Weather: 23C Dry Cloudy
Start Position: 11th
Start Tyre – Option
Lap 10 – Prime
Lap 25 – Option
Best Lap: 1.17.656
Sitting on the grid in 11th I felt a little intimidated to know I wasnt surrounded by the normal back marker cars Im used to starting around.
With the nerves building I matched the revs as the lights lit one by one.
Then… GO, GO, GO!
Lap 1 has always been a strong lap for me and I managed to squeeze up to 3rd place within the first couple of corners putting me between Rosberg and Hamilton. A Mercedes sandwhich. By the end of lap 1 Vettel was in the lead followed by Hamilton, me, Alonso and then Rosberg.
The order stayed the same until lap 3 when Hamilton was able to take advantage of the DRS and passed Vettel for first place.
The positions were stalemate and didnt change for the following few laps and on lap 8 Kvyatt parked his car up to be the first retirement of the race.
A couple of laps later, on lap 10, came the first round of pit stops but the tyres felt good enough to continue so I went for one more lap and pitted on lap 11 in 2nd position. The stop was slow as I needed a new nose due to a small amount of damage and I returned to the track in 4th behind Rosberg who had already pitted.
The race continued on the Prime tyres and oj lap 17 the second retired came with Kobiyashi pulling the car to the side.
By the start of lap 20 the rears were starting to take a real hammering but I still had 5 laps to go before I could change, otherwise the last set of Options wouldnt last the distance.
At the end of lap 20 Raikkonen made his second stop and put on a fresh set of Primes. Massa did the same on lap 22 and Bottas followed suit on lap 23. The race was on and I knew it was hammer time if I was going to make it out still in front of them!
Lap 24 and the tyres were gone, I decided to pit and take my fresh set of Options. I came in holding 4th place and with another new nose needed I came out in 12th, 5 cars in front needed to make their stops which would leave me in 7th so really needed to get my foot down!
I’d come out behind Raikkonen, Bottas and Massa. The rear tyres and new nose had cost me.
Lap 25, I moved to 8th due to the pit stops and lap 26 put me up to 7th.
The race continued. By lap 32 I was being put under pressure from 8th place and had to run low fuel for a couple of laps. Fortunately Alonso was coming to lap us and made 8th place pull over to be lapped which gave me the break I needed to complete the last lap steadily on low fuel.
Crossing the line in 7th, more than happy with that and Hulkenberg only managed 12th.
6 points on the board for the season.
Hamilton closed the gap at the top in 1st followed by Vettel and Rosberg in 3rd.
- Rosberg – 133 (-)
- Hamilton – 131 (-)
- Vettel – 93 (Up 1)
- Alonso- 73 (Down 1)
- Ricciardo – 66 (-)
- Raikkonen – 50 (Up 1)
- Magnussen – 46 (Down 1)
- Hulkenberg – 34 (-)
- Button – 31 (Up 1)
- Massa – 29 (Down 1)
The construction championship looks like this.
- Mercedes – 264
- Red Bull – 159
- Ferrari – 123
- Mclaren – 77
- Williams – 43
- Force India – 40
- Toro Rosso – 1