Race Diary 2016 Silverstone
Well, what a weekend! With changeable weather forecast, the first free practice session was wet, but to be honest, wet weather does not really bother me too much. However, when checking the car over after the session was finished, No 1 Mechanic Tim Sleigh was suspicious that there was fuel or oil in the cooling system. Draining the system confirmed this, so Race Engineer Federico Turrata made the decision to fit a new engine. To give ourselves enough time for this we had to miss the second free practice session, but the car had to be ready for Qualifying, which was scheduled for 3:45 in the afternoon.
I’ve got to hand it to the team, fitting a new engine is a massive job, but they had it fitted and up and running in record time. So no practice session shake-down for the new engine, but straight into the Qualifying session, and everything felt good. Twelfth position on the 31-car grid was the result.
The opening race was a frantic one but I managed to fight my way well into the top ten. The car felt brilliant and I’d enjoyed a great fight with Jake Hill and then caught and passed Matt Neal. I thought I’d made the move stick but then I felt this whack from behind and I was suddenly sideways! Yes, I’d been hit by Matt Neal and this put the Mercedes into a wild slide that I managed to hold onto. It popped me back a couple of places and at the chequered flag I was in 11th place. That means I would not have to carry success weight into race two but I am sure I could have been seventh or better. As it turned out, the two winning MGs were excluded for rear wing alignment infringements, so my final race position was ninth.
Running on the soft tyres for Race 2, I was aiming to put myself in the draw for the reverse grid for Race 3. I was running eighth at one stage but lost out to a bold pass from Gordon Shedden’s Honda Civic that resulted in me having to tail the double champion to the flag. And guess who took pole on the balloted draw? Shedden! Once again, I missed out on the opportunity to start from pole position and started the third race from ninth on the grid.
Race 3 was the usual frantic affair, with cars carrying weight trying to salvage decent results. It was a busy race — there were cars all around, including Adam Morgan in his Mercedes. We had a fight and I got ahead of him but with so many cars all running together, you just couldn’t afford to make a mistake. I had to push hard all the way and keep concentration, especially when defending my position from more experienced drivers behind me.
It was a hard race, but we have come away with three points finishes, three top 10 results and not too much damage, which is great news! I really wish I could have some luck on the reverse grid draw though, that just never seems to go my way! The car felt good and we had a good set-up all weekend which is good because we had lost our way in the middle of the season so there are lots of positives to take from the weekend.
Thanks for reading, now head over to the Silverstone Gallery