It felt amazing just to be back at a racetrack and actually racing, let alone in Malaysia in GP2 supporting the F1 GP! I arrived on the Tuesday afternoon to adapt to the time zone and the immense heat, which you hear so much about but can’t really appreciate untill you get there. The team arrived later that evening and Emilliano (the team trainer) and I hit the gym to get used to the humidity with a high heart rate.
Wednesday was a preparation day really, after a hours run around the golf course next door in the morning, a short swim and a shower, Emilliano and I went into Kuala Lumpur to get some drinks and fruit etc for the team and myself through out the weekend, as you need to drink so much just to stay hydrated, especially when driving. When we arrived at the circuit later that day we took our first walk around the circuit and wow what a track it’s got a bit of everything.
After all the prep was finished I couldn’t wait to get on the circuit Friday morning, even though we only planned to do 4 timed laps to save the tyres for the race, and 3 laps under yellow I still managed an ok lap time and was confident in most places of the circuit.
In qualifying we started on the same tyres, I did a lap to get the temperatures up in the brakes etc ready for the new soft tyres, now here came the only mistake that determined our weekend. The jump from practice to Qualifying in terms of track evolution was rather a lot and we would have been better going on a set of new hard tyres to get the braking points and acceleration rates closer to the limit, but what we did was jump straight onto the new soft and didn’t get the most out of it as you get 1 lap out of them at best.
So P21 was our place but we stuck to our plan and kept the new tyres for the race, knowing that the difference between a new set and old set especially with the rate the pirellis wear out, but as we know I didn’t make it past corner 4 after becoming a victim of Simon Trummer. Having seen the pace my teammate had in Race 1 and the advantage of my new tyres I believe that P8 would have been achievable.
Race two was really about getting some laps under my belt and learning as much as possible for the rest of the season, and learn I did! A little too much understeer proved too much for the tyres, making it hard to stay close and overtake.
All in all, it was a huge learning experience and I’m glad that my bad weekend came early rather than at the end. Now I just can’t wait to put all this into action at Bahrain, another new circuit to learn but I learn fast! Bring It on!