08.12.22 NL Blog
Abu Dhabi GP: The story behind my weekend
“We’re coming up to the races in Portugal and Spain now – the first double-header of the season – so I thought I’d give a little insight into my routine away from the ‘business end’ of a Grand Prix weekend.
The at-circuit action builds from Thursday to Sunday’s race. But with the pandemic, my preparations begin early on Monday morning with another Covid test. From my home in London I shoot over to a test station near Heathrow Airport. I usually get a few tests done as a precaution, in case one turns out to be inconclusive. That happened once last year, and the delay in getting another test meant I almost missed my flight!
The rest of Monday is usually given over to training at home. I’ll go for a run, or get some cardio in, before firing up the simulator rig I have in my apartment.
On Tuesday I’ll head to the Williams factory in Grove, an hour and half away, for more preparation on the team’s simulator. I don’t usually do full-day sessions so close to the race weekend, all this work has been done before, instead this is more about going through procedures, quali simulations and whatnot.
Wednesday is travel day. So far this year we have been going out on Formula 1 charter flights, to minimise the Covid infection risk. I generally travel with my trainer, along with team engineers, management and PR/marketing crew.
We’ll arrive on Wednesday afternoon and I’ll usually fit in a light training session to get settled. At Imola, the hotel had some basketball courts. so I was able to shoot a few hoops. At Portimao I’ll probably go for a run at the track. It’s usually a quiet and low-key evening in preparation for a busy Thursday.
As it is a back-to-back race, the team will be staying out in Portugal before heading across to Spain. In normal conditions we’d head back to the UK for a couple of days, as it is nice to have time at home, but for now this is the approach we’re taking. Plus the Algarve is not the worst place in the world to be stuck!
After a few busy days, I like to have a rest and recovery day on Monday, and the amount of physical work on Sunday means this is the best opportunity to sneak in a cheat meal. Everyone knows I have a sweet tooth, so I’ll take a look at what Portugal has to offer in that department…
On Tuesday I’ll write my reports from the weekend – summarising what went well, what didn’t, and what we need to improve or focus on at the following race. Later on, depending on the weather, I might head back to the circuit and the karting track next door. There are often a few team members up for a session, and it’ll bring back memories for me because I raced at the track back in 2011.
Bags packed, Wednesday is flights day again and the charter to Barcelona for week two!”
All times local
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