This has been my worst weekend of the season. And I say the worst because when you endure failure through a debatable decision that robs you of any possibility of scoring points, you’re left feeling impotent, and it’s a very unpleasant sensation.
Otherwise, things were not very different from other races. I arrived in Amsterdam on Thursday, and from there headed to the circuit. I made the usual walk of the track with my engineer to study the layout. In truth, I noted a big difference compared to a month ago and the anxieties I had ahead of the Zandvoort F3 Masters. My feelings on these walks will probably revert to more familiar sensations for the remainder of the year, as almost every other track on the calendar is new to me. Here, I could take advantage of my circuit knowledge to further appreciate which adjustments needed to be made to improve the car. That’s always the case when you return to a track.
Indeed, so much so that already during free practice it was clear that we were on the pace. I had obtained the fastest time after the two opening sessions, and although at first the stewards stripped me of my best lap on the grounds that it had been set under yellow flags, it was later reinstated when that was proved not to have been the case.
In qualifying I did not have the opportunity to fight for pole, since shortly after mounting my second set of new tyres there was a red flag, forcing me to lift off and return to the pits. Upon resuming action, I discovered that the tyres were already passed their best. The interruption had left me unable to take advantage of using the tyres when they offered their peak grip. Unfortunately, several of my rivals had better luck, as they were still to fit fresh rubber. When the green was signaled again they improved their positions and I slipped back to sixth.
But sixth place was not at all bad and left the door open for me to, if not win, at least rise to the podium again… but that’s not what happened. It was some blow to find myself from fighting at the front to running last. What happened is not a short story, but put simply I was trapped in the depths of the classification.
On Sunday, my engineer wanted to test some things out on the car, and since we would be starting from eighteenth on the grid we didn’t have anything to lose. Our new set-up did not work out at all well, the car neither wanted to brake, nor turn-in well to the corners. We will erase Zandvoort from our minds and look forward to Oschersleben where I shall compete next weekend. It is going to be another new track for me, but I am expecting to do well. I already want to offer you a new podium!