Turn 3, Spielberg
I’m actually standing on the hallowed ground that used to be the Bosch Kurve, back in crazy days where turbocharged monsters ran up to the Armco at 150mph with no run-off. The Tarmac that once had tyres transmitting to it 1200bhp or more is enjoying a peaceful retirement now, behind the barriers for Turn Three and partly covered in grass.
The corner that is here now is fascinating in its own way, a downhill entry, three downshifts with accompanying electronically blipped throttle, front wheels taking up the strain as the driver leans on it and, just as those tyres are on the verge of surrender, he changes the balance by getting hard on the gas, the shift to the rear unloading the car and letting him accelerate hard, outer rear tyre finding the extremities of the exit kerb.
The phase between turn-in and apex is ruled by Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull, which carries a completely different speed through there to any other on this Friday morning, overlooked from the bank above the preceding straight by the alpine-style house where Jackie Stewart would stay back in the day. JYS would surely approve of the beautiful synchronisation of Ricciardo’s lateral loading and throttle application.
Lewis Hamilton on the other hand refuses to accept that his graining front tyres won’t allow him to brake as late as he wants and he’s forever locking up the inner front, running wide, having to apply extra lock, causing the Merc’s rear to come unstuck and Lewis exits with armfuls of snap oversteer. Messy, particularly when he spins, forcing Romain Grosjean to do the same.
The Williams is not at its best here. There’s only one line, locked in. Where the others get a rearwards balance change as they get on the gas, the Williams just understeers more – so the corner goes on for longer as the drivers continue to balance throttle against front grip, lap time bleeding away in front of your eyes.