Goodwood, Hockenheim & Budapest…three very different events
So first off, I had a blast at Goodwood, it was awesome and the weather was perfect.
It was a cool experience driving the 1974 Emmerson Fittipaldi McLaren M23 at the festival. The ‘H’-pattern was a challenge to me, it was the first time I’d driven a single-seater with this kind of gearbox and the first time since racing a Ginetta in 2014 – it’s paddle shift these days – although I did change gear in my Renault Clio getting to Goodwood!
The M23 was a tight fit, it seemed so small compared to my F2 car. My arms and legs were fully stretched out, which again is unusual in a race car nowadays. One of the first things I noticed sitting inside the cockpit was not having a halo.
I was pretty nervous driving it up the hill for the first time. I kept the revs down, I didn’t want anything to happen to the engine! I also had some fun setting a time on the McLaren simulator there and met loads of great drivers like Emerson [Fittipaldi] and Mika Häkkinen – I can’t wait to go back there next year.
13:11 F2 Race 1: Hungary GP
I then did some ‘start’ testing with Carlin at Rockingham. As most of you will know, clutch and electronic issues have hampered race starts for the opening half of the season for almost everyone on the F2 grid and after Silverstone, the championship took back all the teams’ engines to update them and add new clutch and throttle mapping. I did five or six starts and it seemed to work better.
The next morning I flew to Germany to attend the German Grand Prix for McLaren, doing marketing and media work in addition to spending time in the team’s garage, and it’s always cool watching how those guys go about their work. I gave Natalie Pinkham a ‘hot’ lap in a McLaren 570S Spider, I think she enjoyed it, and also joined Crofty and Paul di Resta in the Sky commentary booth for a practice session on the Friday.
I arrived in Hungary on Wednesday afternoon. From an overall Carlin perspective, qualifying on Friday afternoon was very good, possibly the best of the season with my team-mate Sergio Sette Camara getting pole and me sixth fastest.
I improved my time on the second run but I’d pushed too hard in the first two sectors and the tyres, which were good for only one real push lap, got too hot and dropped off. I had a couple of slides in the final sector. The potential was there in the car but I didn’t put it together which was annoying.
There was a thunderstorm for F1 qualifying and still light drizzle as I lined up on the grid for Saturday’s Feature Race. We all started on wet weather tyres but I had too much wheel spin and dropped places in the opening corners.
14:23 F2 Race 2: Highlights
So now there’s a four-week break in the F2 calendar but up next for me is an F1 test at the Hungaroring. I’ll be out in the McLaren on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’ll try to send you news later this week. Stay tuned and thanks for the support!