Round 6 – Brands Hatch
Following Spa, practice here was abnormal too. We had one day of practice the day before on the Indy Circuit although we would race on the main circuit. Therefore, we would all have a day to practice the first 3 corners, up to Surtees. Disregarding the remaining last corner on the Indy Circuit, I was relatively on the pace for the first few corners.
Qualifying here went from a simple, straight forward plan to a complete mess very quickly. The original plan was to do a two stop strategy to maximize track positioning, as this track is super difficult to overtake on, but closer to the start my Engineer and I decided to put on one new set and wait for the track to improve (5 extra minutes). And we did so. But on my second tyre warming lap, there was a red flag caused my a crash through Dingle Bell. At this point I slowed, and conserved tyre life. At this point, most had already set a time and were going onto their second set of new tyres. Again, my engineer and I wanted to stay on these tyres as they weren’t too used, but to my dismay, we were right in the middle of the queue for the restart. Either I would start in the front of the queue and pull away from all the new tyre cars, or start at the back with a gap. So since we were stuck in the middle we made a decision to go when there was a gap.
Once qualifying was over I knew that I wouldn’t have done well. The first problem being that I only set one competitive time, because all the other times I would have made a mistake. So once knowing I had qualified P9 and P12 I wasn’t surprised.
The plan for the races were quite straight forward. Try to gain positions on the start and don’t take any more unnecessary risks. Therefore from lights out to the chequered flag I stayed in 9th, tucked in behind Verhagen.
Race 2 on the other hand was a little more dramatic. Right off the start I lost 3 positions, since I got too much wheel spin. The track being an inclined and declining circuit made it harder to control clutch slip in comparison to other tracks like Silverstone. But during the race, the two leaders collided on the first lap and my teammate collided with De Pauw, placing me in 8th as Simmons got a time penalty.
Race 3 was most exciting at the start. Starting 12th, I wanted to make up as many positions as possible. From the line to the first corner I passed one and then overtook 2 others around the outside into Surtees. From then on I would stay in my position of P9.