GP2 Sepang Review
I had a really good race in the GP2 Series supporting the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang to finish fourth, which is a welcome upturn in form for us bearing in mind the difficult summer the DAMS team have had.
It was even more of a relief bearing in mind the difficult start we had to the weekend. We were 10th in free practice on Thursday, and the times were not competitive, so we had quite a lot of work to do overnight to make the car quicker in time for qualifying on Friday.
We managed to change the car balance quite a lot, and I was quite happy to qualify sixth. OK, the Prema cars of Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi had their usual advantage, but it was pretty close behind. I got the maximum out of myself and the car, and I was just under two tenths off the fastest non-Prema car, so it’s not at all bad. Considering where we were the day before that was a big upgrade in form.
I had quite a reasonable first lap to the feature race on Saturday and got up to fifth, among a lot of toing and froing as everyone battled for position. We went for the tactic to start on the option tyres – which in this case was the medium Pirelli – and switch to the prime (the hard), which is increasingly becoming the faster way to do things in GP2 bearing in mind the lack of tyre degradation we’ve been having this year.
The stop went well and I was fifth by the time everyone had been in. From that point on I got into a really nice scrap with my old Formula Renault UK team-mate Oliver Rowland. Now, I’d say we’ve got to know each other’s characteristics pretty well over the years, and we had four or five laps with places constantly changing before I got the position. We touched a couple of times but it was all very clean, and for the watching fans hopefully it provided some entertainment!
It was a good fight, and good fun. And from where we are at the moment in terms of pace it was nice to finish fourth.
And that, really, was it for the weekend. I just sunk backwards in the shorter sprint race on Sunday. Starting from fifth I was down to 11th at the end of the first lap and I finished 12th. To be honest, something wasn’t quite right with our tyres. It was very strange – we didn’t change anything on the car and I’m the same driver as I was the day before, but I just didn’t have any grip.
It’s a bit of an anomaly, and as a team we’ve got to do a lot of homework. It was similar to what happened to Gasly in the first race – just an unexplainable lack of pace on one set of tyres.
That’s it for several weeks before the final GP2 round in Abu Dhabi, but in the meantime I’m looking forward to my debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship at Fuji on 16th October, where I’ll be racing a Manor ORECA in LMP2 with Shinji Nakano – who was an F1 points scorer back in the day – and Tor Graves. Japan is a country I’ve always had a lot of fascination for – I’ve only raced there once, in the Asia-Pacific Karting Championship at Suzuka, and I was a lot younger back then!
It’s a new challenge for me and something I’m very excited about, and it’s something I’ll tell you more about in the coming days.
I'm also working with a new partner, Fracino, the UK's award-winning manufacturer of world class cappuccino and espresso coffee machines, and I'm looking forward to taking delivery of my coffee machine when I return to the UK this week.
2017-04 Nurburgring 24 Hours Quallification
2017-04 WEC Silverstone Review
2017-04 WEC Silverstone Preview
2017-03 Sebring Review
2017-03 Season Preview
2016-11 GP2 Yas Marina Review
2016-11 GP2 Yas Marina Preview
2016-10 GP2 Sepang Review
2016-09 GP2 Sepang Preview
2016-09 GP2 Monza Review
2016-09 GP2 Monza Preview
2016-08 GP2 Spa Review
2016-08 GP2 Spa Preview
2016-07 GP2 Hockenheim Review
2016-07 GP2 Hockenheim Preview
2016-07 GP2 Hungaroring Review
2016-07 GP2 Hungaroring Preview
2016-07 Silverstone F1 Test
2016-07 Silverstone Review
2016-07 Silverstone Preview
2016-07 Red Bull Ring Review
2016-06 GP2 Baku Review
2016-06 GP2 Baku Preview
2016-05 Monte Carlo Review
2016-05 Monte Carlo Preview
2016-05 F1 Testing
2016-05 Barcelona GP2 Review
2016-05 Barcelona Preview
2016-05 Williams Testing
2016-03 Jerez Testing Report
2016-03 Pre-season Report
2016-02 Williams Announcement
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