08.12.22 NL Blog
Abu Dhabi GP: The story behind my weekend
After a first race in Bahrain that wasn’t particularly great, it’s good to get straight back into things with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend. Back-to-back races give you the opportunity to build on your learnings from the previous round – and that’s handy when you’re in a heavy learning phase with an all-new car and tyres.
It’s clear we’ve still got a fair amount to understand about the FW44, both from my side and the team’s. But every session gives us a bit more insight into the car we have to work with and what we need to address. There’s a lot of other teams in the pit lane having similar conversations!
Extracting the maximum amount of grip from the car by getting the tyres switched on was a challenge in Bahrain. The rubber is very sensitive to overheating in 2022 and that’s quite different to last year. It was one of the main things that thwarted my qualifying last weekend and then in the race we were generally struggling to find the pace we wanted.
It was an unfortunate set of circumstances, but something myself and the team have thought a lot about this week so we can try and get a better outcome in Saudi.
The Jeddah street circuit is very high speed and flowing. I’m hoping it will suit us a little better than Bahrain because some of the types of corners we’ll encounter tend to feel a bit better with this car and the performance should be a little easier for us to manage.
It feels kind of weird going back to Jeddah already, having only raced there last December. Normally you have a year between visits to the tracks. But at least the challenges associated with Jeddah – like the physicality and level of concentration that’s required on a super high speed street track – are fresh in the mind. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.
The focus this weekend will be on continuing our work to get on top of the car as fast as possible and extracting the maximum performance from the package we have. But it’s no secret we need to unlock some extra speed.
We’re not where we want to be after race one and we’re probably going to have to play a bit of a waiting game to get there. But that’s part of the F1 challenge that everyone signs up to. We’re here to be tested and to do our absolute best for Williams Racing. This weekend will be no different.
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