08.12.22 NL Blog
Abu Dhabi GP: The story behind my weekend
“Considering the speed of the Monza circuit, I began today’s race with realistic expectations, hoping to be able to battle the Haas and Alfa Romeo drivers.
At the start, I still struggled on the cool tyres in dirty air, which seems to be a theme of the car, and I wasn’t able to be as aggressive as other drivers.
I pitted just before Magnussen’s car stopped, which proved to be a bonus. The pit lane closed and I ended up gaining a number of positions.
I’ve experienced things like this before, when a race is thrown on its head by an unusual situation, but up to now I’ve never been one to benefit. Today was a different story, and I made the subsequent restart in P9. It was as if I’d made it through to Q3!
Racing in the thick of the pack was fantastic, but with the dirty air, cold tyres and a draggy car it was a big challenge.
Cars that passed me were always going to, unfortunately. But once the race settled down I was in the pack chasing Raikkonen with Grosjean behind. The pace was not so bad, and I pushed hard to make the most of the situation.
At one point my engineer came on the radio and said “Okay we’re racing Hamilton,” which is something I haven’t heard through my earpiece so far this season!
Passing Kimi got me to P11 and just one position shy of the points. It is the joint best result of my rookie season so far, but slightly disappointing too as a top ten would have been a great send-off for Claire and the Williams family. Ultimately this weekend was about giving thanks to them for everything they have done for the sport, the team, and for me.
I have only been with them a short time but they have had a huge impact on my career. It has been a privilege to represent them, and it’s really sad to see them go.
I tried my best to give them a memorable last race, and I think it certainly was, even if I just missed the points this time.”
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