Esmee Hawkey hailed an ‘amazing’ and ‘surreal’ weekend in Hockenheim as the W Series kicked off for the first-ever time. British driver Hawkey has been karting since she was nine but she said her twelfth placed finish at the weekend was great, despite the rollercoaster she experienced.
“It was absolutely amazing and a bit surreal to sit on the grid for the first W Series race and my first Formula 3 event.” said Hawkey.
“On the sim I loved Hockenheim, but I loved it even more when I got there. The weekend as a whole was great, though there were some ups and downs.”
Free Practice 2 and Qualifying were both wet sessions and, having never driven in wet conditions before, Hawkey struggled with the adjustment.
She added: “In Free Practice 1 I didn’t manage to get out and as the weather was changeable, I missed learning the track in the dry. “When I got out for Free Practice 2 the track was wet which was my first time in the car in those conditions, so I had lots to learn.
“The car moves around a lot, but it was fun and a good experience. Qualifying was also wet but I gained more places from where I was in Free Practice 2.”
Despite the dreadful conditions, Hawkey qualified ninth but her learning curve continued into the race where she learned another tough lesson.
She was in eighth before a spin on the penultimate lap meant she had to settle with her twelfth place.
“The race was my first time on the track in dry conditions, so I had to learn the lines while the other 17 girls had already driven it in that state.
“I had a good start and made some good overtakes and was running in seventh for most of the race before Miki caught me, so I was comfortable in eighth and had a five-second gap behind me.
“I should have finished there but on the penultimate lap I was pushing a bit too hard and went too hot into a corner and spun.
“The other drivers could make those mistakes in FP1, but I didn’t know where the limits were as I was trying to catch Miki and maybe have a chance to pass on the final lap.
“I was very frustrated with myself because you need points, but overall, I was happy with my performance and it looks positive for the rest of the year.”
The next race in the six-race season is Zolder, Belgium and Hawkey is hoping she’ll navigate the tricky track a little better than Hockenheim.
“I haven’t done any preparation for Zolder yet, but on the Sunday W Series had five simulators for us to use so I had a 40-minute slot to learn the circuit a bit.” added Hawkey.
“It is difficult because sims aren’t that realistic, but you get a feel for where the track goes, and it looks like tricky with a mix of fast and slow corners. It will be interesting, but I am excited to get there and continue to show what I can do.”