FIA Formula 2 at Spa 22nd-24th June
Right so I’ve got a quandary. The quandary is whether my weekend at Spa in Formula 2 ended up being lucky or unlucky.
Let me give you the full story, and then you can decide as to whether I was lucky or unlucky.
The weekend started out OK and, despite having never been at the 7km Spa circuit, I was feeling confident after Friday free practice. I had done my qualifying simulation in the first of the two sessions on Friday, and then I did a race run in the second session.
And this is where the bad luck started. I went out in Saturday qualifying knowing that a high grid slot was to be crucial – especially seeing as it would be difficult to overtake in a dry race. I did my normal procedure on new tyres and got everything up to temperature. I did two warm up laps and then made ready for my 2 flying laps.
On my first flying lap, I encountered a slowing car into the quickest part of the circuit, (more commonly known as ‘traffic’ in the racing driver’s language) so I abandoned the lap. I kept my cool and went again for the next lap. With grip already falling away from the tyres, it was now or never.
I made a good start to the lap and had a clear track ahead. I was on a great one until half way through when I encountered yet another slowing car, not once but twice! My lap – and therefore qualifying session – was ruined. I was going to start 11th. Frustrating and bad luck.
For the race, I had moved up from 11th to 7th by the end of the first lap. I was catching the 6th place man and closed right up, until… my wave of bad luck continued.
Due to my eyesight being so poor, I have to wear contact lenses for my racing. I’ve never had a problem whilst racing with my contacts but for some reason, my left contact decided to blur up half way through the race and then dislodge itself. So I drove the second half of the race with effectively one eye. What luck? Bad luck! I crossed the line holding on to 7th just about!
So far, so unlucky.
Sunday’s activities were surely going to improve?! I went out for qualifying in the morning and worked out with my engineer that I needed to go straight away. I wasn’t going to hang about waiting for traffic – I was going to be the first one out the pits on new tyres and I was going to set my lap time straight away. As it turned out, this actually worked. The thing that didn’t work was the track conditions changing.
It turned out that going out straight away was the wrong decision because if I had waited, the track conditions would have been quicker towards the end of the session. Oh whoa! P12 was where I ended up.
It started raining before the race and I was loving life. I love the wet and I feel very comfortable in the car in the those conditions. However, the rain didn’t actually stop and kept going all afternoon. It was wet and getting dangerously wetter. We started the race but it was way too wet and too much spray to be considered safe.
Nonetheless, I had made up two places in the first lap and was feeling confident, despite being able to see about as much as someone who’s lost their glasses in the dark.
So far I’ve been unlucky – but this is where my luck arguably changed. On lap 3 the safety car boards were thrown out and the yellow flags to accompany it. As I was following the pack up the famous Eau Rouge corner, I was unsighted and saw just a lot of spray. At the last minute I saw about 5 cars and immediately was in the wheel track of another car. I had to react and did so. I’m not going to say anymore… it’s up to you to decide whether you think I was lucky on this. Sure I reacted, but I think I got lucky as well.
As I started to write this blog entry, the viewing total on YouTube was up to 90,000 views. As I finish this blog entry, it is now on 130,000 views. The viewing is increasing and it has spread to over 60 countries. This is the definition of viral right?
So there you have it. My F2 weekend was plagued with bad luck and despite showing promising and strong pace all the way through – I have yet to have everything fall into place. But here’s hoping that my luck has turned around…