am now 17 points behind Mark Webber, having so far raced 9, won 5, DNF 4. The title at this stage, is looking unlikely.