It’s with a huge determination that I arrived in Sonoma. After a “no race” weekend in Miller the whole team and myself were so pumped to do well on our home track. My weekend started well with a nice event at the McLaren San Francisco with my teammate’s car on display and a lot of passionate McLaren street car owners.
On Friday morning we had 2 practice sessions separated by the drivers meeting so it was a busy morning.
Our car had good balance in FP1 and unfortunately we had some issue in FP2, so we couldn’t really use this session.
In qualifying I knew that it would be really hard to beat the Porsches and I really pushed hard to finally turn my fastest lap on the 2nd one. I gave 110% which helped me in some corners but made some small mistakes. Anyway we finished P2, 0.2s off the Porsche and I don’t think that this time would have been possible to beat.
The 1st race was a rolling start which went without big drama. I kept my 2nd place over Skeen and Van Der Zande was a bit quicker through the first 6-7 laps. After that the gap stabilized to 1.5 sec for a bit and from the mid race, we started to get closer. I was a lot later on the brakes and faster in the quick corners but he had better traction and top speed. The fight went for approximately 5 laps when I finally came really close and went on the left side for the small brake in the Carussel. He braked a bit too late and went wild while I took the opportunity to stick my nose inside and we were side by side. I was on the clean part of the track so I had a better exit and he went under me to try to get it back in the hairpin. I protected my position, overslowed the car on the apex and had a great exit to finish my pass. After that I built up a nice gap and saved my tires towards the checkered flag. We won the race! I was so happy and proud of the team. That was definitely the best win of the year after a hard last weekend and on the team’s home track!
I started P4 in Race 2 which was a standing start. My start was not great and I lost a position to Beretta. I overtook Montecalvo on the exit of T2 as him and Beretta had small contact. Then I slowed down a bit more in 3 to have a good run in 3a and finally passed Beretta in the exit of 3a for 3rd. Right after that we went full course yellow for 2 laps.
At the restart I overtook Robert on the outside of T2 and was then behind Van Der Zande like Saturday. I saw directly that his driving style was different and that he was pushing less. The gap stayed between 0.5 and 2s as we were going through traffic. I had particularly bad luck in traffic as I would get the lapped car in front of me right before the fast Esses and cost me a lot of time. Eventually I came back closer to the Porsche but never enough to try a pass and unlike race 1 their car was much more constant. So I finished P2 from that race which was still a great result for me and the team.
I’m really sorry for my teammate Thorne, which had a great shot for the podium but it got ruined by a lapped car which blocked him for 2 laps. Same brand than the car which benefited from it!!!
I’m really looking forward to the last race in Laguna Seca, an amazing track with a lot of elevation where our 650S should feel great!