30.12.20 NL Blog

2020 in review, part 2: My most valuable takeaway

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Nobody is going to forget 2020 in a hurry. It’s been a crazy 12 months. But in the midst of all the unknowns and challenges, F1 managed to put together a championship – and I got my rookie season.

As the year comes to an end, I’m sharing my thoughts on some of the questions I’ve been asked about my first 17 F1 starts. Next up: My most valuable takeaway.

This one is about learning, and I think the biggest lesson for me is that I need to improve my Saturday performances – especially qualifying. Other areas like race pace, tyre management, strategy and so on have been some of my stronger hands, and I’m glad that carried over from F2, but that’s highlighted the need for me to improve on a Saturday.

More often than not in qualifying this year I wasn’t getting the best out of the car or myself. I finished most of the sessions wishing I’d done something differently; whether that’s tyre preparation, getting the brakes in the right performance window, or kicking myself for not hooking up a clean lap. There always seemed to be something that left me wondering what if…

It’s also worth noting that in my team-mate George, I’m up against one of the best qualifiers on the grid. He’s a good reference, and consistently gets the best out of the car. And he’s no slouch – as he showed when he jumped into the Mercedes in Bahrain.

The trick of course is to understand and learn from from each of the individual qualifying situations I experienced this year – and that’s the plan for 2021. I need to put everything together, all the different elements, and make progress up the starting grid. Holding a higher position after just a few laps would make a huge difference as the race unfolds.

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