The Canadian had an up and down weekend in Great Britain last year, which was his first full season in the then GP2 series. He got off to a strong start with P3 in Qualifying, and ran in the same position for much of the Feature Race before his inexperience showed and tyre degradation issues dropped him out of the points.
Now, after another 12 months of hard work and experience, 22-year-old Nicholas is eager to set the record straight. And with three podium finishes from his last four races, he heads to the championship’s sixth round placed fourth in the drivers’ standings and brimming with confidence.
“Silverstone is my favourite track, simple as that,” Nicholas said. “It’s very fast and flowing and I love the high-speed corners and the amount of downforce they generate. That’s where you understand what these cars are really all about. You get to push yourself and the car to the limit.”
“My experience last year is going to be invaluable. Everything was going well in the Feature Race until we pitted for the option tyre 10 laps before the end and it just all went away. I know what I have to do differently this time.”
This week’s fixture starts earlier than normal, with practice on Thursday afternoon and Qualifying on Friday before the Feature Race and Sprint Race in their traditional slots on Saturday and Sunday.
“My objective is to keep the momentum from Austria and start with some solid results in Practice and Qualifying,” Nicholas explained. “It’s important to qualify near the front at Silverstone because in the high-speed corners turbulence from the cars ahead makes it difficult to follow. I’ll be looking to get as close as I can to the limit in Practice, which should make it much easier for a top-five place in Qualifying.
“My recent race pace gives me plenty of confidence, and we’ll carry over some changes we made to the car in Austria, so that’s looking good too.”
Coming one week after the previous round at the Red Bull Ring, Silverstone is the first of two double-headers this season, meaning a quick turnaround for Nicholas and his Le Mans-based DAMS Racing team.
“I was straight back to DAMS Racing after Austria so we could go over the weekend. After that, we quickly switched focus to Silverstone and I spent time in the simulator on Tuesday before heading to the UK ready to arrive at the circuit on Wednesday. I can’t wait,” he said.
Nicholas’s bid for FIA Formula 2 Championship success is proudly supported by Royal Bank of Canada, Lavazza and Sofina in 2017.