2020 Russian Grand Prix - Saturday
Q2 was hugely challenging, my first attempt was taken away for going over the track limits at the final corner. The team brought me in for refuelling and to fit new tyres but when I was on my second lap, the red flag came out. After that, it was very close to still get that final lap in – I overtook a few cars in the last sector but then lost time behind a Renault. Valtteri had been strong all weekend, so I had no choice but to deliver with those final Q3 laps. The first lap in the final session was really great, and I thought it would be difficult to improve, but I managed to find a tiny bit on the second lap.
It was looking pretty good for me, I felt like I had the pace through Q1 and Q2, and both of those sessions went nice and smoothly. On the first run in Q3 the tyres were a bit too cold, so out of the last corner I had a big snap and was already a few tenths down on the run to Turn 2. I was waiting for the second run and that lap felt better, there weren’t really any mistakes so I’m not sure why I couldn’t get closer to pole. But P3 is actually a pretty good place to start here and I think I’m on the right tyre as well. I’ve started third here before and look what happened, so I’ll try and do the same.
Sometimes, it’s the tracks where we perform well in practice, that prove to be the most difficult in Qualifying and the race. That happened today, with a very challenging Qualifying session. I think we had the racing gods on our side, that we were able to make it into Q3. On Valtteri’s side, we need to investigate what happened, because he had a very strong Friday, but FP3 went against him. The changes he’d made to the car for Qualifying seemed to be right, but then he lost some performance in Q3. The gap doesn’t do him justice, so we need to look into what happened. But we’re looking forward to an exciting race, with both drivers starting on different tyre compounds and a long run to Turn 2.
We had the pace today to get the cars on the front row with both starting on Medium tyres so it’s a bit disappointing to have Lewis starting the race on Soft and Valtteri in third. Valtteri did a decent first lap on the Medium, but the track was improving quickly, and we had to take a second set to make sure we covered further track evolution. We sent Lewis early on another Medium tyre and he was on a good lap going into the penultimate corner when the red flag came out for Sebastian’s crash, which was simply unfortunate timing. The focus then shifted to just making sure we got Lewis through to Q3: We knew the outlap would be a mess given that there was only two minutes and 15 seconds on the clock, but he was just able to cross the line before the flag and despite traffic, managed to get a lap together. Lewis did a couple of really impressive laps, but rather than celebrating another pole position, I think he’ll be thinking that he’d happily swap it for a Medium tyre of the line tomorrow.
Sep 30, 2020 at 02:43